The American Bar Association Law Student Division (ABA/LSD) is an organization that exists to serve you. Your student membership in the American Bar Association will keep you up-to-date on information that affects you and the ever-changing legal field. Most importantly, being a part of the world's largest professional organization offers you access to an important network of professional contacts and resources that will prove invaluable to you throughout law school and your career. Early membership in the ABA exponentially increases your opportunity to create a foundation on which to build your career. With 40 sections, divisions, and forums concentrating on distinct areas of the law, a wealth of specialized information and contacts is at your fingertips.
Applications for membership in the American Bar Association/Law Student Division (ABA/LSD) will be available to first-year students during the summer. The annual membership fee is only $25. Among the benefits immediately available to you as a member of the ABA/LSD are a free subscriptions to the ABA Journal and Student Lawyer; discounted section memberships, including pertinent publications; networking opportunities with prominent members of the legal profession; bar review course discounts; optional medical insurance and ABA-logo no fee Visa and MasterCard; and hotel and car rental discounts. Student members also receive their first year of ABA membership following graduation FREE! For more information, contact the ABA/LSD Representative in the Student Bar Association (SBA) Office.
Important information will continue to be sent to students until the start of classes. Students who anticipate an address/telephone change at any time before they register for their first-year courses must notify the Admissions Office in writing as soon as possible. Once registered for classes, address changes should be submitted online through WebAdvisor, which may be accessed through the Portal. See the information under Registration and WebAdvisor for details.
ANNOUNCEMENTS, BULLETIN BOARDS AND VIDEO DISPLAYS
The Dean's announcements are posted in the glass-enclosed case in the first floor lobby of Westmoreland building. Career Services announcements are posted outside their office on the third floor of the Westmoreland Building; Dean of Students, Financial Aid, and Registration and Academic Records announcements are posted in the glass-enclosed cases in W102; Externship announcements are posted outside W231; and Student Affairs announcement appear outside W233. Please refer to them periodically for up-to-date information.
Students are also urged to review all bulletin boards located between elevators, in the stairwells and on the second floor outside the SBA and student honors program offices of the Westmoreland Building, and other bulletin boards throughout the law school. Video monitors displaying important notices are located in the lobbies of both building and in the Tea Room.
The books required for all first-year students will be available for purchase and rental in the Southwestern Bookstore (located on the lower level of the Westmoreland Building) prior to the beginning of the semester. Textbooks may also be purchased online. During the academic year, the hours are:
Regular Bookstore hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Fridays, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The bookstore is open the Saturday before and after the first week of classes from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. During the summer, the Bookstore operates on limited hours - please see the website for more details. For more information, please contact the Bookstore at (213) 738-6736 or email the store manager.
COMMITTEE OF BAR EXAMINERS
Students must register as a law student with the Committee of Bar Examiners within ninety (90) days after commencing the study of law. The "Registration as a Law Student" application may be accessed at www.calbar.org and must be submitted directly to the Bar Admissions Section of the State Bar of California.
The Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs Office is responsible for coordinating accommodations for students with disabilities in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and state and local requirements. For further information, please refer to the Disability Policy, as printed in Southwestern's Student Handbook. Those requiring accommodations for a disability should contact the Disability Specialist at (213) 738-6888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Southwestern email account is established for each new student upon acceptance. Account information is emailed to the student at that time and questions may be directed to the Admissions Office (once school starts, questions should be directed to the Computer Lab). Note: Your Southwestern email is the official form of electronic communication on campus. Students are required to check their email accounts regularly. It is recommended that students only use their Southwestern email addresses for school-related matters in order to protect accounts from spam. Additional information on computing services is available online or in the Computer Lab (on the first floor of the library).
ExamSoft's ExamSoft's SofTest Flexsite is a program that provides students with the ability to take exams on their laptop computers. It is used by many law schools across the country and several state Bars, including California and Nevada. Although ExamSoft is highly recommended, students are not required to use this option. Please note that SofTest is compatible with Windows Operating Systems and the Mac Leopard 10.5.6 and Snow Leopard 10.6 operating systems. Students with older MacBook or MacBook Pro systems may run SofTest but must use Boot Camp to create a Windows partition, then purchase and install the Windows operating system. Students can find more detailed ExamSoft information, including minimum system requirements and supported operating system versions, online.
FIRST READING ASSIGNMENTS, SYLLABI AND BOOKLISTS
Information regarding first reading assignments, syllabi, and required course materials and textbooks will be available online prior to the start of school. Students may purchase the printed materials for courses in the Print Shop, located in the lower level of the Bullocks Wilshire Building.
FIRST YEAR ACADEMIC SKILLS PROGRAM
All entering students are encouraged to participate in the First Year Academic Skills Program (FYASP), which consists of a series of workshops during the fall semester designed to help students with the skills necessary for the study of law. FYASP is taught by Academic Support Professors and successful upper-division students who serve as Dean's Fellows. FYASP begins during Orientation; all students participate in the FYASP Orientation workshops and may opt-in to the semester-long program during the first week of classes. Contact the Academic Support and Bar-Related Programs Office with any questions about FYASP.
Food service is available in the Tea Room, on the fifth floor of the Bullocks Wilshire Building. During the academic year, food service is provided Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and on Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Hours are limited during the summer and holiday periods. Vending machines are located on the lower levels of the Westmoreland and Bullocks Wilshire buildings in the student lounges.
Southwestern is committed to providing an environment that fosters academic excellence and personal success. An important aspect of that mission is ensuring the physical and mental well-being of our students. In furtherance of this goal, Southwestern now offers a Student Health Insurance Plan. With Kaiser Permanente, students will receive affordable coverage that is accessible to all students regardless of a previous condition and continues through the bar exam for graduating students. Click here for more information. If you have any questions about the Kaiser Student Health Insurance Plan, please contact Robert Mena, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs.
HELPNET ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Southwestern provides all students with the counseling services of the private consulting firm HelpNet. Through HelpNet, students have access to professional counseling services and community resources for problems related to relationship, career, and academic stress; alcohol and drug abuse; and family, financial, and legal problems. Students are entitled to a maximum of two free counseling sessions per academic year running from July 1 through June 30. Additional information concerning HelpNet will be provided at Orientation. The toll-free hotline is 1-800-HELPNET. Brochures are also available in the Dean of Students Office.
LAPTOPS AND WIRELESS INTERNET
Although Southwestern does not require students to own laptops, many students elect to use them in class. When considering what type of laptop to purchase or bring to school, students should consider whether or not they intend to take exams using their laptops. Students interested in taking their exams on a laptop should review the ExamSoft information available on this site. Secure wireless internet access is also available throughout campus. Laptops must meet general requirements and be registered in order to connect to the wireless network. Laptop specifications are available online.
The majority of Southwestern's classrooms have power outlets for student computers at every desk. However, where in-desk outlets are not available, portable power strips are provided, to the extent possible, to allow student computer use. The availability of power strips cannot be guaranteed and the overall power supply can be interrupted by a variety of factors beyond Southwestern's control, such as power disruption due to accidental cord disconnection, or power outage. Accordingly, students should always be prepared to rely on battery power and are strongly advised to always bring sufficient batteries to power their computers through a full class session. Note that class sessions range in length from 60 minutes to 180 minutes. Additional information on computing services is available online or in the Computer Lab (on the first floor of the library).
LAW SCHOOL IDENTIFICATION
The law school photo identification card activates the electronic door releases for buildings, library entrance and permits access to parking. The card must be carried at all times. The same card also serves as a Southwestern library card and must be presented to check out library materials. Identification card photos may be taken in W100, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., or during Orientation.
Parking information and registration is available online. Permit parking is programmed onto the student identification card after the parking registration form has been processed. Parking permits may then be picked up from the Administrative Services Office in W100. Questions may also be directed to the Administrative Services Office. The entrance to the parking lot is on Wilshire Place, just north of 7th Street (see directions.).
PEER MENTOR PROGRAM
The guidance and support that first-year students get from their peers is invaluable. The Peer Mentor Program (PMP) serves as a resource to support the professional and personal development of incoming first-year students. Peer Mentors are hand-selected, upper-division students whose role is to assist in fostering student development through mentorship, and introduce students to campus and guidance resources at Southwestern. Each first-year student will be assigned to a Peer Mentor, who is trained to give guidance counseling and who are committed to helping students shape their first-year experience. The main goal of the Peer Mentor Program is to provide support by helping students navigate through their first year of law school, directing them to the right resources, socially or academically, and to ensure each student is creating a great law school experience, starting with their first year.
REGISTRATION AND WEBADVISOR
WebAdvisor is the web interface that allows students to access information contained in Southwestern's administrative database. Through WebAdvisor, students are able to view information such as course schedules, grades and unofficial transcripts as well as submit address updates, change Student Directory Listing preferences, purchase parking and submit payments. A WebAdvisor account is established for each admitted student upon completion of registration; account information is emailed to the student at that time and is subsequently available in the Computer Lab (first floor of the library).
WebAdvisor is also used by students to register for classes online. First-year day students will use WebAdvisor in the fall of their first year to enroll in their Spring first-year elective. After their first year of law school, all students will use WebAdvisor to enroll in their courses. General information regarding WebAdvisor can be found on this site.
The Student Directory, which includes contact information for all Southwestern students, is available as online. Students who have elected to be included in the Student Directory should ensure that their information is current. This information may be updated through WebAdvisor (see category above: Address Change).
All students will be given a copy of the Student Handbook at the start of school. The Student Handbook outlines Southwestern's academic policies and other pertinent information. Each student is responsible for its contents.
STUDENT LOAN DEFERMENT PROCESSING
Southwestern Law School participates in the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) located in Herndon, Virginia. Three times a semester, or SCALE® period, Southwestern submits enrollment status of students who receive financial aid to the Clearinghouse which, in turn, supplies verification of enrollment to lending agencies. All Stafford/GSL/Pekins/GradPLUS loan deferment forms submitted to the Registration and Academic Records Office will be forwarded to the NSC for processing. All other loan deferment forms are completed by the Registration Office.
The Clearinghouse asks that if a student receives a collection letter from a servicer, the student should do the following:
- Call the lending agency to see if a deferment form was received between the time the Clearinghouse supplied the information and the lending agency sent the collection letter.
- If, after calling the servicer, it still appears that the deferment has not been processed, the student may call the Clearinghouse at (703) 742-7791, and ask for a Student Service Representative. The representative will verify the date on which the deferment form was received by the Clearinghouse, the date the deferment was certified and mailed, the enrollment status that was certified, and where the forms were sent.
- If an emergency exists, and the student is being threatened with default, the Clearinghouse will intervene on the student's behalf by faxing another deferment to the servicer. Further, the Clearinghouse will work with the servicer to ensure that the form is processed on a high priority basis.
STUDENT SERVICES FEE
Southwestern has a Student Services Fee (SSF), which encompasses many fees associated with improving Southwestern's facilities and services for our students. The non-refundable Student Services Fee will be charged upon registration and automatically billed to each student's account.
TIPS FOR STUDENTS NEW TO L.A.
Danielle Padula, a graduate of Southwestern's day program, moved to Los Angeles from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Remembering what it was like to be new to L.A., she offers Insider's Tips for students also new to the city. Also visit the sections on Arriving in/Moving to and Living in Los Angeles.