On behalf of McGeorge’s faculty, staff, students, and administration, we hope your 2019 is off to a great start.
In my last message to you, I shared McGeorge’s many 2018 accomplishments. In this message, I will share a new feature: The McGeorge Brag Point of the Quarter, and I will tell you about a few projects the faculty, staff, and I have been working on.
Each quarter, starting with this Dean’s Report, I will share with you one brag point about your law school.
There are 204 ABA-Approved law schools. At more than 180 of those law schools, at least one professor has chosen to require a law school casebook or textbook authored by a McGeorge faculty member. In other words, the McGeorge faculty literally wrote the book!
On February 16, the McGeorge Alumni Board held its annual retreat. The President and Day Vice President of the Student Bar Association were among the featured speakers, and their presentations were moving and inspiring. They explained the financial challenges faced by McGeorge students while they are taking the bar, explaining that bar loans are no longer readily available requiring too many of our students to work during their bar study period. The Alumni Board jumped into action, each member committing to raise $2,500 to support our bar takers. Be forewarned: supporting our students in this way is the pet project of the Alumni Board, and they are determined to establish a low-interest loan fund that will allow our students to focus their time on the bar exam and not on earning enough to cover food and rent. We would love to raise enough to support our students who will be taking the July 2019 bar exam, But our drop dead date for creating the loan program is May 2020. If you do not even need to be asked to help because you are already convinced, here is a link to the McGeorge Giving Page. If not, look forward to future messaging from your Alumni Board.
This semester, I am teaching two classes, each of which relates to an important McGeorge initiative. First, I am teaching a Supreme Court Seminar to the first-year students enrolled in McGeorge’s new Accelerated Honors JD Program (AHP). In this program, students can complete their JD degrees in five semesters, saving a full semester’s worth of tuition and graduating and starting to earn a living six months ahead of their peers. The program received approximately 400 applications for the 2018 entering class (out of 1,100 total); this year, ~30% of our admitted applicants have expressed interest in the program.
The AHP students in my class are brilliant. Each of them selected a Supreme Court Justice, and they each did a presentation tracing how that Justice’s background and philosophy influenced his or her decision-making. Their presentations were incredibly professional, carefully-structured and timed, and very engaging. Their papers are due in a few weeks. I can’t wait!
The other class I am teaching is an entirely online class focusing on my field of research, teaching law. The students in my class are mostly foreign-trained, post-LLM students pursuing their JSD degrees at McGeorge, and they are taking the class because they are planning to return to their home countries and be law professors. I wanted to teach an online class because I wanted to satisfy myself that an online class can be at least as engaging and rigorous as an in-person class. I know McGeorge needs to increase its online offerings, but I did not want to ask the faculty to do anything I had not tried to do myself. The good news is that the class is very rigorous, and the students are working hard and seem to be learning. The bad news is that the combination of teaching this class and the Supreme Court Seminar and doing my “real” job as dean is filling my days, nights, and weekends.
In a related move, McGeorge is moving its MSL (Master of Science of Law) degrees online this coming fall. These degrees, designed for professionals who seek the benefits of advanced training in legal reasoning and analysis but who do not require the JD degree for their career plans, require only 26 credit hours. If you know someone who would benefit from legal training but not a full JD degree, please tell them about our new online versions of the degree.
Finally, thank you for all you do to support McGeorge. Thank you for your generous financial support of McGeorge. Thank you also for the time you spend as mentors to our current students in our innovative experiential alumni mentoring program, adjunct faculty or guest speakers at the law school, attendees at alumni events, allies in recruiting students, hiring decision-makers who hire McGeorge graduates, and job developers for McGeorge graduates looking for jobs. Your gifts of time and money pay off for our students and your law school.
— Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz