Three student-run law journals and a challenging moot court give our JD students even more opportunities to flex their burgeoning legal and writing skills outside the classroom. The selection process for these popular Honors Programs is highly competitive, and chosen students may only join one during each academic year. To be considered for a journal position, you must enter the annual Write-on competition.
Founded in 1927 and published six times a year, the Southern California Law Review has one of the highest circulations of any such journal in the nation. Students manage and edit the review with complete autonomy. Members conduct independent legal research, prepare notes and comments for publication, and edit the works of their peers along with articles and book reviews submitted by faculty members and other scholars. The editorial staff also hosts an annual symposium that attracts renowned law professors and practitioners from across the U.S.
Published three times a year, the Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice aims to influence the development of the law in ways that encourage full and equal participation of all people in order to promote positive social change. Review members hold an annual symposium that brings together leading lights from the intersection of law and social justice. Staff members are appointed on the basis of outstanding legal scholarship as well as their Write-on competition entries, and members receive academic credit.
Articles for the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal incorporate insights from a range of fields, from economics and medicine to anthropology and security, to assess existing laws and propose reforms. The publication goes beyond interdisciplinary inquiry at other journals to introduce vital ideas pointing the way to the future of legal practice and scholarship. Members edit the journal, write notes for publication and receive academic credit. Staffers are selected from the second-year JD class on the basis of outstanding legal analysis and performance in the Write-on competition.
Since 1948, the Hale Moot Court Honors Program has enabled students to develop advocacy skills and then test them in competition with others. At the end of the spring semester's Legal Writing and Research course, each first-year JD student writes an appellate brief and presents an oral argument. Based on scores by faculty and fellow students, 40 participants are chosen for the Hale Moot Court Competition in the second year. They write appellate briefs, attend an oral advocacy clinic, take part in filmed practice rounds, and present arguments before state and federal judges, practicing attorneys and faculty members.
The competition culminates with four students facing off before a panel of distinguished judges. Awards are given for the best oral arguments and best briefs. Participants can apply to be on the next year's Moot Court Executive Board, as well as for the National Moot Court team, which represents USC Gould in nationwide competitions.
"Lawyers are problem solvers, especially litigators. The first year of law school teaches you how to think like a lawyer; the first year of moot court teaches you how to advocate for someone. Even if you don't want to be a litigator, it is so important to be able to withstand questioning, be able to consider and concede on counter arguments, where appropriate, and to think as an advocate. These are all skills you gain as a participant in moot court."
Lauren Fishelman, JD '2017