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Message from the Dean: 2019 U.S. News Rankings

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Dear Gould community,
I’m sure many of you have heard by now that the USC Gould School of Law has risen to No. 17 in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.  Notably, we were also the only top 20 law school to move up two spots.  While I’m proud of this upward trajectory, I do not measure our true value solely by reputational ratings. The quality of our faculty’s work, the talent of our students and the impact we make cannot be fully captured by a set of standard metrics.
At Gould, we are focused on redefining the standards of legal education, scholarship and practice. And we have been doing exactly that, as evidenced by our recent work and accomplishments.  The examples below are just a few among the numerous highlights of Gould’s distinction in the field:
Academic Excellence 
  • For the JD class of 2021, we saw an 18% jump in applications over the previous year, enrolling 199 students.  Our 19% acceptance rate was the lowest in a decade.
  • In 2018, our faculty produced leading-edge research that was published in the field’s top legal journals. And, the reach of Gould’s expertise extended into the national media; as faculty were cited or quoted in news outlets more than 400 times last year.
Innovative Programs
  • We successfully launched the Gould Jurist-in-Residence program, bringing four prominent judges from across the U.S. to Gould for week-long visits to share their insights with students and give them a deeper understanding of the judicial process; with one more judge to join us in April.  In addition, our restructured clerkship program has led to a 300% increase in clerkships secured since 2015.
  • We also engage front-and-center with the community, hosting outreach programs with high school and community college students. These programs, coordinated through the Admissions Office, create valuable pathways to help diversify the legal profession.
Commitment to Student Success
  • Just announced last week, our First Generation Professionals Program, which has grown each year since its start in 2015, received a $3 million gift by John Molina JD ’89 to support the tremendous work of the program in perpetuity. The gift establishes the C. David Molina First Generation Professionals Program, along with the John Molina Scholarship Fund.
  • We have bolstered our focus on wellness, to ensure that we provide a welcoming and supportive learning environment for all. This January, Dr. Christina Mohajerani joined us as a part-time, in-residence counselor.  This is the result of a collaboration between Gould and the USC Student Health Center’s division of Counseling and Mental Health Services.
There are many other examples that demonstrate Gould’s excellence, too many to list in a single message — from the significant upgrade of our library to the community impact of our clinics.  As Dean, I am very proud of what we’ve done recently, and I look forward to what we can do in the future. 
Andrew Guzman
Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law and Professor of Law and Political Science



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