UC Irvine's law school opens

IRVINE It is a new school year at UC Irvine, but for 61 students it will be a new beginning that carries a lot of pressure to make good grades. These students are the first to attend the university's new law school for free.

"It wasn't the basis of my decision, but I think anybody would be foolish to ignore the opportunities that it provides," said student Adam Brauner.

In addition to the full ride scholarship, Brauner chose UCI Law School over other established schools because of the student to professor ratio which is 3-1.

Erwin Chemerinsky, founding dean of the UCI School of Law, says the goal is to teach them the skills lawyers don't learn until they have their first job.

"All lawyers have to negotiate. So we are going to teach them negotiation in the first year. All lawyers have to interview prospective clients and witnesses, so we are going to teach interviewing," said Chemerinsky. "All lawyers have to learn fact investigating. We want to teach those skills and give the students an opportunity to use them under faculty supervision."

That philosophy and the full-ride scholarship prompted Samrah Mahmoud to apply.

"Next semester we are going to be able to do take-in interviews and present those to a board to tell them whether or not they should take the case," said Mahmoud. "I think that is an amazing opportunity to apply our learning first hand."

An existing building has been converted with offices, a law library and classrooms.

Students are already getting to know their teachers.

"When I visited UCI it was the faculty and their openness that really sealed the deal for me," said Brauner.

UC Irvine plans to increase enrollment in the future. Chemerinsky says it will be done slowly so the quality of the education is not compromised.

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