Victoria Ortiz knows what stands out in a law school application. In her first year as director of admissions at Irvine School of Law, she read 2,743 of them.
Ortiz, who transplanted from Berkeley Law School to Southern California two years ago to help launch the UC system’s new school, retired from Irvine last summer. Now she is launching a new web-based business with her partner, Jennifer Elrod, that guides law school candidates through the nitty-gritty of the process. (See her talk about the transition here.)
Law School ACEs will help with one to five applications for a J.D. or reapplication after denial for $2,795. Applying after dismissal from law school costs more, with up to five applications for $3,795. That sounds like a big chunk of change -- and it is -- but some other admissions consultants apparently charge much more. Ortiz said she anticipates interest from students across the country and from international LL.M. candidates who aren’t familiar with the process in the U.S.
"There’s often a lack of clarity on the part of applicants as to the significance and weight of each of the components that make up an application package,” Ortiz said, noting that it doesn’t help that every school has a different approach. “Students are very stressed and afraid that if they make a mistake they’ll lose their chance at a shot at some particular school.”
Although Ortiz’s departure two years after Irvine law school opened for business seems sudden, the law school’s communications director, Rex Bossert, noted that given her retirement-qualified age under UC guidelines, her departure wasn’t a complete surprise.
Ortiz had been with UC for 12 years. She had held the dual position of assistant dean of student services and admissions director at Irvine. The school has since broken up the job and hired two people for each post. Elizabeth Schroeder took over as assistant dean of student services and Janice Austin was hired to handle admissions.
On Ortiz’s new venture, Bossert said: “I think she’d be a great resource for that kind of consulting. She did a great job in bringing in our inaugural class.”
For Ortiz, the decision had as much to do with a desire to open a new chapter as with geography. “I was ready to move back to Berkeley,” Ortiz said. “I felt I’d done an extraordinary job at UCI and done what I’d been hired to do and was moving on to a new phase in my life.”