Academic and Personal Advising

Students should direct questions about academic issues to an associate or assistant dean, the registrar or assistant registrar, or the other advisors listed below who serve students in particular programs. 

Students are assigned faculty advisors and have a scheduled meeting with their faculty advisor at the start of their first year. While students are able to schedule additional meetings with these individuals throughout their law school career, depending on their question and/or area of interest, they may seek out additional advisors. The advisors available to students are listed below, and the particular areas they supervise are highlighted. If students have specific questions relating to a particular course or practice area, they should contact the faculty advisors that specialize in that particular area. Please refer to the "Elective Course Clusters" and the affiliated faculty advisors which are listed on the Academics section of the website.

General JD Advising

Paula Kutansky-Brown, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs | (415) 422-6304

Is generally responsible for the academic programs of the Law School, including curriculum development, faculty and their (full time and adjunct) teaching assignments, and recruitment of adjunct professors. Dean Freiwald oversees development and application of the law school's academic standards and Student Honor Code. The Associate Dean consults and works closely with the Assistant Dean for Academic Services on matters related to academic standards, curriculum and class scheduling.

  • Academic standards and Student Honor Code (or issues relating to academic dishonesty)
  • Permission to take courses at another ABA-approved law school
  • Permission to visit away at another ABA-approved law school
  • Questions regarding professors
  • All clinical programs-related questions

Elizabeth Benhardt, Assistant Dean for Academic Services | (415) 422-6304

Is responsible for all academic enrollment services, oversees the day to day student-related academic matters and serves as resource to students, faculty and staff for academic policy and procedure issues, including the international, LL.M and Summer Abroad programs. Dean Benhardt develops the Class Schedule, and administers the school's Loan Repayment Assistance Program and internal scholarship programs. She also works with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs with regard to academic standards issues, including discipline and disqualification. She is responsible for overseeing the implementation of disability related accommodations at the School of Law. The Director of Admissions and the Registrar report to Dean Benhardt.

  • Academic and personal advising
  • Bar Admissions
  • Certificate Programs
  • Disability accommodations
  • Joint and concurrent degree programs
  • Permission to withdraw from courses
  • Permission to take a leave of absence or withdraw from USF School of Law
  • Permission to study abroad in a non-USF School of Law-sponsored law program
  • Questions regarding adjunct professors

Stephanie Carlos, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs | (415) 422-6304

Oversees multiple areas relating to student affairs and law school life, including public interest and mission-related activities, multi-cultural awareness, issues and activities, student groups, co-curricular organizations, large-scale student events, grants for public interest summer jobs, student well-being and non-academic student discipline and behavior issues. She coordinates multiple aspects of orientation and is also responsible for graduation exercises. Dean Carlos spends a significant portion of her time on diversity-related issues involving the entire law school community. She oversees the law school's  Pro Bono Program.

  • Academic and personal advising
  • Advising on student life and community issues
  • Bar admission process
  • Continuing Advising Program
  • Pro Bono Project
  • Multi-cultural awareness and programs
  • Public Interest Law Certificate Program
  • Questions about student groups, co-curricular organizations and symposia

Stephanie Darcy, Registrar | (415) 422-6778

  • Academic requirements advising
  • Bar admission process
  • Certificates
  • Course registration and scheduling issues
  • Degree Requirements

Janessa Rozal Chin, Assistant Registrar | (415) 422-6778

  • Academic requirements advising
  • Bar admission process
  • Certificates
  • Course registration and scheduling issues
  • Degree requirements

Carol Wilson, Co-Director, Academic Support Program | (415) 422-2985

  • Provides academic and personal advising for students admitted through the program.

Heidi Ho, Co-Director, Academic Support Program | (415) 422-5852

  • Provides academic and personal advising for students admitted through the program.

Cometria Cooper, Assistant Director, Academic and Bar Exam Success Program | (415) 422-5958 

  • Provides academic and bar examination advising to first-year and upper-division students.

Nira Geevargis, Director and Assistant Professor, Externship Programs | (415) 422-4467

  • All clinical and judicial externship-related questions
  • Student-practice related questions for judicial and clinical externships

Esther Sprauge, Coordinator, Study Abroad Programs | (415) 422-4546

  • Issues related to study abroad in a USF School of Law-sponsored law program

Keya Koul, Interim Director of Career Services and Alumni Relations | (415) 422-4450

  • Career advising

Ellen Strauss, Assistant Director, Graduate Tax Program | (415) 422-4926

  • Tax and Estate Planning Academic Advising 
  • Tax and Estate Planning Career Advising

Student Disability Services | (415) 422-2613

  • Disability accommodations

International LLM Advising

Connie de la Vega, Academic Director, International LLM Programs | (415) 422-6946

  • Academic advising
  • Permission to take a leave of absence from the LL.M. program

Julianne Cartwright Traylor, Assistant Director, International LLM Programs | (415) 422-6946

  • General inquiries
  • General advising
  • Professional development for international students
  • Permission to take a leave of absence from the LL.M. program
  • Visa services and advising

Office of International Student and Scholar Services | (415) 422-2654

  • Visa application process
  • Immigration documents
  • Immunization requirements

LLM in Taxation and MLST Advising

Natascha Fastabend, Associate Director, Graduate Tax Program | (415) 422-2801

  • General inquiries
  • Academic advising

Ellen Strauss, Assistant Director, Graduate Tax Program | (415) 422-4926

  • Tax and Estate Planning Academic Advising
  • Tax and Estate Planning Career Advising