Mike Stetz 2017-11-09 00:45:36
California dreamin’ Law schools in the nation’s most populous state are diverse and excel in entertainment and environmental law, as well as public service. The Golden State is golden with law schools. Want to rub shoulders with Hollywood stars? Go to a Tinsel-Town-area law school and that may happen. And Hollywood does indeed know law schools, given it produced the highly authentic and poignant film, “Legally Blonde.” California may be considered laid-back, but a number of its law schools will challenge that perception, what with their academic demands. Stanford Law School, for instance, is one of the nation’s most prestigious schools and so high-tone that it wouldn’t let producers of “Legally Blonde” use the school’s name because it didn’t approve of the script. (In the book, the character goes to Stanford.) The state is so large and home to so many law schools that options abound. You can go to Chapman University Fowler School of Law in the quaint city of Orange (population 140,000) or UCLA School of Law in sprawling Los Angeles (population 4 million). Given California’s diverse population, the law schools attract students of all races, making many of the schools highly diverse. Eight California schools were among the top 20 of preLaw’s ranking of Most Diverse Law Schools last year. Is social activism your calling? University of California, Berkeley School of Law was ranked No. 2 for public interest by preLaw magazine. UC Davis School of Law was fourth, Stanford University Law School was fifth and UCLA was 10th. No other state had as many schools in the top 10. Yes, California offers many dynamic choices. We start in San Diego and travel north. Grab your sunblock. UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 158 GPA: 3.51 USD School of a Law is a private, Catholic law school that is the most prestigious of the three law schools in San Diego. It’s in a gorgeous setting that was named the nation’s most beautiful campus by The Princeton Review. The law school excels in tax law, and also has strong offerings in business, environmental, family, intellectual property and public interest law. Robert Kardashian — the dad of the Kardashian clan — was a grad. HONORS The Princeton Review Green Honor Roll CALIFORNIA WESTERN SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 149 GPA: 3.18 California Western is the oldest law school in San Diego, dating back to 1924. The stand-alone school is located downtown in three different buildings, all at different corners of the same intersection. The law school is home to the celebrated California Innocence Project, which reviews more than 2,000 innocence claims annually and has successfully freed several wrongfully convicted people. In addition to criminal law, it has strong offerings in alternative dispute resolution, health law and international law. HONORS No. 2 Tuition Discount, 55.5% THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 143 GPA: 2.89 Located in San Diego’s trendy East Village, Thomas Jefferson School of Law operates out of a relatively new building, one that got rave reviews for its design. It’s close to courts, law firms and Petco Park, home of the Padres. The school offers guaranteed merit scholarships on a sliding scale based on LSAT and GPA. For example, students with a 158 LSAT and 2.5 GPA earn a full-tuition scholarship. The independent school offers certificates in seven areas, including criminal, entertainment, human rights, intellectual property and technology law. HONORS No. 5 Most Diverse A- Best Facilities UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 163 GPA: 3.54 The newest public law school in California, UC Irvine rocketed to stardom. Its goal was to be a top-20 institution from its inception in 2009. It did this by hiring renown professors drawn from the most prestigious law schools and focusing on an innovative practice-oriented curriculum. When it was eligible to be ranked by U.S. News & World Report, it landed at No. 30, a remarkable feat. The school ranks highly in the percentage of graduates getting federal clerkships, a goal that many top students seek. HONORS No. 6 Practical Training No. 8 Federal Clerkships WESTERN STATE COLLEGE OF LAW LSAT: 147 GPA: 3.03 Western State, located in Fullerton, is the oldest law school in Orange County. Established in 1966, it’s a for-profit school, the only one in California accredited by the ABA. The school has been lauded for its bar-passage program, placing it third in the nation for bar-passage rate compared to expected performance. It is one of the nation’s more diverse law schools and has more than 11,000 alumni, including many California judges. As many as 15 percent of Orange County’s public defenders and district attorneys are grads. HONORS No. 14 Most Diverse No. 23 Best Bar Prep CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY FOWLER SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 155 GPA: 3.24 Chapman Fowler School of Law, which opened in 1995, describes its legal education as “collaborative, rigorous and personal.” The private school has a stellar film program and offers a joint J.D. and MFA in film and TV producing, which was the first of its kind in the nation. It also has strong offerings in environmental law, real estate and trial advocacy. It offers key practice skills through clinics, labs, drafting courses and competition teams. The quaint university setting also has attracted Hollywood. Scenes from the movie, "Crimson Tide," were shot there. HONORS B+ Practical Training A Best Facilities UNIVERSITY OF LA VERNE COLLEGE OF LAW LSAT: 147 GPA: 2.95 La Verne Law adopted what it calls the “True Tuition Model,” which did away with merit-based scholarships. All students pay the same rate. Leaders at the Ontario, Calif.-school felt merit scholarships forced less-qualified students to subsidize the more gifted students. While the jury is still out on its success, the concept was a bold move by the private school, the only ABA-approved law school in California’s Inland Empire. HONORS No. 13 Most Diverse SOUTHWESTERN LAW SCHOOL LSAT: 152 GPA: 3.18 One of the older law schools in the state, Southwestern Law School is partly housed in perhaps the nation’s most unusual law school building. The art deco building is the former home of the Bullocks Wilshire, a department store that opened in 1929. The downtown school’s attributes go beyond brick-and-mortar. The private school has the nation’s oldest two-year J.D. program and ranks consistently high in diversity. It offers centers in entertainment law and intellectual property. HONORS A Best Facilities No. 9 Most Diverse UCLA SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 167 GPA: 3.74 And the Oscar goes to … UCLA Law — again. For three years running, the school’s entertainment law program has been ranked No. 1 by The Hollywood Reporter. Founded in 1949, UCLA Law was the first public law school to open in Southern California. The school doesn’t just excel in entertainment law. It offers certificates in several areas including international law, public interest and taxation. And: UCLA lawyers don’t like USC lawyers. HONORS No. 1 Most Devout/Muslims No. 10 Public Interest USC, GOULD SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 165 GPA: 3.76 USC Gould School of Law has roots stretching back to 1900, making it the first law school in Southern California. The private school was a pioneer in establishing a legal aid program to help the poor with the creation of the Legal Clinic at USC in 1929. It has centers of business and health law. Sol Price, who started the Price Club, which later merged with Costco, is an alumnus. The late Price is one of many dignified grads. The school has more than 10,000 alumni working in a host of fields around the world. They are instrumental in helping current students, as well as supporting the school’s efforts. And: USC lawyers don’t like UCLA lawyers. HONORS No. 16 Best Schools for Big Law LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL, LOS ANGELES LSAT: 159 GPA: 3.52 Loyola Law School was the first in the state to require students to do pro bono work — a total of 40 hours — as a requirement for graduation. The school has a strong focus on such efforts because it’s a private Catholic school and is part of Loyola Marymount University. It has a separate campus, though, in downtown Los Angeles. The school offers certificates in several practice areas, including entertainment law, international law, taxation and trial advocacy. HONORS B+ Practical Training PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 159 GPA: 3.60 Pepperdine is perhaps best known for is beautiful location on a hill in Malibu that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. But it likes to focus on other strengths and aims to be the nation’s premier Christian law school by combining academic and research excellence with a deep-rooted commitment to a Christian mission that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds. Practical training continues to be one of its hallmarks. Few schools do it better. HONORS No. 4 Most Devout — Christian School No. 5 Practical training No. 15 Best Moot Courts of the Decade SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 154 GPA: 3.17 Santa Clara Law is another school that likes to sell its location — but not just because of the physical attributes. It notes that it’s in Silicon Valley, “one of the most vibrant business centers in the world.” No, it’s not a bad place to call home, given all the tech firms that flourish nearby. Graduate and hit up Google. The school has a top-ranked IP program, after all. The law school is affiliated with Santa Clara University, a Jesuit college, so there is an emphasis on social justice lawyering as well. HONORS No. 6 IP Law Program, U.S. News & World Reports GOLDEN GATE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 149 GPA: 2.98 Golden Gate is another law school that prides itself on diversity. In 2004, it appointed Frederic White as dean, making him the first African American dean of an ABA-accredited California law school. Today, the downtown San Francisco law school is led by Anthony Niedwiecki, the first from his family to graduate from college and law school. The school also takes pride in its strong commitment to public service law. It boasts a sweeping public interest curriculum and offers financial help to students who seek public interest careers. The school’s clinics help the underserved, so students get hands-on training. The school’s 1,000 students include college graduates from more than 100 undergraduate and graduate institutions. HONORS No. 20 Public Interest No. 21 Most Diverse UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA HASTINGS COLLEGE OF LAW LSAT: 159 GPA: 3.45 Established in 1878, UC Hastings is the state’s first law school. It bears the name of its founder — Serranus Clinton Hastings, the first chief justice of California. The school is the only UC law school with a name officially attached. But its celebrated history is hardly its only calling card. Based near San Francisco’s Civic Center, it’s a top-notch law school that scores big in a number of categories, including public interest and moot court. The school offers seven concentrations and boasts 14 clinics. HONORS No. 2 Best Moot Court of this Decade No. 8 Greenest Law Schools No. 20 Most Diverse STANFORD LAW SCHOOL LSAT: 171 GPA: 3.87 Stanford is the most prestigious law school on the West Coast and one of the top three in the U.S. It’s law students have worked on 200 U.S. Supreme Court cases since 2004. In 1952, the school graduated William Rehnquist and Sandra Day O’Connor, who both made the U.S. Supreme Court. No other law school has had two future justices in the same class. HONORS No. 1 California July 2016 bar-passage rate, 91 percent No. 10 Best Schools for Big Law UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 151 GPA: 3.10 It would be hard to find a more eclectic and electric city in the nation than San Francisco. Social activism? It hums with it. And it’s where University of San Francisco gets much of its energy. Perched on a hilltop overlooking Golden Gate Park, the private Jesuit school is close to courts, law firms, government agencies and the Supreme Court of California. For law students, that’s an oasis of opportunities. HONORS No. 15 Most Diverse UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - BERKELEY SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 166 GPA: 3.79 To attend Berkeley Law, you need to be a high-achieving student — and a vegan. Oh, we just kid about the vegan part. Yes, the law school is known for its history of social activism and liberal causes, but it’s also one fine institution of higher learning. Berkeley Law rocks the house in a number of practice areas, including environmental and IP law. It consistently ranks as one the nation’s top law schools. HONORS No. 2 Public Interest No. 11 Best Schools for Big Law UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA DAVIS SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 163 GPA: 3.52 UC Davis is also commonly referred to as King Hall, the name of the building in which students learn the art of lawyering. It’s named after Martin Luther King Jr., and there’s a reason behind it beyond honoring the slain civil rights leader. The school wants to carry on his ideals and causes. At a time when society is facing substantial upheaval, such a mission is laudable — and needed. And Davis delivers, particularly in public interest. It also has strong offerings in environmental law and intellectual property. The school boasts five award-winning clinics. HONORS No. 4 Public Interest A- Best Facilities UNIVERSITY OF THE PACIFIC, MCGEORGE SCHOOL OF LAW LSAT: 152 GPA: 3.20 For a law school, it’s always good to be based in a capital city. That’s because students can gain access to a host of practical training opportunities, including legislative experience. McGeorge School of Law is no exception, taking advantage of its location in Sacramento and having one of the strongest government law programs going. It also has strong offerings in business, international law and trial advocacy. Sports agent Scott Boras is a grad. Baseball general managers don’t seem to like him very much. HONORS No. 3 Public Interest: Government Category No. 18 Practical Training
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