Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

The Evolution of J.D. Programs

Southwestern Law Review
presents a symposium

The Evolution of J.D. Programs
Is Non-Traditional Becoming More Traditional?

Saturday, February 21, 2009



Schedule and Registration Information

The Evolution of J.D. Programs
In recent years, the Association of American Law Schools and American Bar Association, practicing attorneys and judges, and law school deans and faculty have called for dramatic changes in the way law schools prepare students for the practice of law. Thus far, the focus has largely been on curricular reform. But another related evolution is also occurring in J.D. programs across the country - one that has received, until now, comparatively little attention.

Many law schools are reinvigorating the non-traditional programs they offer. From two-year accelerated programs, to part-time evening programs, to other cutting-edge flexible approaches, non-traditional programs have a long history in legal education. Often, non-traditional programs are filled with students who are more mature, and more ethnically and socio-economically diverse than their traditional law school counterparts. Because of this, they enrich the educational experience at the law schools they attend.
For some schools, non-traditional programs have become a way to reach talented students who might otherwise not enter the profession. At the same time, these programs are facing new challenges from both curricular reforms and the effects of U.S. News rankings. As law schools reevaluate and retool their nontraditional programs, a number of questions arise, including whether non-traditional programs are becoming more traditional.

Drawing on its unique position as the only American Bar Association-approved law school offering four programs of study leading to a J.D. degree that differ in scheduling and instructional approach,* Southwestern will host a one-day symposium, bringing together leading figures in legal academia to discuss and analyze changes to J.D. programs occurring at American law schools. Speakers will explore the challenges faced and opportunities created by these non-traditional programs, and their future place in legal education.


View a printable brochure, with complete agenda
and registration information (PDF)

Registration fees:

$75 - Non-Southwestern Alumni seeking 6 hours of CLE credit
$50 - Southwestern Alumni seeking 6 hours of CLE credit
$40 - Those not seeking CLE credit
Complimentary - Southwestern students, faculty and staff (RSVP required)

RSVP by February 13 to the Student Affairs Office.

This Symposium offers 6 hours of CLE credit. Southwestern is a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider.

For a map and directions to Southwestern, click here. Parking is available on campus for $6.

Questions? Contact the or the Law Review Office or the Student Affairs Office.

*To accommodate the diverse needs of students, from recent undergraduates to working professionals with families, Southwestern offers four J.D. programs that differ in scheduling and instructional approach - daytime or evening; full-time or part-time; two, three or four years.

Southwestern's J.D. program options include:

  • The Traditional Three-year Full-time Day Program
  • The Four-year Part-time Evening Program, designed for working professionals and other students who are unable to devote full-time to the study of law.
  • The Four-year Part-time PLEAS (Part-time Legal Education Alternative at Southwestern) Program, one of the only J.D. programs in the country designed to meet the needs of students with child or elder care responsibilities.
  • SCALE®, the only two-year alternative program that presents the law as an integrated whole, utilizing simulated client files and field placements to develop practical lawyering skills. It was also the first two-calendar-year alternative J.D. course of instruction offered at an American Bar Association-approved law school.