Welcome to Southwestern Law SchoolEstablished in 1911, Southwestern is one of California's oldest law schools. We are pleased that you are already taking the first step in learning more about our unique community and our tradition of being non-traditional.
We are different than other law schools - in a good way - and we are proud of it. Southwestern is a place for people who want to make a positive impact, who are fascinated about learning, and who know the benefits and rewards of hard work. Many are content to follow the pack. Not us. Our law school is a dynamic place for go-getters, innovators, pioneers and entrepreneurs. We make a point of encouraging bright minds to take on tough challenges. Our graduates carve their own paths, try new approaches and defy conventional wisdom.
Southwestern is also a place where community matters. If you want to get lost in the crowd, you will find that is difficult to do here. At Southwestern, the deans, the faculty, the administration, and even the cafeteria staff will know you by name. There's a reason for this. Within a beautiful tree-lined campus, we offer our students the personal, intimate experience of a small, academically superb private law school featuring the breadth of resources normally associated with major universities. Our extraordinary campus is centered around a world renowned art deco landmark and now includes wonderful new state-of-the-art on-campus student residences. Our school is a nurturing place where students find future colleagues, caring mentors, and inspiring role models. Our openness and availability to students is an integral part of the experience. Students are never required to navigate legions of support staff to meet with faculty and deans. Our doors are open.
Southwestern's focus on community also manifests itself in what our students do. We have a rich tradition of educating lawyers who serve the public good and who give back to Los Angeles and beyond. Our students perform an impressive amount of public service through our academic programs and extracurricular outreach activities, enabling them to make a significant impact while developing their own skills as future attorneys. Being in the center of Los Angeles, public interest organizations actively seek out Southwestern students, giving them opportunities that few law schools can match.We're defined in other ways, too. We are a lawyer's law school: our curriculum focuses on professionalism, skills training, and hands-on learning. It begins in the first year with our innovative three track LAWS program. Taught by full-time faculty with extensive law practice experience, the program introduces students to not only legal writing and research, but also to interviewing, advocacy and other professional skills. While many schools permit their students to participate in appellate advocacy programs only in the second year, Southwestern students have the opportunity to develop their appellate advocacy, trial practice, and negotiation skills right away.
The skills and professionalism training continues in the upper-division, in the school's Externship Program (one of the largest in the country), in practicums, and in our on-campus Children's Rights, Immigration Law and Street Law Clinics. Students also hone their skills in the January Intersession, as well as in mini-term, capstone, simulation and drafting courses. This law-in-action approach - in which students learn not just the law, but how the law works - means that students develop into well-rounded, thoughtful graduates who are able to bridge the gap between law school and practice.
There's no surprise that our faculty are committed to ensuring students are practice ready. They are skilled educators, caring mentors, and eminent scholars, who make a difference in the classroom by drawing on their passion for teaching, their practical experience, and the insights gained from their research. We boast having some of the most talented professors in the country. They all excelled in law school, many clerked for the judiciary at the state and federal level, and most gained concrete legal experience by practicing law in the private, governmental, or non-profit spheres. Our faculty members are authors of works contributing to the major theoretical debates that have emerged in recent years. And faculty research keeps Southwestern connected to novel issues of legal practice that circulate through the news media. The books and articles of our professors have influenced the laws legislatures write, the decisions judges make, and the way law schools teach students.
Our community and particular identity also continues after students graduate. Southwestern's alumni connections are particularly strong, with over 10,000 alumni in virtually all states and more than two dozen countries. From the school's Nickel Club with its newly-minted lawyers, to the Alumni Resource Network, to alumni receptions, Southwestern graduates have support when they begin their legal careers. Alumni serve as mentors, sponsors, advisors, and the source of a far-reaching network opening doors for graduates. They pave the way in a wide range of law and law-related professions, and they demonstrate - in board rooms and court rooms, in front of television cameras and behind the scenes - the real strength of a Southwestern education.
Southwestern is an exceptional place to study law. In many ways - by virtue of our history and our alumni - we are Los Angeles's law school, but with a network that spans the globe. We hope that you will come to our campus, learn more about us, and see whether Southwestern is the right fit for you.
News and Events
NEWS JANUARY 21, 2015
In an effort to help increase diversity in the legal profession, the California Bar Foundation has awarded Southwestern Law...
NEWS JANUARY 14, 2015
Six Southwestern students were recently recognized for their dedication to serving those in need. Karina Godoy received the...
NEWS JANUARY 12, 2015
Southwestern, UCLA and Pepperdine Law Schools Receive State Bar Grant to Establish Attorney Incubator Program Consortium
The State Bar of California's Commission on Access to Justice has awarded a grant to Southwestern Law School, UCLA School of...
NEWS JANUARY 08, 2015
Once again, Southwestern is the only law school to be mentioned three times in the National Jurist’s Top 25 “Most...
NEWS DECEMBER 18, 2014
Southwestern Alumna and Trustee Provides Essential Mentoring and Scholarship Funds to Women J.D. and J.D./M.B.A. students
Larraine Segil ’79 had always attended the most prestigious schools when living in South Africa. But when she and her husband...
NEWS DECEMBER 17, 2014
Keeping it Reel: Annual Entertainment and Media Law Conference to Cover Clearing and Distributing Real Content in the Digital Age
The concept of fair use is deceptively simple, and it has perplexed attorneys, creators of expressive works and courts....
NEWS DECEMBER 04, 2014
Steven P. Byrne ’77, a highly respected expert in property law and finance who has taken on leadership roles in the...
NEWS DECEMBER 02, 2014
Southwestern’s Biederman Blog has once again been nominated for the ABA Annual Blawg 100! Help us earn a top slot in the...
NEWS NOVEMBER 24, 2014
For the second year, Southwestern has joined the national movement and become a proud partner of Giving Tuesday, coinciding...
NEWS NOVEMBER 20, 2014
Scholarly Pursuits: ADR Scholars from around the country gather at Southwestern for AALS Alternative Dispute Resolution Section's Works-in-Progress Conference
On November 7 and 8, Southwestern hosted the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Alternative Dispute Resolution...
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