About Southwestern

Diverse, Engaged, Inspiring

This is Southwestern Law School—a history of public service, innovative teachers, brilliant scholars, and trailblazing alumni. Prepare to succeed through our innovative curriculum and experiential learning opportunities. The vibrant mid-city campus provides the ideal setting for the study of law, fostering an emphasis on community, diversity, and public service.

Founded more than 100 years ago, Southwestern has developed a reputation for graduating lawyers who are well-rounded, entrepreneurial, and prepared to succeed.

If you’d like to be one of them, visit our admissions page for prospective students.

Southwestern students have a strong sense of community. They come from virtually every state, more than a dozen countries, and represent over 200 undergraduate institutions. In the most recent entering class, women represent 53 percent, while minorities make up 49 percent, and students report fluency in over 20 foreign languages. The average age is 27, with a range from 21 to over 50. In recent years, Southwestern has had the highest representation of African American students and second highest of Latino/Hispanic students of any California law school. The Student Bar Association sponsors award-winning student welfare and community outreach programs and oversees over 50 student organizations, including legal fraternities; minority, cultural, political, and religious groups; and societies focused on specific areas of law.

Inspiring Academic Environment

Southwestern has created a welcoming student-centered oasis within the vibrant city center of Los Angeles, and includes one of the city’s most historic architectural landmarks—the iconic Bullocks Wilshire building. This art-deco masterpiece is at the heart of the campus, which sits in the middle of the Los Angeles “public service corridor.” Students at Southwestern devote well over 20,000 hours each year to pro bono service in the community.

Trailblazing Alumni

Southwestern’s 15,000 alumni have included prominent public officials—from members of Congress to mayors, and over 400 judges—as well as founders of major law firms and general counsel of multinational corporations. The law school has strong ties to the legal, business, and civic sectors, and its Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute is closely linked to the entertainment industry in Hollywood and internationally. While the majority of Southwestern graduates choose to practice in California, alumni can be found in virtually every state, two territories, and more than two dozen countries. Southwestern alumni have served as members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, members of the California State Senate and Assembly and Speaker of the Assembly, California Secretary of State, California State Treasurer and Los Angeles County District Attorney. Among Southwestern’s many trailblazing alumni are the longest serving justice in the California Supreme Court’s history, Los Angeles’s first African-American mayor, the first Chinese-American district court judge in the continental United States, the first female African-American appellate court justice in the nation, the first Latina trial judge in the United States, and the first Native American judge in California, among numerous other firsts.

Innovative Legal Education

Southwestern is the only law school to offer four J.D. programs that differ in both scheduling and instructional approach. Southwestern is a leader in curricular innovation and expertise, particularly in the areas of entertainment and media law, international law, criminal law, and trial advocacy/litigation. The required curriculum is enriched by approximately 200 electives, 150 externship placements, 6 clinics, and 4 practicums. Upper-division enhancements include over 50 professional skills courses, a January intersession, capstone courses, and special mini-term courses taught by international legal experts.

Southwestern also established three- and four-year J.D./M.B.A. degree programs with the Drucker Graduate School of Management of Claremont Graduate University. B.A./J.D. 3+3 programs are offered in partnership with California State University, Northridge, and California State University, Dominguez Hills. Southwestern also offers L.L.M. programs in individualized law studies and entertainment and media law.

Southwestern was the first law school to establish a center for entertainment and media law. The internationally recognized Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute helps prepare students for the practice of law in creative industries such as film, television, and music.