Southwestern Law School
|Southwestern Law School|
|Motto||A Landmark in Legal Education|
|Location||Los Angeles, California, US|
|USNWR ranking||"Unranked" |
|Bar pass rate||61% (ABA profile)|
|ABA profile||Southwestern Law School|
Southwestern Law School (formerly known as Southwestern University School of Law) is a private ABA-accredited law school located in Los Angeles, California (Mid-Wilshire), with about 1,000 students. Its campus includes the Bullocks Wilshire building, an art deco National Register of Historic Places landmark built in 1929. Southwestern is an independent law school with no affiliation to any undergraduate university. It has been an American Bar Association approved law school since 1970. In 2013, Southwestern fell out of the rankings in the US News & World Report Law School Rankings into an "unranked" category.
Southwestern Law School was founded on November 25, 1911 as the Southwestern College of Law. John J. Schumacher, its founder, intended the nonprofit institution to be a law school that reached out to women and minorities. The school is one of the oldest law schools in the state of California and the second oldest law school in Los Angeles.
Southwestern received a university charter in 1913 after it expanded to include a number of other disciplines including a business school. Southwestern's first "home" was in the Union Oil Building in downtown Los Angeles, followed by a small campus on South Hill Street, where it existed for the ensuing decades.
The Great Depression and Second World War took a severe toll on the school's enrollment, and by the end of the 1930s the law school was the only school that remained. However, as veterans returned home the school experienced a surge of interest, and in 1974, the campus was moved to the school's current location on Westmoreland Avenue in the Wilshire Center area of Los Angeles.
In 1994, Southwestern acquired the adjacent Bullocks Wilshire building, an historic landmark which was subsequently renovated to house the school's law library, classrooms, faculty offices, and a high-tech state of the art court room and advocacy center.
The campus is located in the Mid-Wilshire district near downtown Los Angeles. Currently the campus contains two buildings, the Westmoreland Building and the Bullocks Wilshire Building. Both buildings house classrooms, administrative offices, and faculty offices; the Bullocks Wilshire Building also houses the Leigh Taylor Law Library (named for a former Dean of the law school), the Julian Dixon Courtroom and Advocacy Center, a fitness center, a dining area, and a number of student lounges.
The Westmoreland Building is a building typical of college and university campuses, while the Bullocks Wilshire Building is a fully restored art deco landmark that pays tribute to its history in many ways. Every level of the building has been renovated (back to its original 1929 state) down to the smallest details such as the clocks on the walls and the "showcases" in the area now occupied by the library.
At over 83,000 square feet (7,700 m2) and featuring over 470,000 volumes, the Leigh H. Taylor Law Library is the second largest academic law library facility in California.
Currently, Southwestern Law School has no on-campus housing, so the student body is composed entirely of commuters. The current layout of the campus reflects this, with about one-third of the campus devoted to a dual-level parking facility. Plans are being formulated to build on-campus housing in the future.
Law school rankings and faculty reputation
On March 22, 2012 U.S. News & World Report listed Southwestern in its list of "10 Law Schools That Lead to the Most Debt.". According to the same article, the average indebtedness of Southwestern graduates is $142,606.
Southwestern's negotiation team finished first place in the 2008-09 regional negotiation competition sponsored by the American Bar Association, and placed second in the 2010 National Environmental Negotiation Competition.
A compilation of Brian Leiter's study of "Most Cited Law Professors By Specialty 2000-2007" reveals that Southwestern faculty ranked in the top 50 of the nation's law schools in total citations.
Bar passage rates
Based on a 2001-2007 6 year average, 63.1% of Southwestern Law graduates passed the California State Bar.
According to The Faculty Lounge, 44.1% of the Class of 2012 was employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar admission, ranking 154th out of 197 law schools. 
Based on a 2001-2007 6 year average, 90.2% of Southwestern Law graduates were employed 9 months after graduation.
Nationally, Southwestern ranks 43rd in the percentage of students employed at graduation with 85.2%. According to the Internet Legal Research Group (ILRG), Southwestern graduates rank in the top 10 of all U.S. law schools by median salary in public practice, and in the top 50 for median salary overall.
Recent changes under Dean Garth include hiring additional staff, adding resources for counseling, and bringing the grading curve in line with that of other law schools so that the average grade is now a B rather than a C+. Along with Professor Catherine Carpenter's study on law school curricula for the American Bar Association, Dean Garth assisted in changing the first-year curriculum to better fit the needs of the students. The curriculum is now more focused on career development and lawyering skills, including interviewing, counseling, and negotiation. As part of the new program, the first week of school is dedicated completely to the new LAWS program (Legal Analysis, Writing, and Skills).
Juris Doctor (J.D.)
Full-time program (3 years)
Traditional program is three academic years of full-time study that allows students to pursue a broad-based legal education with opportunities to focus on a particular area of the law, such as: entertainment, criminal, international, business, family, or tax law, among others. In 2007, Southwestern introduced its new, innovative first-year curriculum based on doctrinal legal theory foundation with focus on legal research, writing, interviewing and advocacy skills to bridge the gap from theory to practice. Southwestern's curricular reforms led the school to be chosen as one of ten distinguished schools by the Carnegie Foundation to participate in a groundbreaking study on the future of legal education.
Ranked 27th in the nation, the Evening program is four academic years of part-time study based on the traditional curriculum, designed for working professionals and other students who are unable to devote full-time to the study of law.
The "PLEAS" (Part-time Legal Education Alternative at Southwestern) program is a 4 year part-time day curriculum designed for students with child or elder care responsibilities.
SCALE Program (2 years)
Established in 1974, Southwestern founded the first two-year J.D. course of study offered at an American Bar Association-approved law school. SCALE (Southwestern's Conceptual Approach to Legal Education) is a unique, accelerated J.D. program with emphasis on interdisciplinary study, critical thinking and simulation training. SCALE's frequent deadlines, challenging curriculum, extensive writing assignments, intense schedule, and demanding workload prepare students for the rigors of practicing law. Low student-faculty ratio in the classroom promotes cooperative teaching and intellectual discussion among classmates. The program has a limited enrollment of select highly motivated and exceptional students, which requires applicants to interview with the Program Director as part of the application process.
J.D./M.B.A. Joint Degree Program
Southwestern has joined forces with The Drucker Graduate School of Management to create dual-degree programs that will expand students' educational and career options. Students at Southwestern and the Drucker School, part of Claremont Graduate University (CGU), will be able to earn a J.D. and Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.), a J.D. and Master of Arts in Management (M.A.M.), or a J.D. and Executive Master of Business Administration (E.M.B.A.). The combination of legal training and management skills is increasingly in demand, and this new collaboration presents an excellent opportunity for both Southwestern law students and Drucker management students to expand their academic credentials and professional opportunities. The collaboration reflects the two institutions' core values and the genuine desire to prepare graduates not only for fulfilling careers, but to make a positive difference in society.
Master of Laws (LL.M.)
Entertainment and Media Law
Drawing from the resources of the Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute, Southwestern established the nation's first Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in Entertainment and Media Law. Beginning in Fall 2010, Southwestern will offer an online option for its Entertainment and Media Law LL.M.
Southwestern offers a stimulating, individualized LL.M. program for students who have already earned a law degree and are interested in furthering their legal education. The program allows students to choose their own focus of study - from American Legal Systems to International Law to Technology Innovation and Commercialization - in line with their individual personal and professional goals.
In 2006, Southwestern was awarded a federal grant to train Mexican lawyers and law faculty in advocacy skills as part of a USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) effort to assist Mexican legal reforms.
Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute
The Institute hosts guest speakers, conferences, and an annual symposium in the area of entertainment and media law, providing opportunities for students to interact with professionals in these fields. It boasts distinguished faculty of the country's most eminent entertainment scholars, publishes a semi-annual law journal, and offers the nation’s first LL.M Degree in Entertainment and Media Law.
Moot Court Honors Program
Select students represent Southwestern in local, regional and national interscholastic competitions as oralists, brief writers or team coordinators. Southwestern's Moot Court Honors Program is recognized as one of the most active moot court programs in the country, sending teams to over a dozen major competitions annually. At the 2007 Intramural Moot Court Competition, Honorable Steven Levinson, Associate Justice for the Supreme Court of Hawaii, commented that Southwestern has "by far, the best First-Year Moot Court program in the nation." The moot court program was ranked 52nd in 2007, 11th in 2008, and is currently ranked 10th in the country (running tally).
Negotiation Honors Program
Southwestern’s newest honors program provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate core lawyering skills in the context of negotiating contracts. Members of the Negotiation Honors Program compete in competitions that allows them to apply the skills of legal research, writing, advocacy and client counseling through negotiation exercises. Professors Cristina Knolton and Nyree Gray serve as faculty advisors to the program. Although only recently created as an honors program, it enhances what was already in place when Southwestern regularly sent teams to ABA competitions. In 2008, a team from Southwestern won First Place at the ABA Negotiation Competition.
Trial Advocacy Honors Program
Teams participate in national and regional mock trial competitions, consisting of both criminal and civil trials, throughout the academic year. Advocates compete in some of the nation's most prestigious invitation-only competitions, judged by distinguished members of the bench and bar. Faculty include Joseph P. Esposito, Head Deputy of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, Major Narcotics Division; Bill Seki, Former LA County Prosecutor and founding partner at the litigation firm Seki, Nishimura & Watase, LLP; and Karen R. Smith, Former Prosecutor for the California Attorney General's Office, Former Senior Deputy Federal Public Defender for California and then for the Federal Public Defender's Office, Current Full-Time Professor. To help prepare for the competitions, the faculty invite alumni to serve as coaches for the mock trial teams. Over the years, Southwestern's mock trial teams have achieved notable results. In 2011, T.A.H.P. took first place in California Attorney's for Criminal Justice's (CACJ) National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition in San Francisco. The team included J.B. Twomey, Ricky Rodriguez, Anet Badali and Ashley Smolic. Anet Badali also received the prestigious George Porter award as "Best Advocate" at the conclusion of the championship round. The alumni coaches for the CACJ team were Torsten Bassell, Doug Baek, and Kenneth Holdren. In 2011, T.A.H.P. also defeated Pepperdine in the ABA Labor Law Mock Trial Competition defending their title from 2010. This team, composed of Elliot Jung, Andrea Friedman, Jessica Balady and Matthew Rudes finished a very impressive 5th place in the national competition in Miami. In 2012 T.A.H.P. defeated the University of Arizona in the championship round in the Texas Young Lawyers Association's National Trial Competition. The team included Kunal Jain, Katherine Bruce and Bahareh Aghajani. They will compete for a national title in Austin, Texas starting on March 23, 2012.
Southwestern Law Review
Law Review is a student-edited quarterly journal that publishes scholarly articles and commentary on a variety of legal issues in California and federal law contributed by prominent jurists, practitioners, law professors, and student members of the Law Review staff. Annual Symposia and the Distinguished Lecture Series are sponsored by Law Review. These programs feature prominent members of the legal community lecturing on areas of legal expertise and participating in panel discussions on relevant emerging and contemporary legal issues.
Southwestern Journal of International Law
Formerly the Southwestern Journal of Law and Trade in the Americas, the journal focuses on issues of international law and trade, publishing scholarly articles and notes exploring areas such as international insolvency, environmental law, international trade issues, NAFTA, international arbitration, privatization in Central and South American countries, immigration, human rights, international crime, and a host of other comparative issues. On October 3, 2008, the Southwestern Journal of International Law hosted one of the first U.S. conferences on Arctic Sovereignty, featuring distinguished legal scholars from both the United States and Canada.
Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law
In association with the American Bar Association Forum on Communications Law and Forum on Entertainment and Sports Industries, the Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law explores the complex and unsettled legal issues surrounding the creation and distribution of media and entertainment products on a worldwide basis, which necessarily implicate the laws, customs, and practices of multiple jurisdictions. Additionally, it examines the impact of the Internet and other technologies, the often conflicting laws affecting those issues, and the legal ramifications of widely divergent cultural views of privacy, defamation, intellectual property, and government regulation.
Journal of Legal Education
In 2008-2009, the Journal of Legal Education was transitioned for a five-year term from Georgetown University Law Center to Southwestern. The Journal of Legal Education is a quarterly publication of the Association of American Law Schools that fosters an exploration of ideas and information about legal education and related matters and serves as a medium for communication within the law school world. The co-editors at Georgetown were Professors Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Mark Tushnet. The co-editors at Southwestern are Dean Bryant G. Garth and Professor Angela R. Riley, with Dr. Molly Selvin serving as associate editor.
Immigration Appeals Practicum
Southwestern has aligned with the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP (MTO) to establish a new Immigration Appeals Practicum (IAP). Beginning in the Fall 2010 semester, students selected for the IAP will work closely with MTO attorneys and represent pro bono clients in appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).
Children's Rights Clinic
Provides representation to low-income children in the areas of school discipline, special education and other education-related issues. The clinic is staffed by law students who represent clients under the supervision of faculty. Students have the opportunity in a real-life context to hone their lawyering skills such as interviewing, negotiating, counseling, pre-trial litigation, and oral advocacy.
Immigration Law Clinic
Provides immigration relief to children and caretakers who have been abused, abandoned or neglected or who have been victims of crime. Students are taught to navigate complicated bureaucracies and to support indigent and otherwise underrepresented clients who are often confused and intimidated by the immigration process. The clinic offers valuable services to the Los Angeles community, while giving students hands-on experience.
Street Law - Youth in Transition
Students enrolled in the Street Law Clinic teach law-related critical life skills to youth in Los Angeles, most of whom are involved in the dependency or delinquency system. Many of these young students also have learning disabilities, which qualifies them for special education services.
The law students participate in a weekly classroom component at Southwestern to prepare them to go into the community and teach one ninety-minute lesson each week for a period of 10-weeks. Through the class, the law students learn and practice the skills necessary to teach practical participatory education about the law. In addition, attorneys from public interest agencies visit as guest speakers to review the laws and answer questions in their areas of expertise that relate to this special population. During the semester, the law students also have the opportunity to visit Dependency and Delinquency courts to observe hearings, as well as speak with attorneys and judges to gain a deeper understanding of these court systems, as many of the students they are teaching are involved or at risk of entering this system.
Study abroad programs
- Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Summer and Semester)
- London, England (Summer)
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Summer)
- Guanajuato, Mexico (Summer)
- University of Western Ontario, Ontario, Canada (Semester)
Southwestern's 10,000 alumni include prominent public officials—from members of Congress to mayors, and over 200 judges—as well as founders of major law firms and general counsels of multinational corporations.
Politics and government
- Tom Bradley – 38th Mayor of Los Angeles (1973–93)
- Marcia Clark – Lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case (1995)
- Julian Dixon – California State Assembly (1973–78), U.S. House of Representatives (1979–2000)
- Denise Moreno Ducheny – California State Assembly (1994–2000), California State Senate (2003–present)
- Matt Fong – California State Treasurer (1995–99)
- Jim Gibbons – 28th Governor of Nevada (2007–11), U.S. House of Representatives (1997–2006)
- Bill Paparian – Pasadena City Council (1987–99) including serving as 52nd Mayor of Pasadena, California (1995–97), Green Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives (2006)
- Robert Philibosian – 38th Los Angeles County District Attorney (1981–84)
- Norris Poulson – California State Assembly (1939–43), 36th Mayor of Los Angeles (1954–61)
- Ira Reiner – 39th Los Angeles County District Attorney (1984–92)
- Edward R. Roybal – Los Angeles City Council (1949–62), U.S. House of Representatives (1963–93),
- Gordon Smith – U.S. Senate (1997–2009)
- Tom Umberg – California State Assembly (1991–95, 2005–07); Deputy Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy (1997–2000).
- Sam Yorty – California State Assembly (1937–41, 1949–50), U.S. House of Representatives (1951–55), 37th Mayor of Los Angeles (1961–73)
- Stanley Mosk – former Justice of the California Supreme Court
- Ronald S.W. Lew – United States District Court for the Central District of California
- Paul Peek – former Justice of the California Supreme Court
- Otis D. Wright II – United States District Court for the Central District of California
- Jean Casarez – Court TV correspondent
- Kevin A. Ross – host and producer on America's Court with Judge Ross
- William John Cox – public interest attorney (Holocaust Denial case and publication of Dead Sea Scrolls), author and political activist
- Daniel Horowitz – high-profile defense attorney and legal analyst
- Daniel M. Petrocelli – Partner, O’Melveny & Myers. Notable clients include Fred Goldman and Jeffrey Skilling
- Stefani Schaeffer – defense attorney and winner of Donald Trump's The Apprentice 6
- Richard T. Williamson – non-fiction author of books on asset protection, estate planning, and capital gains tax planning
Austen L. Parrish currently serves as Interim Dean. He has been a member of the faculty since 2002 and was previously Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.
Dean Emeritus Bryant G. Garth served in the position from 2005-2012. Prior to joining Southwestern, Garth was the Director of the American Bar Foundation (ABF), and Dean of the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington from 1986-1990. He was recently named on the 25 most influential people in legal education by the National Jurist. He succeeded Dean Emeritus Leigh H. Taylor, who served as the law school's dean for 26 years.
- Christopher Darden – prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case
- James Rogan – former judge and member of the House of Representatives who was a House Manager in the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton
- Beverly Rubens Gordon – went on to establish two other Southern California law schools that are now part of Pepperdine University and Whittier College
- Lawrence Sullivan (1991–2007) – scholar and expert in antitrust law
- Paul E. Treusch (1974–2004) – expert in tax law
- "U.S. News & World Report, "Best Law Schools: Southwestern Law School"". Retrieved April 14, 2013.
- Southwestern Law School Official ABA Data
- "ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
- AALS Member Schools
- "Internet Legal Research Group: Southwestern University Law School, 2009 profile". Retrieved April 13, 2011.
- Rosin, Gary. "Full Rankings: Bar Admission Required, Full-Time, Long Term", The Faculty Lounge, 30 March 2013. Retrieved on 2 May 2013.
- Southwestern Law School Provides Advocacy Training for Mexican Lawyers
- Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute — Southwestern Law School
- State Bar of California Membership Record
- In Memory of Lawrence Sullivan
- In Memory of Paul E. Treusch