Southwestern Law School

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Southwestern Law School
SouthwesternLaw Logo.png
MottoA Landmark in Legal Education
School typePrivate law school
DeanDarby Dickerson
LocationLos Angeles, California, United States
USNWR ranking147th-193rd[2]
Bar pass rate84.6% (October 2020 1st time takers)
ABA profileSouthwestern Law School

Southwestern Law School is a private law school in Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and enrolls nearly 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 affiliation to the undergraduate program at California State University, Northridge.


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 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 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.

It joined the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1974.[3] It is a member of the North American Consortium on Legal Education.

In 1994, Southwestern acquired the adjacent Bullocks Wilshire building, a historic landmark which was subsequently renovated to house the school's law library, classrooms, faculty offices, and court room and advocacy center.


The Bullocks Wilshire Building on the campus of the Southwestern Law School

The campus is in the Koreatown area of the Mid-Wilshire district near downtown Los Angeles. The campus comprises the Westmoreland Building and the Bullocks Wilshire Building. Both 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 student lounges.

The Westmoreland Building is a typical campus building, while the Bullocks Wilshire Building is a fully renovated art deco landmark restored to its 1929 state, from the clocks on the walls to the "showcases" in 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.

As of fall semester 2013, Southwestern opened student housing "The Residences at 7th". The Residences at 7th include 133 units ranging from studio to two bedrooms housing 153 or more students.[4]

Bar passage rate and rankings[edit]

Based in October 2020 results, 84.6% of Southwestern Law graduates taking the test for the first time passed the California State Bar, vs. a statewide average of 60.7% for all first-time takers and a statewide average of 84% for first-time takers who graduated from ABA-approved law schools.[5] Southwestern was ranked 147–193 in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report "Best Law Schools" rankings.[2] The part-time program was ranked 43rd of 70.[2] Southwestern has been ranked among the top entertainment law schools in The Hollywood Reporter.[6]

Post-graduation employment[edit]

According to Southwestern's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 38.3% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[7] Southwestern's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 26.7%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[8]

According to the law professor blog, The Faculty Lounge, based on 2012 ABA data, 44.1% of graduates obtained full-time, long-term, positions requiring bar admission (i.e., jobs as lawyers), nine months after graduation, ranking 154th out of 197 law schools.[9]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Southwestern for the 2013–2014 academic year is $75,559.[10] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $293,914.[11]


Juris Doctor (J.D.)[edit]

Full-time program (3 years)[edit]

The 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.

Part-time programs[edit]

The evening program is four academic years of part-time study designed for working professionals and other students who are unable to devote full-time to the study of law.

Part-time day[edit]

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)[edit]

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. Its intensive schedule is intended 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.[12]

Joint degree programs[edit]

Southwestern has joined forces with the Drucker Graduate School of Management to create dual-degree programs. 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.). TB.A./J.D. Joint Degree Program

Under a partnership agreement with California State University, Northridge in which students will be able to simultaneously earn their Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor in six years instead of seven years. Starting in fall 2014, the program enrolls up to 35 incoming CSUN freshmen. Students spend three years completing their undergraduate course requirements and their first year of law school will also count as their fourth year of undergraduate education. Students in the program also receive a $10,000 Wildman/Schumacher entering student scholarship.[13] The scholarship can be renewed provided that a minimum 2.7 GPA is maintained. In order to qualify for the program incoming freshmen must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and have received either a minimum score of 25 on the ACT or 1140 on the SAT. In addition, students in the program must maintain a 3.40 GPA and receive a 156 or higher on the LSAT. According to Dean Austen Parrish, the program will help young, promising undergraduate students pursue a legal education.[14]

Master of Laws (LL.M.)[edit]

General studies[edit]

Southwestern offers an 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.

Advocacy training[edit]

In 2006, Southwestern was awarded a federal grant to train Mexican lawyers and law faculty in advocacy skills as part of a USAID effort to assist Mexican legal reform.[15]


Southwestern Law Review[edit]

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[edit]

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, and international crime. On October 3, 2008, the Southwestern Journal of International Law hosted one of the first U.S. conferences on Arctic sovereignty, featuring legal scholars from both the United States and Canada.[16]

Journal of International Media & Entertainment Law[edit]

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.

Clinical programs[edit]

The law school has nine clinical programs[17] and two practicum programs.[18]

Study abroad[edit]

Noted people[edit]


Southwestern's 10,000 alumni include public officials as well as founders of law firms and general counsels of corporations.

Politics and government[edit]


Entertainment industry[edit]

Sports industry[edit]

Legal practice[edit]





  • Darby Dickerson (2021-)
  • Susan Westerberg Prager (2013-2021)
  • Austen L. Parrish (2012-2013)
  • Bryant G. Garth (2005-2012)
  • Leigh H. Taylor (1986-2012)

Current faculty[edit]

  • Kevin J. Greene - John J. Schumacher Chair, Professor of Law
  • Faisal Kutty - lawyer, academic, writer, public speaker and human rights activist

Former faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Southwestern Law School Official ABA Data" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 August 2009. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Southwestern Law School". Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  3. ^ "Member Schools – Association of American Law Schools". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Overview - Southwestern Law School On-Campus Student Housing". Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  5. ^ "State Bar of California Releases Results of October 2020 Bar Exam". Retrieved 15 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ "Southwestern ranked among top entertainment law schools in The Hollywood Reporter". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  7. ^ "ABA Disclosures" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  8. ^ "Southwestern Profile".
  9. ^ Rosin, Gary. "Full Rankings: Bar Admission Required, Full-Time, Long Term", The Faculty Lounge, March 30, 2013. Retrieved on February 24, 2014, -- For the latest Employment Summary Reports from the American Bar Association, Section of Legal Education, see
  10. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  11. ^ "Southwestern University Profile". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
  12. ^ "Two-Year J.D. - SCALE". Southwestern Law School. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  13. ^ "Southwestern Law School — 3+3 B.A./J.D. Program with California State University, Northridge". Archived from the original on 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
  14. ^ "CSUN, Southwestern Team Up for B.A./J.D. Program – CSUN Today". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Southwestern Law School Provides Advocacy Training for Mexican Lawyers". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  16. ^ "As the Arctic thaws, legal interest heats up – National Law Journal". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Clinical Programs". Southwestern Law School.
  18. ^ "Practicum Programs". Southwestern Law School.
  19. ^ California, The State Bar of. "Attorney Search : The State Bar of California". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  20. ^ Karns, Jameson (November 2018). "Between a Stethoscope and a Gavel -The legacy of James O. Page's early career". Journal of Emergency Medical Services.

External links[edit]