Thomas Jefferson School of Law

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law Logo.png
School typePrivate, Non-profit
DeanJoan Bullock[1]
LocationSan Diego, California, United States
Enrollment326 (as of Oct 5, 2018)[2]
Faculty88 (40 Full-time and 48 adjunct[2]
Bar pass rate25% (July 2018 first-time bar takers) and 10% (July 2018 bar repeaters) [3]

Thomas Jefferson School of Law (TJSL) is a private law school in San Diego, California. It offers a Juris Doctor and three Master of Laws programs, including one that is exclusively online,[4] as well as a combined J.D./M.B.A. with San Diego State University.

The school is accredited by the American Bar Association. That association moved to remove that accreditation in 2019 and the school remains accredited while it appeals that decision.[5] The school is also approved by the state of California, allowing its students to take the California Bar Exam.


The Thomas Jefferson School of Law was founded in 1969 as the San Diego campus of the Western State University College of Law and operated as such until 1995, when it became independent. It joined the Association of American Law Schools in 2008.[6] In January 2011, TJSL moved to a new, 305,000-square-foot (28,300 m2) building located in the East Village district of downtown San Diego.[7] In 2018, the school announced it would vacate its building as a cost-cutting measure, moving into an office building in downtown San Diego.[8]


TJSL received approval from the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1996.[9] The ABA revoked the school's accreditation on June 10, 2019. This followed a public censure by the ABA in 2018 and a 2017 decision to place the school on probation for being out of compliance with the ABA requirement that schools admit only students who appear capable of earning a J.D. degree and passing the bar examination.[10][11] The school is appealing the decision and remains accredited while the appeal is reviewed.[5] In October 2018, TJSL became a California state accredited school, allowing its students to take the California Bar Exam.[12]


The program offers Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Science of Law (M.S.L) and JSD "Doctor of Laws or Juridical Science" degrees. Certificate Programs in International Financial Centers, United States Taxation, E-commerce, Anti-Money Laundering & Compliance, and Trusts and Estate Planning are available.[13] Faculty for the program are generally part-time and populated with industry professionals from around the globe.[14]

Bar pass rates[edit]

The July 2018 California bar pass rate for TJSL graduates was 25% for first time takers and 10% for repeat takers, vs statewide averages of 55% and 16%, respectively.[15]


The ranking of the School of Law by U.S. News & World Report is not published, as U.S. News does not publish the ranking of schools that fall below 145.[16] The School of Law is not ranked in National Jurist's rankings of the top 80 law schools in the United States.[17]


Students begin classes in August, attend the three-year, full-time program or the four-year, part-time program, and can accelerate graduation one semester by taking additional classes during the summer. Day and evening classes are offered.

Costs and student debt[edit]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law for the 2018–2019 academic year is $74,700.[18] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $275,004.[19]

According to U.S. News & World Report, the average indebtedness of 2013 graduates who incurred law school debt was $180,665 (not including undergraduate debt), and 92% of 2013 graduates took on debt.[20] The school's Associate Dean for Student Affairs attributed the average debt level to the school's admittance of immigrants and those who are the first in their family to attend law school – people who are statistically more likely to lack individual or family resources.[21] On March 22, 2012, U.S. News & World Report included Thomas Jefferson in its list of "10 Law Schools That Lead to the Most Debt." [22]

Post-graduation employment[edit]

ABA Employment Summary for 2018 Graduates[23]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed – Bar Passage Required (Full-Time, Long-Term)
Employed – Bar Passage Required (Part-Time and/or Short-Term)
Employed – J.D. Advantage
Employed – Professional Position
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed – Not Seeking
Unemployed – Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 144 Graduates

According to Thomas Jefferson School of Law's official 2018 ABA-required disclosures, 19% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[24]

In 2013, the National Law Journal reported the college has the worst unemployment rate after graduation (31.5%) amongst all law schools in the country.[25]

In January 2011, a New York Times article about the inability of many recent law school graduates to get jobs discussed Thomas Jefferson's claim that 92% of the class of 2009 was employed within nine months of graduation.[21] The school's claim was based on a survey of the class of 2009. (Under ABA rules, 25% of graduates who do not participate in employment surveys are counted as employed.).[21] The Wall Street Journal also ran a story in June 2012 listing TJSL as one of the 'bottom five' schools for 2011 graduate employment.[26]

In May 2011, Anna Alaburda filed a class-action lawsuit against her alma mater, alleging that the law school had committed fraud by publishing deceptive post-graduation employment statistics and salary data in order to bait new students into enrolling. Alaburda, a 2008 honors graduate, claimed that despite graduating at the top of her class and passing the California bar exam, she was unable to find suitable legal employment, and had racked up more than $150,000 in student loan debt. This is the first time a law school would stand trial for allegedly inflating its employment statistics. The jury found in favor of TJSL with a 9-3 verdict.[27]

Center for Solo Practitioners[edit]

Since Fall 2012, TJSL has operated a lawyer incubator program called the Center for Solo Practitioners. The incubator provides space and support for selected alumni who are going into solo practice. It is also intended to help serve under-represented communities.[28]

At the 2013 annual meeting of the American Bar Association, the Center for Solo Practitioners was honored with an ABA award in recognition of "successful implementation of a project or program specifically targeted to solo and small-firm lawyers."[29]

Additional programs offered[edit]

Intellectual Property Fellowship Program[edit]

In 2009, TJSL initiated an Intellectual Property Fellowship Program[30] for students with undergraduate or advanced degrees in the hard sciences or engineering. The William Mitchell College of Law Intellectual Property Law Institute ranked TJSL 15th nationwide for its Intellectual Property course offerings.[31]

The TJSL Center for Law and Intellectual Property has course offerings in copyright, patent, trademark and unfair competition law as well as cyberspace law, biotechnology law and bioethics, telecommunications and media law, and sports and entertainment law.[32]

Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)[edit]

The law school has an Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)[33] which offers Continuing Legal Education credit. Programs include an Intellectual Property Career Day presented in cooperation with Thomas Jefferson's Career Office.[34] IPLA has also presented a Patents in China event in cooperation with IP law firm.[35]

International law[edit]

The Center for Global Legal Studies[36] offers a specialized program in international law. In 2007, the Center inaugurated a summer study program at Zhejiang University College of Law in Hangzhou, China.[37] TJSL also offers a summer study program in Nice, France.[citation needed]

Social Justice Center[edit]

The Center for Law and Social Justice[38] is a research and teaching program in areas of public policy and law in its field.

Graduate programs[edit]

Thomas Jefferson School of Law offers a Juris Doctor (JD), a Masters of Science of Law (MSL) for those without a law degree, a Masters of Law (LLM) for those with a law degree, and a Doctor of Juridical Science (JSD) which is a PhD equivalent. The MSL and LLM program have concentrations in: 1) Taxation; 2) Financial Compliance and Risk Management; 3) Financial Services and Wealth Management. The programs were started in 2008, making them one of the longest standing online programs at any ABA-law school.

Notable people[edit]


  • Roger T. Benitez 1978 – Federal Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California
  • Bonnie Dumanis 1976 – First openly gay or lesbian DA in the country.[39] Also the first Jewish woman DA in San Diego
  • Duncan Hunter 1976 – Republican member of the House of Representatives from California's 52nd, 45th and 42nd districts from 1981 to 2009 and 2008 presidential candidate
  • Jessica King 2001 – Wisconsin professor and former Wisconsin state senator
  • Leslie Alexander – A former stock trader and former owner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Houston Rockets.
  • Tim Purpura 1992 – Former general manager of the Houston Astros


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Press Release" Joan bullock appointed Dean & President, July 1, 2017
  2. ^ a b "THOMAS JEFFERSON SCHOOL OF LAW – 2018 Standard 509 Information Report". Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "How to enroll in America’s first LLM Program".
  5. ^ a b Seltzer, Rick (June 12, 2019). "ABA Yanks Thomas Jefferson Accreditation". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  6. ^ AALS Member Schools
  7. ^ "Local Law School's New Campus To Open Tuesday Thomas Jefferson School Of Law Is Relocating From Old Town". New 10 Now. 19 January 2011.
  8. ^ Sloan, Karen (May 31, 2018). "Law School Touting New $90M Digs in 2011 Now Housed in Office Building". The Recorder. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  9. ^ "ABA Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Frakt, David (2017-12-15). "The 2017 Bottom 10 Law Schools in the Country". The Faculty Lounge. Retrieved 2017-12-30.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Advanced Diploma and Certificate Law Programs"
  14. ^ "LLM and JSD Faculty"
  15. ^ Zaretsky, Staci. "A Breakdown Of California Bar Exam Results By Law School (July 2018)". Above the Law. Retrieved 2019-01-02.
  16. ^ "Thomas Jefferson School of Law". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  17. ^ "Building a Better Ranking". National Jurist. Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  18. ^ "Cost of Attendance".
  19. ^ "Thomas Jefferson Profile".
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b c (1/08/11) Is Law School a Losing Game? The New York Times
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "ABA Disclosures". Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  25. ^
  26. ^ The Wall Street Journal Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Intellectual Property Fellowship Program
  31. ^ William Mitchell College of Law Intellectual Property Law Institute
  32. ^ Center for Law and Intellectual Property
  33. ^ Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)
  34. ^ First Annual IP Career Day
  35. ^ Patents in China
  36. ^ Center for Global Legal Studies
  37. ^ "China Summer Program – Zhejiang University Law School"
  38. ^ Center for Law and Social Justice
  39. ^ Broder, John M. (2002-11-13). "In a First, a Lesbian Is Elected District Attorney in San Diego". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-06.
  40. ^ "Marjorie Cohn | Thomas Jefferson School of Law". Retrieved 2010-09-03.

External links[edit]

32°42′37″N 117°09′15″W / 32.71028°N 117.15417°W / 32.71028; -117.15417Coordinates: 32°42′37″N 117°09′15″W / 32.71028°N 117.15417°W / 32.71028; -117.15417