Southwestern Law School

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Southwestern Law School
SouthwesternLaw Logo.png
MottoA Landmark in Legal Education
School typePrivate
DeanSusan Westerberg Prager
LocationLos Angeles, California, United States
USNWR ranking146-192 (bottom quartile) [2]
Bar pass rate53% (July 2018 first-time takers)[3]
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 about 870 students.[needs update] 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.


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,[4] 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 Promenade at the center of the Southwestern Law School campus

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.[5]

Bar passage rate and rankings[edit]

Based on July 2018 results, 53% of Southwestern Law graduates taking the test for the first time passed the California State Bar, vs. a statewide average of 55% for all first-time takers and a statewide average of 64% for first-time takers who graduated from ABA-approved law schools.[6] Southwestern was ranked 146-192 (bottom quartile) in the 2019 U.S. News and World Report "Best Law Schools" rankings.[7] The part-time program was ranked 42nd of 69.[8] Southwestern has been ranked among the top entertainment law schools in The Hollywood Reporter[9]

Post-graduation employment[needs update][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.[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

Costs[needs update][edit]

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;[13] the Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $293,914.[14]


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.[15]

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;[16] 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.[17]

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.[18]

Academic programs[edit]

Donald E. Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute[edit]

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,[19] its faculty boasts eminent entertainment scholars, publishes a semiannual law journal, and offers the nation’s first LL.M Degree in Entertainment and Media Law.

Moot Court Honors Program[edit]

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";[20] the moot court program was ranked 52nd in 2007,[21] 11th in 2008,[22] and is currently ranked 10th in the country (running tally).[23]

Negotiation Honors Program[edit]

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.[24]

Trial Advocacy Honors Program[edit]

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, Assistant District Attorney of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, overseeing all specialized prosecution units; Bill Seki, former LA County Prosecutor and founding partner at the litigation firm Seki, Nishimura & Watase, LLP; and Karen R. Smith, a 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 2017, T.A.H.P. took first place in California Attorneys for Criminal Justice's (CACJ) National Criminal Trial Advocacy Competition in San Francisco, and one advocate on the team received the "Best Advocate" award. Also, in 2011, T.A.H.P. took first place in California Attorneys 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 Law School 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 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 competed for a national title in Austin, Texas, on March 23, 2012.


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.[25]

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]

Immigration Appeals Practicum[edit]

Southwestern has aligned with the law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson (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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 a 90-minute lesson a week for 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.[26]

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]





Susan Westerberg Prager was appointed dean in 2013. Previously, she was Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and dean of UCLA School of Law. Austen L. Parrish served as Interim Dean from 2012 to 2013, he has been a member of the faculty since 2002 and was previously Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. Bryant G. Garth served as dean from 2005 to 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. Garth's predecessor, Leigh H. Taylor, served as the law school's dean for 26 years.

Former faculty[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Southwestern Law School Official ABA Data" (PDF). Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  2. ^ "US News & World Report: Best Grad Schools". Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  3. ^ "General Statistics Report July 2018 California Bar Examination" (PDF). Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Member Schools – Association of American Law Schools". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "General Statistics Report July 2018 California Bar Examination" (PDF). Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  7. ^ "US News & World Report: Best Grad Schools". Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  8. ^ "US News & World Report: Best Grad Schools". Retrieved 10 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Southwestern ranked among top entertainment law schools in The Hollywood Reporter". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  10. ^ "ABA Disclosures" (PDF).
  11. ^ "Southwestern Profile".
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ "Tuition and Expenses".
  14. ^ "Southwestern University Profile".
  15. ^ "Two-Year J.D. - SCALE". Southwestern Law School. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "CSUN, Southwestern Team Up for B.A./J.D. Program – CSUN Today". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Southwestern Law School Provides Advocacy Training for Mexican Lawyers". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  19. ^ "Biederman Entertainment & Media Law Institute — Southwestern Law School". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "TaxProf Blog: Final 2008-09 Moot Court Rankings". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "As the Arctic thaws, legal interest heats up – National Law Journal". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  26. ^
  27. ^ California, The State Bar of. "Attorney Search : The State Bar of California". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  28. ^ 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]

34°03′40″N 118°17′17″W / 34.06111°N 118.28806°W / 34.06111; -118.28806Coordinates: 34°03′40″N 118°17′17″W / 34.06111°N 118.28806°W / 34.06111; -118.28806