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Founded in 1966, Western State College of Law is the oldest law school in Orange County, Southern California, and is fully ABA approved.
Noted for small classes and personal attention from an accessible faculty focused on student success, Western State maintains bar pass rates consistently in the top half of California's ABA law schools. Western State's 11,000+ alumni are well represented across public and private sector legal practice areas, including 150 California judges and about 15% of Orange County's Deputy Public Defenders and District Attorneys. Exposure to real world legal settings, practical experience, and invaluable contacts with alumni practitioners--all will assist you in the transition to the job market and throughout your professional career.
Full-Time and Part-Time Law Degree Programs
Western State offers full-time and part-time pathways to the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. The course requirements for both programs are the same--a minimum of 88 units--and a full-year research and writing component is part of the first-year curriculum for all students. All students are encouraged to participate in experiential learning through externships and pro bono work.
The full-time program takes three years with classes taken during the fall and spring semesters. The part-time plan takes four years with classes year-round.
Five Optional Certificate Programs
The certificate programs at Western State College of Law give students detailed classroom instruction plus real-world experience in these areas: business law, criminal law, immigration law, family practice, and real estate practice. A faculty member with experience in that field oversees each certificate program, and all programs except business law require an externship and pro bono service in addition to elective coursework.
Located in Southern California
Western State's campus is located in Irvine, a suburban college town in Orange County, 44 miles south of Los Angeles and 80 miles north of San Diego. While located close to Orange County's legal, technology, finance, and business centers, the campus is surrounded by attractive residential communities and is within commuting distance of Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire. Western State law students and graduates have access to opportunities at nearby courts, private firms, public agencies and businesses throughout the Southland.
Orange County attractions also include Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm and national sports teams like the Angels and the Ducks. Southern California??s climate and beauty make it a highly desirable place to study, live and work.
What distinguishes Western State?
A Close-knit Family Environment from Admission to Graduation
Western State's culture engenders a supportive environment among students, faculty, and staff.
With a student body of 350, and a faculty-student ratio of 15:1, there is a better opportunity to learn more in the classroom, including the opportunity to ask questions during class to more fully explore the subject matter. Professors' open door policy provides real accessibility.
Preparation for Incoming 1Ls
Western State's innovative STELLAR Program requires students to take a course called Introduction to Legal Methods. This course begins a week prior to the first day of classes - five days and then one day a week for the rest of the semester. This class provides you with the skills of being a successful law student. It goes over case reading, outlining, prewriting, and final exam preparation.
Preparation for the Bar Exam
In addition to the required Bar tested courses, Western State offers an innovative and rigorous program of study that maps out the doctrine that students need to know to pass one of the hardest exams in the country: the California Bar Exam. In addition, there are two courses that help you prepare for the bar exam: Solving Legal Problems and Basic Bar Studies.
Basic Bar Studies complements and reinforces the 'Barbri' Bar Prep course materials. Students complete more than 20 essays previously administered by the CA State Bar, in addition to creating outlines and study tools needed to for the exam.
The success of the Western State programs comes through in Western State's numbers: in the majority of bar exams over the past four years, Western State students have met or exceeded the national average for ABA-accredited schools in California, at times outranking schools with far higher official rankings.
Practical Experience in the Classroom
The Western State tradition of bringing practical experience into the classroom is at the heart of student success. In many classes, students don't just learn the law from the books; they also learn how it applies in real life.
Immigration Clinic, Certificates in Business Law, Criminal Law, Family Practice, Immigration Law and Real Estate Practice; all provide certified practical experience.
Many of the university's faculty bring their backgrounds as practicing attorneys to the classroom. Through skills simulations, real world cases and documents, and guest speakers, they teach students the real-life version of the law in addition to the theory and doctrine.