In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. in Taxation, LL.M. in International Law, LL.M. in Comparative Law, LL.M. in Business and Corporate Law, and LL.M. General. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./I.M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/International Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in International Relations), and J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration).
The School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, international law, labor law, litigation, tax law, torts and insurance, and public interest/children’s advocacy. In addition, students may enroll for up to 10 credits of clinical field work. They represent clients in consumer, housing, family, and administrative matters. Several seminar courses are offered each semester. Internships are available in-house through the Clinical Education Program, as well as with local agencies, government offices, and law firms in a variety of areas. Research programs are available at the Center for Public Interest Law, Patient Advocacy Program, and the Children’s Advocacy Institute. Special lecture series include the Nathanson Series and the Seigan Series. The Institute on International and Comparative Law sponsors the Summer Law Study Programs in England, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. Internships for credit are available in England and France. The Academic Support Program provides special services to students. A faculty member provides academic counseling and sets up study groups for each class. Minority programs include a Multicultural Law Day. Pro Bono Legal Advocates promote diversity in the bar and donate students’ talent and time to clients who cannot afford a lawyer. The most widely taken electives are courses relevant to international law, environmental law, and corporate law.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 85 total credits, of which 35 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Lawyering Skills I, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Professional Responsibility and Tax I. The required orientation program for first-year students is offered to incoming students, who attend a mandatory 2-day orientation. Many topics are presented for discussion including the Socratic method, time management, and how to study for law school exams.
To graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 4694 applied and 359 enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 84; the median GPA was 3.28 on a scale of 4.0.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include academic achievement, GPA, and LSAT results. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is February 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, and a nonrefundable application fee of $50. Notification of the admissions decision is January through mid-April. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February (day program) and June (evening program). The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 90% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $38,000; maximum, $57,100. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and institutional application for accepted students. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 2. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include need-based, full- and partial-tuition scholarships available to entering students. These scholarships are based on the applicant’s academic promise, financial need, potential for service to the community, and contribution of diversity to the student body. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application upon completion of their financial aid file after acceptance.
About 44% of the student body are women; 29%, minorities; 3%, African American; 15%, Asian American; 10%, Hispanic; 1%, Native American; and 1%, foreign nationals. The majority of students come from California (70%). The average age of entering students is 24; age range is 21 to 52. About 8% of students have a graduate degree. About 2% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 85% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the San Diego Law Review, the San Diego International Law Journal, the newspaper Motions, the Journal of Contemporary Legal Issues, and Legal Theory. Moot court competitions include the Alumni Tort, Annual USD National Criminal Procedure Competition, and Jessup International Law. Other competitions include Advanced Trial Advocacy, Mock Trial, and Thomas More Constitutional Law. Student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include American Trial Lawyers Association, Pro Bono Legal Advocates, Women’s Law Caucus, Student Bar Association, Environmental Law Society, International Law Society, Phi Delta Phi, and Phi Alpha Delta.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 5 years. For part-time students, courses are offered evenings only and must be completed within 5 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is an 8-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.