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Gould School of Law

Gould School of Law Rating: 3.0/5 (2 votes)


In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and M.C.L. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 12 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./LL.M. (Juris Doctor/Master of Laws (London School of Economics)), J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in economics, international relations, political science, and philosophy), J.D./M.A.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Philosophy), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.B.T. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Taxation), J.D./M.C.M. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in communications management), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.P.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Policy), J.D./M.R.E.D. (Juris Doctor/Master of Real Estate Development), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in gerontology), J.D./M.S.W. (Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy in social science) (Caltech) and political science. J.D./Pharm.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Pharmacy).

The Gould School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, entertainment law, environmental law, family law, intellectual property law, international law, juvenile law, labor law, litigation, media law, securities law, sports law, tax law, torts and insurance, public interest, constitutional law, and civil rights. In addition, in-house and simulated clinics are available for upper-level students. In-house clinics include the Post-Conviction Justice project, Children’s Legal Issues Clinic, Employer Legal Advice Clinic, Intellectual Property Clinic, the Immigration Clinic, and the Small Business Clinic. Seminars, available to upper-level students, are offered on many topics and facilitate intensive discussions in small groups. Internships, worth up to 4 credits, are available to upper-level students with government or public interest nonprofit organizations. Judicial externships allow students to clerk for a state or federal judge. The law school co-sponsors the Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics research program; Center for Communications Law and Policy; Center for the Study of Law and Politics; the Initiative and Referendum Institute; Center for Law, History and Culture; Center for Law, Economics and Organization; and Center for Law and Philosophy. Multiple opportunities for hands-on experience are available through clinical programs, internships and externships, and public interest placements. Special lecture series include the annual Roth lecture, faculty workshops, and workshops sponsored by centers. The law school sponsors a semester exchange program with the University of Hong Kong and a dual degree program with the London School of Economics. Credit may be given for work done in other accredited law schools’ study-abroad programs. Tutorials are arranged on a case-by-case basis. The school also offers a 5-part workshop on studying. An exam-taking skills course is offered to first-year students in the spring and upper-division students in the fall. Minority student organizations and minority alumni associations collaborate on a range of social and educational programs as well as networking opportunities. Student-run organizations geared at specific areas of the legal profession include the Entertainment Law Society, International Law Society, Corporate Law Society, and Public Interest Law Foundation. The most widely taken electives are Entertainment Law, Real Estate Transactions, and Gender Discrimination.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 88 total credits, of which 33 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.6 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Law Language and Ethics, Legal Profession, Legal Research, writing and advocacy, Property, and Torts I. Required upper-level courses consist of a writing requirement. The required orientation program for first-year students is a 2-day program that includes a welcoming address, luncheon, financial aid counseling, meetings with second-year advisers assigned to incoming students, and a barbecue. A student-run mentor program for first-year students has year-round activities.

To graduate, candidates must have completed the upper-division writing requirement.


In the fall 2007 first-year class, 5229 applied, 978 were accepted, and 196 enrolled. Four transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 95; the median GPA was 3.66 on a scale of 4.0.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. 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, a nonrefundable application fee of $70, and 2 letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is in the spring. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is December. The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

About 86% 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 $47,610; maximum, $64,290. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and the law school financial aid application. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 3. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students consist of scholarships that are used in part to assist disadvantaged and minority students. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.


About 47% of the student body are women; 38%, minorities; 9%, African American; 17%, Asian American; 11%, Hispanic; and 1%, Native American. The majority of students come from California (40%). The average age of entering students is 23; age range is 18 to 40. About 55% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 8% have a graduate degree, and 35% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 1% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 99% remain to receive a law degree.

Students edit the Southern California Law Review, Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice, Student-Connections, an on-line weekly newsletter, and USC Law, a semiannual alumni magazine. All first-year students participate in a moot court competition; the 40 best advocates are selected to compete in their second year, in the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. In addition, the best advocates from the Hale Moot Court Competition participate in numerous national competitions. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include Women’s Law Association, Phi Alpha Delta, Phi Delta Phi, La Raza Law Students Association, Public Interest Law Foundation, Entertainment Law Society, Street Law, and Order of the Coif.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 4 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is no summer session. Transferable summer courses are not offered.

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