Our innovative Juris Doctor (JD) program emphasizes skills-based training and prepares you for a successful and satisfying career in the legal profession.
In your first year:
You build the foundation for successful law practice through traditional first-year coursework with an emphasis on legal analysis, research, and writing, and begin meeting with career advisors to identify work opportunities in law school and beyond.
In your second year:
You will participate in the much-acclaimed STEPPS Program, where you will learn the knowledge and skills necessary for the ethical practice of law through a client-attorney simulation course. You can also take a wide variety of courses designed to prepare you for the bar exam and a career in law. Specialized courses and experiential learning opportunities are also available.
In your third year:
You can participate in the Clinical Externship Program, where you receive academic credit while working in a law firm, public office, judicial chamber, or other legal placement. And, you finalize your preparation for the bar exam.
You can participate in the successful Bar Review Program, which provides additional preparation for the bar examination.
Our curriculum offers a broad and diverse selection of courses that include such contemporary fields as biotechnology, health law, entertainment and sports law, alternative dispute resolution, and intellectual property.
Areas of Concentration
You can specialize in several areas of law, including:
Creative Problem Solving
Criminal Justice Program
Labor and Employment Law
Students who complete one of these areas of concentration receive formal recognition on their transcript.
In the STEPPS Program, experienced attorneys work with you in a simulated law office, coaching you and giving you opportunities to apply what you've learned about professional responsibility to a world where rules conflict and dilemmas abound.
You will get practice in everything from interviewing clients (who are paid actors), counseling, researching, and negotiation to the finer points of professional communication and etiquette.
Clinical Externship Program
In your third year, you can participate in the Clinical Externship Program, where you receive academic credit while working in an actual legal environment.
Externship opportunities are available for every student who wishes to participate in the program and most California Western students participate in the Clinical Externship Program.
You may extern in any type of office or area of law. Students may use our pre-approved externship placements or self-initiate an externship in San Diego or anywhere in the world, adding a cultural experience to the hands-on learning opportunity.
Bar Review Program
Upon graduation, you can participate in the successful Bar Review Program, which provides additional preparation for the bar examination.
The program offers a complete review of all subjects tested on the California Bar Examination as well as essay workshops, multiple choice question workshops, performance test workshops, several simulated exams, and group and individual tutoring.
Two-Year and Part-Time Options
The trimester academic calendar allows interested students to study law year-round and complete their education in two years. California Western also offers a part-time day program.