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Southwestern Law School

Southwestern Law School: Los Angeles, California, USA

Southwestern Law School has offered innovative legal education for over 100 years. With a long-standing emphasis on diversity, public service, and innovative programs, and a mid-city campus featuring a world-renowned Art Deco landmark, Southwestern Law School reflects the vibrancy of Los Angeles and provides an ideal setting for law study.

Founded in 1911 as an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian institution, Southwestern is fully approved by the ABA and is a member of the AALS. It is the only law school to offer four J.D. courses of study that differ in scheduling and instructional approach, including traditional full- and part-time programs as well as a unique two-year accelerated curriculum (

Encompassing nearly two city blocks, Southwestern’s campus includes the extraordinary Bullocks Wilshire Building, which houses the Taylor Law Library (the second largest academic law library facility in California) and the Dixon Courtroom and Advocacy Center (the most technologically sophisticated center of its kind in the country), as well as state-of-the-art multimedia technology in the classrooms and clinic.

Southwestern also offers concurrent JD/MBA programs:

Southwestern’s 10,000 alumni include prominent public officials – from members of Congress to mayors, and over 200 judges – as well as founders of major law firms and general counsels of multinational corporations. The law school has strong ties to the legal, business, and civic sectors, and its Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute is closely linked to the entertainment industry in Hollywood and internationally (

Specialties & Programs

Curriculum: The required traditional curriculum includes 17 courses. Recognized by the Carnegie Foundation, the new cutting-edge first-year curriculum provides more time for students to digest class material, learn about the realities of legal practice, and take an elective as early as their second semester. Over 140 elective courses, more than 150 externship placement settings, and a clinical program allow students to design a broad-based legal education or emphasize an area of law. Southwestern’s location, faculty expertise, alumni presence in the profession, and history have enabled the law school to develop a reputation as a leader, particularly in entertainment and media law, international law, criminal law, and trial advocacy/litigation. Southwestern sponsors summer law programs in Argentina, Canada, England, and Mexico. Academic Support Programs are offered in the summer and during the academic year.

Faculty: Southwestern’s faculty focus on enhancing the quality of both the classroom experience and the attention provided to students as individuals. The full-time faculty includes nationally recognized experts in antitrust, civil rights, criminal justice, entertainment and media, environmental, human rights, intellectual property, international, and urban development, among other areas of the law. The adjunct faculty of distinguished judges and attorneys are known for their expertise in specialized practices and enjoy sharing their real-world knowledge with students in a rich variety of elective courses.

Entertainment and Media Law Institute: Taking advantage of its position in the heart of the Entertainment Capital of the World and the Digital Coast, Southwestern established the Biederman Entertainment and Media Law Institute. With the largest contingent of full-time entertainment and media law faculty of any law school, Southwestern also benefits from an extensive network of alumni and adjunct faculty who hold prominent positions in these industries. The institute sponsors over 40 courses, 50 externships, a special law firm practicum, a scholarly journal, summer programs in Los Angeles and London, and presents lectures and symposia with industry leaders. Southwestern also established the first LL.M. program in Entertainment and Media Law in the country, and launched the first online LL.M. in Entertainment and Media Law program as well.

Life in Los Angeles

The city of Los Angeles is among the most exciting places in the world to study law. A thriving and colorful metropolis, it offers a wealth of opportunities for aspiring lawyers and a distinctive lifestyle all its own. Los Angeles’ 4 million people come from 140 different countries and speak more than 100 languages and dialects. This diverse population and the numerous organizations that serve it are a tremendous resource for students of international law. Southwestern has deep ties to the city’s leading movie and television studios, production companies, record labels and other media producers. Many students participate in externships at these companies, and the “industry” is filled with Southwestern alumni. Criminal law and civil litigation students, meanwhile, are drawn to Los Angeles for its intriguing and cutting-edge cases, from celebrity trials to corporate scandals. The city is also home to countless distinguished attorneys and legal scholars. Students of any legal discipline, from public interest to environmental law, find Los Angeles an enriching and inspiring environment.

Of course, Los Angeles also offers abundant recreational and cultural diversions. Southwestern’s campus is minutes from the Staples Center sports arena and the new Walt Disney Concert Hall, a short drive from the buzzing nightlife of the Sunset Strip, and less than a half hour from the bustling Venice boardwalk – to name a few destinations. From sunny beaches and scenic mountains to exotic restaurants and glamorous nightclubs, Los Angeles’ activities and attractions are endless. Students cherish the city’s laid back yet adventurous spirit as a complement to the rigors of academic life.

Visit Southwestern's Prospects for complete details.