California Western -- About California Western
California Western School of Law is the independent San Diego law school that educates lawyers as creative problem solvers and principled advocates – lawyers who frame the practice of law as a helping, collaborative profession.
For more than 80 years, California Western has educated lawyers who are dedicated to improving the lives of their clients and the quality of the legal system. Learn more about our history.
We offer the following advantages for pursuing your legal education:
Get Ready for Practice | Participate in Our Innovative Programs | Specialize Your Degree | A Diverse and Welcoming Community | Engage with Experienced-Faculty | Convenient Trimester System | Great Location
Get Ready for Practice
California Western provides a rigorous, traditional legal education with an emphasis on developing problem-solving, communication, writing, and analytical thinking skills. This broad skill-base allows our students to see the big picture, and evaluate the social and economic context behind a wide array of legal problems in order to find the best possible outcome for their client.
Our second year STEPPS program allows students to role play issues of professional responsibility and client interaction in a small office setting, supervised by a practicing attorney. Students can participate in pro bono service and our rigorous Clinical Internship program to further develop the skills and experience needed for ethical and rewarding practice.
Participate in Our Innovative Programs
California Western's Centers, Institutes, and Programs - including the California Innocence Project, Community Law Project, Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy, Center for Creative Problem Solving, and the Institute of Health Law Studies - enrich students' law school experience while also enabling California Western to have a substantive impact on the broader society.
Professors and students involved in the programs shape real-life legal events - whether freeing wrongfully convicted inmates in California or training more than 2,000 lawyers and judges in Latin America. Learn more about how you can help these programs make a difference in our community and around the world.
Specialize Your Degree
In addition to pursuing a traditional legal education, California Western students may specialize in a specific area of law – such as Intellectual Property and Telecommunications, International Law, Criminal Justice, or Health Law and Policy – in order to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the legal profession. Learn more about our Areas of Concentration.
California Western also offers graduate-level programs for current attorneys seeking to expand their knowledge and skills. Our LL.M. in Trial Advocacy Specializing in Federal Criminal Defense combines classroom instruction on federal criminal law, advocacy skills training, and real-world practical experience in a federal defender office. The LL.M. and M.C.L. Programs for Foreign Lawyers are designed to introduce foreign law graduates to a basic working knowledge of the U.S. legal system and the practice of law in the United States.
A Diverse and Welcoming Community
California Western believes a diversified student body enriches the academic and interpersonal experiences of law school. The faculty and staff quickly and comfortably welcome each student into the school community, encouraging all students to participate in the numerous academic and social opportunities present at the law school. For more information, please visit California Western's Office of Diversity Services.
Engage with Experienced Faculty
California Western's dedicated faculty are experienced scholars who remember what it was like to be a law student. The law school's culture of openness and collaboration foster mentorship and the creation of close professional relationships between students and faculty members.
Convenient Trimester System
The trimester academic calendar allows two entering classes each year (with both spring and winter graduation options) and offers the flexibility of three-year, 30-month, two-year, and part-time programs. View our trimester calendar.
Our campus is located in downtown San Diego, a thriving metropolitan region offering opportunities unlike any other city. Our close proximity to courts and numerous public and private legal offices make California Western an ideal place to study law.
Our idyllic climate, 70 miles of beaches, and rich arts, cultural, and culinary offerings are sure to please. Learn more about living in San Diego.