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Our goal is to ensure that you graduate with the skills, knowledge, and values necessary for 21st century law practice. To achieve this goal, the California Western JD curriculum has been carefully sequenced with an array of experiential courses, including clinics, externships, and simulation courses.

A group of Access to Law Initiative students

Access to Law Initiative

The Access to Law Initiative brings affordable and pro bono assistance to people who lack access to legal services, while supporting California Western graduates who engage in solo or small firm practice or participate in a nonprofit entity. The project operates out of two law offices in downtown San Diego with attorneys providing a wide range of legal services. Click through for more information on the project and attorneys.

The members of the Moot Court Honors Board

Competitive Advocacy Program

The Competitive Advocacy Program gives students the opportunity to learn real-life courtroom skills from practicing attorneys. Our advocacy teams compete both nationally and locally in Trial, Appellate, and Negotiation competitions. Click the link above to find out how to get involved!

California Innocence Project celebrating the release of Brian Banks

California Innocence Project

The California Innocence Project is a law school clinical program in which California Western students help identify, investigate, and litigate claims of actual innocence. Since its inception in 1999, the project has helped to free more than 20 innocent people and continues to advocate on behalf of the California 12, a dozen men and women who remain in prison despite compelling evidence of innocence.

Students working in the Clinical Internship Program

Clinical Externship Program

The Clinical Externship Program is an essential component of the curriculum at California Western School of Law. The Program builds upon the strong practice foundation students receive in the second year STEPPS Program. The 13-week program gives third year students the opportunity to earn academic credit for legal work in not-for-profit agencies, private law offices, courts, corporations or government agencies.

Students working with the California Innocence Project

Clinics and Other Experiential Courses

Experiential courses allow you to learn and practice what lawyers actually do. Our goal is to ensure that you graduate with the skills, knowledge and values necessary for 21st century law practice. To achieve this goal, the California Western J.D. curriculum has been carefully sequenced with an array of experiential courses, including clinics, externships, and simulation courses.

Students participating in the Community Law Project

Community Law Project

The Community Law Project provides legal advice to low-income and indigent members of the local community, while developing a commitment to public service in California Western students who work within the clinics. We offer legal clinics in the San Diego communities of City Heights, Downtown, and Solana Beach. Click through for more information for clients and students.

A professor lecturing to a class

Conferences and Symposia

California Western regularly hosts conferences and symposia exploring emerging trends in the law and legal education.

Professors meeting with students

Immigration Clinic

California Western’s immigration clinic works with ACCESS Inc. and the Operation Samahan medical-legal clinic in National City to offer assistance to those seeking lawful immigration status, employment verification, and public assistance under provisions of the Violence Against Women Act. Students who participate in the clinic work closely with supervising attorneys to help clients resolve their immigration issues.

Students talking in the courtyard

Mediation Clinic

Through the Mediation Clinic, you will resolve actual disputes with real people, including cases in Small Claims Court. You will draft settlement agreements with individualized feedback from a judge and professional mediator, resolve differences between juveniles in a detention facility, and work closely with legal professionals in the community.

Students in the New Media Rights program

New Media Rights

New Media Rights is a non-profit program that provides legal services, education, and advocacy for Internet users and creators. California Western students work closely with program staff and clients to analyze policies related to online content creation. Students can help create informational videos, prepare policy briefs, and contribute to the program’s work with the FCC and other agencies.

Providing pro bono services to the community

Pro Bono and Public Service Honors Programs

The Pro Bono and Public Service Honors Programs provides students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on legal experience while simultaneously helping to address the unmet legal needs of disadvantaged or underrepresented individuals. Each year, our students contribute more than 10,000 hours of service to government agencies and nonprofit organizations and earn a mark of distinction on their academic transcript.

Students studying in the courtyard

Trademark Clinic

The Trademark Clinic provides free legal services for individuals and small businesses seeking a federal trademark or service mark from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Our students, working under the supervision of a California-licensed attorney, provide legal assistance to clients who can afford the administrative filing fees but who do not have the means to hire an attorney to advise them.