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Clinical and Experiential Learning

While trends in legal education come and go, our focus has always been on preparing graduates to practice law. How do we know we are delivering on this promise? Employers tell us. Our graduates are among the most prepared of their first year attorneys. Learn more about our profession ready focus, and how our graduates use their California Western training to build rewarding careers in law.

Before your First Class

Prepare for Law School

Any established attorney knows that preparation is crucial to success. At California Western, that preparation starts before your first classes begin. Learn what you need to know before you apply to law school. Once you've enrolled, get a head start on your 1L classes through our Summer Skills Program.

Summer Enrichment can help you get a head start on law school

In The First Year : Build a Strong Foundation

In the First Year

Build a Strong Foundation

Your first year courses offer you the chance to start thinking and acting like a lawyer. We'll work with you to match your individual values and goals to your own professional career track. It's not too early to plan for success on the bar exam and in practice. We offer many programs and services designed to help you do just that. Our small and large group tutoring helps students develop the skills necessary to succeed in law school and pass the bar examination. You can also take advantage of our pro bono and public service opportunities to develop experience while giving back to your community. 

Start Planning for Your Career: Career & Professional Development

Career aspirations are never far from first year law students' minds. We find that students who work closely with our Career and Professional Development staff to develop and implement a career development plan, find themselves in the best position to pass the bar exam and achieve their goals.

Career & Professional Development

Develop a Strong Understanding of the Law: First Year Curriculum

Our first year courses help you develop a foundational understanding of the law through traditional courses such as Contracts, Criminal Law, and Property. Our Legal Skills program help you develop the core research, writing, and analytical skills you’ll need for success in law school and legal practice.

First Year Curriculum
Developing your professional identify begins in law school

In the Second Year : Skills & Specialization

In the Second Year

Skills and Specialization

By your second year, you’ll have a better sense of what you want to do with your law degree. We offer a broad and diverse array of courses which allow you to develop hands-on experience and professional networking within the legal community. Successful completion of an area of concentration demonstrates your keen interest, experience, and achievement to prospective employers. You will work closely with our Career and Professional Development staff to ensure you are building a strong resume and developing the professional skills needed for success in practice.

Learn by Doing: Clinics and Experiential Courses

Develop legal skills and experience during your law school years through our many clinics and experiential courses in areas including criminal, immigration, health care, and community law. These full-trimester courses taught by full-time faculty and working professionals help you put your knowledge, skills, and values to practice while helping people in your community.

Clinics & Experiential Courses

Take a Step in the Right Direction: STEPPS Course

In your second year, you’ll take our nationally-recognized STEPPS Program, where you will develop the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the ethical practice of law. During STEPPS, you’ll work with seasoned attorneys in a simulated law office, providing opportunities to apply what you learn in professional responsibility classes to a world where rules conflict and dilemmas abound. You will have practice in everything from interviewing mock clients (who are paid actors), counseling, researching and negotiation, to the finer points of professional communication and etiquette.

STEPPS Program
Developing your professional identify begins in law school

In the Third Year : Internships and Pre-Bar

In the Third Year

Don't Just Think Like a Lawyer, Act Like One

Work as many as 40 hours per week helping real clients through our Clinical Externship Program, under the leadership of supervising attorneys at offices in San Diego or around the world. Begin to prepare for the Bar Exam through our Pre-Bar course, and take advantage of the feedback and support our experienced faculty offer students.

Externships: Work Side-by-Side with Lawyers

By your third year, you will be ready to further apply your learning in real-world situations. Our Clinical Externship Program can place you in law offices, courts, corporations, or government agencies in San Diego and around the world where you will actively participate in legal work and acquire confidence and professionalism that are integral to your future success. The connections you make during your semester-long externship can last a lifetime and help develop strong professional networks.


Get Ready for the Bar Exam: Pre-Bar Review

Refine your exam-taking skills while familiarizing yourself with the components of the California Bar Exam in large and small-group settings. Our Academic Achievement team will help you prepare for this important step before you leave law school.


Academic Support
Summer Enrichment can help you get a head start on law school

After Graduation : Stay Involved

After Graduation

Stay Connected

We offer many ways for alumni to stay involved with California Western. In addition to our career development and MCLE resources, our alumni volunteer with admissions, help connect students with jobs, and serve on board and committees. Our Alumni Association hosts events throughout the year in San Diego and around the country.

Get Ready for the Bar: BarBri

After graduation, you’ll continue with our intensive, on-campus California Bar Review Course to prepare for the exam in February or July. Our graduates traditionally outperform their peers at similar schools, posting a pass rate equal to or above the statewide average for ABA-approved law schools on 14 of the past 16 exams.

Bar Review

Launch Your Solo Legal Career: Access to Law Initiative

Our 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 program provides a contact network and an incubator law office where new attorneys can find support.

Access to Law Initiative
Graduation is the first step in launching your career in law