The J.D. Program
The La Verne Model for Legal Education offers a unique and innovative approach to legal education, grounded in five core concepts: (1) Basic skills for success; (2) High bar performance; (3) Ready to practice curriculum; (4) Being a beacon of hope and inspiration; and (5) A true tuition model. The model instructs students on the basic skills for success in law school, on the bar exam, and in the practice of law — the ability to read, analyze, and present. Through the Center for Academic and Bar Readiness, students are introduced to bar success concepts, skills and approaches. Values and skills are integrated into first-year doctrinal courses enabling students to learn how to be successful law students. By integrating practical lawyering skills into second-year doctrinal courses, students gain the skills and experiences that enable them to become successful lawyers.
We offer both a full-time program and a part-time day or evening program all leading to a Juris Doctor degree. The full-time program requires three years of study; the part-time program requires four years of study. Students in either program must complete 88 semester units.
First Year Curriculum
The first year curriculum incorporates value and skills for academic success into the foundational doctrinal courses of Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Constitutional Law. Each of those foundational courses are offered in a 5-unit format, 4 units of which is devoted to doctrine, 1 unit of which is devoted to value and skills, including critical reading, case briefing, case synthesis, IRAC and exam writing, course outlining, time management, and multiple-choice test taking strategies. Two other foundational courses, Torts and Criminal Law, are combined with Introduction to Legal Skills. In Torts/ILS, 4 units are devoted to doctrine and 2 units are devoted to the legal skills of case briefing, case synthesis, exam writing, with emphasis on predictive legal writing and legal research. In Criminal Law/ILS, 3 units are devoted to doctrine and 2 units to legal writing skills which include persuasive legal writing.
Additionally, in the spring semester, students participate in Court Observation Week. During that week, first year students observe a 2 to 4 day trial at the local courthouse. At the conclusion of the trial, students have an opportunity to speak to the trial attorneys and the judge.
Second Year Curriculum
The second year focuses on the development of practical legal skills through two distinct tracks, a Litigation Track and a Transactional Track. All second-year students in the full-time program enroll in the Litigation Track in the fall semester. The Litigation Track incorporates three courses: Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Trial Advocacy. Full-time professors as well as respected members of the bench and bar, guide students through a simulated criminal law based problem culminating in a mock trial. In the spring semester, full-time students enroll in the Transactional Track, which includes Business Organizations, Sales, and Negotiations. Students learn both doctrine and practical skills through business formations, document drafting and negotiation under the guidance of both full-time professors and members of the bench and bar. The semester culminates with students drafting and negotiating an agreement using the doctrine and skills they acquired in the Negotiation course. In addition to the tracks, students can take up to 14 elective units during their second year.
Third Year Curriculum
The third year is focused on experiential learning. Students are required to take a minimum of 3 units of experientially based courses, including externships, live-client clinics, and practicums. Practicum courses combine a significant classroom component with a live-client clinical or externship experience. Students are encouraged to get as much live-client experience as possible in the third year. Students can choose from a variety of electives, including participation in traveling competitions on a Moot Court team, a Trial Team, or an Alternative Dispute Resolution Team. The Center for Academic and Bar Readiness offers several important courses for students as they prepare to take the bar exam, including Multistate Bar Strategies and California Performance Test Strategies, all taken in the final year.
Part-time students take the same innovative program of courses as full-time students, but spread over a four-year span. Part-time (and full-time) students can take a variety of summer electives.
Professional Skills Training
La Verne Law has long been a pioneer in providing practical skills training to our law students, giving them the tools they need to be practice-ready. These programs provide service to the local community and give students the opportunity to conduct research, write legal documents, and practice oral advocacy skills while working on actual cases under the supervision of knowledgeable faculty and practicing lawyers.
La Verne Law’s robust externship program places upper-division students with government agencies, public interest organizations, non-profit agencies, and judges. Our program fosters law student engagement with the legal community while helping students reflect on the work they will do as lawyers and the role they will embody when they take their place among their legal peers. Students secure placements in public interest and government offices, working closely under the supervision of an attorney. Through these placements, students can study the legal process and apply the knowledge and skills developed in law school in a practical setting.
Justice & Immigration Clinic
Our Justice & Immigration Clinic provides pro bono assistance to immigrants seeking asylum in the United States because they are suffering political, religious, and other human rights persecution in their home countries. Students participating in the clinic interview clients, find and retain experts, draft and file briefs, draft direct examinations, prepare witnesses and have a valuable opportunity to represent their client before the Immigration Court in Los Angeles.
Disability Rights Legal Center Clinic
The Disability Rights Legal Center Clinic focuses on disability civil rights litigation and special education issues for low-income and minority families. The clinic addresses some of the most extreme problems for people with disabilities in Inland Southern California, including the failure to provide free and appropriate education for students with disabilities; the treatment of youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice and foster care systems; lack of access to the justice system; and lack of access to healthcare.
In addition to the regular academic program, students are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities to expand their legal training and understanding.
University of La Verne Law Review is the student run and student-edited scholarly publication of La Verne Law. Membership on Law Review is the result of a selective process, based on both grades and successful completion of a writing competition. Each year, Law Review members host a major symposium in additional to publishing the annual legal journal, University of La Verne Law Review.
Students at La Verne participate in several national moot court competitions each year, giving them valuable opportunities to conduct legal research, draft briefs, and present their positions before a panel of experts. Moot Court participants are selected by a faculty panel from applicants who have successfully completed an intensive course of study in advanced Appellate Advocacy. La Verne Law students participate in a myriad of competitions, including the National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, the National Entertainment Law Moot Court Competition, the National Juvenile Law Moot Court Competition, the National Professional Responsibility Moot Court Competition, and the National First Amendment Moot Court Competition. Our law school also supports involvement in competitions sponsored by minority bar associations, such as the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the National Black Law Students Association; and the Hispanic National Bar Association.
La Verne Law chooses members of its trial teams through a competitive intra-mural school wide competition judged by faculty members and local trial lawyers. Each year, La Verne Law enters teams in competitions such as the National Trial Team Competition, the San Diego Defense Lawyers Mock Trial Competition and the American Bar Association’s Section of Labor & Employment Law’s annual Law Student Trial Advocacy Competition.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Students who take part in the ADR Competition Team participate several times each year in local competitions and in regional competitions sponsored by the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution.
During the summer, our students can study abroad with other ABA law school study abroad programs approved by the College of Law, giving them a wider variety of study abroad program options. Credits earned over the summer transfer toward the J.D. degree. La Verne Law students expand their knowledge while attending classes in countries such Spain, England, Italy, China, Ireland, Russia, and many other locations around the globe.
Dual Degree Programs
La Verne’s College of Law and the College of Business & Public Management offer dual degree programs — the Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D. /MBA) and the Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration (J.D. /MPA). Law elective units may be earned in courses at the College of Business and Public Management after the student has matriculated at La Verne Law. An equivalent of six units can be transferred from La Verne Law toward the MBA or MPA degree, resulting in a total savings of 12 units for both programs.
Applicants must meet admission requirements for each program and should check with each College for specific entrance requirements. In most cases, students should have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.