The J.D. Program
The rigorous academic program at the College of Law is designed to provide grounding in legal theory, lawyering skills, and ethics – areas critical to the modern practice of law. Successful completion of the J.D. degree at the University of La Verne College of Law requires completion of a total of 88 units.
In order to provide a complete and comprehensive legal education, the College of Law has structured the curriculum so that the general legal education is related to the actual practice of law. Students learn to conduct legal research and draft practice-oriented documents, skills which they continue to develop in multiple courses across the curriculum. In addition, a number of required courses and many regularly-offered electives stress the practical application of legal rules. Furthermore, the clinical and externship programs provide numerous opportunities for students to counsel clients and effectively represent varied legal positions. As a result, J.D. recipients from the College of Law enter the legal profession not only with a solid comprehension of the law but also with a strong understanding of professional expectations and rules of conduct in the practice of law.
The College of Law offers both full-time and part-time J.D. programs. Learn more to decide which program best fits your needs:
Professional Skills Program
The College of Law believes strongly that students should be well-grounded in professional skills in order for them to transition as easily as possible into the practice of law. Therefore, several components of the curriculum provide skills-based instruction.
The Legal Analysis and Writing program provides students with their first exposure to skills-based instruction by extensively training them in the areas of legal research and practice-oriented writing. They are required to take three courses in this program: Introduction to Jurisprudence/Legal Research, Legal Analysis and Writing I, and Legal Analysis and Writing II. These courses give students an overview of criminal and civil cases, provide information about the role of the lawyer in the legal system, and teach them to conduct legal research, brief cases, synthesize cases, and engage in statutory interpretation, among other things. Finally, these courses teach students how to draft both objective and persuasive memoranda of law.
Many students at the College of Law continue to develop their professional skills training in the clinical externship program. Upper-division students receive externship opportunities in public agencies or non-profit law firms. Students not only have a chance to study the legal process in these community-based placements, they also have the chance to apply the knowledge and skills they acquired in law school in practical settings. Clinical externships allow students to perform practice-related activities such as interviewing clients or witnesses, conducting factual investigations, engaging in discovery-related tasks, counseling and negotiating, making court appearances, and performing legal research and writing.
Some students further sharpen their skills by participating in the Justice and Immigration Clinic (JIC) or the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) Clinic. The JIC works with immigrants seeking asylum in the United States who are fleeing various forms of human rights persecution, while the DRLC focuses on disability civil rights litigation and special education issues for low-income families.
Last, the Lawyering Skills Practicum (LSP) course is a final-year requirement that evaluates students’ ability to integrate their substantive legal knowledge with their ethical training, their facility with research, writing, and oral presentation, and their ability to master the new skills taught in the class — those specifically related to California civil practice. The course is organized around a simulated case which commences when a student client, who has previously been given a script, describes the client’s legal problem. The student client interviews a student law firm which then determines the nature of the problem and arranges for representation and a fee. The firm is then responsible for the routine presentation of the lawsuit. This routine may vary depending on the facts. It typically begins with researching the problem, filing/answering a complaint, conducting discovery, filing discovery disputes if necessary, drafting the motion for summary judgment, presenting the oral argument, and finally, participating in settlement negotiations. LSP utilizes the law school’s moot courtroom, which is ideal for realistic trial advocacy exercises. The practicum teaches and strengthens professional skills so legal theories learned in class become real tools used to solve problems.
Dual Degree Programs
The University of La Verne College of Law and the College of Business and Public Management offer combined Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) and Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration (J.D./M.P.A.) degree programs. Applicants must meet the admission standards of both degree programs and should check with each College for specific entrance requirements. In most cases, students should have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. Law elective units may be earned in courses at the College of Business and Public Management after the student has matriculated in the College of Law. Similarly, an equivalent of six units can be transferred from the College of Law toward the M.B.A. or M.P.A. degree resulting in a total saving of 12 units for both programs.