Law School Academics and Curriculum

For the past 50 years, the University of La Verne College of Law and Public Service has strived to educate and train the next generation of attorneys not only to practice law but make a difference in their communities. We see ourselves as an innovator in legal education, graduating individuals passionate about social justice and basing our approach on the university’s collective core values of lifelong learning, ethical reasoning, diversity, inclusivity, and community and civic engagement.

Through this lens, La Verne College of Law and Public Service’s curriculum guides all Juris Doctor (JD) candidates in the discovery of the law and incorporates key experiential learning opportunities to help all students gain practice skills and launch their careers.

Our Approach

La Verne Law grounds our legal education in the following core concepts:

  1. basic skills for success;
  2. high Bar performance;
  3. ready to practice curriculum; and
  4. being a beacon of hope and inspiration.

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 Student Success Center, students are introduced to bar success concepts, skills, and approaches. Values and competencies are integrated into first-year doctrinal courses, enabling students to learn how to be successful in law school. By integrating lawyering practices into second-year doctrinal courses, students gain the skills and experiences that help them become successful lawyers.

Full-Time and Part-Time JD Options

The full-time day division requires three academic years and usually includes five days of classroom attendance per week. Students take on 14-15 units per semester in fall and spring for the first year and 12-16 units for every year thereafter. Full-time students cannot be employed for more than twenty hours per week outside of law school. The faculty recommends first-year full-time students not work at all outside of law school.

The part-time program requires four years of study. Students in either program must complete 88 semester units.

No matter the format selected, students enrolled in the JD program progress through the following structure:

  • First Year: The first-year curriculum focuses on developing a strong foundation in the academic skills needed to succeed in law school. JD candidates become familiar with broad topics in contract law, civil procedure, and real property while strengthening their critical reading, research, briefing, and legal writing skills.
  • Second Year: JD candidates begin to hone their theoretical and practical skills and can start exploring specialized areas of the law through electives.
  • Third Year: Emphasis on experiential learning allows JD candidates to apply their knowledge in real-world settings and prepare for a career. At the same time, coursework incorporates preparation for the bar exam.

Review the full JD curriculum in detail and all course descriptions.

Experiential Learning

La Verne Law pioneered skills training within our curriculum, and this component remains integral to our JD program today:

  • Externships: Students see where and how their knowledge is applied in a professional setting, including in a government agency, public interest organization, nonprofit, or judge’s office. Under the guidance of faculty and practicing lawyers, JD candidates get practice conducting legal research and investigations, interviewing and counseling clients, drafting pleadings, mediating disputes, preparing documentation, and negotiating resolutions.
  • Clinical Program: JD candidates handle cases through the assistance of faculty at three on-campus clinics, providing pro bono legal services to those in need while promoting the values of justice, integrity, and civility.

Learn more about our clinical law programs.

For additional opportunities, La Verne Law’s co-curricular programs help JD candidates continue to strengthen and practice their skills while building confidence and establishing professional connections.

A Foundation for Success

The Student Success Center provides the framework for all students’ time at La Verne Law. From orientation onward, SSC offers guidance for establishing strong study habits and the skills to be successful in law school, allowing students to maximize their experience and improve their outcome. During the JD program’s third year and following graduation, SSC assists students with bar exam preparation.

Learn More About La Verne Law’s Curriculum and Approach to Academics

If you envision yourself practicing law to serve others and uplift your community, La Verne Law’s JD program prepares you for this career path. For questions about the curriculum, goals, or admissions, contact the La Verne College of Law and Public Service’s Office of Admission by email or by phone at (877) 858-4529, or request additional information today.