For more than 50 years, the University of La Verne College of Law has served Inland Southern California by preparing highly diverse graduates to promote access to legal services and to advocate for justice in the community. And this past year was arguably the most momentous in the College of Law’s history.
During the 2020-21 academic year, the college successfully completed its transition to accreditation under the State Bar of California. It achieved this goal despite the unanticipated challenges of a pandemic while reestablishing solid roots and blossoming throughout the process.
The college welcomed one of its largest-ever entering classes, and the pass rate of graduates taking the California Bar exam for the first time in October rose to 73%, outperforming the results of four ABA-accredited schools in the state.
In March, students in two separate moot court competitions won Best Brief, topping teams from law schools at New York University; George Washington University; the University of California, Hastings; and other notable institutions.
Alumni continued to serve their communities in a variety of capacities, including several who were named to Superior Court judgeships by Governor Gavin Newsom.
The College of Law also received a strong vote of confidence last fall through a gift establishing the Frank Lizarraga Endowed Dean of the College of Law. This is the first endowed deanship in a law school accredited exclusively by the State Bar of California. Frank Lizarraga is a prominent attorney and trustee of the university, and he anticipates this gift will inspire others to support the college’s mission.
Our College of Law is one of the most diverse in the nation, and that is a distinct advantage for our students. Empathy and understanding are the keys to being a great lawyer, and a diverse learning landscape provides the opportunity to develop these skills.
Most of all, our College of Law prepares future attorneys from all backgrounds to find their voice, so that they, in turn, as licensed professionals, may be a voice for others, and for those who have been marginalized, oppressed, or silenced. As Dean Kevin Marshall regularly reminds me, “What our graduates do as licensed attorneys is profound, as they are the guardians of our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
What the College of Law does each year is vitally important. What it has done throughout this pandemic year is exceptional.
President, University of La Verne