To download the November 2016 cover story, please click here.
Orange County boasts four ABA-accredited law schools. Two were started in the 1960s, one in the 1990s, and the fourth emerged in the 2000s. Two of the schools have new deans who just took the helm this fall. All four schools contribute to the OCBA and the greater legal community. Whether it’s by conducting legal clinics to help disadvantaged folks access justice or attracting diverse new members to our legal community, the four law schools continue to shape the way law is practiced in Orange County. So that readers can better understand the distinctions between the four schools and who to reach for a particular purpose or question, we asked the four deans of Orange County’s four ABA-accredited law schools to tell Orange County Lawyer what makes each school special, and to identify leaders in each school’s administration. In alphabetical order, please enjoy reading about the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law; University of California, Irvine School of Law; Western State College of Law at Argosy University; and Whittier Law School.
CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY DALE E. FOWLER SCHOOL OF LAW
As Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law enters its 22nd year, there are many accomplishments of which to be proud. One area that stands out to me is the significant community impact the school has made through the commitment and hard work of our faculty, students, alumni, and staff.
Chapman’s talented and engaged faculty works tirelessly to ensure that our students receive a comprehensive, practice-ready education. Our professors include four former United States Supreme Court clerks, a Nobel laureate, and a host of dedicated scholars, clinical specialists, and passionate classroom instructors. Tapping into the expertise of some of Orange County’s most respected and successful legal practitioners, our adjunct faculty includes sitting judges, senior members of top law firms, and general counsel from major corporations—all of whom share with our students techniques gleaned through years of experience in courtrooms and boardrooms.
Our bright and energetic students make a real difference in the community through our clinics. Our pro bono clinics work with marginalized populations who cannot afford legal representation—at-risk youths, the elderly, low-income taxpayers, and victims of domestic violence and human trafficking—to help fill a gap in legal services that the Access to Justice movement has highlighted. Whether it is through the Bette & Wylie Aitken Family Protection Clinic, the Alona Cortese Elder Law Clinic, the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, or one of our three mediation clinics, our students are serving those less fortunate in our community. Students also engage with the community through our other clinical programs. Our innovative Entertainment Contracts Clinic is one of only a few in the country to provide legal services to independent filmmakers. And our Constitutional Jurisprudence Clinic gives students the opportunity to research and draft briefs filed in both trial and appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
Our alumni take this spirit of service with them upon graduation. Our alumni are partners and associates in top law firms, district attorneys and public defenders in multiple counties, elected officials, sitting judges (from our LL.M. program), corporate counsel, leaders of local bar associations, founders of public interest law firms, and much more. Through service to their clients, pro bono work, and volunteer activities, our alumni make positive impacts on the communities in which they live and work.
Last but not least, the staff members at the Fowler School of Law engage the community in a variety of important ways. One example of this is our annual Diversity Day, a pipeline event organized by our Admission team for more than 250 middle and high-school students from underrepresented populations. These types of outreach efforts have earned the Fowler School of Law six Diversity Matters Awards from the Law School Admission Council.
For these reasons and many more, I am extremely proud to be a part of the collaborative and dynamic Fowler School of Law at Chapman University.
Who’s Who at Chapman University Fowler School of Law
Dean of Fowler School of Law; Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Law
Matthew J. Parlow
Assistant Dean of Admission and Diversity Initiatives
Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
Donald J. Kochan
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Donley and Marjorie Bollinger Chair in Real Estate Law
Hugh & Hazel Darling Foundation Library Director; Professor
Director of Externship Program; Professor of the Practice of Law
Carolyn Young Larmore
Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Administration
Jayne T. Kacer
Director of Career Services
Deirdre M. Kelly
Director of Law Graduate Programs; Professor
Dr. Ronald L. Steiner
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE SCHOOL OF LAW: Making a Dream Come True
For almost a quarter of a century, leaders in law and business in Orange County fought to create a law school at University of California, Irvine and now it is a reality, in its eighth year of classes. By every measure, it has succeeded beyond anyone’s dreams and expectations. A study by professors at St. Thomas Law School ranked our faculty sixth in the country in scholarly impact, behind Yale, Harvard, University of Chicago, Stanford, and New York University. UC Irvine Law School is fifth in the country in placing its students in prestigious judicial clerkships. National Jurist ranked it fourth in practical training for students. US News ranks us 28th in the country among all law schools.
We have had the tremendous benefit of the blank slate in building our law school from scratch. From the outset, we have emphasized experiential learning. Every student is required to participate in an inhouse clinic and, under supervision from a faculty member, provide representation to those who need legal help. This year, we created a criminal justice clinic, to go along with other clinics that fulfill the graduation requirement, including an appellate litigation clinic (where students argue in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit), a community and economic development clinic, a domestic violence clinic, an environmental law clinic, an immigrants rights clinic, an intellectual property clinic, and an international justice clinic.
We strongly emphasize public service. I am very proud that of the students who graduated in May 2016, 92% did pro bono work while in law school. Through our clinics and our pro bono work we are providing legal services in Orange County to those who otherwise would not have representation.
We continue to grow. We began with sixty students in 2009 and have grown steadily, with 143 students—our largest class ever—in the first year class that began in August 2016. We will gradually grow over the next few years to 180 first-year students, and that will be our maximum size. We began with ten full-time faculty, and this year have forty-seven, with the plan to hire five additional faculty this year and four next.
By every measure, the school is thriving. Of those who graduated in May 2015, within ten months of graduation, 88% were employed in full-time jobs that required a J.D. or were pursuing an advanced degree. We were ranked second in the country in placing our students in public service and government jobs. We have been among the best law schools in California in terms of bar pass rates.
Our success is a result of our being part of an excellent research university that has supported us. The Law School is highly interdisciplinary, with many students pursuing dual degrees, many faculty from across campus with appointments in the Law School, and many university-wide centers and institutes.
Our success also has been because of the generous support of the Orange County legal community. I am deeply grateful for all who have done so much to help launch and help UC Irvine School of Law.
Who’s Who at University of California, Irvine School of Law
Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law; Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law
Clinical Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Service Learning
Professor of Lawyering Skills; Associate Dean for Lawyering Skills
Professor of Law Associate; Dean for Faculty Research and Development
Professor of Law; Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
L. Song Richardson
Professor of the Practice of Law; Associate Dean for LL.M. and International Student Programs
Research Professor of Law; Associate Dean for the Law Library
Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Financial Services
Assistant Dean for Student Services
Assistant Dean for Career Development
Director of Externships; Adjunct Professor of Law
WESTERN STATE COLLEGE OF LAW: A Proud History and Bright Future
Fall 2016 is an exciting time for Western State College of Law. Fifty years ago this fall, Western State’s first entering class commenced their law studies. We have a proud history of producing leaders in the Orange County legal community. Indeed, 17% of active judicial officers sitting on the Orange County bench are Western State alumni.
This fall also marks the beginning of our first full year in our new home in Irvine. We were excited to finally accomplish our move last spring. Our new classrooms and study spaces have done much to enhance learning opportunities for our students.
We are also pleased that during a time when law school enrollments remain at historic lows, our entering class this fall exceeded the size of the prior year’s class for the second year in a row.
To continue to meet the challenges legal education faces today, we must find new and better ways to develop the practical expertise of our graduates, preparing our graduates not just to think like lawyers, but actually to be lawyers. In our efforts to meet this challenge, we are in the second year of an experiment with one section of our entering class, which involves pairing Torts and Civil Procedure in a way that gives students a deeper understanding of the interface between substantive and procedural law, while also introducing students to a range of lawyering skills that gives their doctrinal studies a deeper context.
I am sure many of us are too far removed from our first-year law school experiences to remember much about them. But one of the challenges of teaching substantive first-year subjects like Torts is that students find themselves reading appellate court decisions in which procedural terms like “demurrer” or “summary judgment” are tossed around as if the reader understands what they mean. Indeed, as we all understand now, the procedural posture of a case on appeal makes a difference. But understanding the procedural posture of a case when the procedural terms are unfamiliar is its own challenge. Similarly, as someone who regularly teaches Civil Procedure to first-year students, every week I experience students reading “Civil Procedure” cases set in an area of substantive law, often Torts, which they are only just beginning to learn.
Pairing the Torts and Civil Procedure classes enables the teachers to coordinate the delivery of instruction in a way that allows students to learn about the procedural context of substantive rulings as they are reading Torts cases, and study the substantive context of procedural rules as they are reading Civil Procedure cases.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about this experiment, though, is that through the lens of Torts and Civil Procedure brought together, students have an opportunity to see the law in action. Which means that as they study doctrine, they engage in exercises like drafting pleadings or participating in motion practice, so they can understand how the law of Torts and Civil Procedure plays out in the real world resolution of legal disputes. The theory behind this experiment is that through their study of doctrine in the context of an introduction to lawyering skills, students will come away with a deeper understanding of the true work of the lawyer.
Who’s Who at Who’s Who at Western State College of Law
Dean and Vice Chancellor
Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Assistant Dean of Career Services
Senior Assistant Dean of Institutional Advancement
Senior Assistant Dean of Student Affairs
Assistant Director of Admissions
WHITTIER LAW SCHOOL CELEBRATES ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY
This year marks Whittier Law School’s golden anniversary, having been founded in 1966 to provide opportunities for women and non-traditional students to enter the legal profession. Our mission remains largely unchanged today, evidenced by the exceptional students who make up our incoming Fall 2016 class. Nearly 60% of this year’s entering class is female and 64% hail from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds. Our school’s diverse student population is a source of both pride and strength, enhancing dialogue in the classroom and on campus while preparing a broad range of advocates to provide legal services throughout California, the nation, and the world.
Our school’s programming and curriculum are designed to foster each student’s passion in the law by offering a variety of specialty courses and experiential learning opportunities. Students can earn a certificate from one of our four centers—Center for Children and Families, Center for Intellectual Property Law, Center for International and Comparative Law, and Institute for Trial and Appellate Practice—or graduate with a concentration in Environmental Law, Criminal Law, or Business Law. The ability to “learn by doing” in each of these areas is supported by over a hundred externship, clinic, and simulation classroom opportunities that prepare Whittier students to transition into the practice of law with ease. International placements are also offered each summer in connection with our three Summer Abroad Programs located in Barcelona, China, and Israel.
My commitment to Whittier Law School began in 1990 when I joined the faculty and continues to this day in my new role as the dean. I am so proud of our outstanding professors whose dedication to teaching, scholarship and community service is exemplary. Watching each of them nimbly navigate their roles as instructors, mentors, and academics is thrilling and inspiring, particularly when our students and alumni laud the significant influence one or more faculty member had in their lives. The breadth of roles our graduates play in today’s society spans the legal spectrum and beyond; the Whittier law degree has propelled graduates into careers as judges, law firm partners, prosecutors, public defenders, corporate counsel, venture capitalists, talent agents, political candidates for national office, and more.
We recognize that today’s law school must respond to the changing demands of law practice and legal education, and Whittier has a solid record of innovating to meet this ever-changing landscape. This past year we revised parts of our curriculum to enhance student outcomes in the classroom and on the bar exam. Our new Mastery Curriculum and Integrated Curriculum Program are designed to support our students as they become versed in the analytic skills essential for success in the legal profession.
Whittier Law School’s half-century milestone gives me, our faculty, staff, students, alums, and supporters an opportunity to reflect on the contributions we have made to the legal profession through a cadre of diverse, committed, and talented professionals. Their legacy of achievement beckons future graduates to likewise deploy their considerable skills to make the world a better place.
Who’s Who at Whittier Law School
Interim Dean and Professor of Law; Clinical Professor of Medicine, UCI School of Medicine
Associate Professor of Law; Associate Dean for Student and Alumni Engagement
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management and Administration
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Professor of Law
Assistant Dean of Career & Professional Development
Director of Student & Alumni Relations
Associate Dean for Faculty Development
Associate Dean for Lawyering Skills and Institutional Assessment
Assistant Dean of Bar Preparation and Academic Support
Director of Library & Technology