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Best Law Schools in San Diego | See Details

Are you a future law student who wants to study in San Diego but finds it difficult to choose from the limited law schools situated in the state?

Then this article is meant for you because we will be discussing the law schools situated in the states in it to enable you to know where you fit in.


To obtain a Juris Doctorate degree or the highest level of education in the legal field in the United States, prospective lawyers must attend law school.

The intensive program gives law students the tools they need to pass the bar exam and become practicing attorneys.

The 1.33 million lawyers across the country today all took courses to learn from experts in the field.

Although law students spend plenty of time in the library studying subjects from civil law to business law, they have many activities outside of schoolwork.

The top law schools require practical hands-on legal experience through internships, legal clinics, and extracurricular activities.

These courses, along with real-world legal experience, help students decide which area of law is right for them. See the Best Law School in Utah.

San Diego is a culturally vibrant and economically thriving city that is known for innovation in wireless telecommunications, biotechnology, and manufacturing.

This makes the area a popular location to practice Intellectual Property law and litigation.

San Diego is also at the heart of the state’s legal, business, and political community, providing law students with many opportunities for internships and service opportunities.

Law students from the many prestigious schools in the area have many opportunities to meet policy leaders and build professional networks for their future careers.

Through their university experiential learning programs, law students can work on Capitol Hill alongside the federal government, law firms, non-profits, and judiciary bodies.

There are four law schools in San Diego. This limited number of law schools in the state makes it challenging for future law students to select the one that will be best for them.

Here are the best law schools in San Diego with various things that make them unique.

1. University of San Diego School of Law

The University of San Diego School is the youngest independent institution ranking in the top 100 schools nationwide, according to the US News & World Report.

Despite the school’s relatively young age, the School of Law boasts more than 14,000 alumni across every state and 55 foreign countries. See Best Law Schools in San Diego.

88.7% of University of San Diego Law graduates are employed nine months after graduation, at judicial clerkships in federal and international courts, or the US Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

Other law students go on to work in public service in the offices of District Attorneys, Public Defenders, or City Attorneys.

Still, more graduates leverage their degrees to work in large multinational law firms such as Cooley, Jones Day, and Wilson Sonsini.

University of San Diego Law students have the opportunity from professors at the top of their fields.

Seven faculty members are a part of the American Law Institute, a leading organization that produces scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law.

This group is highly selective and consists of judges, lawyers, and professors. Members are admitted on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law.

Other faculty members in the department include leading practitioners and judges who bring their practical skills into the classroom.

Along with the Alumni Moot Court Tournament and Paul A. McLennon Sr. Honors Moot Court Competition, University of San Diego hosts the National Criminal Competition each fall.

This tournament brings in students from law schools across the country. The rigorous competition is judged by leading criminal law experts and judicial officers.

The centers and institutes of the University of San Diego are an essential part of the school’s reputation and ability to retain highly regarded faculty.

These include 10 centers that focus on topics such as public interest, business policy, bioethics, and energy policy.

2. California Western School of Law

California Western School of Law was originally established in 1924 as Balboa Law College, becoming San Diego’s oldest law school.

The trimester system leads to reduced class sizes and allows students to graduate in two years as opposed to the standard three years.

The world-class faculty at Cal Western is known for their experience in a variety of legal fields. Professors have recently been published in more than ten top-50 law reviews.

The publications include the California Law Review, Northwestern Law Review, Washington Law Review, and many other leading specialty journals.

Cal Western has a wide variety of programs, courses, and externships to help students succeed as attorneys.

Graduates taking the bar exam are prepared for success and surpass the average performance for the other 21 ABA-approved schools in California. In 2020, 55% of first-time takers compared to the statewide average of 43%.

One such program is Established Skills Training for Ethical and Preventative Practice and Career Satisfaction (STEPPS).

Started in 2004, STEPPS is one of the first skills training and professionalism courses in the nation.

Cal Western law students are able to develop their professional identity and internalize core values such as collaboration, professionalism, and integrity.

Students undergo simulated lawyering experiences while supervised by practicing attorneys. These mock trials help develop critical legal writing, research, counseling, negotiation, and drafting skills.

Law students can also apply their classroom knowledge through the Clinical Externship Program, where third-year students participate in legal work.

Cal Western is among the top 3 law schools in the United States for required experiential learning credits.

The school promotes practical experiences to develop essential skills like confidence and problem-solving that are essential for practicing attorneys.

Additionally, alumni are placed into law firms, the US Court of Appeals, and US Attorney offices.

3. Western Sierra Law School

Established in 1979, Western Sierra Law School is an affordable and accessible option for students looking to study law.

In comparison to the current high cost of $40,000 to obtain a legal education, tuition at Western Sierra costs approximately $10,500 per year.

Graduates go on to serve their community in a wide variety of fields, including legal practice, government, public service, insurance, academia, and private sector businesses.

The private, independent, non-sectarian school is known for its part-time JD program that accommodates working professionals.

Instead of the usual full-time courseload, students at Western Sierra can take evening classes twice per week while working a full- or part-time job to support themselves.

The courses have small class sizes and a comprehensive course of study that enables graduates to succeed in their legal careers.

Western Sierra is conveniently located in central San Diego, with plenty of opportunities to learn and apply legal knowledge.

The school is within walking distance from many notable sites such as the Edward J. Schwartz US Courthouse, City Hall, San Diego County Law Library, and San Diego Superior courts.

4. Thomas Jefferson School of Law

 Thomas Jefferson specializes in legal writing, criminal law, intellectual property, entertainment law, and international law.

They have a variety of hands-on learning experiences, including student-run clinics and externships.

The school is also home to the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition which hosts 36 teams from the United States and Canada.

Thomas Jefferson also hosts the Center for Solo Practitioners, an incubator intended to serve under-represented communities. See Best Law Schools in the World.

It has the space and support for any alumni going into solo practice and was honored with an ABA Award in 2013 for the help they provide to small practices.

As industry professionals, the faculty have a broad range of experience to draw from; some have litigated before the World Court and US Supreme Court, while others have authored treatises or produced research published by leading journals and cited in courts across the nation.


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Last Updated on May 7, 2023 by Admin

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