|University of Southern California Gould School of Law|
|Motto||Palmam qui meruit ferat (Latin)|
|Parent school||University of Southern California|
|Dean||Andrew T. Guzman|
|Location||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|USNWR ranking||18th (2021)|
|Bar pass rate||86% (July 2019 1st time takers)|
The University of Southern California Gould School of Law (USC Gould), located in Los Angeles, California, is a law school within the University of Southern California. The oldest law school in the Southwestern United States, USC Law had its beginnings in 1896, and was officially established as a school of the university in 1900. It was named in honor of Judge James Gould in the mid 1960s.
USC Law School had its beginnings in 1896 when Judge David C. Morrison opened his courtroom for 36 law apprentices, among whom were future California Supreme Court Justice Frederick W. Houser and his wife, Sara Isabella Wilde; the couple would soon form the Los Angeles Law Students Association to discuss the concept of a formal law school.
By the mid-1940s, young people in Southern California who wished to obtain a high-quality legal education faced a difficult choice: they had to find some way to pay the USC School of Law's expensive tuition, settle for a lesser program, or move north to attend the state's existing public law schools at Berkeley Law or Hastings. The California State Legislature responded to this problem in 1947 by creating the first public law school in the Southland (and USC's crosstown rival): the UCLA School of Law. UCLA Law graduate Dorothy Wright Nelson served as dean of USC Law from 1969 to 1980, before becoming a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
2002 saw the beginning of the USC Law Graduate and International Programs.
USC Gould awards the J.D., LL.M., and M.C.L. law degrees. It currently has about 600 J.D. students (200 per year) and a graduate program of about 200 LL.M. and M.C.L. students. It offers three certificate programs: business law, entertainment law and alternative dispute resolution.
USC Gould has consistently been ranked between 17th and 20th by the U.S. News & World Report list of "America's Best Graduate Schools" since the magazine has published an annual version of its rankings, ranking 17th in 2020. "The Law School 100", a ranking scheme that uses qualitative criteria instead of quantitative, ranks the law school 14th overall. It was listed with an "A-" in the March 2011 "Diversity Honor Roll" by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students.
Academic journals and honors programs
USC Gould hosts three academic journals and offers one additional honors program: Southern California Law Review, Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice (formerly the Review of Law and Women's Studies), Interdisciplinary Law Journal, and the Hale Moot Court Honors Program. Selected law students can participate in one honors program in an academic year.
USC Gould maintains six client clinics to provide students experience with lawyering skills.
- International Human Rights Clinic – research and drafting in cases trying perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and terrorism; representing survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence
- Immigration Clinic – pro bono representation to clients in a variety of immigration cases from over 25 different countries
- Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic – assisting artists, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and policymakers with intellectual property issues
- Mediation Clinic – mediation for small claims and civil harassment cases for the Los Angeles County Superior Court
- Post-Conviction Justice Project – representing clients on civil issues related to incarceration, parole hearings, and constitutional rights
- Small Business Clinic – corporate legal assistance to entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and small businesses
Study abroad program
USC Gould offers international study abroad programs, providing credit to J.D. students. Students may spend a semester abroad at the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law, Bocconi University, Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, Bond University and Fundação Getúlio Vargas. Previously, students could pursue a J.D./LL.M dual degree with the London School of Economics.
Dual Degree programs
USC Gould maintains dual degree programs with the Marshall School of Business, the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, the Price School of Public Policy, the School of Social Work, the Davis School of Gerontology, and the Annenberg School of Communication. Dual degree programs are accelerated. If the non-law master's degree normally requires one year of study, a student in a dual degree program earns both degrees in only three years. If the master's degree normally requires two years, a total of four years is necessary.
USC Gould also maintains two other dual degree programs. A program with the California Institute of Technology enables a student to receive a J.D. from USC and a Ph.D. in social science from Caltech. A dual degree program with the USC School of Pharmacy enables a qualified student to earn a J.D. and a Pharm.D. degree. .
According to the USC Gould School of Law's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 79.3% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. USC Gould's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 8.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at USC Gould for the 2014-2015 academic year is $81,679.
- 1896-1899, James Brown Scott
- 1904–1927, Frank M. Porter
- 1927–1930, Justin Miller
- 1930–1948, William G. Hale
- 1948–1952, Shelden Elliott
- 1952–1963, Robert Kingsley
- 1963–1968, Orrin B. Evans
- 1968–1980, Dorothy W. Nelson
- 1980–2000, Scott H. Bice
- 2000–2006, Matthew L. Spitzer
- 2006–2007, Edward J. McCaffery (interim)
- 2007–2015, Robert K. Rasmussen
- 2015–present, Andrew T. Guzman
- Jody Armour – specializes in race issues; author of Negrophobia and Reasonable Racism
- Susan Estrich – Professor of Law and Political Science. A Fox News commentator, author of The Case for Hillary Clinton, 2005, and Soulless: The Right Wing Church of Hate, 2006. First woman Editor in Chief of the Harvard Law Review; youngest woman to receive tenure from Harvard Law School (before leaving to teach at USC)).
- Orin Kerr nationally recognized scholar of criminal procedure and computer crime law
- Elyn Saks founder and director of Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics; author of The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
- Elizabeth Garrett – first woman president of Cornell University, USC Vice President of Academic Planning and Budget, Professor of Law, Political Science and Public Policy
- Erwin Chemerinsky – former Sydney M. Irmas Professor of Public Interest Law, Legal Ethics, and Political Science, 1983–2004; former professor at the Duke University School of Law; founding Dean at the University of California, Irvine School of Law; current Dean at University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
- Richard Epstein – known for his arguments against anti-discrimination laws; currently the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and director of the Classical Liberal Institute at New York University; previously the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School
- James Brown Scott – authority on international law, founding dean of USC Law School
- Charles Whitebread – expert on Criminal Procedure and lecturer for BarBri; author of The Eight Secrets of Top Exam Performance in Law School
- Debra Wong Yang – trial advocacy expert; the first Asian American woman served as a United States Attorney
- Carole E. Handler – Professor of antitrust and intellectual property law
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