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USC Gould School of Law

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USC Gould School of Law
Motto Palmam qui meruit ferat
Parent school University of Southern California
Established 1896
School type Private non-profit
Endowment $100 million
Dean Robert K. Rasmussen
Location Los Angeles, CA, US
Enrollment 651
Faculty 91 (See List)
USNWR ranking 18
Bar pass rate 91%
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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USC Gould School of Law is located in Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California Law School (Gould School of Law), 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 1904.[1]


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.[2] Their efforts resulted in the incorporation of the Los Angeles Law School in 1898.[3] The first law degree was awarded in 1901 to Gavin W. Craig.[2] Over the next several decades, USC Law rose to become one of the most prominent national law schools, priding itself on an interdisciplinary form of study. 2002 saw the beginning of the USC Law Graduate and International Programs. It is an American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school since 1924.[4] It joined the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1907.[5]

USC Law School


USC Law 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 growing LL.M. program of about 90 students. It offers two certificate programs: business and entertainment law.[6]

USC Law will also offer a LL.M. in Taxation in Fall 2011.[7]


Template:See also USC Law has consistently been ranked between 15th and 18th 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,[8][9] ranking 18th in 2011.[10] "The Law School 100", a ranking scheme that uses qualitative criteria instead of quantitative, ranks the law school 14th overall, tied with Duke, UCLA, and Vanderbilt University.[11] In addition, USC Law was ranked 14th in the 2008 National Law Journal job placement study, with over 43% of its graduating class hired by the NLJ 250 largest law firms in the United States.[12] It was listed with an "A-" in the March 2011 "Diversity Honor Roll" by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students.[13]

Academic journals and honors programs

USC Law hosts three academic journals and offers one additional honors program: Southern California Law Review, Interdisciplinary Law Journal, Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice (formerly the Review of Law and Women's Studies), and the Hale Moot Court Honors Program.[14]

Selected law students can participate in one honors program in an academic year.[15]

USC Law has a chapter of the Order of the Coif, a national law school honorary society founded for the purposes of encouraging legal scholarship and advancing the ethical standards of the legal profession.[16]

Clinical programs

USC maintains six client clinics to provide students real experience with lawyering skills.[17]

  • Employer Legal Advice Clinic – counseling Los Angeles-area non-profits with employment law issues; assisted small businesses to regenerate after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
  • Immigration Clinic – providing 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 – providing 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 – providing corporate legal assistance to entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, and small businesses

Study abroad program

USC Law offers two 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 or pursue a J.D./LL.M dual degree with the London School of Economics.[18]

Dual Degree Programs

USC Law maintains dual degree programs with the Marshall School of Business, the Department of Economics, the School of Public Administration, the School of Urban and Regional Planning, the School of Social Work, the Davis School of Gerontology, the School of Religion, the Annenberg School of Communications, and the School of International Relations.

Dual degree programs are accelerated - If a 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 of post-baccalaureate courses, a total of four years is required.

Qualified students can earn the following degrees in conjunction with their J.D.:

USC Law also maintains two other dual degree programs. A program administered in conjunction with the California Institute of Technology enables a student to receive a J.D. from USC and a Ph.D. in social science from Cal Tech. A dual degree program initiated with the USC School of Pharmacy enables a qualified student to earn a J.D. and a Pharm.D. degree. Students admitted to the J.D./Pharm.D. program must begin their studies in the School of Pharmacy.At the request of individual students, other dual degree programs may be initiated with the concurrence of USC Law and the other departments involved.[19]

Noted people


  1. 1904–1927, Frank M. Porter
  2. 1927–1930, Justin Miller
  3. 1930–1948, William G. Hale
  4. 1948–1952, Shelden Elliott
  5. 1952–1963, Robert Kingsley
  6. 1963–1968, Orrin B. Evans
  7. 1968–1980, Dorothy W. Nelson
  8. 1980–2000, Scott H. Bice
  9. 2000–2006, Matthew L. Spitzer
  10. 2006–2007, Edward J. McCaffery (interim)
  11. 2007–present, Robert K. Rasmussen


Former faculty



U.S. federal Court of Appeals judges
U.S. federal District Court for the Central District of California judges
Other U.S. federal court judges
California Supreme Court justices

From 1989–1990, with Eagleson, Kaufman, Kennard, and Lucas were concurrently serving on the California Supreme Court, USC Gould School of Law became the first (and so far only) law school whose alumni constituted a majority of that Court's justices.[30] All four were appointed by Republican Governor George Deukmejian.




Sports and media

Notes and references

  2. 2.0 2.1
  4. ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year, ABA website
  5. AALS Member Schools
  6. [1]
  7. [2]
  10. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named USNWR
  11. The Law School 100 - The Best Law Schools in the United States Based on Qualitative, Rather Than Quantitative, Criteria
  13.  (March 2011), Most Diverse Law Schools (Diversity Honor Roll), Cypress Magazines pp. 30–37.
  14. USC Student Journals and Honors Programs
  15. USC Student Honors
  16. Order of the Coif member schools
  19. USC Law - Dual Degree Programs
  30. Alumni on the Bench,
  31. Myrna Oliver, "William Hogoboom, 84", Los Angeles Times, August 26, 2003
  32. "Retired Judge William P. Hogoboom Dies", Metropolitan News-Enterprise, August 26, 2003
  33. Thurber, Jon. "J. Curtis Counts; Labor Negotiator Headed Federal Mediation Service", Los Angeles Times, July 4 (1999. Accessed July 2, 2009.
  34. California State Bar Membership Records) – Amy Trask

External links