University of San Diego School of Law with The Immaculata Church in blue

University of San Diego School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs

The JD Program

School of Law Mission Statement

We are proud to be an integral part of the University of San Diego -- an engaged contemporary Catholic university community that is “committed to advancing academic excellence, expanding liberal and professional knowledge, creating a diverse and inclusive community and preparing leaders who are dedicated to ethical conduct and compassionate service.”1 The central mission of the USD’s School of Law (“Law School”) is to cultivate and sustain a stimulating, entrepreneurial, and compassionate intellectual environment that nurtures and supports both our students’ education and training and our faculty’s scholarship. In the service of this central mission, we have educational and scholarly missions that sustain and reinforce each other. Our educational mission is to prepare our students to become outstanding attorneys and leaders who excel in the practice of law. Our scholarly mission is to make an enduring mark on our fields of study and to illuminate and enliven how we educate our students.2

We strive through our teaching, scholarship, and service activities to instill in our students the capacity for critical judgment and practical skills that they will need to thrive in their professional lives. We are committed to providing our students with a deep understanding of the legal and social theory and research skills that will inform their choices and arguments. We are dedicated to endowing our students with a full appreciation of the ethical duties and responsibilities that come with being a member of the legal profession, which will allow them to become leaders in their public lives.

Learn more about the JD program at University of San Diego School of Law


The University of San Diego School of Law has a long and rich tradition of offering outstanding training to law students while providing service to low-income residents in the San Diego communities. Beginning in 1971 as a volunteer project, our law students provide free legal services to San Diego residents in need.

USD's Clinical Education Program is recognized as one of the most extensive and successful in the nation. Clinical program options include simulation classes, placements in the judiciary and agencies, extracurricular programs (such as the Trial Team) and 14 legal clinics (most provide direct client representation).

Our Clinical Education Program has become a national leader in bridging the gap between courses in legal theory and the practical skills and experience individuals need to become effective lawyers. These programs—particularly those directly serving clients—are a public service that instills in student participants a deep sense of social responsibility and a commitment to pro bono service. Clinical programs offer students the opportunity to train under experienced professors and attorneys, learn professional responsibility in the real world and acquire interpersonal skills.

Study Abroad Semester Programs

USD School of Law encourages students to take advantage of legal education opportunities abroad to increase their global fluency. International study prepares graduates to enter increasingly globalized legal markets, address international issues that impact the full spectrum of practice areas, and compete for clients, cases, and transactions on a global scale.

Through these partnerships, USD JD students and exchange students who study in San Diego have the opportunity to explore new cultures in an academic setting through a comparative perspective. Students are introduced to international legal principles and the law of the respective countries through specialized courses taught by leading legal experts. Through the programs, students have a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience living and learning in another culture alongside future world leaders in law, business and public service.

Study Abroad Summer Programs

USD's summer study abroad programs are open to USD law students and, circumstances permitting, students enrolled in ABA-accredited and foreign law schools who are in good academic standing and have completed at least one year of full-time or part-time study. These programs provide intensive training in international, comparative and foreign law, while introducing American students to the legal institutions of another country. At the same time, students from Commonwealth and civil law traditions experience American legal viewpoints and problem-solving methods. Programs bring together students and expert faculty for a rich experience of academic and cultural interchange.

Concurrent Degrees

The School of Law offers select dual degree programs in conjunction with the university's graduate schools. These dual degrees offer the concurrent pursuit of a JD degree along with a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR), Master of Arts in Peace and Justice (MAPJ), or Master of Science in Real Estate (MSRE). Since these programs allow the concurrent pursuit of two degrees, with some courses credited toward both a JD degree and a master's degree, students can generally save one semester of time and expense. With proper planning, each dual degree program takes approximately four years to complete.

Students interested in dual degree programs must apply to and be accepted by both schools. Students generally begin at the School of Law, and start their master's program in their second year. Regardless which program a student enrolls in first, graduate school credits may not be transferred to the law school until after completion of the entire first year of law study.

Student Life

Student Organizations

Student Life

USD School of Law offers many resources both on and off campus to ensure that your law school experience is the best it can be.

There is a strong emphasis at USD Law on building important relationships and community. While you are a student here, be sure to take advantage of the many opportunities that are offered. Become a member in one of our student organizations, journals, or advocacy teams. Read our weekly Sidebar email for information about events taking place at the School of Law and the larger university. Take a study break and walk around the beautiful campus. Stay active and join the Grad/Law intramural softball team. Whatever your interest or professional goal might be, USD has an outlet for it.

First-Year Opportunities

Being a first-year law student is a rigorous full-time job. You may want to dive right into hands-on practice, but most of your 1L time and attention will focus on doctrinal coursework and learning how to effectively study law. While you can begin hands-on externships and clinical experience as soon as the summer after your first year, right now you are probably wondering: "What can I do as a 1L?"

At USD Law we believe it is important for our 1Ls to remember what brought you to law school--we want you to Be You at USD. Student involvement, even as a 1L, can help cultivate your legal interests, build a supportive community around you, and allow you to discover more about the legal profession.

Diversity Initiatives

University of San Diego partners with local and national organizations to host both in-person and remote diversity pipeline-to-law events. Through this programming, law students volunteer as guest speakers, mock law class instructors, and panelists for high school, community college, and undergraduate institutions serving communities underrepresented in the legal profession. 

Career Placement and Bar Passage

USD Law Employment Data

USD Law graduates begin their legal careers in law firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, judicial chambers and business organizations in San Diego, other parts of California, and throughout the country. The Office of Career and Professional Development provides comprehensive reports of graduate employment outcomes to the American Bar Association, the National Association for Law Placement, and U.S. News & World Report. To ensure public transparency, we publish that employment data here. Please contact us at with any questions related to post-graduate employment.

From the Class of 2020, two graduates began prestigious judicial clerkships, one in federal court, the other in an international court, while four graduates are serving in the U.S. Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. Other graduates launched public service careers in District Attorney, Public Defender, and City Attorney offices, in locations such as San Diego, Orange County, Fresno, Riverside, and one in Alaska. Our 2020 graduates secured associate attorney positions in large, multi-national and national law firms such as Cooley, Jones Day, Wilson Sonsini, Foley & Lardner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, Sheppard Mullin, and Fisher Phillips. Several graduates secured in-house counsel positions with U.S. companies, while other graduates joined well-established small to mid-size firms and businesses throughout California. Jobs secured by 2020 graduates where a JD degree was considered an advantage include positions in business management, contract management, entertainment management, and accounting/tax.

While the majority of our graduates are employed in California, the reach of USD Law is wide with Class of 2020 graduates also working in the states of Oregon, Nevada, Virginia, New Jersey, Missouri, Minnesota, and Alaska, as well as the cities of Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. and as far as Guam and South Korea.

Learn more about career placement and bar passage at University of San Diego School of Law

Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

The educational mission of the University of San Diego embraces a commitment to academic excellence, individual dignity and the development of the knowledge, values and skills that will prepare students for service to their professional, global, civic, and faith communities. As a Roman Catholic institution, USD has a moral and theological commitment to educating a diverse student body. Accordingly, USD welcomes and respects those whose lives are formed by different traditions, recognizing that diversity of viewpoint, background and experience (including race; ethnicity; cultural diversity; gender, both in identity and expression; religion; age; socioeconomic status; disability and sexual orientation) among the student body is essential to the full and informed exchange of ideas and to the quality of legal education USD seeks to provide.

While LSAT scores, GRE scores and undergraduate GPAs are important elements, other factors can also be significant in the admissions decision. These factors include: other graduate study; work experience and community or professional service; awards and distinctions; personal recommendations; maturity and character; geographical background; undergraduate and graduate institutions and major; length of time elapsed since completion of undergraduate work; demonstrated motivation, discipline, and leadership ability; demonstrated success in completing a demanding educational program or activity; demonstrated success in overcoming hardship, discrimination, a social or economic disadvantage, or physical disability; and demonstrated evidence of future promise, including the capacity to contribute to the legal profession and society.

The goal of the admissions committee, which serves in an advisory capacity to the dean of the School of Law, is to consider all of the qualitative factors of each applicant that are demonstrative of the applicant's ability to successfully study law and serve as a member of the legal profession. In choosing from among the pool of qualified candidates, the admissions committee—cognizant of the educational mission of the university, the critical role students play in educating one another and the diverse needs of the legal profession—considers the diversity of the class as a whole. The admissions process is highly selective—the School of Law receives over 3,000 applications for 230 available spaces in its entering class.

Learn more about admission at University of San Diego School of Law

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at San Diego:

3.47 to 3.86

25-75% LSAT Score Range at San Diego:

157 to 163

25-75% UGPA Range at San Diego:

3.47 to 3.86

25-75% LSAT Score Range at San Diego:

157 to 163

25-75% UGPA Range at San Diego:

3.47 to 3.86

25-75% LSAT Score Range at San Diego:

157 to 163

Contact Information

Warren Hall Room 203, 5998 Alcalá Park,
San Diego, CA 92110-2492,
United States