Western State College of Law at Westcliff University

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

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


About Western State

Founded in 1966, Western State College of Law at Westcliff University is the longest-running law school in Orange County, California, and is a fully ABA-approved private law school. Noted for small classes and personal attention from an accessible faculty focused on student success, Western State maintains bar pass rates consistently in the top half of California’s ABA-approved law schools.

Western State’s 11,000+ alumni are well represented across public and private sector legal practice areas, including 150+ graduates who have gone on to serve as California judges and judicial officers. In addition, the law school’s graduates represent roughly 15 percent of Orange County’s deputy public defenders and district attorneys.

Student exposure to real-world legal settings, practical experience and invaluable contacts with alumni practitioners set WSCL graduates up for a smooth transition to the job market and success throughout their professional careers.

Learn more about Western State

The JD Program

Full-Time and Part-Time Programs Available

The program of study for the Juris Doctor degree requires a minimum of 87 units. Some core courses are required (including all the courses in the first year), while others are electives. The program is designed to be completed in as little as 3 academic years (2 semesters per year) of full-time study, or in 4 years of part-time study. Full-time students typically enroll for 15 units per semester and are not required to take summer classes. Part-time students take 9 or 10 units per semester and also 3 to 5 units in the summer to complete the program in 4 years. It may be possible to take additional units in the summer session.

Starting Law School in the Fall

Students who start in the Fall have the option for full-time, part-time day or part-time evening study. Classes begin in mid-August. Entering students participate in a mandatory Orientation and one-credit first semester “Introduction to Legal Methods” course which begins one week prior to the mid-August main session.

Starting Law School in the Spring

Students who start in the Spring term (early January) have the option for full-time or part-time evening study. Classes begin in the first week of January. Entering students participate in a mandatory Orientation and one-credit first semester “Introduction to Legal Methods” course which begins one week prior to the mid-January main session.

Faculty of Excellent Professors

Western State prides itself on a faculty of excellent professors whose first priorities are teaching and student success. Most faculty members have extensive professional legal experience as well as impressive academic credentials; they bring real-world knowledge and skills to the classroom. The full-time faculty is supplemented by an outstanding adjunct faculty of practicing attorneys and judges. A student-to-faculty ratio of approximately 8:1 allows students to benefit from individual attention and mentoring.

At Western State College of Law, our faculty and staff take an active interest in your personal professional development. We provide individual guidance and access to a wide range of exciting opportunities in the field to help you find your legal niche. Our goal is to help you develop your skills and strengths, build your resume, and prepare for placement.

Insights from Legal Practice in the Classroom

Western State seeks to foster law students’ development as legal professionals throughout law school. When faculty bring examples from their practical legal experience into the classroom, they engage their students and illustrate how theory comes together in practice. These exercises provide a lens outside of the standard case method of instruction to help students understand the law and its application and to help students prepare for the day-to-day reality of practicing law.

Learn more about the JD program at Western State

Specialty Programs

Certificate programs in business law, criminal law, family law, immigration law and real estate law give students the opportunity to focus their electives with a special study emphasis including a practical experience component.

Externships

In the externship program, students receive hands-on experience through placements in courts or in the offices of district attorneys, public defenders, private law firms, corporate legal departments, or public interest organizations where they gain practical experience and earn academic credit.  Externships can assist students in finding employment after graduation.

Student Life

A Close-Knit Family Environment from Enrollment to Employment

Western State’s culture engenders a supportive environment among students, faculty and staff. With a student body of 229, and an average student-to-faculty ratio of 8:1, students benefit from the opportunity to collaborate and engage in classroom discussions to more fully explore the subject matter. Professor open-door policies provide real accessibility.

Location

Western State’s campus is located in Irvine, a suburban college town in Orange County, 44 miles south of Los Angeles and 80 miles north of San Diego. While located close to Orange County’s legal, technology, finance and business centers, the campus is surrounded by attractive residential communities and is within commuting distance of Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire. Western State students and graduates have access to opportunities at nearby courts, private firms, public agencies and businesses throughout the Southland.

Orange County attractions include Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and national sports teams like the Angels and the Ducks. Southern California’s climate and beauty make it a highly desirable place to study, live and work.

Student Organizations

About 20 active student-led organizations enrich and complement the academic program with educational, networking, philanthropic, and social activities for students. These include:

  • Student Bar Association
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Business Law Student Association (BLA)
  • Christian Legal Society (CLS)
  • Criminal Law Association (CLA)
  • Delta Tau Delta Chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, the National Criminal Justice Honor Society
  • Entertainment & Sports Law Society (ESLS)
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Intellectual Property and Technology Law Society (IPT)
  • Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA)
  • Latino Student Bar Association (LSBA)
  • Muslim Law Student Association (MLSA)
  • OUTLAW
  • Phi Alpha Delta Professional Law Fraternity (PAD)
  • Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)
  • Society of Immigration Law & Advocacy (SILA)
  • Tort Law Society (TLS)
  • Young Americans for Liberty (YAL)

Students who qualify for Law Review, the Moot Court team, the Mock Trial team, or the Negotiations Competitions team gain high visibility through their legal writing and competitive advocacy experience.

Campus Facilities and Library

The Western State College of Law campus is located at 16715 Von Karman Boulevard, Irvine, California, and includes the first floor of two adjacent buildings that house multiple classrooms, a Moot Courtroom, a library, a computer lab, a learning resource center, numerous study areas, staff and administrative offices, a student lounge with vending machines, and restrooms.

The Law Library supports student study and research with a well-rounded print collection as well as access to electronic resources on campus and remotely. The Law Library not only provides books and computers, but a variety of individual and group study spaces for students. Quiet study space, study rooms and a collaborative study room are all available so students can pick the space that is right for them. In addition to study rooms, the Law Library also includes the Career Resources Nook and our Business Law Center collection. The library maintains long hours to service the needs of our students. Librarians provide extensive reference services and training in legal research, online research, and software.

Career Placement and Bar Passage

Career Resources

With a five-decade history in Southern California, Western State maintains a strong placement track record and the connections to assist students in their job searches. Western State focuses on helping students develop skills and practical experience to build their legal résumés throughout law school, making them attractive candidates as they enter the workforce.

Our dedicated Career Development Office arranges interviews, career-related workshops, speaker panels, networking events and individual counseling to educate students about the many possible areas of practice and how to position themselves for those opportunities. The office serves as a liaison with legal employers, both public and private, solicits job listings from alumni and local practitioners and assists students and alumni with permanent and summer employment.

The Career Development Office counsels students on résumé writing, job-search techniques, and study-abroad programs. Online job- and résumé-posting services are provided by Western State to facilitate employment searches by students and alumni. Many of Western State's 11,000+ alumni assist with on-campus career fairs, mock interviews, and networking events.

Bar Passage

Western State maintains bar pass rates consistently in the top half of California's ABA law schools.  Western State prepares students for the bar exam with courses like Basic Bar Studies and Solving Legal Problems, which help students start early to acquire the skills and substantive knowledge required for success on the bar exam and in the first year of practice.

The Strategies to Enhance Legal Learning and Achieve Results (S.T.E.L.L.A.R.) Academic Support program provides instruction, assistance and encouragement to help students develop the skills and strategies they need. Our goal is to help students successfully complete the first year, pass the bar exam, and practice in the profession. Faculty will guide students as they develop the critical reading, briefing and analytical skills necessary for academic success, as well as the practical lawyering skills that will sustain graduates through the bar exam and beyond.

Tuition and Aid

Scholarships & Financial Aid

Western State offers generous merit-based scholarships and diversity scholarships. In the most recent entering class, a majority of new students received scholarships. No separate application is required to be considered for scholarships; admitted students are automatically considered for merit scholarships based on academic records (undergraduate GPA and academic standing, and LSAT score) and diversity scholarships based on applicants' backgrounds and experiences. Diversity statements are optional and will also be considered. After the first year, students may be eligible for scholarships based upon their performance in the classroom at Western State.

Many loan programs are available to help students meet their financial needs, including Stafford loans, Graduate PLUS loans and private loans. All students receiving scholarship funds or loans should plan to file the FAFSA and a preliminary financial aid application.

Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

The Faculty Admission Committee makes each admission decision based on its estimation of an applicant's potential for academic success, upon a full and careful review of all information provided at the time of the review. The members of the Committee consider the required elements, including the standardized test score(s), undergraduate record, personal statement and letters of recommendation, as well as optional items such as a current resume or other addenda. As the Faculty Admissions Committee reviews applications, it considers each applicant’s prior academic, work, and life accomplishments which may demonstrate a potential to succeed in our rigorous J.D. program. Especially important elements of the application include undergraduate academic performance, difficulty of coursework and grades, college major(s), competitiveness of the college(s), and the time taken to complete the degree. LSAT scores and/or GRE scores are viewed as key predictors. Significant weight is also given to an applicant's writing ability, which includes grammar, conciseness, and organization of thoughts. Submission of an addendum is encouraged if there are special circumstances or issues requiring further explanation.  No single item in an applicant's file defines the outcome of an admission decision.  Every element of the application is reviewed and duly considered in making a decision.

When there are multiple LSAT or GRE scores, more weight will generally be given to the highest scores. However, all of an applicant's scores will be taken into account, and particular attention will be paid to the trend and recency of the scores.

Western State reviews applications and communicate decisions on a rolling basis from the time applications open until the deadline, as they are received.  The deadline for fall is July 15, and the deadline for spring is December 1, but applying on or before the priority deadline (April 1 for fall or October 1 for spring) is highly recommended.  Admission to the law school becomes more competitive after the priority deadline has passed.  In addition, those who apply on or before the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship awards.

It usually takes 3 to 6 weeks from the time the application is complete to receive a decision.

All applicants work with an admission advisor who assists in the admission process. During the application period, Western State's advisors are happy to conduct a personal or telephonic informational interview, as well as arrange for visits to the campus and contact with professors, students, or alumni.

Learn more about admission at Western State

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Western State:

2.94 to 3.40

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Western State:

148 to 152

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Western State:

2.94 to 3.40

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Western State:

148 to 152

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Western State:

2.94 to 3.40

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Western State:

148 to 152

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

16715 Von Karman Avenue, Suite 100,
Irvine, CA 92606,
United States