Harper Gernet-Girard, a third-year law student, Donald Scotten, professor, and Michael Figgers, second-year law student discuss legal matters. At the USC Gould School of Law, which has been in the practice of legal education for more than 100 years, students take law courses designed to challenge them to pursue transformative solutions. Photo by Steve Cohn.
The USC Gould School of Law provides a forward-looking, interdisciplinary and inter-professional legal education guided by nationally renowned professors and energized by an engaged and collegial student body. As one of the most diverse of the nation's top law schools, USC Gould is made up of students from throughout the country and around the world whose ideas and experiences enrich the learning process and provide new perspectives on the law. Through close collaboration, interdisciplinary academic training and hands-on application of skills, students acquire the experiences and knowledge necessary to succeed as leaders in a global environment.
USC Gould alumni are partners in the world's largest law firms, CEOs and presidents of multimillion-dollar companies, and leaders in government and public service organizations. Since its founding in 1900, the school has produced hundreds of judges on state and federal courts and elected officials ranging from mayor of cities large and small to a United States senator.
USC Gould School of Law
Andrew T. Guzman, JD, PhD, Dean*
Scott A. Altman, JD, Vice Dean
Gregory C. Keating, JD, PhD, Vice Dean
Pauline M. Aranas, JD, MLIS, Associate Dean, Chief Information Officer, and Director of the Law Library
Deborah A. Call, MBA, Associate Dean
Raymond Flores, MBA, Associate Dean
Alice R. Galstian, MBA, CPA, Associate Dean and Chief Financial Officer
Chloe T. Reid, JD, Associate Dean
Elizabeth Armour, AB, Assistant Dean
Leeanna Izuel, JD, LLM, Assistant Dean
Kyle W. Jones, JD, Assistant Dean
Sandy Y. Shin, MBA, Assistant Dean
Priya Sridharan, JD, Assistant Dean
Suzanne Huntley Levy, JD, Interim Assistant Dean
Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Dean's Chair in Law: Andrew T. Guzman, JD, PhD,*
University Professor and Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics: Alexander Morgan Capron, LLB
University Professor, Emeritus: Marshall Cohen, MA, MA (Oxon) (Philosophy)
University Professor of Journalism, Communication and Law: Geoffrey Cowan, LLB (Journalism)
Carolyn Craig Franklin Chair in Law: Ronald R. Garet, JD, PhD*
Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Chair in Law: Thomas D. Lyon, JD, PhD*
J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law and Political Science: Robert K. Rasmussen, JD
J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law, Emeritus: Christopher D. Stone, JD, LLD (Hon.)
Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law: Edward J. McCaffery, MA, JD*
George T. and Harriet E. Pfleger Chair in Law: Daria Roithmayr, JD
Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair in Law: Nomi M. Stolzenberg, JD
UPS Foundation Chair in Law and Gerontology: Martin L. Levine, JD, LLD*
Rader Family Trustee Chair in Law: Rebecca L. Brown, JD*
Ervin and Florine Yoder Chair in Real Estate Law: George Lefcoe, LLB
Leon Benwell Professor of Law: Edwin M. Smith, JD*
Virginia S. and Fred H. Bice Professor of Law: Scott A. Altman, JD*
Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law: Jody David Armour, JD
Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law: Dan Simon, LLB, MBA, LLM, SJD
William T. Dalessi Professor of Law: Gregory C. Keating, JD, PhD
Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor of Law: Elizabeth Garrett, JD
Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law: Elyn R. Saks, M.Litt., JD, PhD, LLD (Hon.)
Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Law: Daniel M. Klerman, JD, PhD
Ivadelle and Theodore Johnson Professor of Law and Business: Edward D. Kleinbard, MA, JD
Maurice Jones, Jr. — Class of 1925 Professor of Law: Andrei Marmor, LL.B, PhD*
Robert Kingsley Professor of Law: Susan R. Estrich, JD
Richard L. and Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law: Gillian K. Hadfield, JD, PhD
John B. Milliken Professor of Taxation: Thomas D. Griffith, MAT, JD*
Dorothy W. Nelson Professor of Law: Michael H. Shapiro, MA, JD
Robert C. and Nanette T. Packard Professor of Law: Scott H. Bice, JD*
John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law: Ariela J. Gross, JD, PhD*
John Stauffer Charitable Trust Chief Information Officer: Pauline M. Aranas, JD, MLIS
Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law: Gary Watson, PhD (Philosophy)
Professors: Jonathan M. Barnett, M.Phil., JD; David B. Cruz, MS, JD*; Sofia Mary Gruskin, JD, MIA (Preventive Medicine); Bart A. Kosko, JD, PhD (Electrical Engineering); Sharon A. Lloyd, PhD (Philosophy); John G. Matsusaka, PhD (Finance and Business Economics); Claudia Moatti, PhD, HDR (Classics); Kevin J. Murphy, PhD (Finance and Business Economics); Alison Dundes Renteln, JD, PhD (Political Science); Camille Gear Rich, JD; Wayne Sandholtz, PhD (International Relations); Hilary M. Schor, PhD (English); Simon J. Wilkie, PhD (Economics)
Associate Professors: Kim Shayo Buchanan, LLB/JD, LLM, JSD; Stephen Rich, MA, JD*; Mark I. Weinstein, MSIA, MBA, PhD (Finance and Business Economics)
Assistant Professors: Sam Erman, JD, PhD; Yoon-Ho Alex Lee, JD, PhD; Emily Ryo, JD, PhD; Diana I. Williams, PhD (History); Abby K. Wood, MADL, JD, PhD
Adjunct Professor: Pauline M. Aranas, JD, MLIS
Adjunct Assistant Professors: Judy K. Davis, MLIS, JD; Leeanna Izuel, JD, LLM; Diana C. Jaque, MLIS, JD; Paul Moorman, MLIS, JD; Cynthia Prado-Guyer, MLIS, JD; Brian Raphael, MLS, JD; Donald Scotten, JD; Karen Skinner, MS, MLS, JD
Clinical Professors: Michael J. Brennan, LLB; Michael Chasalow, JD, MBA; Niels W. Frenzen, JD; Heidi L. Rummel, JD
Clinical Associate Professors: Hannah R. Garry, MA, JD; Lisa Klerman, JD
Professor of Lawyering Skills: Robert M. Saltzman, JD
Associate Professors of Lawyering Skills: Elizabeth A. Carroll, JD; Catherine Coleman, JD; Rebecca S. Lonergan, JD; Julie A. Ryan, JD; Susan C. Wright, JD
Professor of the Practice of Law: Clare Pastore, JD
Emeritus Professors: Marshall Cohen, MA, MA (Oxon.) (Philosophy); Edward J. Finegan, PhD (Linguistics); Larry G. Simon, LLB (Herbert W. Armstrong Professor of Constitutional Law, Emeritus); W. David Slawson, MA, LLB* (Torrey H. Webb Professor of Law, Emeritus); Christopher D. Stone, JD, LLD (Hon.)* (J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law, Emeritus)
Clinical Emeritus Professors: Lee W. Campbell, JD; Noel M. Ragsdale, JD*
*Recipient of university-wide or school teaching award.
The Juris Doctor (JD) is the basic law degree. To obtain the degree, full-time attendance for six semesters is required. During the first year, the student takes a required curriculum of basic courses that examines fundamental legal institutions and addresses legal problems relevant to today's society and the modern practice of law. During the second and third years the student must complete a writing requirement and at least one course that provides substantial instruction in professional skills generally regarded as necessary in the practice of law. The remainder of the courses taken in the last two years are primarily elective.
USC Gould maintains dual degree programs with the graduate programs in accounting, business administration, economics, gerontology, pharmacy, philosophy, public administration, public policy, social work, politics and international relations, real estate development and communication. These programs enable qualified students to earn a law degree (JD) and the appropriate master's degree. If the 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 normally requires two years of post-baccalaureate courses, a total of four years is required. To earn the JD, all students (including dual degree students) must complete 35 numerically graded law units at USC beyond the first year curriculum.
The goal of these programs is to encourage law students to gain a recognized competence in another discipline that has a direct relevance to the roles lawyers play in society. The dual degree programs are based on the premise that some topics covered in the law school are also covered in the programs of the cooperating departments, so that some credit toward the law degree may appropriately be given for specified graduate work taken in the cooperating department. Similarly, the cooperating departments have recognized that some credit toward the master's degree may appropriately be awarded for certain work completed in the law school.
The residential LLM program is a master's degree program for foreign graduate students trained in law. This two-semester, full-time program introduces foreign lawyers to American law and the U.S. legal system and prepares them for leadership roles in the global market. After successfully completing the program, students will be awarded the Master of Laws degree.
The online LLM program is a master's degree program for foreign graduate students trained in law. This program is offered on a part-time or full-time basis in an online modality and introduces foreign lawyers to American law and the U.S. legal system and prepares them for leadership roles in the global market. After successfully completing the program, students will be awarded the Master of Laws degree.
The MCL program is a master's degree program for foreign graduate students trained in law who have already earned their LLM degree. This two-semester, full-time program is focused on the study of comparative law. Students are provided with the opportunity to study the differences, similarities and interrelationships of different systems of law around the world. After successfully completing the program, students will be awarded the Master of Comparative Law degree.
Order of the Coif: Order of the Coif is a national honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education.
Qualifications: Membership will be extended to a graduating law student whose cumulative grade point average ranks in the top 10 percent of all graduating students, provided that he or she has completed at least 75 percent (66 units) of law studies in graded courses.
Adviser: Scott Altman, Vice Dean, Gould School of Law, (213) 740-2544, firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications: Students are nominated by the law school.
Continuing Legal Education
USC Gould is a national leader in continuing education, presenting six annual programs designed for sophisticated attendees from the bar, judiciary, accounting, business, and law student communities and supported by both law firm and corporate sponsors.
USC Gould has been approved as a provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit by the State Bar of California and offers general CLE and Legal Specialization Credit for lawyers, as well as continuing education credits for accountants, real estate professionals, and certified financial planners.
CLE programs in 2014–2015 include the Institute on Entertainment Law and Business, Trust and Estate Conference, Tax Institute, Institute for Corporate Counsel, Real Estate Law and Business Forum, and Intellectual Property Institute.
For detailed program and registration information, visit law.usc.edu/cle. For additional questions, call (213) 821-3580 or email email@example.com.
Tuition and Fees (Estimated)
Students in the law school's JD program pay tuition of $55,084 per year (two semesters) (26–34 units). For less than 13 units the tuition is $2,129 per unit, and tuition is an additional $2,129 for each unit over 17.
Students in the law school's residential LLM and MCL programs pay tuition of $55,084 per year (two semesters). Students in the law school's online LLM program pay tuition on a per unit basis.
The university reserves the right to assess new fees or charges as it may determine. The rates listed are subject to change without notice by action of the Board of Trustees.
These fees are based upon current information available at the time of publication and are subject to possible later change.
In addition to the mandatory fees charged to all USC students, law students must also join the Student Bar Association. In 2014–2015, this membership fee was $25 per semester.
Admission Requirements — JD and Dual Degrees
First-year students must have earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and be able to provide an official transcript denoting the degree conferred by the beginning of their law school classes. USC Gould does not require applicants to take any specific college courses, and discourages pre-law students from enrolling in college courses that duplicate the law school curriculum. The faculty recommends college courses that are intellectually challenging and require disciplined study. Training in careful reading and skilled writing is most valuable, as are courses involving seminar discussion and sustained research. The student will find that a broad exposure to such fields as economics, philosophy, history, political science, anthropology, mathematics and psychology is more useful than narrow exposure to vocationally oriented courses.
All applicants are required to take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) administered by the Law School Admissions Council. Applicants must take the test no later than February if they seek to start law school the following August.
Like most law schools, the USC Gould School of Law requires students to apply online through the Law School Admission Council and register for the Credential Assembly Service (CAS). The CAS assembles an applicant's transcripts, LSAT scores and letters of recommendation and forwards copies of them to law schools of the applicant's choosing. Further information about the LSAT and the CAS may be obtained from the Law School Admission Council, 662 Penn St., Box 40, Newtown, PA 18940 and online at lsac.org.
Detailed information regarding admission application procedures is available from the Dean of Admissions, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, University Park, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 and on the school's Website (law.usc.edu).
Accelerated BA/JD Program (3+3)
The program is open only to USC undergraduate students who can complete their required bachelor's major course work by the end of their junior year. Admitted students complete their undergraduate and law school studies in a total of six years. After year one of law school (at the latest), students must have all necessary course work completed to earn their bachelor's degree and after year three, their law degree. However, the preference is that the bachelor's degree requirements be completed prior to beginning law school course work.
Students are not required to take the LSAT for admittance. Students are required to have taken either the SAT or ACT test and earned a score at or above the 85th percentile in the SAT Critical Reading or ACT Reading portion of the test. Students must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.80. Additionally, strong faculty letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and an interview are required components of the application. The program is open to all participating majors.
Transfer Students and Visiting Students
A student in good standing at a law school that is approved by the American Bar Association may apply for admission with advanced standing either as a transfer student or as a visiting student. Transfer students enter USC Gould after one year at another law school; they then spend two years at the law school and earn the JD degree from USC. Visiting students spend one or two semesters at the law school during their third year of law school; they are not eligible for a USC degree. For further information, please request Transfer/Visitor Information from the Admissions Office at USC Gould.
Transfer LLM Students
Law students who are enrolled in USC Gould's residential and online LLM programs for foreign lawyers may apply to the JD program as transfer LLM students during the transfer application period. Only USC Gould LLM students may apply in this manner. Those who have already been awarded an LLM at another U.S. law school may apply as international JD applicants.
For further information, request LLM transfer information from the Graduate and International Programs Office at USC Gould.
Admission Requirements — LLM Degree
Students submitting an application must have earned a basic law degree, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree or the foreign equivalent. Some experience following the completion of the first professional degree is preferred. For further information, contact the law school at (213) 821-5916 or visit the school's Website (law.usc.edu).
Admission Requirements — MCL Degree
Students submitting an application must have earned a basic law degree, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree or the foreign equivalent and will have previously earned their LLM degree. Some experience following the completion of the first professional degree is preferred. For further information, contact the law school at (213) 821-5916 or visit the school's Website (law.usc.edu).
Registration is handled by the USC Gould School of Law Office of the Registrar. First-year students will automatically be registered in their fall semester courses approximately two to three weeks prior to the beginning of the school year and for their spring semester courses approximately two to three weeks prior to the dates listed in the law school calendar for upper-division student registration.
Grading and Attendance Policies
The grading system uses both numbers and letters in a range from 1.9 to 4.4 with letter-grade equivalents ranging from F to A+. The grade equivalents are: A+ (4.1–4.4); A (3.8–4.0); A- (3.5–3.7); B+ (3.3–3.4); B (3.0–3.2); B- (2.7–2.9); C+ (2.5–2.6); C (2.4); C- (2.1–2.3); D (2.0); and F (1.9). Students receiving a grade of 1.9 will not be given credit for the course toward graduation. A student who fails a first-year course must repeat the course, but both grades will be included in computing that student's general average. Other courses may not be repeated except on petition to the associate dean. A student with a weighted cumulative average of less than 3.0 at the end of the year will be placed on restricted enrollment. A student with a weighted cumulative average of less than 2.7 at the end of any year will not be permitted to continue.
After the first year, a student may take up to a total of 8 units on an elected CR/D/F basis, chosen from among courses otherwise graded in a normal manner. No more than 4 such units may be taken in a semester. The student must elect to take a course CR/D/F during the first two weeks of the semester. Courses or seminars may, at the instructor's option, be designated prior to registration as not available for CR/D/F grading. To earn the JD, all students (including dual degree students) must complete 35 numerically graded law units at USC beyond the first year curriculum.
Students may also take such courses regularly offered only on a CR/D/F basis, in addition to courses taken under this rule.
Withdrawals from Courses
A student may not withdraw from a course later than two weeks after the first day of classes of any semester without permission of both the associate dean and the instructor.
Class attendance is an important part of law school education. It assists both the individual and fellow students in making the most of the educational opportunity offered. Students should, therefore, attend class regularly and participate in the discussion. Professors may require attendance and may take attendance into account in evaluating student performance.
Students may be accepted for a dual degree program when they are accepted to the law school, although most students do not apply until near the end of the first year. All programs require that students successfully complete the required first year of law school before beginning work toward the master's degree. Credit toward the law degree may not be given for graduate work completed prior to the completion of the first year of law school, although some credit toward the master's degree may be allowed by the faculty of the cooperating department of approved work completed prior to the first year of law school. Students are not eligible for either of their dual degrees until they complete the requirements for both degrees. All students (including dual degree students) must complete at least 35 numerically graded USC Gould units beyond the first year curriculum.
Following are general descriptions of the dual degree programs. Students interested in further information should consult the USC Gould Admissions Office.
Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration
In addition to the LSAT, applicants to this dual degree program are required to take the Graduate Management Aptitude Test. Requirements for the dual degree program are listed in the USC Marshall School of Business section of this catalogue.
Juris Doctor/Master of Business Taxation
The Leventhal School of Accounting offers a specialized program in taxation leading to the Master in Business Taxation (MBT). Requirements for this dual degree program are listed in the USC Leventhal School of Accounting section of this catalogue.
Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration
Students are required to complete 97 units of course work. Candidates for the dual degree must fulfill the statistics requirement of the MPA degree. See the Master of Public Administration section. Requirements for this dual degree program are listed in the USC Price School of Public Policy section of this catalogue.
Juris Doctor/Master of Public Policy
The USC Price School of Public Policy and the law school offer a dual degree that enables qualified students to earn both a Juris Doctor and a Master of Public Policy in approximately four years of study.
The dual degree allows students to acquire a blend of the analytic skills of public policy and an understanding of legal institutions and processes. This combination of knowledge is well suited for law students who want to affect the policy-making process and craft legislation to aid in achievement of public policy goals. It is equally appropriate for prospective policy analysts who are interested in law and public policy.
Students must apply to, and be accepted by, both schools. They may be accepted to the dual degree at the time of their acceptance to the law school or at the beginning of their second year of law school. Dual degree students spend the first year of the program completing the required first year of law school. The remaining units of law school courses and the required 36 units of core MPP courses are taken by students in the second through fourth years.
Students are required to complete 114 units of course work, including 78 units in the Gould School of Law and 36 units in the USC Price School of Public Policy. The MPP program has a statistics prerequisite. See Public Policy (MPP). Requirements for this dual degree are listed in the USC Price School of Public Policy section.
Other Graduate Courses
Students interested in combining an expertise in another discipline with the law degree may arrange individually to take approved graduate courses for limited credit toward the law degree.
Students may receive up to 12 units for graduate work taken outside the law school with the prior permission of the administration. These units may be concentrated in a single appropriate discipline; they may not, however, be applied to another graduate degree in progress unless it is a certificate program offered by another department.
JD Study Abroad Programs
USC Gould offers five study abroad programs for JD students that provide opportunities to learn about foreign legal systems and to experience different cultures. Qualified second- and third-year JD candidates are exposed to international law as they take part in exchange programs with leading partner institutions worldwide.
University of Hong Kong: The semester exchange program at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) allows USC Gould JD students to experience Hong Kong and its legal culture and business in the Pacific Rim.
HKU was established in 1911 and is a leading university in Asia. It is linked with over 80 partner institutions in 15 countries and has exchange programs with prominent universities worldwide. The language of teaching at HKU for its law courses is English.
Bocconi University: USC Gould JD students have the opportunity to learn about law and business in Milan, Italy, in this semester exchange program with Bocconi University. An Italian course is available to interested exchange students who wish to study the language before the law program begins.
Bocconi University, a private institution in Milan, Italy, has a global reputation as a research university in business, economics and law. Bocconi offers its exchange students law courses in English. These include courses in international and European law, international trade law, and comparative business and corporate law.
University Jean Moulin Lyon 3: The semester abroad program at the University Jean Moulin Lyon 3 allows USC Gould JD students the chance to study in English at a leading law school in Lyon, France. After earning the JD degree, graduates may elect to return to Lyon for a semester to complete an LLM in international and European law.
The University Jean Moulin Lyon 3 is a public university ranked among the top in France. Lyon 3 is one of three universities in Lyon with a combined population of 100,000 students. Lyon is the second-largest city in France with a great selection of cultural and professional opportunities.
Bond University: USC Gould JD students have the opportunity to live in Queensland, on the Gold Coast of Australia, for a semester while studying at Bond University.
Bond University has a distinctly global perspective, aspiring to a 50:50 ratio of Australian to international students, who come from 80 countries worldwide. Under the guidance of Australia's most eminent legal professionals, internationally renowned criminologists and specialists, students benefit from the mentoring relationship fostered at Bond where professors take an active role in charting student success.
Fundação Getulio Vargas University: The semester exchange with Direito GV, the law school of FGV, allows JD students to study at their campus in São Paulo, Brazil. Direito GV has one of the top law faculties in Brazil. They offer law courses in English for their exchange students.
Fundação Getulio Vargas has developed a highly innovative curriculum. The Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture and the Brazilian Bar Association have granted FGV their highest classification of academic rigor. This exchange introduces JD students to the Brazilian legal system and promotes a broad debate on the issues of global relevance within a South American perspective.
Graduate Degree Programs
USC Gould's graduate degree programs include an LLM program and an MCL program for foreign law graduates. Through the graduate degree programs, students have opportunities to meet and interact with faculty and JD students and also with practicing lawyers from around the world.
The LLM for foreign lawyers and MCL programs are intended for individuals who are trained in law abroad and wish to gain a basic knowledge of U.S. law and our legal system and/or who wish to engage in comparative legal study.
BA Philosophy, Politics and Law
This interdisciplinary program consists of nine courses chosen from philosophy, political science, law and anthropology courses. See Philosophy for degree requirements.
Minor in Law and Public Policy
The minor in law and public policy draws upon four fields of study: public policy and management, law, economics and political science. It provides students with an understanding of the political and economic contexts in which laws are made, as well as how legal institutions shape policy formulation. Students learn to analyze the consequences of policy and alternatives; the roles played by government, business and nonprofit organizations in public decision-making; and the legal bases for various areas of public policy. See USC Price School of Public Policy for requirements.
Minor in Law and Society
This interdisciplinary program focuses on the effect of law on society and the way in which social forces influence the legal system. The idea is that students will understand the law if they look beyond "law in books" to "law in action." See Political Science for requirements.
Minor in Psychology and Law
This interdisciplinary minor brings together courses in psychology that focus on the social, ethical, cognitive and societal aspects of psychology and how it relates to law. This knowledge is augmented with law courses that identify the relationship between mental health, social psychology and law. See Psychology for requirements.