University of Southern California

USC Gould School of Law

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.

USC Gould School of Law

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
(213) 740-7331


Robert K. Rasmussen, J.D., Dean*

Scott A. Altman, J.D., Vice Dean

Gregory C. Keating, J.D., Ph.D., Vice Dean

Pauline M. Aranas, J.D., 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, J.D., Associate Dean

Elizabeth Armour, A.B., Assistant Dean

Leeanna Izuel, J.D., LL.M., Assistant Dean

Kyle W. Jones, J.D., Assistant Dean

Sandy Y. Shin, MBA, Assistant Dean


Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Dean’s Chair in Law: Robert K. Rasmussen, J.D.*

University Professor and Scott H. Bice Chair in Healthcare Law, Policy and Ethics: Alexander Morgan Capron, LL.B.

University Professor, Emeritus: Marshall Cohen, M.A., M.A. (Oxon) (Philosophy)

University Professor of Journalism, Communication and Law: Geoffrey Cowan, LL.B. (Journalism)

Carolyn Craig Franklin Chair in Law: Ronald R. Garet, J.D., Ph.D.*

Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Chair in Law: Thomas D. Lyon, J.D., Ph.D.*

J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law, Emeritus: Christopher D. Stone, J.D., LL.D. (Hon.)

Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law: Edward J. McCaffery, M.A., J.D.*

George T. and Harriet E. Pfleger Chair in Law: Daria Roithmayr, J.D.

Nathan and Lilly Shapell Chair in Law: Nomi M. Stolzenberg, J.D.

UPS Foundation Chair in Law and Gerontology: Martin L. Levine, J.D., LL.D.*

Ervin and Florine Yoder Chair in Real Estate Law: George Lefcoe, LL.B.

Leon Benwell Professor of Law: Edwin M. Smith, J.D.*

Virginia S. and Fred H. Bice Professor of Law: Scott A. Altman, J.D.*

Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law: Jody David Armour, J.D.

Richard L. and Maria B. Crutcher Professor of Law: Dan Simon, LL.B., MBA, LL.M., SJD

William T. Dalessi Professor of Law: Gregory C. Keating, J.D., Ph.D.

Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor of Law: Elizabeth Garrett, J.D.

Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law: Elyn R. Saks, M.Litt., J.D., Ph.D., LL.D. (Hon.)

Charles L. and Ramona I. Hilliard Professor of Law: Daniel M. Klerman, J.D., Ph.D.

Ivadelle and Theodore Johnson Professor of Law and Business: Edward D. Kleinbard, M.A., J.D.

Maurice Jones, Jr. — Class of 1925 Professor of Law: Andrei Marmor, LL.B, Ph.D.*

Robert Kingsley Professor of Law: Susan R. Estrich, J.D.

Richard L. and Antoinette Schamoi Kirtland Professor of Law: Gillian K. Hadfield, J.D., Ph.D.

John B. Milliken Professor of Taxation: Thomas D. Griffith, MAT, J.D.*

Dorothy W. Nelson Professor of Law: Michael H. Shapiro, M.A., J.D.

Newton Professor of Constitutional Law: Rebecca L. Brown, J.D.*

Robert C. and Nanette T. Packard Professor of Law: Scott H. Bice, J.D.*

John B. and Alice R. Sharp Professor of Law: Ariela J. Gross, J.D., Ph.D.*

John Stauffer Charitable Trust Chief Information Officer: Pauline M. Aranas, J.D., MLIS

Provost Professor of Philosophy and Law: Gary Watson, Ph.D. (Philosophy)

Professors: Jonathan M. Barnett, M.Phil., J.D.; David B. Cruz, M.S., J.D.*; Sofia Mary Gruskin, J.D., MIA (Preventive Medicine); Bart A. Kosko, J.D., Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering); Sharon A. Lloyd, Ph.D. (Philosophy); John G. Matsusaka, Ph.D. (Finance and Business Economics); Claudia Moatti, Ph.D., HDR (Classics); Kevin J. Murphy, Ph.D. (Finance and Business Economics); Alison Dundes Renteln, J.D., Ph.D. (Political Science); Camille Gear Rich, J.D.; Wayne Sandholtz, Ph.D. (International Relations); Hilary M. Schor, Ph.D. (English); Simon J. Wilkie, Ph.D. (Economics)

Associate Professors: Kim Shayo Buchanan, LL.B./J.D., LL.M., JSD; Stephen Rich, M.A., J.D.*; Mark I. Weinstein, MSIA, MBA, Ph.D. (Finance and Business Economics)

Assistant Professors: Sam Erman, J.D., Ph.D.; Yoon-Ho Alex Lee, J.D., Ph.D.; Emily Ryo, J.D., Ph.D.; Diana I. Williams, Ph.D. (History); Abby K. Wood, MADL, J.D., Ph.D.

Adjunct Professor: Pauline M. Aranas, J.D., MLIS

Adjunct Assistant Professors: Judy K. Davis, MLIS, J.D.; Leeanna Izuel, J.D., LL.M.; Diana C. Jaque, MLIS, J.D.; Paul Moorman, MLIS, J.D.; Cynthia Prado-Guyer, MLIS, J.D.; Brian Raphael, MLS, J.D.; Donald Scotten, J.D.; Karen Skinner, M.S., MLS, J.D.

Clinical Professors: Michael J. Brennan, LL.B.; Michael Chasalow, J.D., MBA; Niels W. Frenzen, J.D.; Heidi L. Rummel, J.D.

Clinical Associate Professors: Hannah R. Garry, M.A., J.D.; Lisa Klerman, J.D.

Professor of Lawyering Skills: Robert M. Saltzman, J.D.

Associate Professors of Lawyering Skills: Elizabeth A. Carroll, J.D.; Catherine Coleman, J.D.; Rebecca S. Lonergan, J.D.; Julie A. Ryan, J.D.; Susan C. Wright, J.D.

Professor of the Practice of Law: Clare Pastore, J.D.

Emeritus Professors: Marshall Cohen, M.A., M.A. (Oxon.) (Philosophy); Edward J. Finegan, Ph.D. (Linguistics); Larry G. Simon, LL.B. (Herbert W. Armstrong Professor of Constitutional Law, Emeritus); W. David Slawson, M.A., LL.B.* (Torrey H. Webb Professor of Law, Emeritus); Christopher D. Stone, J.D., LL.D. (Hon.)* (J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law, Emeritus)

Clinical Emeritus Professors: Lee W. Campbell, J.D.; Noel M. Ragsdale, J.D.*

*Recipient of university-wide or school teaching award.

Degree Programs

Juris Doctor

The Juris Doctor (J.D.) 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.

Dual Degrees

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 (J.D.) 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 J.D., 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.

LL.M. Degree

The residential LL.M. 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 LL.M. 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.

MCL Degree

The MCL program is a master’s degree program for foreign graduate students trained in law who have already earned their LL.M. 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.

Honor Society

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,

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 For additional questions, call (213) 821-3580 or email

Tuition and Fees (Estimated)

Students in the law school’s J.D. 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 LL.M. and MCL programs pay tuition of $55,084 per year (two semesters). Students in the law school’s online LL.M. 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 — J.D. 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

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 (

Accelerated B.A./J.D. 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 J.D. 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 LL.M. Students

Law students who are enrolled in USC Gould’s residential and online LL.M. programs for foreign lawyers may apply to the J.D. program as transfer LL.M. students during the transfer application period. Only USC Gould LL.M. students may apply in this manner. Those who have already been awarded an LL.M. at another U.S. law school may apply as international J.D. applicants.

For further information, request LL.M. transfer information from the Graduate and International Programs Office at USC Gould.

Admission Requirements — LL.M. Degree

Students submitting an application must have earned a basic law degree, a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) 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 (

Admission Requirements — MCL Degree

Students submitting an application must have earned a basic law degree, a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree or the foreign equivalent and will have previously earned their LL.M. 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 (


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 J.D., 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.