School of Law
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean
The School of Law offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree through an innovative curriculum that includes in-depth study of legal doctrine, emphasizes experiential learning and clinical experience, and provides the professional training in lawyering skills necessary for the practice of law at the highest level of the profession. A hallmark of the School is that every student is required to have a clinical experience or equivalent in order to graduate.
Notably, the School of Law also participates in the UC Irvine Program in Law and Graduate Studies, a concurrent degree program that enables qualified students to pursue a doctoral or master’s degree in a cognate field at the same time they are pursuing their law degree. Several current students, for example, are pursuing concurrent J.D./Ph.D. degrees, J.D./M.A. degrees, or J.D./M.B.A. degrees.
The School of Law builds on UCI’s existing strengths in emerging technology, social policy, international business, environmental science and policy, health care, and other fields to produce leaders in law, government, and business for the twenty-first century. UCI Law graduates are encouraged to pursue careers in public service, including non-governmental organizations and philanthropic agencies. The School works aggressively to place students on their chosen career path whether that be with a private law firm, public interest or legal services office, government agency, and/or in a judicial clerkship. A wide array of employers from both the public and private sectors come to interview students on campus for summer positions and externships.
The School of Law has been granted provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association. A student at a provisionally approved law school and an individual who graduates while the school is provisionally approved are entitled to the same recognition given to students and graduates of fully approved law schools. The School was granted full accreditation by the American Bar Association (ABA) on June 6, 2014.
The School of Law seeks to enroll outstanding students who reflect a wide diversity of life experiences. Further information about admission requirements, application deadlines, tuition and fees, and curriculum is updated regularly on the School of Law website.
In addition, concurrent degree study (J.D./Ph.D. and J.D./Master’s) is available under the auspices of UC Irvine’s Program in Law and Graduate Studies, which is described later in the School of Law section.
Juris Doctor (J.D.) Requirements
To earn the Juris Doctor, students must complete six semesters of study, earn 86 law semester credits, pass all required classes, complete the upper-level writing requirement, and have a minimum 2.0 (C) grade point average.
All students must complete at least 68 credits in regularly scheduled Law School classes.
“Regularly scheduled Law School classes” include
- Law School courses and seminars, including courses cross-listed at the Law School but originating in another school or department at the University;
- Law School clinics and clinical placements approved by the Associate Dean for Clinical Education and Service Learning;
- credits from another ABA-approved law school or from approved study in a foreign exchange program.
"Regularly scheduled Law School classes" do not include
- independent study work;
- non-law classes;
- research tutorials;
- externships (other than those deemed to meet the Law School’s clinical requirement).
No more than 8 units of optional credit/no credit course work will count toward the 86-unit degree requirement.
First-Year Course Work Requirements
Students must pass all UCI Law School first-year courses, or their substantial equivalents, with grades of 1.0 (D) or higher. The Assistant Dean for Student Services will determine whether classes taken at another law school are sufficient for transfer students to meet the UCI Law first-year course work requirement. If not, the student will be notified which courses are needed to complete the requirement.
Upper-Level Academic Requirements
- Writing Requirement
Students must complete at least one course where they are required to produce a major writing project with frequent feedback from a faculty member. This might include seminars, independent studies, or other work, so long as it involves substantial original analysis and research, multiple drafts, and is certified by the faculty members as meeting this requirement.
- At the completion of the first-year lawyering skills course, students will have a meeting with their professor and receive advice on the type of writing assistance they need and approaches they should consider in meeting the upper-level writing requirement.
- Students are strongly encouraged to develop a portfolio over the course of law school that will include all of their major written work and other forms of presentation.
- Clinical Requirement
All students are required to complete at least one semester of clinical education, either in a Law School clinic or at a clinical placement that is approved by the Associate Dean of Clinical Education and Service Learning. This shall involve a live client or other real-life practical experience, appropriately supervised and designed to encourage reflection by students on their experiences and on the values and responsibilities of the legal profession, and the development of one’s ability to assess his or her performance and level of competence.
UCI School of Law has an innovative curriculum designed to prepare students for the practice of law at the highest levels of the profession. Traditional areas of legal doctrine are covered in the first year, but in a novel way that focuses on training students in five methods of legal analysis: statutory, common law, procedural, constitutional, and international. The course on Statutory Analysis, for example, uses criminal law as the vehicle for teaching students to read and interpret statutes.
One of UCI’s signature first-year courses, Legal Profession, exposes students to the economics, sociology, and psychology of a legal career. The course also emphasizes professional ethics. Panels of attorneys from a wide range of practice areas speak to students throughout the year about ethical dilemmas they confront as well as their work and careers.
Throughout both the first-year and upper-level curriculum there is great emphasis on incorporating skills training into traditional classes. The first-year Legal Skills class teaches fact investigation, interviewing, legal writing and analysis, extensive legal research, negotiation and oral advocacy. In addition, all first-year students are assigned a lawyer mentor and are required to spend a specified number of hours observing that lawyer at work.
UCI has an active pro bono program in which students engage in volunteer legal work on behalf of underserved populations as early as their first year.
All first-year students enroll in the courses below. Additional information is available at the School of Law Curriculum website.
Common Law Analysis: Contracts (4). This course will focus primarily on the common law of contracts to teach this method of analysis, in which the law is derived from judicial decisions rather than statutes or the Constitution.
Statutory Analysis (3). This course will use criminal law as a basis for teaching students the methods employed in all areas of law for analyzing statutes.
Procedural Analysis (4). This course will use civil procedure as the foundation for teaching students about areas of law in which there are procedural rules, and how analysis and arguments are made in such contexts.
Lawyering Skills I (3). This course, which will be part of both semesters, will focus on teaching skills that all lawyers use, such as fact investigation, interviewing, legal writing and analysis, legal research, negotiation and oral advocacy.
Legal Profession I (2). This course, which will be part of both semesters, is designed to prepare students to chart rewarding and responsible careers in law. Drawing from various disciplines, including economics, history, sociology, and psychology, we will teach students about the variety of practice settings in which lawyers work and the professional opportunities and challenges of each.
Common Law Analysis: Torts (4). This course will use torts as a way of further examining the common law, and how lawyers reason and develop arguments in this area.
Constitutional Analysis (4). This course will teach students basic areas of constitutional law such as separation of powers, federalism, and individual liberties. It will focus on how constitutional arguments are made, and how courts and lawyers analyze constitutional issues.
International Legal Analysis (3). This course will introduce students to international law and the ways that analyses in this area are similar to and different from analysis in other areas of law.
Lawyering Skills II (3). In the spring semester of this two-semester course, all students will gain experience in a legal clinic setting, where they will conduct intake interviews of actual clients at one or more legal services organization such as: The Learning Rights Center of Los Angeles, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the Legal Aid Society of Orange County, the Public Law Center, the United States Marines Corp Base at Camp Pendleton, and the UCI Consumer Protection Clinic.
Legal Profession II (2). Continuation of fall semester course.
Legal Research (1). This course prepares students to take on varied and challenging research assignemnts typically encountered at school and in the workplace.
Below is an overview of the upper-level courses taught at UC Irvine School of Law. Not every course will be offered each year, and additional courses not listed may be offered. Additional information is available at School of Law Curriculum website. Course descriptions, content, and requirements are subject to change.
Constitutional Law: First Amendment
Federal Criminal Law
Federal Income Taxation
The Federal Judge
Accounting and Finance for Lawyers
Advanced Legal Writing: Business Drafting
Antitrust Law & IP Rights
Business and Economics of Law Firm Practice
Business and Regulation of Fund Investors
Insurance Law and Policy
Investment Management Regulation
Law and Theory Relating to the 2008 Financial Crisis
Mergers and Acquisitions
Organizations, Operations, and Tax Aspects of Public Charities and Private Foundations
Representing Business Clients
SEC Enforcement Process
Statistics for Lawyers
Writing for Publication in the Law Review
Advanced Writing for Publication in the Law Review
Advanced Criminal Law, Practice, & Procedure
Memory & The Law
Documents and Artifacts in Socio-Legal Research
Topics in White Collar Crime
Employment Discrimination Law
Children and the Law
Gifts, Wills, and Trusts
Advocating for Vulnerable Children: From Foster Care to Juvenile Justice
Digital Copyright Law
Cross-Border Trade in IP
Intellectual Property Law
Technical Protection of Author's Rights
Trademark and Unfair Competition Law
International and Comparative Law
International Business Transactions
International Environmental Law
International Human Rights Law
International Trade Law
Law and Medicine
Drug Discovery, Development & Commercialization
Health Care Law
American Legal History
Spanish for Lawyers
Conflict of Laws
Critical Race Theory
Feminist Jurisprudence and the Law
Human Rights & Protest in 20th and 21st Century China
Law and Economics
Law and Literature
Law and Social Movements
Race and the Law
Sexual Orientation and the Law
Civil Rights Litigation
Conflicts of Law
Negotiations and Mediation
Civil Rights Law
Federal Public Land and Natural Resources Law
Race and the Law
Land Use and Development Control Law
Local Government Law
Organizations, Operations and Tax Aspects of Public Charities and Private Foundations
National Security Law
Natural Resources Law
Regulatory Design and Innovation
White Collar Crime
Real Estate Law
Land Use Law
Real Estate Transactions
Advanced Legal Research
Advanced Legal Writing
Global Justice Summit
Spanish for Lawyers
Estate and Gift Taxation
Partnership & LLC Taxation
Taxation of Business Enterprises
Appellate Litigation Clinic
Advanced Community & Economic Development Clinic
Advanced Environmental Law Clinic
Advanced International Human Rights Clinic
Advanced Immigration Rights Clinic
Advanced Consumer Protection Clinic
Community & Economic Development Clinic
Consumer Protection Clinic
Family Violence Clinic
Environmental Law Clinic
Fair Employment & Housing Clinic
International Human Rights Clinic
Immigrant Rights Clinic
International Justice Clinic
Program in Law and Graduate Studies
Highly qualified students interested in combining the study of law with graduate research and/or professional qualifications in cognate disciplines are invited to undertake concurrent degree study under the auspices of UC Irvine’s Program in Law and Graduate Studies (PLGS). Students in this program pursue a coordinated curriculum leading to a J.D. degree from the School of Law in conjunction with a Master’s or Ph.D. degree from any of the graduate professional or research degree programs at UCI that have been approved for this concurrent degree program. The objective of the program is to promote interdisciplinary study of law while also enabling students to obtain both a J.D. and a graduate degree in less time than would be required to acquire both degrees separately. The normative time for completion of the program is four years for J.D./Master’s combinations and seven years for J.D./Ph.D. combinations. Additional information is available from the PLGS Program Director’s Office, (949) 824-4158, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. A full description of the program, with links to all relevant application information, can be found at the School of Law Concurrent Degree Program website.
UC Irvine’s PLGS program is well suited to students interested in professional or academic careers focused on the interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary study of law and legal institutions, policy analysis, and/or applied research in law-related fields (for example, criminal justice and criminology, urban planning and environmental issues, discrimination, human rights, urban planning, environmental protection, and intellectual property). UC Irvine is nationally known for its graduate programs in such fields as Criminology, Law and Society; Psychology and Social Behavior; Anthropology; Management and Business; Literature; History; Performing Arts; and others.
Applicants must submit separate applications for admission to the School of Law and to the graduate program of their choice. Once admitted for study into both components of their program, concurrent degree students will work with the PLGS director and the director of their graduate program to develop a program of study that will permit efficient pursuit of both degrees. Ordinarily, students will commence their studies in their chosen graduate program and begin their first year of law instruction after one or more years of graduate program study. Upon completion of the first year of law instruction, students will pursue a coordinated curriculum of upper-level law study and graduate program study and research. Concurrent degree students’ law enrollments will include a required “Graduate Legal Studies” colloquium and a 3-unit “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Law” course or its equivalent. Concurrent degree students will be eligible for financial support through their chosen graduate program while pursuing graduate degree studies, and through the law school while pursuing law studies.
University Studies 296 Graduate Legal Studies (.3). Monthly faculty/student colloquium to present and discuss socio-legal related research/issues. Course convened by Law School faculty with other faculty participation. Open to graduate students and Law students; required for PLGS students enrolled in Law portion of degree. Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory only. May be repeated for credit as topics vary.
Law 5655 Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Law. This course is a reading and discussion seminar. Students will read a book each week. For the first class, students will read the book and come to class prepared to discuss it. For the second class each student will write a 750-word critique (analytic precis) of the book; discussion of the book will continue in that class. The seminar will be organized into four roughly equal segments. The first will present four quite distinct accounts of law—law as education, as ideology, as politics, and as organized activism. The second will consider several distinct scholarly perspectives on law—cultural, rhetorical, sociological. The third will examine applications of interdisciplinarity to legal studies—of property, recording media, citizenship, and emergency politics. The fourth will continue "applications" and conclude the course by comparing two rather different studies of law and death.