UCLA School of Law offers engaging classroom instruction across a wide spectrum of courses that appeal to students with disparate interests. Beyond the intellectually rich core program lie additional valuable opportunities to enhance student learning and preparation for professional pursuits. These include intensive, supervised educational experiences in the school's noted clinical offerings, coordinated courses of study found in several fields that are grouped into programs, specializations, and externships.
As a general rule, enrollment in courses at UCLA School of Law is restricted to the School’s full-time, registered students. Graduate students in other UCLA departments may qualify for enrollment in advanced (non first year) law school courses on a limited basis as space is available and with instructor consent. UCLA School of Law does not offer part-time, evening or summer programs.
First Year Curriculum
The first-year curriculum corresponds to that of most leading U.S. law schools—teaching the major common law and other foundational subjects. Unlike most of its peer institutions, however, the School of Law invests major resources in our first-year Lawyering Skills course, which combines the beginning of skills training with elements of a traditional legal writing and research course. Particularly mindful of a move in legal education to provide more skill-centered experience to students, this required course provides students the opportunity to explore the relationship between legal analysis and lawyering tasks, such as effective legal writing, oral advocacy, legal research, and client interviewing and counseling. Students achieve this through course work as well as by working on simulated cases in both a courtroom and law office atmosphere. Students in the Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy take a special section of Lawyering Skills that presents skills instruction in the context of public interest practice.
The primary focus of the first year, however, remains the subjects that historically have dominated legal thought: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Instruction focuses on analysis of appellate cases—the traditional source of the common lawyer’s understanding of the law. Instructors are likely to employ a wide range of pedagogical techniques ranging from the Socratic dialogue, to lecture, to small group discussion.
To foster a sense of community and an environment of mutual support, the first-year class is divided into sections of approximately 80 students. Students in each section take most of their classes together but are divided into even smaller sections for the yearlong Lawyering Skills class and in two other substantive classes, one during each semester. Faculty teaching these small sections employ teaching methods that increase participation and provide students with extensive feedback on their progress. This more intimate learning experience has long remained a source of intellectual excitement and close friendships for UCLA Law students.
In the second and third years, UCLA Law students may choose from a wide array of law and law-related courses, in addition to a mandatory course in Professional Responsibility and an upper-division writing requirement. Typically, these years fulfill several objectives. Some of the student’s time will be taken up with basic and advanced courses, in such areas as constitutional law (freedom of speech, press, and religion, or the rights of the accused in the criminal process); courses that examine the legal framework in which society’s economic life takes place (Business Associations, Federal Taxation, Labor Law); and others focusing on basic elements of the judicial process (Evidence, Remedies). The upper years also allow students to explore more specialized offerings in fields as diverse as International Law, Family Law, and Intellectual Property Law. In addition, upper class students often choose from among a variety of offerings in the Clinical Program, or pursue a coordinated course of study through the Business Law & Policy Specialization, the Critical Race Studies Specialization, The Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property Specialization, or the Public Interest Law and Policy Program.