About Southwestern

Diverse, Engaged, Inspiring

This is Southwestern Law School—a history of public-service, innovative teachers, brilliant scholars, and trailblazing alumni. Prepare to succeed through our innovative curriculum and experiential learning opportunities. The vibrant mid-city campus provides the ideal setting for the study of law, fostering an emphasis on community, diversity, and public-service.

Founded more than 110 years ago, Southwestern has developed a reputation for graduating lawyers who are well-rounded, entrepreneurial, and prepared to succeed.

If you’d like to be one of them, visit our admissions page for prospective students.

Southwestern students have a strong sense of community. They come from virtually every state and more than a dozen countries and represent over 100 undergraduate institutions. The 2023 entering class represented 59 percent women, 52 percent diverse, and 48 percent first-generation students. The average age is 25, with a range from 20 to 49. In 2022, Southwestern was listed as a Best Law School for Asians, Best Law School for Hispanics, and Most Diverse Law School. The Student Bar Association sponsors award-winning student welfare and community outreach programs and oversees over 40 student organizations, including legal fraternities; minority, cultural, political, and religious groups; and societies focused on specific areas of law.*

*Statistics are updated as of October 12, 2023.

Inspiring Academic Environment

Southwestern has created a welcoming student-centered oasis within the vibrant city center of Los Angeles and includes one of the city’s most historic architectural landmarks—the iconic Bullocks Wilshire building. This art-deco masterpiece is at the heart of the campus, which sits in the middle of the Los Angeles “public service corridor.” Students at Southwestern devote well over 26,000 hours each year to pro bono service in the community.

Trailblazing Alumni

Southwestern’s 14,000+ alumni have included prominent public officials—from members of Congress to mayors and over 160 judges—as well as founders of major law firms and general counsels of multinational corporations. The law school has strong ties to the legal, business, and civic sectors, and its Biederman Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Institute is closely linked to the entertainment industry in Hollywood and internationally. While the majority of Southwestern graduates choose to practice in California, alumni can be found in virtually every state, two territories, and 38 countries. Southwestern alumni have served as members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, members of the California State Senate and Assembly and Speaker of the Assembly, California Secretary of State, California State Treasurer, and Los Angeles County District Attorney. Among Southwestern’s many trailblazing alumni is the longest-serving justice in the California Supreme Court’s history, Los Angeles’s first African-American mayor, the first Chinese-American district court judge in the continental United States, the first female African-American appellate court justice in the nation, the first Latina trial judge in the United States, and the first Native-American judge in California.

Innovative Legal Education

Southwestern is the only law school to offer five J.D. programs that differ in both scheduling and instructional approach. Southwestern is a leader in curricular innovation and expertise, particularly in the areas of entertainment and media law, international law, criminal law, and trial advocacy/litigation. The required curriculum is enriched by approximately 154 electives, over 385 externship placements, 8 clinics, 7 concentrations, and 2 practica. Upper-division enhancements include myriad professional skills courses, a January intersession, capstone courses, and special mini-term courses taught by international legal experts.

Southwestern also established three- and four-year J.D./M.B.A. degree programs with the Drucker Graduate School of Management of Claremont Graduate University. Southwestern also offers a B.A./J.D. 3+3 program in partnership with California State University, Northridge, and L.L.M. programs in individualized law studies and entertainment, sports, and media law.

Southwestern was the first law school to establish a center for entertainment, media, and sports law. The internationally recognized Biederman Entertainment, Media, and Sports Law Institute helps prepare students for the practice of law in creative industries such as film, television, and music.