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Home > News > Press Releases & Media Advisories > Press Release

University of California, Irvine law school approved by UC Regents


First students expected to enroll in 2009 for training as 21st-century lawyers


Irvine, Calif., November 16, 2006

The University of California, Irvine today received approval from the Regents of the University of California to establish a school of law. Irvine will be the first campus to open a public law school in California in more than 40 years.

“We are extremely pleased that the University of California selected Irvine to develop the state’s next premier public law school,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “Orange County’s dynamic economy and diverse population, combined with UCI’s reputation for building outstanding programs and the incredible level of local support, give us great confidence in the future excellence of our School of Law.”

A national search for a founding dean of the law school will begin immediately, and the first students are expected to enroll in fall 2009. The school is expected to serve 600 students within five years of opening its doors and will eventually include 30 full-time faculty members.

By establishing what will be only the second public law school in Southern California, UCI will help increase accessibility for students from underrepresented groups in a region that has one of the fastest growing and most diverse populations in the country.

“The UCI School of Law will educate 21st-century leaders,” said Drake. “In addition to offering a strong intellectual foundation in traditional legal education, we are in the ideal position to draw from the university’s robust existing graduate programs to offer specializations to law students that cross academic disciplines and professional schools.”

The school will focus on the Juris Doctor degree, which prepares students to practice law, and also offer the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) degrees. In addition, the school will leverage the campus’s strengths in areas such as emerging technology, social policy, international business and health care to develop interprofessional programs such as an accelerated J.D./M.B.A. – one of the most popular joint degrees – and a J.D./M.P.H.

The school will produce future leaders in law, government and business, and UCI law graduates will be particularly encouraged to pursue careers in public service, including non-governmental organizations and philanthropic agencies.

As part of their training, UCI law students will provide legal services to people who are unable to afford counsel. They also will be encouraged to pursue public interest law through programs focusing on underserved communities.

Interest in and support for a UCI School of Law dates back more than 40 years, when it was initially discussed as part of the campus’s long-range vision. In 1989 and again in 2001, the campus’s academic senate approved proposals for a law school, though plans were shelved both times due to statewide budget constraints.

Funding for UCI’s program is already incorporated into the campus’s growth plan and additional funds will come through law student fees and private gifts. Additional appropriations from the state are not required as part of the plan. Initially, the school will be housed in existing buildings on campus, though plans call for a new building to be constructed for the law school within the next few years.
    
About the University of California, Irvine: The University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 25,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3.7 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

Television: UCI has a broadcast studio available for live or taped interviews. For more information, visit www.today.uci.edu/broadcast.

News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. The use of this line is available free-of-charge to radio news programs/stations who wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.


University of California, Irvine School of Law
Fact Sheet

  • Next steps. A national search for a founding dean of the law school will begin immediately.
  • Enrollment. The first class of approximately 65 law students will enroll in 2009 and grow to approximately 200 students per entering class, for a total of 600 students within five years of opening its doors.
  • Statewide need. With all of California’s top American Bar Association-accredited law schools – including the four UC law schools – operating at capacity, UCI’s School of Law will help fulfill a statewide need for high-quality legal education that is more affordable than the top-ranked private schools.
  • Degrees. The School of Law will focus on the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, which prepares students for legal practice, and also will offer the Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of the Science of Law (J.S.D.) degrees. Joint degrees and interprofessional opportunities will include an accelerated J.D./M.B.A. program – one of the most popular joint professional degrees – as well as a four-year J.D./M.P.H.
  • Specializations. In addition to a strong traditional legal education, UCI’s School of Law will leverage the campus’s existing strengths to develop specializations in emerging technology, international business, health care management, public administration, and social policy.
  • Accreditation. The School of Law will seek accreditation through formal approval by the American Bar Association as soon as possible.
  • Faculty. At its full size, UCI’s School of Law will include approximately 30 full-time faculty members. Several current faculty members hold law degrees and pursue scholarly research in the field, and formal interdisciplinary affiliations with the law school will be developed in the months ahead.
  • Location. In the early years of the plan’s implementation, the law school will be housed in existing buildings on campus. The proposal calls for the establishment of a new building and law library for the school within six years, and several campus sites are currently under consideration for this.
  • Cost. Funding for the new law school has been incorporated into the campus’s growth planning and does not require any special state augmentation or appropriation.
  • Accessibility. Compared to the best private law schools, a UC legal education is affordable to a wider range of the population, which is why UC law schools are called “second to none, open to all.”
  • Community service. UCI law graduates will be especially encouraged to pursue careers in public service. As part of their training at UCI, students will provide legal counsel to community members who would be unable to afford it otherwise.
  • Community support. Leaders of Orange County’s legal and business communities have enthusiastically supported UCI’s proposal for a School of Law, helping bring the proposal to fruition.
  • History. Interest in and support for a School of Law at UCI dates back more than 40 years, when it was initially discussed as part of the campus’s long-range vision. In 1989 and again in 2001, the campus’s academic senate approved proposals for a law school, though plans were shelved both times due to statewide budget constraints. The proposal was resubmitted to the UC Office of the President earlier this year.

Related Links

Law School Fact Sheet

School of Law

Contact

Laura Rico
949-824-9055
lrico@uci.edu

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