University of Southern California
black horizontal bar for print styles

USC Gould School of Law

First-year law students scour Venice Beach for debris during an Orientation beach clean-up organized with the Surfrider Foundation. “The aspect of ‘community’ is one of the biggest things we want new students to feel instantly,” said Liam Gillen, associate director of financial aid and student affairs.

The USC Gould School of Law provides a forward-looking, interdisciplinary legal education guided by nationally renowned professors and informed by the diversity of a friendly and collegial student body. As one of the most diverse of the nation’s top law schools, USC Law 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 Law alumni are partners in the world’s largest law firms, CEOs and presidents of multimillion-dollar companies, and leaders in public service organizations. Since its founding in 1900, the school has produced hundreds of judges, and its graduates have held elected offices 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

Pauline M. Aranas, J.D., M.L.I.S., Associate Dean and Deputy Director of the Law Library

Albert O. Brecht, J.D., M.LL., Associate Dean and Chief Information Officer*

Deborah A. Call, M.B.A., Associate Dean

Raymond Flores, M.B.A., Associate Dean

Alice R. Galstian, M.B.A., C.P.A., Associate Dean and Chief Financial Officer

Daniel M. Klerman, J.D., Ph.D., Associate Dean

Sam Martinuzzi, M.B.A., Associate Dean of External Relations and Chief Development Officer

Chloe T. Reid, J.D., Associate Dean

Elyn R. Saks, M.Litt., J.D., Associate Dean

Robert M. Saltzman, J.D., Associate Dean*

Matthew DeGrushe, M.Ed., Assistant Dean

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

Brian M. Raphael, J.D., M.L.S.*, Assistant Director of the Law Library

Gabriela E. Ryan, J.D., Assistant Dean


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

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

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

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

J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law: Christopher D. Stone, J.D.

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

Robert C. Packard Trustee Chair in Law: Matthew L. Spitzer, J.D., Ph.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.

Herbert W. Armstrong Professor of Constitutional Law: Larry G. Simon, 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.

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.

Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Professor of Law: Mary L. Dudziak, J.D., Ph.D.

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

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

Robert Kingsley Professor of Law: Susan 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, M.A.T., 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 Professor of Law: Albert O. Brecht, J.D., M.LL.*

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

University Professor: Alexander Morgan Capron, LL.B.

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

Professors: Geoffrey Cowan, LL.B. (Journalism); David B. Cruz, M.S., J.D.*; Edward J. Finegan, Ph.D. (Linguistics); Geoffrey Garrett, Ph.D. (International Relations); Howard A. Gillman, Ph.D. (Political Science); Cynthia B. Herrup, Ph.D. (History); Ehud Kamar, LL.B., LL.M., LL.M., J.S.D.; Edward D. Kleinbard, M.A., J.D.; Sharon A. Lloyd, Ph.D. (Philosophy); John G. Matsusaka, Ph.D. (Finance and Business Economics); Mathew McCubbins, M.S., Ph.D.; Kevin J. Murphy, Ph.D. (Finance and Business Economics); Daria Roithmayr, J.D.; John E. Rolph, Ph.D. (Information and Operations Management); Hilary M. Schor, Ph.D. (English); Dan Simon, LL.B., M.B.A., LL.M., S.J.D.; Simon J. Wilkie, M.A., Ph.D. (Economics)

Associate Professors: Jonathan M. Barnett, M.Phil., J.D.; Kim Shayo Buchanan, LL.B./J.D., LL.M., J.S.D.; Kareem U. Crayton, J.D., Ph.D.; Shmuel Leshem, LL.B., M.B.A., J.S.D., LL.M.; Camille Gear Rich, J.D.; James Spindler, J.D.; Mark I. Weinstein, M.S.I.A., M.B.A, Ph.D. (Finance and Business Economics); Gideon D. Yaffe, Ph.D. (Philosophy)

Assistant Professors: Stephen Rich, J.D.; Nina Walton, LL.B., C.Phil., M.P.P., Ph.D.

Adjunct Professors: Pauline M. Aranas, J.D., M.L.I.S. (Deputy Director, Law Library); Robert M. Saltzman, J.D.*

Adjunct Assistant Professors: Leeanna Izuel, J.D., LL.M.; Tami Lefko, J.D. (Associate Director of LL.M. Legal Writing and Advocacy); Rebecca S. Lonergan, J.D. (Associate Director of Legal Writing and Advocacy); Paul Moorman, M.L.S., J.D.; Brian Raphael, M.L.S., J.D.

Clinical Professors: Michael J. Brennan, LL.B.; Lee W. Campbell, J.D.; Niels W. Frenzen, J.D.; Noel M. Ragsdale, J.D.*; Jennifer Urban, J.D.

Clinical Associate Professor: Jean Rosenbluth, J.D. (Director of Legal Writing and Advocacy)

Clinical Assistant Professors: Jack Lerner, J.D.; Heidi L. Rummel, J.D.

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

Emeritus Professors: Marshall Cohen, M.A., M.A. (Oxon.) (Philosophy); W. David Slawson, M.A., LL.B.* (Torrey H. Webb Professor of Law, Emeritus)

*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 Law maintains dual degree programs with the graduate programs in accounting, business administration, economics, gerontology, pharmacy, philosophy, public administration, public policy, social work, political science, politics and international relations, religion, real estate development and communication. The law school also has an international dual degree program with the London School of Economics. 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 in Taxation Degree
The LL.M. in Taxation program is a master’s degree program for students who hold a basic law degree (J.D. or LL.B.). The LL.M. in Taxation program provides students with a comprehensive knowledge in tax law. To obtain the degree, the program can be completed on a full-time basis in two semesters or on a part-time basis in up to five semesters. After successfully completing the program, students will be awarded the Master of Laws in Taxation degree.

Students will be required to complete a minimum of 24 units in tax law courses and to earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6 based upon the Gould School of Law’s grading system in order to receive an LL.M. in Taxation degree.

LL.M. Degree
The 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.

M.C.L. Degree
The M.C.L. 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.

Continuing Legal Education

The law school’s Continuing Legal Education Program provides the legal community with the greatest variety of offerings of any law school in the west. USC Law has been approved as a provider of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (CLE) by the State Bar of California and offers general CLE and Legal Specialization Credit for lawyers, as well as continuing education credits for accountants and real estate professionals.

USC Law 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.

CLE programs in 2009-2010 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) 743-1772 or email

Tuition and Fees (Estimated)
Students in the law school’s J.D. program pay tuition of $23,387 per semester (13-17 units). For less than 13 units the tuition is $1,807 per unit, and tuition is an additional $1,807 for each unit over 17.

Students in the law school’s LL.M. and M.C.L. programs pay tuition of $23,387 per semester, for two semesters.

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 2009-2010, this membership fee was $25 per semester.

Admission Requirements — J.D. and Dual Degrees

First-year students must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college by the beginning of their law school classes. USC Law 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 December if they seek to start law school the following August.

Like most law schools, the USC Gould School of Law requires students to use the Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS). The LSDAS assembles an applicant’s transcripts and LSAT scores and forwards copies of them to law schools of the applicant’s choosing. An applicant who has previously registered with the LSDAS need only request on the appropriate form that the name of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law be added to the list of schools to which the student is applying. Further information about the LSAT and the LSDAS 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 Web site (

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 Law 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 Law.

Transfer LL.M. Students
Law students who are enrolled in USC Law’s LL.M. program for foreign lawyers may apply to the J.D. program as transfer LL.M. students during the transfer application period. Only USC Law 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 to the three-year program. For further information, request LL.M. transfer information from the Graduate and International Programs Office at USC Law.

Admission Requirements — LL.M. in Taxation Degree

Students submitting an application must have earned a basic law degree (J.D. or LL.B.). LL.M. in Taxation students must have completed at least one basic tax law course prior to enrolling at USC Law. For further information, contact the law school at (213) 821-5916 or visit the school’s Web site (

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 Web site (

Admission Requirements — M.C.L. 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 Web site (


Registration is handled by the Registration and Records Office of the USC Gould School of Law. 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); D (2.0-2.3); 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 2.6 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.