As the oldest law school in Orange County, California, Western State has a strong history of producing practice-ready lawyers. Our nearly 11,000 alumni have been successful trial lawyers, while more than 150+ graduates have gone on to serve as judges and judicial officers. Ensuring our students succeed in the classroom and beyond is a top priority at Western State. Here are some of the ways we are committed to supporting our students and their future career achievements:
Curriculum: Our courses are designed with a practice-ready focus. The Strategies to Enhance Legal Learning and Achieve Results (S.T.E.L.L.A.R.) program sets a strong foundation for all incoming students. This program offers instruction, assistance and encouragement for students to develop the skills and strategies to successfully complete law school, to prepare to sit for the bar exam and practice in the profession.
In addition, all first-year students are required to take Legal Methods, an introductory academic and practical skills course. This class supports students through the entire first semester with a one-week session prior to the first day of the semester and then one day a week for the remainder. The Legal Methods course sets students up for success for the rest of their law school journey and beyond, as it focuses on developing and mastering key skills such as case reading and briefing, legal analysis, writing and understanding professional values. It also focuses on other elements critical to success such as strategies for using learning styles to the student’s advantage, how to prepare and participate in the class and exam techniques.
Bar preparation is built into the entire academic journey for Western State students to ensure they are exposed to critical bar tested subjects, and we provide students with two specific courses focused solely on the bar exam during the final year of school. These courses focus on test-taking skills while helping to synthesize all the learnings from previous years.
Culture: Western State is proud to foster a cooperative and family-like culture. Our small class sizes, team-based collaborative learning model and supportive full-time faculty set our program apart and provide students with personalized attention. Our faculty is highly accessible and dedicated to providing feedback and guidance to students. Many of our professors enhance the classroom experience by including examples from their own practical legal experience to prepare students for the real world and bridge the gap from theory to the realities of practicing law.
The culture extends to peers as well. Our Dean’s Fellow program allows students to access support from dedicated student leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to academic success and the legal community. These second- and third-year law students are available on a walk-in basis to provide assistance and advice and are committed to helping their peers learn and excel in law school.
Resources: Western State has several departments committed directly to students’ success. For example, the Academic Support Department offers workshops throughout the year that are accessible to all students. The workshops provide opportunities for students to get further insight and feedback on key areas throughout their law school journey.
The law library and supporting staff serve as invaluable resources. Students can access a variety of study materials and resources to supplement class material. Study aids include past exams to help students better prepare for exams, and hornbooks are a condensed resource for students who are interested in increasing their expertise in a specific area of law. The library also offers access to several online databases that provide information on law school vocabulary, as well as access to information to support legal research. The staff are available to answer questions, assist in finding resources and support students in their studies.
At Western State we are committed to seeing our students succeed in and out of the classroom. We are proud to have a number of offerings that support our students from day one. For more information on available resources, contact Student Services. If you have a story to share about how Western State has helped you succeed, we would love to hear from you!