Law Schools in Bakersfield, CA with Course Descriptions

Nov 17, 2018

Bakersfield-Area Law Schools

There are no law schools in the immediate Bakersfield, California, area. Students in Bakersfield who wish to attend law school must travel more than 75 miles from the city. This article looks at 3 law schools and the degree programs they offer. There is also a table of information that prospective students should consider when choosing a school, such as enrollment, tuition and the campus setting. This table is formatted in a way that makes it simple to compare these schools.

  • The University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA). UCLA is about 96.3 miles from Bakersfield. Degree programs offered include Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of Juridical Science.
  • Pepperdine University, in Malibu, is approximately 95.7 miles from downtown Bakersfield. Degree programs this school provides include J.D. and Master of Dispute Resolution.
  • The Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law are located about 77 miles from downtown Bakersfield. The law schools offer a J.D. and Master of Legal studies programs and feature low tuition.

Comparison of Schools

Law students need to compare many factors when selecting a school. This table showcases facts that can help them arrive at an informed decision about their education.

University of California - Los Angeles Pepperdine University Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law
School Type 4-year; public 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; private not-for-profit
Total Enrollment (2017) 44,027* 7,710* Santa Barbara: 77
Ventura: 109*
Campus Setting Large city Large suburb Santa Barbara: small city
Ventura: midsize city
Tuition (2018-2019) LL.M. $57,958** J.D. $55,830** J.D. $815/unit**
% of Students Receiving Grants or Scholarships (2016-2017) 56%* 83%* N/A
Acceptance Rate (2014) 16%* 40%* N/A

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics; **School websites

University of California - Los Angeles

UCLA is a 4-year public institution that is widely considered to be a top-tier university. UCLA School of Law, founded in 1949, offers students the chance to experience live-client clinics and courses specifically designed to bridge the gap between learning the law and practicing law. The School of Law offers students access to 22 programs and centers, including the Emmett Center on Climate Change and the Environment and Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy. Law programs must be completed on a full-time basis, and there are no evening or summer programs offered.

Juris Doctor (J.D.)

The 87 semester unit J.D. degree program requires a minimum 6 semesters of study. Students must maintain a minimum course load each semester and complete a substantial analytic writing project. The program must be completed within 5 years.

Master of Laws (LL.M.)

The Master of Laws degree program can be completed in 9 months and offers specializations in international and comparative law, bankruptcy, tax or public interest law, among others. The 22-credit program includes a short summer course in American law in a global context for students who don't hold a U.S. degree in law. Applicants are required to have earned a law degree and need to submit a resume, personal statement, transcripts and 2 letters of recommendation.

Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.)

Students who plan on a law-based academic or teaching career may be interested in the S.J.D. The program requires that applicants possess both a J.D. and an LL.M. degree. Applicants to this highly selective program need to submit a statement of purpose for their research, along with having a faculty member vouch for their proposed studies. Additionally, interested students must complete a residency that consists of 2 semesters of study and defend a research proposal before being fully admitted.

Pepperdine University

Pepperdine University is a private 4-year university affiliated with Churches of Christ and located in Malibu. Pepperdine's law school was founded in 1964 as Orange University College of Law and became a part of Pepperdine University in 1969.

Juris Doctor

Pepperdine's J.D. degree program offers 2- or 3-year options and covers criminal law and evidence. First-year students take classes focusing on fundamental areas of law, including torts, legal research and civil procedure. Upper-level students complete 20-23 required units, and they can choose from an array of electives, attend clinics and complete externships. Students also have the opportunity to earn certificates in a particular area of specialization, such as international and comparative law.

Master of Dispute Resolution (M.D.R.)

Bachelor's holders can complete the 2-semester Master of Dispute Resolution, which requires 32 units of coursework in addition to a thesis project or an externship. Some of the courses that M.D.R. students complete include legal processes introduction, mediation clinic and communication.

Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law

The Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law are private 4-year law schools accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of The State Bar of California. Each of the campuses offers its own law library. The colleges offer degrees, the Juris Doctor and the Master of Legal Studies. A hybrid J.D. program and M.L.S. dual degree option are also offered.

Juris Doctor

Students who wish to apply for regular admission to the J.D. program at the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law should hold either a bachelor's degree, an associate's degree from a California postsecondary institution or 60 semester academic units. Students should have a GPA above 2.0. The 84-credit J.D. program is designed to be completed in 3.5 to 4 years. Certificates can be earned in various areas, including family, business, estate planning, and criminal law.

Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.)

Students interested in applying for the 30-credit M.L.S. program at the Santa Barbara and Ventura Colleges of Law should hold a bachelor's degree and have a GPA of 2.3 or better. The 1.5-year program is designed for working adults and available entirely online. The core curriculum includes courses in the American legal system, legal fundamentals, legal research and administrative process. Students can complete elective courses in a specialized area, and a capstone course is required.

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