Located in the historic town of Orange, California, the Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law (Chapman Law) was founded in 1995 as the first law school in Orange County. The law school sits on historic ground–part of the original land grant that became the state of California. Ironically, thank in part to a generous donation by the school’s namesake in 2013, the law school has grown into one of the most technologically advanced campuses in the country. The campus also houses a three-story law library–one of the regions most extensive collection. Due to its proximity to the California film industry, Chapman Law offers one of the film and television concentrations in the country.
The curriculum at Chapman Law focuses on preparing students for the future careers as well as preparing them to pass the challenging California Bar exam. The first-year curriculum includes traditional core classes: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. First-year students also take a course introducing them to the principals of legal research and writing as well as a unique skill-based lab focused on civil procedure.
Aside from the required first-year curriculum, Chapman Law requires a number of additional courses that all appear on the California Bar exam: business associations, corporations, evidence, professional responsibility, and taxation. Students are further required to take courses in experiential learning and complete an upper-level writing assignment.
Chapman Law also offers students seven different emphasis areas that focus on a wide variety of practice areas. Of note, Chapman Law’s emphasis on entertainment law is taught by lawyers with a wide range of experience in the industry. Students working on the entertainment law emphasis may also take courses in Chapman University’s Master of Fine Arts program focused on film and television.
Along with its Juris Doctor program, Chapman Law also offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in one of six different concentrations. The LL.M is available for students who have already obtained their Juris Doctor or its international equivalent. The program requires students to complete 24 hours of residential coursework (the program in taxation requires an additional three credit hours). Students may also create their own LL.M concentration in conjunction with approval from the law school.
Juris Doctor students may also combine their law degree with one of two other professional programs. Chapman Law offers a joint J.D. and Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program that allows students to complete both programs in four years. Additionally, J.D. students may also pair their law degree with a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) from Chapman University’s renowned film and television production program.
Career and Career Placement
Almost over 85% of graduates of Chapman Law are employed in professions that either require a law license or a law degree within 10 months of graduation. Over half of all graduates opt for careers in small law firms with 1 to 50 attorneys. The business sector was another popular choice for graduates with over 17% accepting positions in non-traditional legal roles. Almost all graduates remained in California to begin their careers.
Chapman Law has a career service team of four professionals including two former attorneys who offer students a range of career services. Students receive one-on-one counseling and career planning sessions as well as help preparing resumes and interview skills. The primary goal is to help students define their career goals and then empower them with the skills to achieve those goals. Chapman Law also has focused programs on increasing diversity hires and helping students pay for career related travel and programs.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Chapman Law students benefit from a “Practice-Ready Endowment” fund that helps fund student programs and classes to insure that Chapman Law graduates enter their careers with the skill-set necessary to being adept lawyers. Chapman Law offers over 20 skill-based courses and labs that teach students how to translate their academic lessons into practical work. In addition, Chapman Law houses 10 distinct legal clinical in a variety of practice areas. In clinics, students work with real clients under the supervision of practicing faculty members.
Chapman Law requires residential coursework for all its degree programs. However, the Juris Doctor degree can be completed in a part-time format allowing for additional flexibility in the pace of completion.
Chapman Law offers its students a range of services beyond the classroom intended to prepare them for their future careers as well as enrich their lives. Students can take advantage of the law school’s extensive in-house bar preparation program which provides students the ability to earn credit hours while preparing for the bar exam. The school’s student organization program allows students to network and socialize around a number of diverse and important communities of interest.
Located in the heart of Orange County, Chapman Law is a unique experience of southern California life. The law school is only minutes from some of the state’s most famous beaches such as Huntington and Newport. The surrounding community affords students multiple housing opportunities as well as a host of unique restaurants dotted along nearby Chapman avenue. With close proximity to all that the greater Los Angeles area offers, Chapman Law students have limitless options to recreate as they balance their studies.