Saddleback College students now have a direct pathway to law school, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding signed last Saturday at the Legal Pathway Summit at the University of California, Davis School of Law. The Memorandum of Understanding establishes the Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 Initiative, a program that gives students the ability to transfer to one of six California universities to finish their bachelor’s degrees and proceed to law school. The universities and law schools include Loyola Marymount University; Santa Clara University; University of California, Davis; University of California, Irvine; University of San Francisco; and University of Southern California.
Those in attendance at the Legal Pathway Summit included Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court; Paulette Brown, President of the American Bar Association; Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Executive Director of the State Bar of California; Kent Lollis, Director of Diversity Initiatives, Law School Admissions Council; and Michael Treviño, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, University of California.
The Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 Initiative provides community college students with a direct path to law school and emphasizes the inclusion of diverse populations that have been underrepresented in the legal profession. The program, sponsored by the California State Bar Council on Access and Fairness, established agreements for 24 community colleges and six law schools and their respective undergraduate institutions.
UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinksy, an internationally-renowned constitutional law scholar, stated, “UCI School of Law welcomes the opportunity to offer support and participate in this unprecedented program.”
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “This remarkable program will greatly impact and enhance the educational experience for students who seek careers in the legal profession, and will have a profound result in attracting a more diverse population to work in our system of jurisprudence.”
Saddleback College’s Pathway to Law School program is led and overseen by Professor Emily Quinlan, an attorney and faculty of the college’s business department. “I am thrilled to be involved in this unprecedented program and hope to create an environment at Saddleback College that fulfills the spirit and mission of the Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 Initiative.”
The program includes a seven-course curriculum and benefits such as pre-law advising, LSAT prep information, exposure to the legal profession, legal internships, financial aid counseling, academic advising, participation in the Saddleback Pre-law Club, service-based learning, and other law-related events and opportunities designed to increase the interest and eligibility of community college students pursuing a career in law.
Additionally, the program’s personal law/street law class is offered at San Juan Hills High School, allowing high school students to earn college credit. Jennifer Smalley, principal of San Juan Hills High School, sees the program as win-win for all concerned: “We want to offer our students every opportunity to succeed and we are so pleased the Saddleback College has reached out to us and is sharing this program and all that it has to offer with our students.”
For information on enrollment in the Pathway to Law School 2+2+3 program at Saddleback visit https://www.saddleback.edu/edbs/pathwaylaw.