About Western State

Founded in 1966, Western State College of Law is the oldest law school in Orange County, Southern California, and is fully ABA approved.

Western State College of Law Building

Noted for small classes and personal attention from an accessible faculty focused on student success, Western State maintains bar pass rates consistently in the top half of California’s ABA law schools.

2012 Judges Night 2012 Judges' Night
Arnold Jackson 2013 Young Alum Mixer

Western State’s 11,000+ alumni are well represented across public and private sector legal practice areas, including 150 California judges and about 15% of Orange County’s Deputy Public Defenders and District Attorneys.

Exposure to real world legal settings, practical experience, and invaluable contacts with alumni practitioners—all will assist you in the transition to the job market and throughout your professional career.

Located in
Beautiful Southern California

Western State’s campus is located in Irvine, a suburban college town in Orange County, 30 miles south of Los Angeles and 100 miles north of San Diego. While located close to Orange County’s legal, technology, finance, and business centers, the campus is surrounded by attractive residential communities and is within commuting distance of Los Angeles as well as the Inland Empire. Western State law students and graduates have access to opportunities at nearby courts, private firms, public agencies and businesses throughout the Southland.

Orange County attractions also include Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and national sports teams like the Angels and the Ducks. Southern California’s climate and beauty make it a highly desirable place to study, live and work.

Southern California Coast Laguna Beach

Mt. Baldy Mt. Baldy

What distinguishes Western State?

Philip Merkel Professor Philip Merkel

A Close-knit Family Environment from Admission to Graduation

Western State’s culture engenders a supportive environment among students, faculty, and staff.

Rhonda Cohen

With a student body of 350, and a faculty-student ratio of 14/1, there is a better opportunity to learn more in the classroom, including the opportunity to ask questions during class to more fully explore the subject matter.

Professors’ open door policy provides real accessibility.

Sabrina Narain

Preparation for Incoming 1Ls

Western State’s innovative S.T.E.L.L.A.R. Program requires students to take a course called Introduction to Legal Methods. This course begins a week prior to the first day of classes – 5 days and then one day a week for the rest of the semester. This class provides you with the skills of being a successful law student. It goes over case reading, outlining, prewriting, and final exam preparation.

Students in class

Jennifer Koh

Preparation for the Bar Exam
2012 Judges Night Jacqueline Salazar (’13),
Daren Gottlieb (’13), & Kurtis Urien (’13)

In addition to the required Bar tested courses, Western State offers an innovative and rigorous program of study that maps out the doctrine that students need to know to pass one of the hardest exams in the country: the California Bar Exam. In addition, there are two courses that help you prepare for the bar exam: Solving Legal Problems and Basic Bar Studies.

Basic Bar Studies was designed to complement and reinforce the 'Barbri' Bar Prep course materials. Students complete more than 20 essays that have previously been administered by the CA State Bar in addition to creating outlines and study tools needed to for the exam.

The success of the Western State programs comes through in our numbers: in the majority of bar exams over the past four years, Western State students have met or exceeded the national average for ABA-accredited schools in California, at times outranking schools with far higher official rankings.

Moot Court prep Mock trial exercise in the Frank and Marlene Darras Moot Court Classroom

Practical Experience in the Classroom

The Western State tradition of bringing practical experience into the classroom is at the heart of our students’ success. In many classes, students don’t just learn the law from the books, they also learn how it applies in real life.

Immigration Clinic, Certificates in Business Law, Criminal Law, Family Practice, Immigration Law and Real Estate Practice; all provide certified practical experience.

Many of our faculty bring their backgrounds as practicing attorneys to the classroom. Through skills simulations, real world cases and documents, and guest speakers, they teach students the real-life version of the law in addition to the theory and doctrine.

Pam Davidson


Western State College of Law is fully approved by the American Bar Association (321 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60610, (312) 988-5000). Western State College of Law at Argosy University is a campus of Argosy University.

Argosy University is accredited by the Senior College and University Commission of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, California, 94501, http://www.wascsenior.org).

Western State College of Law

Argosy University is a private institution and has been granted approval to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400 Sacramento, CA 95834, www.bppe.ca.gov, Toll-free phone: 1.888.370.7589).