About Western State

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Welcome to Western State College of Law, and to your new career in the legal profession. It’s an exciting and important time to be a lawyer. Lawyers are innovators, problem-solvers, protectors, and advocates. Lawyers change lives, and Western State gives you the tools and training you need to have a positive impact on your community. There is no one way to be a lawyer—we come from all walks of life, with our own histories and perspectives, pursuing our own goals for our own reasons—but there is very much a family here at Western State. Our faculty, staff, alumni (which includes more than 150 judges), and your fellow students will support you as you move forward in this exciting new chapter of your life. We look forward to helping you accomplish your dreams.

Very Truly Yours,
Marisa Cianciarulo
Dean & Professor of Law

Marisa Cianciarulo

Marisa Cianciarulo

About Western State

Western State College of Law, Irvine CA

Western State College of Law, Irvine CA

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

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.

Western State’s 12,000+ 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.

2012 Judges' Night

2012 Judges’ Night

2013 Young Alumni Mixer

2013 Young Alumni Mixer


Like the society we serve, our community includes persons from a variety of social circumstances, and our mission commits us to the pursuit of diversity. We are individuals, each different from the other, gathered for a common purpose. Together we create an environment for the study of law and for training in lawyering skills. We strive to offer each person among us the opportunity to develop her or his powers to the fullest. Barriers to the development of any hold us all back.

Mutual understanding, reciprocal support, and tolerance are the enabling conditions for the full and equal participation of all. But bias and mistrust undermine these conditions, and misunderstanding among us has deep historical roots. To achieve an environment permeated by a sense of justice and inclusion we must actively encourage each person’s contribution. Furthermore, because we prepare students for participation in a self-governing profession, we strive to rid the practice of law of prejudice.

Freedom of expression is essential not only to mutual understanding, but also to our common pursuit of learning and self-development. Within the limits imposed by time and place and respect for one another, we recognize the right of anyone to express any idea and to disagree with another’s point of view.

We reject acts of discrimination and intimidation. The personal security of members of our community is inviolable. Freedom from insults, threats, assaults, or violence is a precondition of our association with one another. We will not tolerate such behaviors and especially resolve to confront acts of incivility that discriminate or degrade.

We cherish the diversity of our community and resolve to celebrate our differences for they are our most precious resource. Because we choose to be here to comprise the Western State College of Law community, we accept these values as a condition of our working and learning at the College of Law.

The mission of Western State College of Law at Westcliff University is to provide the highest quality legal education, based on an innovative program of studies designed to develop the tools of careful legal analysis and to foster a broad understanding of the law, law practice, and legal theory. The College of Law emphasizes the study and practice of lawyering skills required for the ethical, skillful, and professional practice of law and is particularly committed to meeting the education needs of those who seek to practice in small to medium law offices, corporate law departments and governmental and other public service settings. To further its mission, the College of Law will pursue student and faculty diversity, both to enhance the educational program of the school and to address important needs of the legal profession and of society as a whole.


Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach

Mt. Baldy

Mt. Baldy

Western State’s campus is located in Irvine, a suburban college town in Orange County, 44 miles south of Los Angeles and 80 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.


Professor 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

Professors’ open door policy provides real accessibility.

“My goal is to listen to each student and then respond to his or her particular questions, needs, concerns, and plans as I share information that will aid that student in making a decision about law school attendance.”
Rhonda Cohen

Director of Admissions , Class of 1984

“I had become so close with my professors that, after I graduated, we immediately went on a first name basis relationship.”
Sabrina Narain, Esq.

Class of 2014

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.

Prospective Students About Us

Prospective Students

Jacqueline Salazar(’13), Daren Gottlieb (’13), and Kurtis Urien (’13)

Preparation for the Bar Exam

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.

Basic Bar Studies was designed to complement and reinforce the 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 for the exam.


About Us

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.

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.

“Our career development strategy is simple: to prepare and equip our students and graduates to identify, pursue, and achieve their career goals.”
Deirdre Kelly

Assistant Dean, Career Development


At Western State College of Law, we have been providing a high-quality legal education to working professionals for over four decades through our part-time evening program.

The Part-Time Evening program, with Fall and Spring starts, is designed to be completed in four years. At Western State, Part-Time students follow the same Program of Study and learn from the same highly qualified full-time faculty as day students. They typically enroll in 9-10 units during the fall and spring semesters and 5 units for the summer term. In addition to the required courses, a significant majority of upper-division electives are held during the evening or weekend hours, enabling part-time students to have access to the wide range of instruction offered by experienced practitioners. At Western State, evening students are full members of the law school community, with opportunities to participate in law review, moot court, student organizations, clinic and externships. Speakers, panels, and other enrichment programming are most often held at times when working students are likely to be available, while Professors also schedule office hours for the convenience of their evening students.

“My classmates and I were all working and going to school at night, which created a strong bond. The ones I most admired were the single working mothers in our class.”
Michelle Reinglass

Class of 1978, Hall of Fame and Dean’s Counselor

Virtual Viewbook

View book Students Cover



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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’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.

16715 Von Karman Ave., #100
Irvine, CA 92606

Programs, credential levels, technology and scheduling options are subject to change. Western State College of Law at Westcliff University, 16715 Von Karman Ave., #100, Irvine, CA 92606 © 2020 Western State College of Law. All rights reserved. Our email address is materialsreview@wsulaw.edu.

See wsuprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.