southern california


Law schools are offering undergrad degrees in emerging legal education trend

  • July 5, 2022

People walk on an empty University of Southern California in Los Angeles, August 17, 2020. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

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  • Three law schools, including USC, to offer a bachelor’s degree in law this fall
  • The University of Arizona’s law school in 2014 was the first to launch a undergraduate degree

(Reuters) – Undergraduate degrees are catching on at US law schools as universities seek new ways to give students a head start on legal careers and help them better understand the role of law in society.

The University of Southern California Gould School of Law said Tuesday that it will offer a Bachelor of Science in legal studies — making it at least the third law school in the country to grant degrees to undergraduate students and the first to do so among US News & World Report’s top 20 highest rated schools.

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law and Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law have also said they plan to launch undergraduate degree programs this fall.

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These degrees don’t enable students to sit for the bar exam and practice law, but they can pave to the way to law-adjacent careers in compliance and human resources or prepare students for a Juris Doctor program down the road, the schools said.

Unlike in most other countries, the degree needed to practice law in the US is graduate level.

“This is not law school-lite,” said USC law professor Bob Rasmussen of his school’s program. “This is general knowledge for what you would want a smart, educated person to know about the law.”

The University of Arizona’s law school in 2014 became the first to offer a bachelor’s, and the State

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