Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take more or less than 9 units each semester (in the Fall-Spring Academic year)?

No. The State Bar has requirements that must be met for a year of law study at a part-time school. A person cannot attend part-time at a part-time school by taking less than 9 units in each fall-spring academic term.

A person also cannot take a full-time load (12 units or more) at a part-time school. They must go to a full-time school's 3-3 1/2 year program. It is impossible for a person who works full-time to attend law school full-time. There are not enough hours to devote to full-time study.

How many hours do I need to devote to law study?

You need to devote at least 2 hours of study outside of class for every hour in class per week; example -- 9 hours of class per week = 18 hours outside study per week.

What types of books do I use in law school?

In most of your subjects you use a casebook. A casebook contains excerpts from actual cases. Each case contains the facts, the issue, and the rule of law that the court uses to decide the case. You "brief" (summarize) each case -- facts, issue, rule. That is how you develop analytical ability and gain a greater understanding of legal principles.

You also use a good commercial law summary. These summaries contain the rules of law, and no cases. You read these summaries each week and review from them for examinations.

Do I need to use a law library to study for my classes?

No. You can study for all your classes at home using your casebooks (see previous question). You use a library when you take the summer Legal Research course on how to use a law library.

What are you class sizes like?

Class sizes vary from year-to-year. 1st year classes normally have 40-45 students. Advanced classes normally have 10-15 students.

What percentage of your students are women?

Approximate 45-50%.

Where do California Southern Law School students reside?

While most students reside in the the Greater Inland Empire area, students from Victorville/Apple Valley, Palm Springs/Palm Desert, and Murrieta/Temecula are driving to Riverside to attend classes.

How many subjects is a person responsible for on the California Bar Examination?

A person is responsible for 13 subjects on the California Bar Examination. The subjects are:

  • *Civil Procedure
  • *Business Associations
  • Real Property
  • Community Property
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Remedies
  • Constitutional Law
  • *Evidence
  • Torts
  • Contracts
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Trusts
  • Wills and Succession

*Effective with the administration of the July 2007 California Bar Examination the scope of the California Bar Examination includes the following:

The subject of "Business Associations" includes those topics tested in Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships (General Partnerships, Limited Liability Partnerships), Joint Ventures, Limited Liability Companies, and the principles of Agency inherent in business relationships. The principles in the subject of "Business Associations" are covered in our courses of Corporations and Agency.

The scope of the subject titled "Civil Procedure" includes the California Code of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and,

The scope of the subject titled "Evidence" includes the California Evidence Code and the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Two Day California Bar Examination Effective July 2017 - Read More

Effective with the February 2015 administration of the Multistate Bar Examination portion of the California Bar Examination, Civil Procedure will be covered for the first time.  The current list of subjects include Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property, and Torts.

What books do I use in law school?

There are 2 major publishers of law books in the country -- West Academic (Foundation Press and West Academic Publishing), and Aspen. California Southern Law School students use the same casebooks (Foundation Press & West) as do students at major law schools. In addition, students use a good commercial outline in each subject. CSLS carries Gilberts, also published by West Academic.

Can I work in a law office while attending law school?

Yes, it is possible, but not a necessity for success in law after passing the bar. Most law students cannot afford to quit their existing full-time job to work in a law office. Further, working in a law office does not guarantee success on the bar. A student must do all the necessary class preparation and review to increase their chances for success on the bar exam. The experience of working in a law office can compliment classroom studies and vice versa. If a person can afford to work in a law office and it would not impede making a transition back if necessary, than it is worth considering. A person should be enrolled as an advanced student before working in a law office.

In what areas of law may I practice?

With the subjects available at California Southern Law School, a person can practice in the following areas of law:

  • Criminal prosecution
  • Criminal defense
  • Plaintiff personal injury
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Personal injury defense
  • Estate planning
  • Business law

Many CSLS grads practice law in these areas.

Is law school grading similar to undergraduate school grading?

Law school grading is different than undergraduate school grading. It is rare that an evening student averages 80 or more throughout law school. This is due to the nature of answering law school examinations. At California Southern Law School an 80 average is equal to being an A-average student, a 75 average equal to being a B-average student, and a 70 average equal to being a C-average student.

Tell me more about the First Year Law Students' Examination ("Baby Bar")?

All of our students are required to take the "Baby Bar" after completing their 1st year subjects of Contracts, Torts, and Criminal Law. There are advantages in this:

The "Baby Bar" is administered by the State Bar which administers the California Bar Exam after completion of law study. A person who passes the "Baby Bar" has demonstrated to the State Bar after their 1st year that they have an adequate foundation in 1st year subjects. The "Baby Bar" is a full-day exam with 4 essays and 100 multiple-choice questions.

The experience of taking a one-day exam administered by the State Bar is valuable since the California Bar Exam is a 3 full-day exam; examinees may be required to answer questions involving issues from any of the 13 subjects listed above; with the equivalent of 10 essays and 200 multiple-choice questions.

Why doesn't California Southern Law School teach specialized courses?

California Southern Law School places greater emphasis on students being prepared for the bar exam subjects. For working students, the more specialized subjects that are taken, the less time that is available inside and outside of class to devote to bar subjects. You cannot specialize if you haven't passed the bar exam. We want students to spend as much time as possible preparing for bar subjects.

How do I specialize after law school?

There are excellent books available in specialized areas of law. Rutter Group and CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) are the most well known. In addition, Gilbert Law Summaries may also be available.

Are you an "accredited" law school?

Ever since its' founding in 1971 California Southern Law School has operated as a law school "registered" by the Committee of Bar Examiners. To explain:

California has three types of law schools: American Bar Association (ABA) "approved" schools (by such "approval" are deemed "accredited" by the Committee of Bar Examiners), Committee of Bar Examiners of The State Bar of California (CBE) "accredited" schools; and Committee of Bar Examiners of The State Bar of California "registered" schools. In total there are 63 law schools of all types in California.

Twenty-one law schools in California are approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Graduates from these schools may sit for the bar examination in all 50 states. Additionally 17 law schools are accredited by the CBE. Graduates from these CBE schools may sit for the bar examination in California, but not necessarily satisfy the requirement to take the bar examination in other states.

Then there are law schools registered as "degree-granting" law schools by the CBE, but are not approved/accredited by the ABA or CBE. Of these 25 schools 13 are registered with the Committee of Bar Examiners as fixed-facility schools, 7 as correspondence schools, and 5 are distance-learning schools. All of these schools are considered "unaccredited" law schools. Like the CBE accredited law schools, graduates may sit for the California Bar Examination, but not necessarily other states.

California Southern Law School is a fixed-facility law school because all classes are held in physical classroom facilities. Correspondence and distance learning schools conduct instruction principally by either mailed material or technological (Internet) means.

California Southern Law School is the largest registered unaccredited fixed-facility law school in the State of California.

Like all other CBE registered law schools, CSLS students must take the First-Year Law Students' Examination ("Baby Bar") after completing the subjects of Contracts, Torts, Criminal Law, and Legal Writing. This examination, administered by the CBE, covers Contracts, Torts, and Criminal Law -- all subjects given the first year of law study. Passing the Baby Bar indicates success in first-year subjects and qualifies students to take advanced classes.

Study at, or graduation from CSLS may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or to satisfy the requirements for admission to practice in jurisdictions other than California. A student intending to seek admission to practice law in a jurisdiction other than California should contact the admitting authority in that jurisdiction for information regarding the legal education requirements in that jurisdiction for admission to the practice of law.  Visit the Comprehensive Guide to Bar Admission Requirements publication for further information.