Welcome to USC Gould School of Law

Robert K. Rasmussen

The USC Gould School of Law offers a premier inter-professional education to highly motivated students preparing for a career that will span the coming decades. As the legal profession continues to evolve, no school is better positioned to provide the education that will be the platform for the next generation of lawyers who will practice on a world-wide stage. The legal profession is dynamic, and the Gould School has always taken pride in adapting its methods to provide a legal education tailored to needs of the current environment, while maintaining its strong core commitments.

The heart of any law school is its faculty, and the Gould School is home to one of the finest groups of legal educators in the country. USC was a pioneer in recognizing the importance of inter-disciplinary study, long before other schools saw the value of non-law disciplines to the study of law. Many of our professors hold graduate degrees in subjects ranging from economics and history to psychology and political science. Our small and collegial setting ensures that students benefit from all aspects of this cutting-edge work. The interdisciplinary study of law remains one of our core commitments.

The full-time faculty is enriched by a part-time faculty of tremendous distinction. Our location in downtown Los Angeles allows us to bring into the classroom some of the top attorneys in the country. They share with our students the insights that can only be generated by years of practice at the highest levels.

USC students hone their professional skills through an array of experiential opportunities. Our live-client clinics allow students to work in areas as wide-ranging as International Human Rights, Intellectual Property, Post-Conviction Justice, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Immigration, and Small Business. Our externship program places students in semester-long positions in which they can work directly for judges, public interest attorneys, entertainment companies, and government officials.

The reality of law practice today is that, more than ever the high-level legal professional cannot succeed with only the traditional knowledge of the law that may have sufficed in the last century. Today, the best lawyers are those who, in addition to having top-flight legal skills, can also understand and work intelligently with other professionals. As firms seek economies in their operations, they rely more and more heavily on law schools to expose their future attorneys to the kinds of sensibilities that are important to their clients. This means that lawyers must have exposure to the practices and dialects of other professions, as part of their legal training. Our commitment is to ensure that the USC legal education is responsive to the needs of the legal profession.

The Gould School of Law is very fortunate to be part of a broader university setting that is difficult to match in depth and breadth of professional schools. By working closely with the Marshall School of Business, the School of Cinematic Arts, the Viterbi School of Engineering, the Annenberg School of Communication, the School of Social Work, the Keck School of Medicine and the School of Policy, Planning and Development, our law school offers students the chance to learn alongside the future leaders of cognate professions. As a private university, we can be nimble and innovative, and ensure that students can take advantage of the great intellectual resources of the entire University.

As legal practice becomes more global, it is essential for lawyers to be able to reach across boundaries. USC Law is the most diverse of the nation's top law schools. In addition, every year USC enrolls foreign attorneys in our LLM program. Coming from over 25 countries across the world, our LLM students are integrated with our JD students. In a world that is becoming ever more inter-connected, we are committed to prepare our lawyers to partner with lawyers from around the globe. At USC Law, our students form a world-wide network that lasts throughout a career. The success of our adaptive approach to legal education can be seen in the accomplishments of our alumni. Our alumni are leaders in business, law and government: USC Law alumni work in all fields of business throughout the world. Graduates are partners in the world's largest law firms, CEOs and presidents of multibillion-dollar companies, and leaders of civil rights movements. A tightly knit family, members of the USC Trojan Network are known for leadership in their fields and loyalty to each other.

Essential to our inter-professional philosophy is the cooperative, team-oriented learning environment that we foster. USC Law itself is small and intimate; students have immediate and easy access to professors, administrators know students by name, and the friendly atmosphere extends from faculty to staff to students. Collegiality, rather than competition, is the defining characteristic of our community. I’m proud to be dean of such an outstanding law school, whose core commitments to interdisciplinary, experiential learning, integration with the legal community, diversity, and community define our past, shape our present, and guide our future.

Thank you for visiting USC Gould School of Law.

Robert K. Rasmussen
Dean and Carl Mason Franklin Chair in Law and Professor of Law and Political Science