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UCR's Future May Include Law School

UC Riverside Updates Plan for Future Law School

Campus has long-range plans for a medical school, a law school and a school of public policy

(May 19, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — UC Riverside officials updated and submitted a plan to the University of California Office of the President this week asking to open a first-tier School of Law on campus, a continuation of a process that began in November, 1999.

“Our long range priorities for professional schools include a medical school, a law school and a school of public policy,” said Chancellor France A. Córdova. “The need for a law school is great; the state’s population has more than doubled since the last UC law school was established in 1965, while the number of students graduating from UC law schools has remained relatively flat.”

The law school would be located on campus, and would take advantage of the many resources in downtown Riverside for internships, clerkships and practical experiences in court. The Riverside Justice Center includes the Eastern Division of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California; the U.S. Bankruptcy Court; California's Fourth District Court of Appeals; and criminal, civil, family, juvenile, and probate court divisions of the Superior Court of California. Riverside also houses the county prosecutor's office, a large legal aid office, and a comprehensive State Department of Justice Regional Forensics laboratory.

UCR’s original law school proposal was submitted on November, 1999. It was revised , resubmitted and approved the following year by the University of California Academic Senate. The California Postsecondary Education Commission ruled that the state had no need for another law school at the time, but they would consider the proposal when conditions changed.

When fully developed, the school will enroll approximately 675 students, will have 40 ladder rank faculty, and will award the degree of Juris Doctor. The first students are projected to be admitted for the fall two years after the appointment of the founding dean and one year after the appointment of the founding faculty. The founding dean will not be appointed until sufficient funding has been identified to assure development of a first tier School of Law.

The establishment of a law school at UCR has been planned for decades. Possible specialties at the UCR law school include international studies, with a focus on Latin America; or law and culture; or science and the law, including the environment. Connections are likely between the law school and other graduate programs on campus.

The proposal includes letters of support from all campus deans, as well as nine faculty members with relevant research areas.

“A nationally ranked law school with wide and enthusiastic support from the campus and local community will be a critical professional school for the campus’ intellectual development and an important asset for the larger community,” wrote Carl Cranor, a professor of philosophy whose research touches on environmental law.


The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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