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Pre-law Studies

Start your journey toward a career in law through the Chaffey College Pathway to Law School Certificate program. Unlike medical schools and other graduate programs, law schools do not have undergraduate course requirements. They seek to assemble a diverse group of students with different backgrounds and majors. That means you can gain admission to law school regardless of your undergraduate degree. However, some legal specialties are limited to specific degrees. For example, patent lawyers are typically required to have a degree in engineering or in the sciences. Pathway to Law School students may study any subject while studying law. Chaffey offers this program through a sponsorship with California LAW, Inc. – an organization focused on preparing students as early as high school for law and law-related careers. Interested students should contact their counselor or a member of the Chaffey College law faculty for more information on this certificate program. 


David Karp
Professor, Business Administration / Business Law
(909) 652-6846
Abel Chen
Professor, Business Administration / Business Law
(909) 652-6847


Loyola Marymount University, Santa Clara University, and the University of Southern California allow deferral of up to four of the program courses until after the student has transferred, as set forth below:

Deferral of courses at Loyola Marymount University (LMU):

  • LMU FFYS 1000: First Year Seminar in lieu of ENGL 1A
  • LMU MATH 104: Elementary Statistics in lieu of SCSCI 10 or STAT 10
  • LMU HIST 1300: Becoming America or HIST 1400: The United States and the World in lieu of one of the listed U.S. History courses
  • LMU POLS 1200: U.S. Politics in lieu of PS 1

Deferral of courses at Santa Clara University (SCU):

  • SCU Political Science 1 in lieu of PS1
  • SCU History 96A or 96B in lieu of one of the listed U.S. History courses
  • SCU English 177 in lieu of COMSTD 72 or PHIL 76
  • Deferral of courses at University of Southern California (USC):
  • USC Communication 141, Applied Debate, in lieu of COMSTD 72 or PHIL 76
  • USC Political Science 100, Theory and Practice of American Democracy, or Political Science 120, Comparative Politics, in lieu of PS1
  • USC History 100gm, The American Experience, or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP U.S. History exam, in lieu of one of the listed U.S. History courses
  • USC Math 208x, Elementary Probability and Statistics, or a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam in lieu of either SCSI 10 or STAT 10

Students who defer one or more courses and do not take the course at Chaffey College will still qualify as Cal-LAW Scholars, as defined in the agreement between the participating educational institutions, but they must complete the deferred course(s) at LMU, SCU, or USC.

Cal-Law Scholars

Chaffey College is one of only eight California community colleges that offers a pre-law program through the organization California LAW, Inc. – an organization that seeks to provide unique pathways from community colleges to law schools. Students who are interested in becoming Cal-LAW Scholars should fill out the registration form  and return the completed form to the Pathway to Law School office in BE-107.

Students can pursue a Pathway to Law School Certificate and not meet the other requirements to become a Cal-LAW Scholar. The course requirements are the same for the Chaffey College certificate and for Cal-LAW Scholars.

To qualify as a Cal-LAW Scholar, students must also:

  • complete the Pathway to Law School Certificate,
  • earn an associate’s degree and satisfy all major requirements
  • successfully transfer to complete their undergraduate studies
  • Cal-LAW Scholars are also strongly advised to engage in a meaningful law-related civic engagement/public service activity.

Participants must at all times be in good academic standing as defined by each educational institution attended; must never be on academic probation or suspension or in violation of student conduct codes; and must at no time fall below the standards of ethics or behavior that would prevent admission to the State Bar of California. Additionally, prospective Cal-LAW Scholars may at any point be removed from consideration under this pathway by any or all the participating law schools for any of the following behaviors as determined by those participating law schools: academic misconduct, unlawful misconduct, employment misconduct, financial misconduct, or any other reasons determined by a law school that would indicate that a student does not appear capable of satisfactorily completing its educational program and being admitted to the bar.

Participating Law Schools

Eight law schools are partnered with Chaffey College through the Pathway to Law School program. They are:

  • Loyola Law School
  • Pepperdine University
  • Santa Clara University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • UCLA
  • University of San Francisco
  • University of Southern California.

Chaffey College students are not limited to these law schools. Cal-LAW Scholars may apply to any undergraduate institution and/or law school that they want to attend. They are not limited to the participating law schools/universities, but the Cal-LAW Scholar benefits will be available only at the participating schools.

Participation in the law pathway initiative or earning a Pathway to Law School certificate at Chaffey College does not guarantee admission to any participating university or law school. Students must meet all Cal-LAW Scholar requirements, successfully apply for admission and transfer to one of the participating universities to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Students must also successfully apply for admission and be accepted to a participating law school.


Cal-LAW Scholar Benefits

The benefits of becoming a Cal-LAW Scholar at Chaffey College include:

  • Chaffey College Legal Society
  • Law school visits and/or presentations made by representatives of the participating law schools
  • Programs and Services
  • Contacts with the local legal community
  • Court visits
  • Public service opportunity
  • Law-related events and presentations
  • Programs provided by California LAW
  • Mentoring and counseling (transfer and career)
  • Prescribed courses will transfer to participating universities

At the undergraduate transfer institution:

  • Recommended course such as logic, ethics and rhetoric that will help prepare students for success on the LSAT and in law school
  • Pre-law activities and organizations
  • Law pathway liaisons, e.g., a pre-law society advisor or admissions officer

By the participating law schools:

  • Law school application fees waived for Cal-LAW Scholars
  • Outreach by the law schools to Chaffey College
  • Opportunities for students to participate in programs at the law school, such as lectures, pre-law training, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Potential for in-person meetings with admissions personnel
  • Holistic review Cal-LAW Scholar's law school applications, including:
  • Evaluations
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Undergraduate course of study
  • Undergraduate grade point average
  • LSAT (or other applicable admissions exam) scores
  • Personal statements
  • Work experience
  • Completion of the Cal-LAW Scholar requirements
  • Relevant demonstrated skills

Participating in this program does not guarantee admission to any participating university to law school.