CSUN, Southwestern Team Up for B.A./J.D. Program

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison sits with  Dean and Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern Law School Susan Westerberg Prager.

CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison sits with the Dean and Chief Executive Officer of Southwestern Law School Susan Westerberg Prager to sign the partnership agreement between the two schools.

Amidst the Art Decco splendor of Los Angeles’ historic Bullocks Wilshire building, now home to Southwestern Law School, California State University, Northridge faculty and staff members on Nov. 18 celebrated CSUN’s new partnership with the law school that will put interested Northridge students on a fast track to a law degree.

Beginning in the fall of 2014, CSUN students will be able to enroll in an accelerated multiple-degree program through which students can earn both their Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degrees in six years, rather than the usual seven.

Students participating in the 3+3 B.A./J.D. Program will have their first year of law school count as the fourth year of their undergraduate education. Students admitted to Southwestern through the program will receive the $10,000 Wildman/Schumacher entering-student scholarships, which may be renewable in subsequent years depending on academic performance. CSUN started recruiting students for the program this year. The initial enrollment is expected to be up to 35 students drawn from any department on the Northridge campus.

“I am pleased CSUN is partnering with Southwestern to give students who are committed to pursuing a career in law an opportunity to get a head start on achieving their goal,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison, who spoke at the event along with Harry Hellenbrand, CSUN’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Stella Theodoulou, CSUN’s dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “It is another example of CSUN’s commitment to find innovative ways to help students advance, and I am grateful to the staff at both institutions who made this program a reality.”

“CSUN and Southwestern are two incredible institutions that are known for their diversity in both their curriculum and their student body,” said Stephanie Peatman ’07 (Family and Consumer Science), managing editor of the Southwestern Journal of International Law. “This joint program will provide students with an innovative opportunity to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals quickly without losing any quality or substance of a typical undergraduate or legal degree.”

Southwestern Dean Austen Parrish said the program provides his institution “with another important avenue for encouraging promising undergraduate students from a wide range of backgrounds to pursue a legal education at Southwestern.”

“This is a natural partnership for our two schools, both having long-held extensive connections to Southern California,” Parrish said. “It is notable that there are more CSUN graduates serving in the Los Angeles-area judiciary than from any other undergraduate institution — a heritage that is similar to Southwestern’s. CSUN also sponsors an extensive judicial internship program for students with the L.A. County Superior Courts, as does Southwestern.”

Theodoulou, who was instrumental in creating the program, called the partnership a “truly a wonderful path for our students who know early on that they wish to pursue graduate education in law.”

“A CSUN-Southwestern program is a significant extension of both institutions’ commitment to providing our students with a relevant educational experience so that they are competitive members of the region’s workforce and future leaders of California,” she said.

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