University of California, Irvine

School of Law

About the school

School of Law

UCI's School of Law is the first public law school in California in nearly 50 years. Fulfilling a longstanding vision of the campus, the school opened its doors to its first class of 60 law students in 2009. Today, the UCI Law community includes more than 50 full-time faculty members and over 400 students.

UCI Law is an innovative and visionary law school focused on training talented and passionate lawyers. It is driven by academic excellence, intellectual rigor and a commitment to enrich communities through public service. From the outset, its goal has been to create one of the top law schools in the country and to prepare students for the practice of law at the highest levels of the profession. The school combines the best of a large and renowned academic institution with a collegial, supportive and friendly environment.

Law faculty members are accomplished thought leaders from around the country with a broad range of expertise. The school's curriculum is innovative, challenging and hands-on with an emphasis on strategic problem-solving. Clinical education is a cornerstone of the experience at UCI Law. Each student is required to participate in a clinic and many students engage in pro bono work. Since opening our doors, 92 percent of UCI Law students have provided more than 60,000 hours of pro bono legal services for the poor and underserved – locally and beyond.

Students develop practical legal skills through public interest work in core clinics including appellate litigation; community and economic development; criminal justice; domestic violence; environmental law; immigrant rights; intellectual property, arts, technology; and international justice. The school also offers elective clinics in topics such as fair employment and housing rights; civil rights litigation; international human rights; reproductive justice; and startup and small business issues.

The School of Law also is highly interdisciplinary, with many faculty members holding joint appointments across the campus. Students can take courses in other fields and can earn joint degrees in almost any area. A robust array of programs complements the school's curriculum including speaker series and a myriad of student organizations.

The school received its founding gift from the Donald Bren Foundation to endow 10 faculty chairs and a dean's chair. It also received generous support from the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation and Mark P. Robinson Jr.

The school was granted full accreditation from the American Bar Association in June 2014.

L. Song Richardson, Dean

L. Song Richardson was appointed dean of the University of California, Irvine School of Law, effective Jan. 1, 2018. Richardson has been a member of the faculty at UCI Law since 2014 and serves as Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs since 2016. She received a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A., cum laude, from Harvard University in Psychology. With a Joint Appointment in Criminology, Law & Society, Richardson teaches and writes in the areas of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Law and Social Science. She serves on the Faculty Advisory Board for the Center on Law, Equality and Race and is also a Faculty Affiliate for the Center for Biotechnology & Global Health Policy. Richardson is a member of the American Law Institute, the country’s leading independent organization made up of elected judges, academics, and practitioners which publishes works to clarify and improve the law. She is also the 2011 recipient of the American Association of Law School’s Derrick Bell Award, which recognizes a junior faculty member’s extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice through mentoring, teaching, and scholarship. Her article titled, “Police Efficiency and the Fourth Amendment,” was selected as a “Must Read” by the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. Her co-edited book, “The Future of Criminal Justice in America,” was published by Cambridge University Press. Richardson frequently presents her work at academic symposia, non-academic legal conferences, and is frequently invited to speak across the country for judges, prosecutors, public defenders, police officers and private industry.

Richardson’s interdisciplinary research uses lessons from cognitive and social psychology to study criminal procedure, criminal law and policing. Her scholarship has been published by law journals at Yale, Cornell, Northwestern, Southern California, and Minnesota, among others.   


UCI Law is No. 7 among public universities and No. 23 overall in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of Best Law Schools. U.S. News & World Report also ranks UCI Law:

  • No. 3 among public, No. 7 overall for Clinical Training
  • No. 8 for Tax Law
  • No. 14 for Legal Writing
  • No. 19 for Intellectual Property Law

UCI Law faculty and programs also rank highly in other prominent lists.

  • No. 1 graduate tax program on the West Coast and No. 5 nationwide (TaxProf Blog)
  • No. 3 in the country among all law schools in community service hours per student. (National Jurist survey)
  • No. 4 in the nation for practical training, with an A+ grade, one of only 10 law schools nationally to receive top honors. (preLaw magazine)
  • No. 8 in the nation for federal clerkships, No. 2 in the state of California. (Excess of Democracy)
  • A vast majority of UCI Law students rate their overall educational experience as “Excellent,” and report developing clearer career goals and acquiring job-related knowledge at a significantly better rate than the national average. (Law School Survey of Student Engagement – LSSSE)
  • No. 12 in the nation in faculty scholarly impact. Seven individual faculty members are among the most cited in their fields including Intellectual Property & Cyberlaw, Tax Law, Health Law, Election Law, Antitrust, Law & Social Science, and International Law & Law Securities. (Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports)
  • Listed as one of the best law schools for diversity (A- ranking). (preLaw magazine)
  • Listed as the No. 23 top go-to law school. (
  • No. 23 in the nation in percentage of Class of 2017 obtaining "Elite" jobs. (

Centers and Institutes

UCI School of Law centers and institutes provide in-depth impact by forging interdisciplinary partnerships with leaders from around the world. These include:

  • Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
  • Center for Empirical Research on the Legal Profession
  • Center on Globalization, Law, and Society
  • Center for Land, Environment, and Natural Resources
  • Center on Law, Equality and Race
  • Center in Law, Society and Culture
  • UCI Center for Legal Philosophy
  • UCI Center for the Study of Cannabis
  • Civil Justice Research Initiative
  • Competition, Antitrust Law, and Innovation Forum (CALIF)
  • UCI Cybersecurity Policy & Research Institute
  • UCI Initiative to End Family Violence
  • Korea Law Center
  • The Long U.S.-China Institute
  • Student Loan Law Initiative