Monterey College of Law is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California to offer the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree.  The J.D is a three-to-four year (90 unit) traditional U.S. graduate law degree program designed for individuals who wish to be licensed as a California attorney.

First-Year Applicant Qualifications

Monterey College of Law seeks applicants with a solid academic record, a satisfactory score on the Law School Admission Test, and a strong desire to study law. We believe that our program is enriched by students who represent the broad diversity of our community.

  • Age range from 20′s to 60′s;
  • Undergraduate Degree (Bachelors or Associates) or successful completion of at least 60 units of college credit in an academic (non-vocational) program. In special circumstances students without 60 units of college credit may be eligible. Contact Dean of Admissions Wendy LaRiviere at wlariviere@montereylaw.edu or (831)-582-4000 ext. 1012.
  • Work experience and/or a strong academic record; and
  • A strong desire to study law.

Our goal is to identify candidates for admission who display the character and skills necessary to succeed as law students . . . and ultimately as law graduates.

Course Requirements 

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First Year Required Courses

Jurisprudence. An orientation course for entering law students. It is designed to give new students an overview of the law school, the historical and philosophical foundation of our system of law, and the methodology for the study of law. (This course is required for conditionally admitted students and optional for all other incoming students).

Contracts. This class covers enforceable agreements including requirements for the formation of a contract; problems of interpretation, consideration and its equivalent, damages for breach, the statute of frauds, illegality, and rights and liabilities of third parties arising from the contract itself or from assignment of contractual rights or delegation of duties.

Criminal Law & Procedure. Topics include substantive criminal law and elements of criminal responsibility, law of crimes against persons, property, and habitation, the theory of criminal responsibility, parties and defenses to crimes. Also covered are the procedures for indictments, arrest, bail, trial sentencing and appeals.

Torts. The historical development and nature of non-contractual civil law which allocates the economic burden of various injuries. A study of the principles of liability for physical harm under theories of negligence, intentional torts, and strict liability, including the law governing defamation, invasion of privacy and other relational harms.

Legal Writing. An introductory course designed to improve analytical and written communication skills. Students work on simple legal problems, learning how to identify and analyze legal issues and express their legal reasoning. Assignments include exercises in case briefing, exam writing and drafting legal memoranda.

Legal Research. A class to familiarize students with the basic foundations of legal research. Assignments include researching problems in the law library and researching and writing office memoranda, opinion letters and other documents. A survey of CALR tools including CD-Rom, Internet and on-line resources for legal and public records research is included.

Professional Responsibility. An examination of the lawyer’s obligation to the client, and the public. The class examines the professional rules contained in the American Bar Association Model Code and the Rules of Professional Conduct, attorney-client privilege, conflicts of interest, advertising, and legal malpractice.

Second Year Required Courses

Advanced Legal Writing. Students develop their persuasive writing skills through writing assignments involving motions, points and authorities, and declarations. This advanced class enables students to demonstrate their legal analysis and ability to advocate a position.

Civil Procedure
This course covers the rules of preparing and bringing a civil case to trial. The concepts of formation of a claim (pleadings), pretrial preparation (discovery) and the law and cases governing personal and subject matter jurisdiction and venue are introduced along with summary judgment, interpleader and res judicata.

Evidence
Both the Federal Rules of Evidence and California Statutes are used to explore the concepts of relevance, hearsay, witness competency, privileges, presumptions, burdens of proof and judicial notice.

Real Property
The historical development and current application of real property law, including the nature of estates, landlord/tenant rights and obligations, life estates, rules against perpetuities, vesting, restraints on alienation, easements, servitudes, nuisances, lateral support, regulation of land use, transfer of interest in land, financing of real estate and other traditional aspects

Appellate Writing – Summer
In this course students will continue perfecting their persuasive legal writing skills.  Legal analysis is emphasized at this stage of the student’s education.  Advocacy skills are sharpened through the use of the full range of legal writing techniques.

Third Year Required Courses

Advisory Clinic. This course is part of the Clinical Studies Program and allows students to staff the Small Claims Advisory Clinic. Students learn listening and interviewing skills, obtain a broad overview of small claims procedures, and give legal advice to actual clients in a weekly pro bono clinic setting.

Business Organizations. The law related to the formation and operation of California corporations. Detailed consideration is given to exemption provisions of the Securities Act of 1933, the proxy, anti-fraud and insider trading provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and pertinent SEC regulations. Included is an in-depth examination of the Uniform Partnership Act, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act and the formation, operation, dissolution and termination of
partnerships.

Community Property. The nature of property interests of married California residents including identifying and tracing community and separate property, management and control of marital property and liability for debts. Basic rules and procedures in the context of dissolution of marriage, annulment or legal separation are viewed and property rights of non-marital partners are covered.

Constitutional Law. A study of the United States Constitution with an emphasis on the theory and practice of judicial interpretation and review. Topics include the separation of federal powers, the relation of the federal government to the states and specific government powers (tax, treaty, war and commercial). The course also covers limitations placed on the exercise of governmental power, emphasizing the Bill of Rights, due process and equal protection clauses.

Fourth Year Required Courses

Moot Court. The Heisler Moot Court Competition gives students an opportunity to study and write about constitutional issues. Starting with drafting an appellate brief, the semester culminates in a series of hearings, where local judges hear the students’ oral arguments on each side of a current civil liberties issue. The public is invited to witness the final round of arguments by four students in front of an appellate panel of judges.

Remedies. A general survey of equity including adequacy of legal remedies, injunctions, specific performance, declaratory relief and the jurisdiction and powers of courts of equity. The course also covers the measure of damages in contracts, torts and property, and enforcement of money judgments.

Wills and Trusts. A study of California law regarding succession of property, wills and trusts.

Additional Course List

  • Administrative Law. This course covers the political and legal nature of the administrative process; legislative and executive control of administrative discretion; judicial review, its role, scope and basis; due process as to substance and process as to substance and procedure; standing and related issues; role of the Administrative Law Judge, including ex parte issues; conduct of a hearing; and access to private and public information.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution – Mediation Certification (ADR). ADR is a required course that may be taken during any semester that the course is offered. The course provides an introduction to negotiation, mediation, and arbitration skills including development of negotiation strategy and techniques. Course includes simulation exercises featuring bilateral and multilateral negotiation and mediation exercises.  Students will be introduced to basic forms of international dispute resolution, cross-cultural, language, and gender dynamics in conflict resolution. Course may serve as qualifying pre-requisite for participation in mediation clinic coordinated with the court-directed mediation program of the Monterey County Superior Court.
  • Civil Litigation. Topics include drafting pleadings, law and motion proceedings, pretrial investigation, discovery, trial preparation and participation in trial and post-trial motions. Students work on projects in all areas of civil trial practice in a seminar setting.
  • Clinical Studies Program. All students must complete at least one clinical studies program in addition to the Small Claims Clinic. The requirement may be met through participation in one of the law school”s sponsored advisory clinics, or may be completed through legal and judicial internships available to second, third and fourth year students upon approval by Director of Clinical Studies. Students also may apply for credit for an Independent Study arranged with local lawyers or legal agencies. Students are required to spend 60 hours of lawyer-like and law-related work to earn 1 unit of academic credit for internships and independent studies. All internships must be pre-approved by the Director of Clinical Studies. Forms and policies are available on this website.
  • Criminal Litigation. A series of lectures and student presentations covering the prosecution and defense of criminal cases in the California court system. Students participate as attorneys, witnesses and court personnel in the arraignment, preliminary hearing, trial, and sentencing hearing using the facts of an actual criminal case.
  • Employment Law. The legal aspects of relationships between employers and employees, emphasizing California law. An overview of “at-will” employment agreements, employment discrimination laws ( including sexual harassment), public policy and “whistle blower” claims, employment-related torts (including privacy rights), plus an overview of wage and hour, health and safety, and workers compensation laws.
  • Environmental Law. This course explores diverse topics in environmental law and policy.   It surveys different approaches to environmental protection and examines major U.S. environmental laws including National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  The course also compares California Environmental Quality Act with its federal counterpart, National Environmental Policy Act.  Guest speakers provide students with wide range of experiences and backgrounds to provide balanced discussions.
  • Family Law. Topics covered in this course are marriage and family, parent and child, termination of parental rights; adoption, marital breakdown, jurisdiction, judicial documents, domestic violence, custody; visitation, child and spousal support and settlement agreements.
  • Immigration Law. Issues addressed in this course are immigration and the Constitution, federal immigration powers, immigration categories, procedures, exclusion grounds, admission procedures, deportation and non-immigrants.
  • Intellectual Property. A survey of the laws in the field of intellectual property. This course covers issues of defining, obtaining, maintaining and enforcing patents, trade secrets, trademarks and copyrights in the United States and internationally.
  • International Law. Topics include the sources of international law, international jurisdiction, the law of treaties, international liability (of states), regulation of the use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes and the application of international law principles to current international events.
  • Land Use Planning. The course covers California and Federal statutes, regulations and relevant case law governing the judicial and administrative bodies that deal with zoning and land development problems. Special emphasis is placed on representing clients in local forums.
  • Legal Analysis. This practical course focuses on learning to write in a clear, effective and concise manner. Students are required to complete written assignments which assist them to gain sharper reasoning skills and improved techniques for legal analysis.
  • Water Law. The development of water law in California, as well as riparian, appropriative and hybrid water rights developed in western states. Issues such as ground water, public water rights, various water institutions in California, regional water sources and water quality will also be taught.
  • Workers Compensation. This course covers the concepts, nomenclature and forms used in practice before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, its administrative agencies and the California Appellate Courts.

The law school may add or delete from the additional course offerings each year based on enrollment, student preferences, and faculty availability. Most of the non-required courses are offered during the summer semester.

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