UCLA School of Law welcomed an outstanding class of 501 new students at its annual convocation ceremony on August 18. The group of new students includes 298 members of the J.D. Class of 2020; 202 students pursuing an LL.M., or master of laws degree; and one candidate for an S.J.D., or legal doctorate.
The J.D. students, chosen from more than 5,400 applicants, come from 111 undergraduate schools in 31 states and four foreign countries. California residents make up 63 percent of the incoming class. Forty percent are students of color and 51 percent are women. Their average age is 25.
The median LSAT score for incoming J.D. students is 167, the same as the Class of 2019. The median GPA is 3.76, slightly higher than that of the previous class.
The new students begin law school having already notched many impressive accomplishments. Among them are several entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses; four Fulbright scholarship winners; former employees of the White House, U.S Supreme Court and other key government agencies; staff members and volunteers with the NAACP, the Nature Conservancy, the World Bank and numerous other organizations; competitive swimmers, water polo athletes and rugby players; journalists, artists and a star of the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys. One commanded a company of 50 soldiers in the U.S. Army, and another led U.S. and Afghan forces on more than 90 counter-insurgency missions as a first lieutenant in the Army.
Professor Sherod Thaxton
Incoming members of the one-year LL.M. program include attorneys from 33 countries who earned their law degrees at top institutions in France, Sweden, China, Turkey and many other nations. Overall, 42 percent of the class comes from East Asia, 28 percent hails from Europe and 14 percent is from Latin America. While they are at UCLA Law, roughly three-quarters of the new LL.M. students plan to specialize in business law or media, entertainment and technology law. Others will focus on international and comparative law, public interest law, critical race studies, and law and sexuality.
Many LL.M. students are already accomplished legal professionals who have worked at leading international law firms and companies including Freshfields, Latham & Watkins, Shell, Samsung and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Several have served in key positions in the governments of Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Germany. They include judges from Japan and South Korea. Three are Fulbright scholars. Two are active-duty JAGs in the U.S. Marine Corps, and one is a former member of the U.S. Navy JAG Corps. In addition, two lawyers from South Africa arrive as Health and Human Rights Fellows who will study public interest law, and two fellows from Colombia will specialize in critical race studies.
The convocation ceremony capped a week-long orientation program for new students, which included instruction on legal research and other academic skills, networking opportunities and social activities.
Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin
"This incoming class is among the finest ever to enter UCLA Law," said UCLA Law Dean Jennifer L. Mnookin. "We could not be more excited to welcome these students into our community and prepare them to be leaders in law, government, business and society."