Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Thomas Jefferson School of Law
Established 1969
School type Private, Non-profit
Dean Rudolph Hasl
Location San Diego, CA, US
Enrollment 650 Full-time; 240 Part-time (approx.)[1]
Faculty 103 Full-time and adjunct[2]
USNWR ranking Rank not published[2]
Bar pass rate 48% (ABA profile)
Annual tuition Full-time: $38,700
Part-time: $27,000[2]
Website Thomas Jefferson School of Law
ABA profile Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Thomas Jefferson School of Law, or TJSL, is an independent law school in San Diego, California. It offers a Juris Doctor, and three Master of Laws programs, including one that is exclusively online,[3] as well as a combined J.D./M.B.A. with San Diego State University. Its law program is accredited by the American Bar Association.



The Thomas Jefferson School of Law was originally founded in 1969 as the San Diego campus of the for profit Western State University College of Law and operated as such until 1995. It became independent in 1995 and received provisional accreditation from the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1996.[4] It was given full ABA accreditation in 2001[5] and joined the Association of American Law Schools in 2008.[6]

In January 2011, TJSL opened a new campus located in the East Village district of downtown San Diego. The campus is an eight-story 305,000-square-foot (28,300 m2) building designed to comply with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building requirements; it contains classrooms, a two-story law library (containing 1,250,598 volumes), offices, collaborative work areas, cafe, bookstore, and a legal clinic.[7][8][9][10][11] A variety of fossils found during construction, including mammoth and whale bones, which were donated to the San Diego Natural History Museum.[11][12]


The program offers Master of Laws (LL.M.), JSM and JSD "Doctor of Laws or Juridical Science" degrees. Certificate Programs in International Financial Centers, United States Taxation, E-commerce, Anti-Money Laundering & Compliance, and Trusts and Estate Planning are available.[13] Faculty for the program are generally part time and populated with industry professionals from around the globe.[14]

The program works with the Royal Society of Fellows, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, the American Academy of Financial Management, the International Legal Business Society, and other reputable organizations around the globe.[citation needed]


Students begin classes in January or August, attend the three-year, full-time program or the four-year, part-time program, and accelerate graduation one semester by taking additional classes during the summer. Day and evening classes are offered.

TJSL was listed with a "B+" in the March 2011 "Diversity Honor Roll" by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students.[15]

Post-graduation employment

Based on the most recent American Bar Association Data, 86.4% of Thomas Jefferson Law graduates were employed 9 months after graduation.[1]

In January 2011, a New York Times article about the inability of many recent law school graduates to get jobs discussed Thomas Jefferson's claim that 92% of the class of 2009 was employed within nine months of graduation.[16] The school's claim was based on a survey of the class of 2009. However, 25% of 2009 graduates who did not participate in the survey were counted as employed.[16] In the New York Times article, the school's Associate Dean for Student Affairs attributed the average debt level to the school's admittance of immigrants and those who are the first in their familty to attend law school - people who are statistically more likely to lack individual or family resources.[16]

U.S. News & World Report has reported that the average Thomas Jefferson student graduates with $131,800 in debt and 95% of students graduate in debt.[17]

May 2011 class action lawsuit against TJSL

On May 26, 2011, TJSL graduate Anna Alaburda filed a class action complaint[18] against the school for unfair business practices, false advertising, fraud, violation of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, and negligent misrepresentation, accusing the school of intentionally misrepresenting its post-graduation employment and salary statistics to attract new students. Alaburda, a graduate of New York University and an attorney admitted to the State Bar of California in 2008,[19] estimates the class size to be 2,300 students, and she seeks over $50,000,000 in damages and restitution.[20] While at TJLS, she served as the Women's Law Association President.[21] The school has filed a demurrer in the case contending, basically, that Alaburda is simply suffering buyer's remorse.[22]

Additional programs offered

Intellectual Property Fellowship Program

In 2009, TJSL initiated an Intellectual Property Fellowship Program[23] for students with undergraduate or advanced degrees in the hard sciences or engineering. The William Mitchell College of Law Intellectual Property Law Institute ranked TJLS 15th nationwide for its Intellectual Property course offerings.[24]

The TJLS Center for Law and Intellectual Property has course offerings in copyright, patent, trademark and unfair competition law as well as cyberspace law, biotechnology law and bioethics, telecommunications and media law, and sports and entertainment law.[25]

Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)

The law school has an Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)[26] which offers Continuing Legal Education credit. Programs include a Intellectual Property Career Day presented in cooperation with Thomas Jefferson’s Career Office.[27] IPLA has also presented a Patents in China event in cooperation with IP law firm.[28]

International law

The Center for Global Legal Studies[29] offers a specialized program in international law. In 2007, the Center inaugurated a summer study program at Zhejiang University College of Law in Hangzhou, China.[30] TJSL also offers a summer study program in Nice, France.

Social Justice Center

The Center for Law and Social Justice[31] is a research and teaching program in areas of public policy and law relating to civil rights, civil liberties, international human rights, and equal access to justice. Courses include traditional courses in civil rights, civil liberties, international human rights, employment law, and courses that address current issues such as gender and controlled substances law. In 2010, TJSL presented distinguished speakers whose own scholarly work relates to social justice concerns, co-sponsored by UCLA School of Law’s Critical Race Studies program, at the 10th Annual Women and the Law Conference.[32]

Graduate Tax LLM Program

The "Diamond Law School Graduate Tax LLM Program - Online" was founded in 1998, by Professor William H. Byrnes.[33] The curriculum includes International Taxation, Offshore Financial Centres, anti-money laundering, wealth management, compliance (regulation) and E-commerce.[34] The Diamond program offers the degrees of LL.M., JSM, and a research doctorate JSD. Courses are taught by full- and part-time instructors.[35]

Notable people


  • Roger T. Benitez '78 – Federal Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California
  • Bonnie Dumanis '76 – First openly gay or lesbian DA in the country.[36] Also the first Jewish woman DA in San Diego
  • Duncan Hunter '76 – Republican member of the House of Representatives from California's 52nd, 45th and 42nd districts from 1981 to 2009 and 2008 presidential candidate
  • Jessica King '01 - Wisconsin professor and state senator-elect
  • Lillian Lim '77 – Former California Superior Court Judge and the first Filipina judge in the U.S.


See also


  1. ^ a b "Thomas Jefferson School of Law". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "U.S. News & World Report, "Best Law Schools: Thomas Jefferson School of Law"". Retrieved April 14, 2011. 
  3. ^ "How to enroll in America’s first LLM Program".
  4. ^ "ABA Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  5. ^ LSAC Official Guide
  6. ^ AALS Member Schools
  7. ^ TJSL Groundbreaking
  8. ^ "About the Central Library Project in Downtown San Diego" at Support My Library
  9. ^ TJSL New Campus
  10. ^ "Local Law School's New Campus To Open Tuesday Thomas Jefferson School Of Law Is Relocating From Old Town". New 10 Now. 19 January 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Sloan, Karen. "Thomas Jefferson Law unveils new home — on site of 300,000-year-old fossils", National Law Journal, 18 January 2011.
  12. ^ Powell, Ronald W. "Dig yields another big find", San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Advanced Diploma and Certificate Law Programs"
  14. ^ "LLM and JSD Faculty"
  15. ^ Larsen, Rebecca (March 2011), "Most Diverse Law Schools (Diversity Honor Roll)", The National Jurist (San Diego, California: Cypress Magazines) 20 (6): 30–37, 
  16. ^ a b c (1/08/11) Is Law School a Losing Game? The New York Times
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ San Diego Superior Court Register of Actions (Case No. 37-2011-00091898-CU-FR-CTL)
  19. ^ California State Bar Membership Records, Anna Alburda
  20. ^ Alaburda v TJSL Complaint at LawSchoolTransparency
  21. ^ Rep. Susan Davis at TJSL at TJSL website
  22. ^ TJSL Demurrer
  23. ^ Intellectual Property Fellowship Program
  24. ^ William Mitchell College of Law Intellectual Property Law Institute
  25. ^ Center for Law and Intellectual Property
  26. ^ Intellectual Property Law Association (IPLA)
  27. ^ First Annual IP Career Day
  28. ^ Patents in China
  29. ^ Center for Global Legal Studies
  30. ^ "China Summer Program – Zhejiang University Law School"
  31. ^ Center for Law and Social Justice
  32. ^ 10th Annual Women and the Law Conference
  33. ^ "Advanced Diploma and Certificate Law Programs"
  34. ^ "Online LLM White Paper PDF"
  35. ^ "LLM and JSD Faculty"
  36. ^ Broder, John M. (2002-11-13). "In a First, a Lesbian Is Elected District Attorney in San Diego". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  37. ^ "Marjorie Cohn | Thomas Jefferson School of Law". Retrieved 2010-09-03. 

External links

32°42′37.59″N 117°09′15.83″W / 32.7104417°N 117.1543972°W / 32.7104417; -117.1543972Coordinates: 32°42′37.59″N 117°09′15.83″W / 32.7104417°N 117.1543972°W / 32.7104417; -117.1543972

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