Prior to 1983 there was no law school north of Sacramento serving Yuba, Sutter, Colusa, Butte, Shasta and other Northern California counties and residents of these counties were obliged to commute long distances on a daily basis to earn a law degree. To solve the travel burden a number of civic minded attorneys and judges founded Cal Northern School of Law in Chico, California. After only 9 years in operation, Cal Northern was accredited by the California State Bar and retains that accreditation to this day.
The founders of Cal Northern were also concerned that the cost of a legal education had become prohibitive for many students and that attending law school was not feasible for those who were obliged to continue with their employment. To address these concerns the school has kept the tuition rates to a minimum and offers a four year evening class curriculum so that individuals can earn a J.D. degree while still working.
Since its inception the school’s Faculty Advisory Committee has selected instructors primarily from the bench and the bar of the surrounding area who have demonstrated expertise in the subjects they will teach. It was the founders’ belief that active trial lawyers and judges are uniquely qualifed to offer their students a legal education that is experience based and practical as well as theoretical, and that they are best able to keep their students apprised of the lates changes in the law.
Throughout the four year program at Cal Northern students are required to take the substantive and procedural courses mandated by the State Bar, however, exposure to the day to day application of the law is also emmphasized. Students are offered a wide range of electives during their third and fourth years which are designed to broaden their legal perspective and to better prepare them to be competent advocates upon being licensed to practice.
To provide excellent, affordable legal education to residents of the North State.
Cal Northern School of Law seeks to provide an affordable quality legal education to students that is both practical and well-grounded in legal theory. Through a part-time evening law program, students can maintain their employment and be near their families while studying the law. Taught by judges, lawyers and other professionals, the Law School’s curriculum is designed to expose students to the day-to-day application of the law and to prepare them to pass the California Bar Examination and be ethical successful members of the legal profession.
The mission is the foundation and guiding principle of all Cal Northern’s practices, policies and objectives:
Men and women who pursue a legal career have attained special knowledge and professional skills, and they bear a special responsibility to their clients, their associates, their communities and the fair administration of justice. Cal Northern School of Law seeks to prepare students to competently and responsibly fill the many roles performed by members of the legal profession. We seek tograduate well-rounded persons who possess legal knowledge, skill, imagination and good judgment.
The degree of Juris Doctor is achieved upon the successful completion of the four year course of study. Cal Northern instructors use both the casebook and traditional Socratic method of instruction, together with lecture materials which expand upon the cases and enlighten students as to future rulings expected.
Acquiring a legal education calls for much more than learning substantive rules of law. Law students must also learn how to apply law in the context of litigation, arbitration, mediation and counseling. Solving problems in those contexts requires incisive analysis, creative thinking, effective communication, and skills of interviewing, fact gathering, research advocacy, negotiations and judging.
Cal Northern seeks to train students in learning these skills by instructors who are highly skilled practitioners in the private and public sector of law as well as judges well known for their expertise in certain areas of the law.
Cal Northern School of Law maintains a working library, containing more than 8,500 volumes, that is available to students, alumni, faculty and attorneys, seven days a week. Students have access to computer database resources for state of the art computer assisted legal research. Students also have access to the Butte County Law Library which is located in the City of Oroville, 23 miles from Cal Northern and the California State University, Chico Law Library located in downtown Chico approximately 6 miles from Cal Northern.
Cal Northern School of Law acknowledges its legal and ethical duty to afford equal treatment and opportunity to all persons and thus complies with all applicable laws and regulations that promote nondiscrimination and equal opportunity. It admits students without regard to age, sex, race, religion, physical disability or medical condition, sexual preference, national ancestry, ideology, marital or family status, military or veteran status, or political affiliation to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded to students at the School. It prohibits discrimination against its employees, students and applicants on any of these bases in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies or other School-administered programs. Harassment and sexual harassment are also prohibited. The School of Law also bars retaliation against any employee, student or applicant who files a discrimination complaint against the faculty and/or administration.
Since its foundation, Cal Northern School of Law has been committed to diversity within its educational programs and the legal profession. It strives to foster an environment of mutual respect and inclusion in which all individuals are valued for who they are and what they can contribute as members of the student body and later, as members of professional communities that promote cultural awareness, freedom from bias and appreciation of diversity. The School of Law’s graduates have helped expand the diversity in the local bar and bench. Further, the School of Law is committed to preparing its graduates to competently and responsibly fill the many roles performed by members of the legal profession and other careers in a diverse society. Where appropriate, course content considers issues related to individual and cultural differences so students will develop the skills necessary to enable them to provide professional services to individuals of diverse backgrounds. In keeping with this commitment, the faculty also convey attitudes respectful of individual and cultural differences.
Faculty Academic Freedom-Academic freedom includes the freedom to lawfully express opinions, raise questions, and advocate positions in matters of academic or scholarly significance, as well as the general prerogative of an instructor to determine how to present the overall subject matter of an assigned course and the primary right to evaluate the performance of students enrolled in the course.
Academic freedom is essential to achievement of the Law School’s mission. It is Cal Northern’s policy, therefore, to encourage freedom of inquiry, discourse, teaching, research and publication and to protect members of the faculty against influences that would restrict the exercise of these academic freedoms in areas of scholarly interest. Cal Northern subscribes to the principles of academic freedom formulated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) as generally summarized below, but without adopting or endorsing AAUP interpretative statements or other policies:
Student Academic Freedom-Academic freedom includes the freedom to lawfully express opinions, raise questions, and advocate positions in matters of academic or scholarly significance. Cal Northern supports academic freedom for students in academic settings, including classrooms, internship settings, and activities and events sponsored by Cal Northern. Students will be evaluated based upon the merits of their responses or performance and their subject matter knowledge, not on extraneous considerations such as their ethnicity, political views, religious beliefs, or other personal beliefs or attributes.
This Catalog is intended for the guidance of students, faculty and persons applying for admission to Cal Northern School of Law. The Catalog sets forth in general the manner in which the School intends to proceed with respect to matters set forth herein, but the School reserves the right to depart without notice from the terms of this catalog, including, but not limited to courses, tuition and fees. This Catalog is not intended to be and should not be regarded as a contract between the School and any student or other person.
Cal Northern School of Law provided me with a unique and manageable opportunity to earn my law degree while holding down a full time job and raising a family. We’re very fortunate to have this high quality night law school in Northern California.Edward Rizzuto - Class of 2007
The professors are experienced, working legal professionals – all with a passion for the law and teaching. I worked full time and attended classes in the evenings.Margaret Buchan - Class of 2009
Receiving my legal education at Cal Northern School of Law allowed me to obtain a high quality legal education, taught by practicing attorneys, while also having the freedom to work full time.Matthew Watkins - Class of 2003