Dedicated Faculty, Exceptional Legal Education

About Cal Northern
School of Law

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, CA. After only nine years in operation, Cal Northern was accredited by the California State Bar and retains that accreditation to this day.
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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 qualified 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 latest 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 emphasized. 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.

Law School in Chico, CA

Our mission is 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:

  • To provide an effective and relevant curriculum and optimized learning environment to assist students in achieving their educational objectives;
  • To offer academic support to help students successfully complete their program;
  • To maintain admissions policies and programming to ensure access to qualified students who may not otherwise have an opportunity to pursue a legal education;
  • To maintain a professional and well-qualified faculty;
  • To provide students with experience in practical application of the law; and
  • To enhance and sustain the active involvement of students, alumni, faculty, administrators and members of the Board of Trustees in promoting the wellbeing of the Cal Northern community.

The Academic Community

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 to graduate 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.

Law School in Chico, CA
Law School in Chico, CA

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Law School in Chico, CA

Accreditation

Cal Northern School of Law has been accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners (“the Committee”) of the State Bar of California since 1992. The Committee is authorized by law to accredit law schools in California (“accredited law schools”) and oversee and regulate those law schools. The Committee is the degree-granting authority for law schools accredited by the Committee.

In keeping with our mission to offer an affordable quality legal education, the School of Law has not sought approval from the American Bar Association.

Cal Northern School of Law is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001. A record of the Commission’s action taken after CNSL’s Seeking Accreditation Visit 3 (SAV 3) September 4-6, 2019 may be found here:

Practicing Law in States Other Than California

Study at, or graduation from, this law school may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or be admitted to practice law in jurisdictions other than California. A student who intends to seek admission to practice outside of California should contact the admitting authority in that jurisdiction for information regarding its education and admission requirements.

California Business & Professions Code Section 6061.7(a) Disclosures

In compliance with California B&P Code Section 6061.7(a), Cal Northern provides the following information about its JD program.

Explore the 2022 Information Report.

Equal Opportunity / Non-Discrimination

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.

Commitment to Diversity
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.
Law School in Chico, CA

Academic Freedom Policies

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 the 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:

 

  1. Each faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of other academic duties; research for pecuniary return, however, should be based upon an understanding with the Law School’s Administration.
  2. Each faculty member is entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing a subject, but should be careful not to introduce teaching of controversial matter that has no relation to the faculty member’s subject.
  3. Each faculty member is a citizen and a member of a learned profession. When an instructor speaks or writes as a citizen, the writing should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but the instructor’s special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a person of learning and an institutional community member, the instructor should remember that the public might judge the instructor’s profession and the institution by the instructor’s utterances. Hence, the instructor should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinion of others, and make every effort to indicate that the teacher is not an institutional spokesperson.

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.

Reservation of Rights

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.

Faculty & Administration

Cal Northern’s professional faculty of distinguished professors are dedicated members of the legal profession, giving time and energy to better their profession and community. In support of Cal Northern’s mission to provide a legal education which is both academic and practical, our faculty all have substantial experience in the practice of law; most maintain full-time law practices and still make time to prepare and teach in the evenings. Our professors are judges, commissioners, and practicing attorneys who bring real world experience to the classroom.

Sandra L. Brooks, Dean & President

Administration

sbrooks@calnorthern.edu

Bachelor of Arts, Political Science and Psychology, California State University, Chico (1985). Master of Public Administration, California State University, Chico (1991). Cal Northern School of Law (1996) Juris Doctor. Associate Dean, Cal Northern School of Law (1999-2000). Dean, Cal Northern School of Law (2000-Present). Member State Bar of California Law School Council (2005-2008).

Michael R. Barrette

mbarrettelaw@yahoo.com

Irvine University School of Law (1979) Juris Doctor. Member of the State Bar of California, Yuba-Sutter Bar Association. Private Law Practice.

  • Real Property A/B
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Legal Writing

Jennifer E. Bennett

jbennett@calnorthern.edu

University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law (2009) Juris Doctor. Butte County District Attorney’s Office (2010-present). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Evidence A/B

Michael L. Bury

mbury@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School Law (1999) Juris Doctor. Cal Northern School of Law (1999) Juris Doctor. Law Offices of Michael L. Bury (1999-present). Member of the State Bar of California Lawyers Association Family Law Section.

  • Community Property/Family Law

Dana Campbell

dcampbell@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2017) Juris Doctor. Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate, Wills/Trusts. Tyree& Campbell LLP (2018-present). Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Cal Northern School of Law. Certified Public Accountant. Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Taxation

Sonya K. Finn

sfinn@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2016) Juris Doctor. The Law Offices of Leverenz & Finn (2017-2022). Law Office of Sonya K. Finn (2022-present).   Estate Planning, Business, Real Estate.  Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Advanced Legal Reasoning I/II

Com. Virginia L. Gingery

vgingery@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2008) Juris Doctor. Private practice. General Civil Litigation (2008-2015). Butte County Counsel (2015-2019). Butte County Superior Court Research Attorney (2019-2021). Commissioner, Butte County Superior Court (2021-present). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Legal Writing

Martha A. Gosling, Assistant to Dean / Registrar

Chance M. Hansen

chansen@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2018) Juris Doctor. Peters, Habib, McKennan, Juhl-Rhodes and Cardoza, LLP (2018-to date) Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Legal Research

Com. John K. Hinely

jhinely@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2008) Juris Doctor. Private Practice. Hinely Law (2008-2020). California Department of Housing and Community Development (2020-2022). Commissioner, Colusa, Glenn, Plumas, and Tehama Superior Courts (2022-present). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Professional Responsibility

Jonathan G. Lusher

jlusher@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2018 ) Juris Doctor. Private Law Practice. Member of the California State Bar.

  • Clinical Self-Help Center

Douglas B. Jacobs, Dean of Students

djacobs@japc-law.com

McGeorge School of Law (1978) Juris Doctor. Private Law Practice. Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Constitutional Law A/B
  • Intro to Law School and Legal Analysis
  • Debtor Creditor Law

Alan L. Mittman

amittman@calnorthern.edu

Bolt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley (1974 ) Juris Doctor. Private Law Practice, Retired. Member of the New York Bar, Retired.

  • Business Associations A/B

Jason L. Palmer

jpalmer@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2009) Juris Doctor. Private Law Practice. Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Advanced Legal Reasoning I and II

Dirk Potter

dpotter@calnorthern.edu

University of California, Davis, King Hall (1982), Juris Doctor. Private Law Practice.  Lecturer, California State University Chico (1982-2018).  Member of the State Bar of California. President, Butte County Bar Association (1999).

  • Contracts A/B
  • Employment Law

Hon. Jesus Rodriguez

jrodriguez@calnorthern.edu

U.C. Hastings College of the Law (2004) Juris Doctor. Member of the State Bar of California. Superior Court Judge, Butte County (2018-Present)

  • Trial Advocacy

Patricia A. Savage

psavage@calnorthern.edu

Santa Clara University (2003) Juris Doctor. Private Practice. Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Remedies
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alan G. Schmidt

aschmidt@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (2007) Juris Doctor.  Member of the State Bar of California. Civil practice at Chico CA law firm (2007-2011).  Attorney, California Department of Child Support Services, Butte, Glenn, Colusa, Plumas, Tehama, Lassen, Sutter and Yuba Counties (2012-2021). Professor, Cal Northern School of Law since 2008.

  • Intro to Law School and Legal Analysis
  • Legal Writing
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Advanced Legal Writing
  • Remedies

Michael T. Shepherd

mshepherd@calnorthern.edu

U.C. Hastings College of the Law (1973) Juris Doctor. Civil Litigation (1974 to present). Member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (1999-present). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Advanced Legal Writing

Sharon A. Stover, Director of Academic Support

sstover@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (1989) Juris Doctor. Deputy District Attorney, Butte County (1993-1994). Chief Deputy County Counsel, Yuba County (1994-1997). Private Law Practice (1997-2002). Director of Butte County, Department of Child Support Services (2002-2016). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Business Associations A/B
  • Contracts A/B
  • Legal Writing
  • Advanced Legal Reasoning
  • Special Studies in Civil Discovery

Erwin D. Williams

ewilliams@mlbwlaw.com

Cal Northern School of Law (1996) Juris Doctor. McKernan, Lanam, Bakke and Williams (2000-present). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Wills
  • Trusts

Martha K. Wilson, Director of Institutional Research

mwilson@calnorthern.edu

Cal Northern School of Law (1996) Juris Doctor. Private Law Practice (1996-1998). Deputy County Counsel, Yuba County (1998-2006). Human Resource Director/Risk Manager, Yuba County (2007-2015). Lecturer, California State University Chico (1982-2015). Member of the State Bar of California, Butte County Bar Association.

  • Civil Procedure A/B
  • Advanced Legal Reasoning I/II

Com. Kurt W. Worley

kworley@calnorthern.edu

U.C. Hastings College of the Law (2003) Juris Doctor. Office of the District Attorney of Butte County (2004-2020). Supervising Deputy District Attorney. Court Commissioner, Butte County Superior Court (2020-Present). Member of the State Bar of California.

  • Criminal Law A/B

Deans & Professors Emeritus

Hon. Dennis J. Buckley, Retired

John Marshall School of Law (1971) Juris Doctor. Superior Court Judge, Yuba County (1986-2013), Retired. Public Defender, Yuba County (1976-1986). Deputy District Attorney, Yuba County (1975). Member of the State Bar of California and State Bar of Illinois.

Hon. Al H. Carrion, Retired

McGeorge School of Law (1970) Juris Doctor. Judge, Colusa County Justice Courts (1977-1988), Retired. Private Law Practice. Member of the State Bar of California.

Hon. Donald K. Wahlberg (1935-2013)

Southwestern School of Law (1967) Juris Doctor. Judge, Yuba County Municipal Court (1977-1985). Private Law Practice (1985-2013). Member of the California Judges Association and the State Bar of California.
Deans & Professors Emeritus | Cal Northern School of Law

Board of Trustees

Chair

Michael W. McCrady, J.D.
Private Law Practice, Licensed California Realtor

Secretary

Teodora Cele DeLorenzo, J.D.
Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Retired
Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Information Clinic (CLIC), Retired

California State University, Chico

Members

Sally A. Anderson, J.D.
Professor, Dept. of Political Science
Internship Coordinator, Legal Studies Program
Supervising Attorney, Community Legal Information Clinic (CLIC)

California State University, Chico

Alan L. Mittman, J.D.
Professor, Cal Northern School of Law, Business Associations

Desiree J. Vance, J.D.
Private Law Practice

Honorable Tamara Wood
Judge
Shasta County Superior Court

Institutional Research

Mission

The mission of Institutional Research at CAL NORTHERN School of Law is to collect, compile and analyze data that will provide informed decision making in support of CAL NORTHERN’s overall mission. Institutional research supports the academic and operational activities of the School.

Functions

Some of the functions of Institutional Research consist of:

  • Organizing the data collection process and its ongoing maintenance and quality
  • Collect, analyze, and provide routine reports as well as ad hoc reports in support of strategic planning
  • Collect, analyze, and report summaries of academic data about CAL NORTHERN School of Law required by the federal government, accrediting agencies, and other external agencies
  • Collect, analyze, and report data in support of program review and other routine student learning outcomes assessment
  • Design, plan and administer institutional surveys to faculty, students, and staff
Law School in Chico, CA
For more information on Institutional Research, contact mwilson@calnorthern.edu or call 530-891-6900.