Santa Clara University School of Law, Santa Clara, CA

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<<Admission applications have increased dramatically over the last few years. Currently, more than 4,500 prospective students from across the country apply to fill the 320 openings each year, and nearly 40 percent are not from California. As competition increases, the average GPA and LSAT scores have also climbed. The GPA generally ranges from a 3.2 to a 3.5, and the LSAT score ranges from a 157 to a 161.

Santa Clara's growing academic reputation and popularity can be attributed in part to its High Technology and International Law Programs. The U.S. News & World Report recognized the law school's Intellectual Property Law Program as among the top five in the country.

The program, available to J.D. students, offers a variety of classes, including patent, copyright, and trademark law, as well as emerging areas like Internet law, biotechnology, technology licensing, privacy, e-commerce, and new media law. Eric Goldman, a Cyberlaw and intellectual property law expert for more than a decade, was recently appointed Head Director earlier this month.

"The High Technology Law Institute already plays an important role in the global dialogue about technology law issues, and I look forward to extending the institute's reach even further," Goldman said.

While intellectual property law is new to most schools, Santa Clara has long been a leader in the field. In fact, the student-run Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Journal was one of the first publications to focus on technology law.

The school now offers a High Tech Law Certificate as well. The Certificate in Technology Law is offered with three choices of emphasis, IP core classes, corporate issues within IP law, or international technology law. In addition, a Master of Laws Degree in Intellectual Property (LL.M. in Intellectual Property) was developed in 2001, further expanding the law school's course offerings and expertise in the field.

Since the 1990s, when the school's High Tech Law Institute was formed, an increased emphasis has been placed on international law. Students who earn a Certificate in High Technology Law with an international emphasis are offered many unique learning opportunities, largely because they are required to complete one overseas summer program.

For instance, patent law icon Donald Chisum, who published a treatise and several casebooks on the subject, teaches a summer program in Munich. The course, taught along with faculty from the Max Plank Institute, examines the European patent system. Other overseas programs are also taught at renowned universities like Sophia University in Tokyo. Students can choose from 11 different locations, including Oxford, Munich, Seoul, and Singapore.

Many professors also visit the Santa Clara campus from countries like Japan and Germany to give guest lectures about the IP laws of their respective countries.

The school also has a strong Public Interest Law Program, which allows students to learn the necessary skills for advocacy. Students have the opportunity to counsel clients in the fields of small business counseling, workers' rights, consumer/debtor issues, and immigration rights at the Santa Clara Community Law Center. Students who complete the necessary coursework in public interest law can earn a Certificate in Public Interest and Social Justice.

Law degrees may be combined with an M.B.A. or a Master's Degree in Taxation. The combined degree can be earned in four years, with certain courses counting towards both degrees. The joint degree is common among students interested in careers in corporate law, business, or consulting.

The Jesuit Catholic University is also known for its commitment to multicultural learning, and it was named one of the 10 most diverse schools in the country. The 2005 entering class alone includes students from 65 foreign countries. The school's efforts are reflected through admissions, financial aid, and career services, as well as active student organizations. The school also offers diversity programs, including the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program (PLUS), Minority Law Day, Special Admission Program, and Academic Success Program (ASP).

The school, founded in 1912, was fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1937. Donald Polden, who was named dean in 2003, earned his law degree from Indiana University School of Law. Polden served as dean at the University of Memphis Law School for 10 years before accepting his position at Santa Clara.

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