Saturday Academy of Law

The Saturday Academy of Law (SAL) at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, is a program that provides ninth grade students with a unique opportunity to improve their reading, writing and critical thinking skills while learning more about the legal profession and higher education opportunities.

On six consecutive Saturdays each fall and spring semesters, ninth-graders travel to UCI Law to learn about the First Amendment in a law school setting. SAL classes are taught by a credentialed district teacher, supported by undergraduate teaching assistants and UCI Law students. In addition to the academic content, SAL students hear from various guest speakers, including Superior Court Judges, law firm attorneys from both large and small firms, government and public interest attorneys.

Photo of Brown Rudnick partner with SAL and UCI Law reps

Brown Rudnick LLP is a key supporter of SAL. Pictured, from left: Adrian Montero, teacher at Godinez High School; Cathrine Castaldi, Partner, Brown Rudnick; Krista Lopez, SAL Program Coordinator; Megan Blash, teacher at Godinez High School; Charles Cannon, Vice Dean, UCI Law; Cindy Landsiedel, Principal, Godinez High School.

At the conclusion of each session, families and supporters celebrate the students with a closing awards ceremony. More than 500 students have completed the program since it launched in 2009.

The program creates a pipeline of law school candidates who represent the diverse backgrounds and experiences of Orange County residents, with the hope that many will return to their communities to serve underrepresented populations.

The first SAL graduates started college in fall 2012, and since then a majority of SAL alumni have enrolled in four-year colleges and universities across the country, including UC Irvine. In the inaugural SAL class, 61 percent of the students immediately enrolled in postsecondary institutions. See full list of colleges and universities where SAL alumni enrolled >

Commitment to a More Diverse Legal Profession

The most recent report from the American Bar Association found that the nation’s practicing bar is not representative of the diversity in the United States. The Saturday Academy of Law was created as an opportunity to expose students from diverse backgrounds to the practice of law, and help them understand that a career as an attorney is a viable option.

With a commitment to encouraging diversity in the legal profession, UCI Law has led SAL since 2009. From the beginning, our vision has been to reach as many ninth graders as possible. We are excited about the expansion of the SAL program to include three California school districts:

  • Anaheim Union High School District
    26th largest school district serving over 31,000 students.
  • Garden Grove Unified School District
    14th largest school district serving over 46,000 students.
  • Santa Ana Unified School District
    7th largest school district serving over 56,000 students.

These three school districts, located in Orange County, represent the areas with the greatest need, highest percentages of English language learners and first generation high school students in our community. We are excited to see the positive impact this expansion will have on the new communities that it serves and the legal profession as a whole.

For Students

Application information is available here >

For UCI Students

Fulfill your Field Study requirements as a representative of UCI Law for the Saturday Academy of Law

Supporters

Learn more about supporting this program >