Frequently Asked Questions


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Is Monterey College of Law accredited?
What degree will I receive?
What does the program cost?
Will my tuition increase while I am attending MCL?
Can I keep my job while attending MCL?
Upon receiving the J.D. degree, can I take the bar exam or practice law in other states?
Upon receiving the M.L.S. degree, can I take the bar exam?
What are the prerequisites for attending MCL?
Is financial aid available?
What is MCL’s Non Discrimination Policy?
How do I apply to MCL?
Where are classes held?
Do I have to wait until I take the LSAT before I apply to law school?
How long is the program?
Who are my Professors?
How large are the classes?
Who attends MCL?
Must I pay the entire year in advance?
What should I include in my personal statement?
If I have less than 60 semester units of college, can I still get into the J.D degree program?
What LSAT score and GPA must I have to be considered for admission to MCL?
What type of career can I have if I receive my J.D. but choose not to practice law?
What’s my next step?


Is Monterey College of Law accredited?top

Yes. Monterey College of Law has been continuously accredited for more than 25 years by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Monterey College of Law is not seeking American Bar Association approval.


What degree will I receive?top

Depending on the degree program in which you are enrolled, you will either be awarded a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (J.D.) upon completion of 86 units or a Master’s of Legal Studies degree (M.L.S) upon completion of 36 units. In order to practice law in California , you must complete the J.D. degree program and pass the California Bar Examination.


What does the program cost?top

Monterey College of Law’s affordability makes law school truly within your grasp. At the 2011 rate of $700 per unit, the tuition total is $60,2000 for the J.D. degree and $25,200 for the M.L.S. degree. Tuition for each year will vary based upon the number of units actually taken. Books and materials are approximately $1000 per year and registration fees are approximately $610 per year.  Please contact Dean LaRiviere (wlariviere@montereylaw.edu or 831-582-4000) for pricing on the LLM degree.


Will my tuition increase while I am attending MCL?top

Monterey College of Law has a policy of protecting students from tuition increases during their course of study. As long as a student remains continuously enrolled in good academic standing at Monterey College of Law, their tuition rate per semester unit will not increase. This unique policy by the MCL Board of Trustees allows MCL law students to estimate the entire cost of their law degree (excluding books and materials) at the time of their initial enrollment.


Can I keep my job while attending MCL?top

Yes. Most of our students have work and/or family responsibilities and attend law school at night.


Upon receiving the J.D. degree, can I take the bar exam or practice law in other states?top

Most states other than California may require a degree from an American Bar Association accredited school or approval from an examining committee as a prerequisite to taking their bar examination. Monterey College of Law is not seeking accreditation from the American Bar Association. 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 law outside of California should contact the admitting authority in that jurisdiction for information regarding its education and admission requirements.


Upon receiving the M.L.S. degree, can I take the bar exam?top

No. The M.L.S. degree is not a replacement for a law degree, does not entitle an individual to practice law or hold him/herself out as a lawyer, and does not qualify the holder to sit for a bar exam.


What are the prerequisites for attending MCL?top

The prerequisites for admission are:

  1. Bachelor’s or higher degree; or
  2. Associate of Arts or Associate of Sciences degree; or
  3. 60 semester or 90 quarter units of undergraduate studies acceptable toward a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution; and
  4. A satisfactory score on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). (Not required for M.L.S degree)


Is financial aid available?top

Yes, private educational loans and scholarships are available. Contact Assistant Dean, Wendy LaRiviere at 831-582-4000 for additional information.


How do I apply to MCL?top

There are four easy steps to complete your admissions file for review by the MCL Admissions Committee:

  1. Complete the Application for Admission (found on our web site). Use the appropriate application for either the J.D degree or the M.L.S degree programs.
  2. Send the completed application, personal statement and application fee to MCL.
  3. Register for, and take, the Law School Admissions Test, if you have not taken it within the last five years. MCL will obtain the results of your test directly from L.S.A.C. (Not required for M.L.S degree application.)
  4. Arrange to have official transcripts for all academic college work sent directly to the MCL Admissions Office.

Note: J.D. degree applicants are not required to provide letters of recommendation but they can be helpful to your admission to MCL. M.L.S degree applicants must provide two letters of recommendation.  Please have such letters sent directly to the Admissions Office, Monterey College of Law, 100 Col Durham Street, Seaside, CA 93955.


What is MCL’s Non Discrimination Policy?top

Monterey College of Law admits students without regard to race, age, sex, creed, color, physical handicap, religion, sexual preference, national or ethnic origin.

Where are classes held?top

Monterey College of  Law provides entering students with the choice of starting law school at its main campus in Seaside, California or its first-year program held in Santa Cruz, California.  Both first-year programs offer the same curriculum and are taught by members of the MCL law faculty.  Upon completion of the first-year (Fall, Spring and Summer Semesters), the two sections are combined and all remaining classes are held at the main campus in Seaside.  The qualifications, deadlines, and admissions process for the Seaside and Santa Cruz first-year programs are the same.

Do I have to wait until I take the LSAT before I apply to law school?top

No. For either the J.D. or M.L.S degree, the process starts with the receipt of your application, personal statement and the application fee. Send it first!


How long is the program?top

Monterey College of Law is a part-time, evening program for working adults. Students attend classes during Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, with breaks between each semester. Classes are held Monday through Thursday, from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. For the J.D program, students attend classes on an average of three nights per week for four years. M.L.S students can complete their degree in two years.  For details, see the Academic Calendar. In certain cases, an extended-duration program may be allowed.


Who are my Professors?top

MCL’s faculty consists of experienced attorneys and judicial officers who are able to bring their practical experience to the classroom. Many have taught at MCL for over 20 years; each is an integral part of the legal community our graduates will be joining. Our professors emphasize legal theory, training in legal skills, and professional responsibility.


How large are the classes?top

Small classes of 40 students or less encourage lively discussion of a wide range of viewpoints, personal attention and accessibility to faculty.


Who attends MCL?top

Men and women of all ages, backgrounds, careers and life experiences attend MCL. Our current student body ranges in age from 22 to 60 years. Most of our students have work or family responsibilities during the day and attend law school at night. We encourage students from a large variety of backgrounds to attend MCL.


Must I pay the entire year in advance?top

Annual tuition and fees are due in full at the time of registration. For those students in need of additional flexibility in paying their tuition and fees, MCL provides a tuition installment program (“TIP”). Under the TIP program, students are allowed to pay the annual amount due in monthly installments. A TIP enrollment form will be available during registration.


What should I include in my personal statement?top

Think of your personal statement as a written interview before the Admissions Committee. Since we limit the number of students invited to join each first year class, you’ll want to inform the Committee of the unique attributes that will make you a good law student. While grade point average and LSAT score (for J.D applicants) are important, each application is considered on its own merits. Factors such as your life experience, maturity, volunteer history, how you’ve prepared for the rigors of studying law, and how you’ve overcome life’s obstacles will all demonstrate to the Committee your level of commitment and interest in law.


If I have less than 60 semester units of college, can I still get into the J.D degree program?top

Yes, you can enter as a “Special Student” with less than two years or 60 semester units or 90 quarter units of undergraduate studies, if you meet the following prerequisites:

  1. Pass the applicable College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests with a minimum score of 50.
  2. Take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and receive a score thats reflects a strong analytical and deductive reasoning ability.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation.

NOTE: Special Students must pass the First Year Law Student’s Examination  (FYLSX) taken at the end of your first year of law school.


What LSAT score and GPA must I have to be considered for admission to MCL?top

Monterey College of Law expects applicants to have a strong desire to study law and a solid academic background. As an opportunity law school, we look at each applicant individually to evaluate whether their unique background indicates that they have the requisite skills and interests to be successful in the study of law. Previous academic record, LSAT scores, employment history, and life experience all play a role in our evaluation. Grades and test scores are considered in the broader context of the applicant’s personal information. Two of the major differences between MCL and traditional, large American Bar Association law schools (ABA) are that we accept a broader range of students and do not place as high a priority on standardized LSAT test scores for admission decisions.


What type of career can I have if I receive my J.D. but choose not to practice law?top

While most of our students take the California Bar Exam in order to enter the practice of law, many of our graduates have chosen to use their legal education in their current careers, such as real estate, financial planning, insurance, human resources, business, government, and politics.


What’s my next step?top

The next step for potential applicants is to submit an application, or contact Dean of Admissions and Placement, Wendy LaRiviere at (831)582-4000 or wlariviere@montereylaw.edu . You are encouraged to meet with her in person or talk with her by phone to discuss specific situations and answer questions about the application process.