The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent


Journalist Law School


I've spoken in this program a couple of times in past years, and it strikes me as an excellent resource for journalists (and one that attracts many participants from top media organizations). I highly recommend it.

The Journalist Law School at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles is now accepting applications for its 10th-annual fellowship scheduled for May 2015. Applications for the program, which is free to journalists, are due by Feb. 16, 2015. For more information, please see the details below and at Questions? Please contact …


Applications are due by Monday, Feb. 16, 2015.

The application and other information are available at….


The challenge of reporting on the legal system without a law degree is daunting. To help support journalists who cover the courts on national, regional or local levels, the Civil Justice Program at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles has developed a journalist law program consisting of a free four-day intensive seminar on the legal system.

Loyola Law School is offering fellowships to 35 professional journalists who have a minimum of three years of experience. Fellowships cover instruction, materials, lodging and most meals, as well as one-half of travel expenses to a maximum of $300. Fellows are competitively selected by a committee of Loyola Law School professors.

Journalist Law School activities will include classes with experienced law faculty who understand deadline pressure; lectures and break-out sessions by practicing lawyers; and opportunities to meet informally with state and federal judges, other journalists and leading members of the Bar….

[Some areas that will be covered:]


The federal system; the constitutional role of the judiciary; key constitutional rights; and how the third branch functions.


Key criminal law concepts; the role of the prosecutor and grand jury; procedural protections afforded criminal defendants; important differences between civil and criminal law.


An introduction to civil law; the role of lawyers, judges and juries in deciding conflicts; the role of the civil justice system; why litigation and lawsuits are controversial.


The JLS features more than a dozen small group sessions on specialized topics suggested by fellows. Past topics have included disability rights, juvenile law, evidence, trial tactics, intellectual property, habeas corpus and election law.


* Why the Supreme Court is not the final word on most legal questions.
* The 10 most common misunderstandings about the legal system.
* Why legal "technicalities" can be a matter of life or death.
* The most frequent reasons appeals courts reverse lower courts.


* How to situate run-of-the-mill cases into a broader framework.
* Deciding whether a case is ordinary or precedent-setting.
* Honing the capacity to ask lawyers tougher questions.
* How to find new stories in or outside of the courthouse.


Classes and lectures will be held on the Loyola Law School campus in downtown Los Angeles. Fellows will be housed at the nearby Omni Los Angeles Hotel. Fellows need to arrive in Los Angeles on the morning of Wednesday, May 27, 2015 and depart on Sunday, May 30, 2015….

Some quotes praising the program, from past participants:

"This should probably be required of all journalists earlier in their careers."

"It's a program that delivers on its promise: teach journalists a better, more comprehensive understanding of the law."

"I came to the program expecting a crash course in the law and, fortunately, I got that. I really felt I was being taught by the very best legal academic minds and it both humbled me and inspired me to rededicate myself to better journalistic endeavors down the road. The payoff: accurate reporting and thus a more well-informed society."