Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

USC Is First Top 25 Law School To Offer Required Course On Race, Racism, And The Law

USC Gould to Offer Unique Required Course Focusing on Race in Legal System:

USC Logo (2021)The racial reckoning of 2020, from the Movement for Black Lives to the ravages of COVID-19, brought home to the USC Gould School of Law the continuing salience of race in the legal system and in society. Faculty, students and administrators joined together to take concrete anti-racist actions in the law school community. As a centerpiece of that effort, the USC Gould School has developed Race, Racism and the Law, a unique required course for JD students, starting next academic year, for the Class of 2024. 

“The Black Lives Matter protests as well as the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others all had an impact on our students and faculty. This moment requires that we ask about our obligations to the legal community, to society, and to the world writ large,” says Professor and Vice Dean Franita Tolson, who co-chaired the Academic Affairs subcommittee charged with developing the course. “The course will help students recognize that their obligation as lawyers, regardless of their specialty, is to understand that law does not always operate equally — that race is an enduring part of the legal profession and our everyday lives.”

USC Gould is the first of the top 25 law schools in the nation to add a required course on race and racism to its curriculum.

“It’s nice to be a trailblazer,” says Professor Ariela Gross, who also co-chaired the subcommittee. “A lot of schools are considering this. Colleagues at many other law schools have been contacting me because they are coming up with proposals. I won’t be surprised to see other schools making announcements about similar courses in the spring.”

Update:  Karen Sloan (, Law Schools Walk the Walk on Antiracism

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