California Western School of Law

An attorney in private practice in Orlando, Florida, Kristin Swanson-Mace primarily defends employers and insurance companies in workers’ compensation cases. Kristin Swanson-Mace earned her bachelor’s degree from Providence College, and her juris doctor from the California Western School of Law in San Diego.

Established in 1924, the California Western School of Law began training lawyers as the Balboa Law College in San Diego, California. It was chartered by Leland Ghent Stanford, who was no relation to the Leland Stanford who founded Stanford University. The school expanded to include undergraduate and graduate programs in other disciplines, and became Balboa University. Ironically, the law school closed in 1946, but reopened in 1952 in Point Loma after Balboa University established an affiliation with the Southern California Methodist Conference and became California Western University.

In 1975, two years after it relocated to its current campus in downtown San Diego, California Western Law School became an independent secular law school, ending its affiliation with the university. It currently serves about 780 students in a variety of programs, including the traditional juris doctor, master of laws programs in English and in Spanish, an LLM and master of comparative law for foreign lawyers, and several joint degrees, such as a JD/MBA, offered in partnership with area universities.

In addition to its academic offerings, California Western is well known for its advocacy in using the law to solve human and social problems. In 1999, it opened the California Innocence Project, dedicated to identifying wrongly convicted individuals and securing their release from prison. The project annually reviews more than 2,000 claims of innocence and manages to get many innocent people released from prison.