San Diego, CA
California Western School of Law, founded in 1924, had evolved over the years into a significant laboratory of innovative legal education. Unfortunately, potential students didn’t know this. Neither did potential employers of graduates. Grad school ratings, often driven by inappropriate comparisons and uninformed peer assessments, didn’t reflect California Western’s quality nor its dynamic idealism.
The common thread for California Western: “creative problem solving.” The school’s multidimensional understanding of law and society, as expressed by this phrase, is not a narrow discipline or technique, but the key to its values and strengths. The phrase itself, overused and not well understood by external audiences, did not register in CRANE quantitative research; solving this communication problem was crucial.
Through a Latin play on words, we posited California Western’s own definition of success, independent of the ratings race. Latin phrases lex lata (what the law is) and lex ferenda (what the law ought to be), drawn from Theodor Mommsen’s history of Roman jurisprudence, express California Western’s grounding in the foundations of law. Mommsen asserts that lawyers must concern themselves with what the law is and ought to be; we extended this inquiry to include lex schola ferenda (what law school ought to be).
Panoramic-format messages challenge readers to reflect: “What is the law?” “What is a lawyer?” “What is law school?”–seeding the dialogue with California Western’s wider, more nuanced understandings and always ending with an invitation to prospects to seek the best possible outcome in the widest possible sense.
Contrary to roller-coaster competitor numbers, California Western has enjoyed an improved public image, robust enrollments, and continuously improving yields over the years of this program. Now, the enhanced school has tapped CRANE to assist with public education concerning a potential merger with UCSD.