History and Mission


Our History

In 1969, Ventura attorney Fred J. Olson and a group of colleagues were looking to elevate society at a time of profound social change, founding an institution that would provide affordable legal education to people from all walks of life. The Ventura College of Law—a humble suite of classrooms leased annually from the former St. Catherine’s Academy for $1—opened in time for the 1969–1970 school year, with 36 students enrolled.

Soon after, in September 1974, Santa Barbara attorney Thomas Williams had a similar vision—establishing a law school on the former University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Riviera campus. With Ventura College of Law successfully operating about 30 miles away, the two institutions merged in 1978.

Today, we have a network of powerful alumni who have made a positive impact on local businesses and nonprofits as well as the community as a whole. With Juris Doctor (J.D.) and Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) programs that combine academic rigor, convenience, affordability, and real-world practicality, we have a reputation in the community for providing students with a strong foundation in legal education.

In 2010, the Colleges of Law joined TCS Education System, a nonprofit higher education community dedicated to creating educational experiences that change the way students learn, educating them to apply their skills to bring about lasting social change.

Our Mission

The mission of The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law is to prepare leaders, for law and law-related professions, through graduate-level legal education that emphasizes academic excellence and accessibility. The Colleges seek to develop well-prepared graduates capable of integrating knowledge of legal theory, practical skills, and professional values.

Our Vision

The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law will be an accredited, professionally recognized institution of legal education with student-centered outcomes that emphasize the pursuit of excellence in legal fundamentals and preparation for professional practice.

Request More Info