Alexandria Petterson, SCU Law 2016 IL

Alexandria Petterson, SCU Law 2016 IL

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Santa Clara University School of Law's newest class of first-year students is a diverse, driven bunch

Aug. 22 was the first day of classes for the 246 full-time and 26 part-time new students at Santa Clara Law.

Alexandria Petterson has always liked engineering, but being a systems designer or researcher wasn’t going to satisfy her other passions -- law, writing and the humanities.

So last year, after getting her electrical engineering degree from UCLA, she was accepted at five law schools including those at UCLA, Duke University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, and Santa Clara University. But it was Santa Clara Law’s innovative engineer-to-patent-attorney program that clinched the deal for Petterson.

Under the novel program, accepted students with an engineering or computer science background receive a chance to interview at several top Bay Area tech-law firms. This year, three students landed jobs. Petterson is now working full-tme at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius as a technical specialist, and attending law school part time.

“The chance to learn on the job while also learning in class just got me,” said Petterson, who says she is getting a rare, insider view of some of Silicon Valley’s most-innovative products in her job.  Santa Clara Law’s program “is really a jumpstart program in so many ways,” she added.

Alexandria Petterson, SCU Law 2016 IL

Petterson, who hails from San Ramon, is one of the 26 part-time and 246 full-time students who began their first year of law school at Santa Clara University School of Law Aug. 22. The class is 57 percent female, and more than half of the class identifies as an ethnic minority.  

“We have been so delighted to welcome this richly diverse and multi-talented group of students to Santa Clara Law,” said Dean Lisa Kloppenberg. “We are fortunate to continue to enroll students who know what they want, and know how a law degree will advance their careers, causes, and capabilities.”

This newest class of students come from 24 states and six foreign countries including China, Mexico, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan and the UK. Sixteen of the incoming students already have advanced degrees,  eight M.S.s; six Ph.D.s; two M.A.s; and three MBAs.

About 2,100 people applied for spots in this year’s class, which has a median age of 24.  

In addition to the students seeking their J.D. degrees, another 46 new students will pursue an advanced LL.M. law degree. Forty-three LL.M. candidates hold law degrees from outside the United States, from countries including Austria, Canada, China, Finland, Israel, Japan, Lithuania, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey.

More about Santa Clara University School of Law is at



Alexandria Petterson is one of the 272 newest members of Santa Clara University School of Law's first-year class.