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UC Berkeley School of Law

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UC Berkeley School of Law

UC Berkeley School of Law
Motto Fiat lux (Latin)
Parent school University of California, Berkeley
Established 1894[1]
School type Public
Parent endowment $3.33 billion (2013)[2]
Dean Gillian Lester (Acting)
Location Berkeley, California, US
Enrollment 916[1]
Faculty 119 (Full- and part-time)[1]
USNWR ranking 9[1]
Bar pass rate 92% (ABA profile)
ABA profile UC Berkeley School of Law

The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, commonly referred to as Berkeley Law and Boalt Hall, is one of 14 schools and colleges at the University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley Law is consistently ranked as one of the top law schools in the nation, with acceptance rates lower than every school except Yale and Stanford.[3] The law school has produced leaders in law, government, and society, including: Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, Secretary of State of the United States Dean Rusk, Attorney General of the United States Edwin Meese, United States Secretary of the Treasury and Chairman of the Federal Reserve G. William Miller, Solicitor General of the United States Theodore Olson, and lead litigator of the Korematsu v. United States Civil Rights Case Dale Minami.


Boalt Hall

The Department of Jurisprudence was founded at Berkeley in 1894. In 1912, the department was renamed the School of Jurisprudence, it was again renamed as the School of Law in 1950.

The School was originally located in the center of the main UC Berkeley campus in the Boalt Memorial Hall of Law, which was built in 1911 with funds largely from Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt donated in memory of her late husband, John Henry Boalt, an attorney who had resided in Oakland, California until his death in 1901. In 1951, the School moved to its current location in the new Boalt Hall, at the southeast corner of the campus, and the old Boalt Hall was renamed Durant Hall.

In April 2008, the law school rebranded itself, through a change of name from "Boalt Hall" to "Berkeley Law", in order to more closely tie the law school's name with the campus upon which it resides. The administration hopes that this move will further increase the law school's prestige, since people will now associate it with the Berkeley campus.[4][5]


Boalt Hall's law library was expanded in 1996 with the North Addition, pictured above.

Boalt Hall has approximately 850 J.D. students, 100 students in the LL.M. and J.S.D. programs, and 45 students in the Ph.D. program in Jurisprudence and Social Policy. The School also features specialized curricular programs in Business, Law and Economics, Comparative Legal Studies, Environmental Law, International Legal Studies, Law and Technology, and Social Justice.

The JD program's admissions process is highly selective. Boalt Hall is known to value high undergraduate GPAs, perhaps even more than high LSAT scores. Consequently, Berkeley has the fourth highest 75th percentile GPA, surpassed only by Yale Law School, Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School. According to U.S. News and World Report, Boalt has the third-lowest acceptance rate among American law schools, with about 10% of applicants admitted; only Yale and Stanford have lower rates. For the class entering in the fall of 2012, 813 out of 7,027 applicants (11.6%) were offered admission, with 263 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2012 entering class were 163 and 170, respectively, with a median of 167. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.68 and 3.91, respectively, with a median of 3.81.[6]

Boalt's grading system for the JD program is unusual among law schools. Students are graded on a High Honors (HH), Honors (H), and Pass (P) scale. Approximately 60% of the students in each class receive a grade of Pass, 30% receive a grade of Honors, and the highest 10% receive a grade of High Honors; lower grades of Substandard Pass (or Pass Conditional, abbreviated PC) and No Credit (NC) may be awarded at the discretion of professors. The top student in each class or section receives the Jurisprudence Award, while the second-place student receives the Prosser Prize.

For a typical class in the JD program, the average age of admitted students is 24 years old, over a range of ages from 20 to 48 years old. Berkeley Law's tuition has increased in recent years. Currently, both in-state and non-resident tuition is costlier than the private Stanford Law School, which charges $47,460 annually. However, most out-state students may claim in-state status in their second-year-study.

The faculty of Berkeley Law also provide academic direction and the bulk of the instruction for the undergraduate program in Legal Studies, which is organized as a major in Letters and Science. The Legal Studies program is not intended as a pre-law program, but rather as a liberal arts program "that can encourage sustained reflection on fundamental values." [7]

Berkeley Law has a chapter of the Order of the Coif, a national law school honorary society founded for the purposes of encouraging legal scholarship and advancing the ethical standards of the legal profession.[8]

It is an American Bar Association approved law school since 1923.[9] It joined the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1912.[10]

Boalt Hall offers combined degree programs with other schools at the University of California, as well as MA degrees from Tufts University and Harvard University.[11]


In recent years, US News & World Report has ranked Boalt Hall as high as 6th and low as 9th in the United States.[1]

According to Brian Leiter's Law School rankings, Boalt ranks 7th in the nation in terms of scholarly impact as measured by academic citations of tenure-stream faculty.[12] In terms of student numerical quality, Boalt ranks 14th in the nation.[13]

According to The Daily Journal, 15 of the top 100 lawyers in California are Boalt alumni. Law and Politics' Super Lawyers magazine ranks Boalt as #9 in the country, just above Yale Law based on the amount of Super Lawyers it produces.[14] 890 alumni are in their list of the top 5% of peer rated attorneys for 2009.

It is listed as "A" (#5) in the January 2011 "Best Public Interest Law Schools" ratings by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students.[15]

In January, 2014 US News and World Report ranked Berkeley ninth in their overall law school rankings of all law schools in the USA.[16] Berkeley is particularly renowned for Environmental Law, including land use, sustainable development, natural resources, energy, and real estate law. US News and World Report ranked Berkeley as the third best law school in the USA for Environmental Law, and it is the only top ten law school to also be in the top ten for Environmental Law. [17] They also ranked the school fifth in the nation for International Law programs,[18] and first in the nation for Intellectual Property Law.[19]

Bar passage rates

Based on a 2001–2007 6 year average, 88.1% of UC Berkeley Law graduates passed the California State Bar.[20]

Post-graduation employment

For the graduating class of 2012, 85.9% of graduates were employed in full-time, long-term legal jobs nine months after graduation.[21] According to Boalt Hall's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 86.7% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[22] Boalt Hall's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 7.6%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[23]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Boalt for the 2013-2014 academic year is $73,933.50 for California residents and $77,884.50 for non-residents.[24] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $291,462 for residents and $296,910 for non-residents.[25]

Centers at Berkeley Law

A view of San Francisco and the Bay from Boalt Hall.
  • Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice (est. 2006)
  • Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (est. 1996)
  • Berkeley Center for Law, Business, and the Economy (est. 2004)
  • Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
  • Center for Clinical Education (est. 1998)
  • Center for the Study of Law and Society (est. 1961)
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity
  • Death Penalty Clinic (est. 2001)
  • Institute for Global Challenges and the Law
  • Institute for Legal Research (formerly the Earl Warren Legal Institute) (est. 1963)
  • International Human Rights Law Clinic (est. 1998)
  • Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs (est. 2000)
  • Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance (est. 1994)
  • Samuelson Law, Technology and Public Policy Clinic (est. 2000)
  • Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice (est. 1999)

Law Journals at Berkeley Law

Noted people


(Listed by year of graduation)


Boalt Hall in popular culture

  • Sandy Cohen, a character on the popular television series The O.C., is a lawyer and a Boalt Hall alumnus. "The O.C. at Boalt" is a student group that, in addition to screening episodes of The O.C. during the lunch period, offers the Sandy Cohen Fellowship, a summer grant for students who plan to work as public defenders (on The O.C., Sandy Cohen worked as a public defender while living in Orange County). In recent years, "The O.C. at Boalt" has also managed to bring Peter Gallagher, the actor who plays Sandy Cohen, to Boalt to speak on an annual basis.
  • Matthew Perry played a Republican graduate of Boalt Hall on multiple episodes of The West Wing.
  • Kelly Rutherford played lawyer Samantha 'Sonny' Liston, a graduate of Boalt Hall, on E-Ring.
  • Joanie Caucus, a character in Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury, attended Boalt Hall.
  • In Catch Me if You Can, Martin Sheen plays Roger Strong, the District Attorney of New Orleans and a Boalt Hall alumnus.
  • Mike Daly, protagonist of the bestselling Mike Daley/Rosie Fernandez novels by Sheldon Siegel, is a Boalt Hall graduate and, together with his wife, taught there for about a year.
  • In the movie Intolerable Cruelty, a copy of the California Law Review is featured prominently on a table in the senior partner's office.
  • Judy Carrier, a major continuing character in Lisa Scottoline's novels about Rosato & Assoc- an all-female law firm in Philadelphia, received her degree froam Boalt Hall and is a very bright legal scholar.
  • Pete Harrison, played by Bradley Whitford, was the leading role in the hit show "Trophy Wife", and was a Berkeley Law graduate. He dons a Berkeley Law sweatshirt in the first season.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e , Best Law Schools: University of California – Berkeley"U.S. News & World Report". Retrieved March 15, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Annual Endowment Report, Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2013; p.4" (PDF). Chief Investment Officer of the Regents of the University of California. Retrieved 2013-11-30. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Tanya Schevitz, UC Berkeley dropping Boalt Hall from law school's official name, San Francisco Chronicle, October 11, 2007.
  5. ^ Berkeley Law/ Boalt Hall / Naming Convention, Christopher Edley, Jr., Dean of Berkeley Law
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ Order of the Coif member schools
  8. ^ "ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  9. ^ AALS Member Schools
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ "Top 35 Law Faculties Based on Scholarly Impact, 2007". Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  12. ^ "Brian Leiter's Law Schools Ranked by Student (Numerical) Quality, 2007". Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  13. ^ Top Law Schools: 2010 Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rankings. Retrieved on 2014-06-17.
  14. ^ Weyenberg, Michelle (January 2011), "Best Law Schools for Public Interest", The National Jurist (San Diego, California: Cypress Magazines) 20 (4): 24–28 
  15. ^ "Best Law Schools". US News and World Report. January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Best Law Schools Environmental Law". US News and World Report. January 2014. 
  17. ^ "Best Law Schools International Law". US News and World Report. January 2014. 
  18. ^ "Best Law Schools Intellectual Property". US News and World Report. January 2014. 
  19. ^ "Internet Legal Research Group: University of California Berkeley School of Law, 2009 profile". Retrieved April 13, 2011. 
  20. ^ University of California, Berkeley Profile.
  21. ^ "Employment Statistics". 
  22. ^ "University of California-Berkeley Profile". 
  23. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". 
  24. ^ "University of California-Berkeley Profile". 
  25. ^ Gordon, Walter (et al., Interviewees); Anne Hus Brower, Caryn Prince, Rosemary Levenson & Amelia R. Fry, Interviewers (1976–1979). "An Interview With Walter Gordon". Athlete, Officer in Law Enforcement and Administration, Governor of the Virgin Islands: oral history transcript / Walter Gordon. Berkeley, California: Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office. pp. 621 p. (Vols. 1–2). Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  26. ^ Grimes, William. "Stephen Barnett, a Leading Legal Scholar, Dies at 73", The New York Times, October 21, 2009. Accessed October 22, 2009.
  27. ^ "Biography of Professor Anne Joseph O'Connell". UC Berkeley School of Law. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  28. ^ Bishop, Katherine. "Sweet Victory for Feminist Pioneer at Law School." The New York Times, 3 April 1992, sec. A, p. 19
  29. ^ Howard Mintz, Goodwin Liu Confirmed to California Supreme Court, San Jose Mercury News (Sept. 1, 2011, 8:41 AM),
  30. ^ "Biography of Professor Sho Sato". UC Berkeley School of Law. Retrieved 4 December 2013. 
  31. ^ "Status of Certain OLC Opinions Issued in the Aftermath of the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001".  
  32. ^ "October 23, 2001 OLC Opinion Addressing the Domestic Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities".  ]
  33. ^ "Indian-origin scholar Sujit Choudhry becomes dean of top US law school". 2 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
  • – Website for student groups and journals
  • Boalt Hall Turns 100 – Berkeleyan, November 11, 1994

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