Get UC Berkeley School of Law essential facts below. View Videos or join the UC Berkeley School of Law discussion. Add UC Berkeley School of Law to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (commonly known as Berkeley Law, or UC Berkeley School of Law, and formerly known as 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 public law schools in the United States and one of the top law schools in the world. In 2018, 89% of graduates obtained full-time jobs within ten months; the school's bar passage rate in 2017 was 90.9%.
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 Boalt Memorial Hall of Law, which was built in 1911 partially with funds 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 law building, the instructional portion of which was named 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" to tie the law school's name more closely with the campus upon which it resides. The administration hoped that this would improve the law school's national and international name recognition since people already know of UC Berkeley and that it has a law school but are often confused by the use of "Boalt Hall".
UC Berkeley removed the name Boalt from the law school building in January 2020. The de-naming was the outcome of a nearly three-year process launched after a Berkeley lecturer discovered writings by John Henry Boalt which the university deemed racist. In an e-mail to the university at the time, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ wrote, "Boalt made profoundly offensive and racist statements about Chinese and Chinese Americans, suggesting that it would be better to 'exterminate' those of Chinese descent than to have them assimilate." The university also found that Boalt had no other historical legacy than his racism, and that naming the building after him had not been a condition of his widow's donation. This was the first time in UC Berkeley's history that the name of a building was removed because its namesake's values didn't align with those of the institution. 
Boalt Hall's law library was expanded in 1996 with the North Addition.
Berkeley Law has approximately 850 J.D. students, 200 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 J.D. program's admissions process is highly selective. Berkeley Law is known to value high undergraduate GPAs. Consequently, Berkeley has the 9th highest 75th percentile GPA. According to U.S. News and World Report, Berkeley has the 12th lowest acceptance rate among U.S. law schools, with about 25% of applicants admitted. For the class entering in the fall of 2017, 1,266 out of 5,466 applicants (23.1%) were offered admission, with 303 matriculating. The 25th and 75th Law School Admission Test (LSAT) percentiles for the 2017 entering class were 164 and 168, respectively, with a median of 166. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.66 and 3.88, respectively, with a median of 3.79.
Berkeley Law's grading system for the J.D. program is unusual among law schools but similar to the grading system used at Yale Law School. 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 J.D. 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, tuition and fees are $49,364 per year (in-state) and $53,315 per year (out-of-state). Most out-of-state students may claim in-state status in their second year of 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."
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.
In 2018, QS World Rankings ranked Berkeley Law as the 7th best law school in the world. Law.com ranked Berkeley as one of the top 10 go-to law schools..
In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Berkeley Law as the 10th best law school in the United States, tied with Duke and Northwestern. US News & World Report also ranked Berkeley Law as the best law school in the U.S. for intellectual property, the 3rd best for environmental law, and the 10th best for international law. Moreover, US News & World Report ranked Berkeley Law's clinical training program as 10th best in the U.S.
Berkeley Law's flagship law review, the California Law Review, is ranked 7th in the U.S.
According to Brian Leiter's 2012 scholarly impact study, Berkeley Law ranks 7th in terms of scholarly impact as measured by the percentage of tenured faculty represented in specific specialty areas.
In 2010, Law and Politics "Super Lawyers" magazine ranked Berkeley as 9th in the country, just above Yale Law based on the number of Super Lawyers it produces.[failed verification] 890 alumni are in their list of the top 5% of peer rated attorneys for 2009.
Bar passage rates
In July 2018, Berkeley Law's bar passage rate for the California Bar Exam was 86 percent, the second-best in California.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(October 2019)
According to Berkeley's official ABA-required disclosures, 95.76 percent of 2016 graduates obtained full-time, long-term, bar admission-required employment nine months after graduation, and 1.21 percent were enrolled in a full-time degree program.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Berkeley Law for the 2018-2019 academic year is $85,315 for California residents and $89,266 for non-residents. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $282,442 for residents and $296,694 for non-residents.
Centers at Berkeley Law
A view of San Francisco and the Bay from Boalt Hall.
Goodwin Liu -- Constitutional law professor, associate dean, and former unsuccessful nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Associate Justice, California Supreme Court (2011-present).
John T. Noonan, Jr. -- Senior Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Rosamond Parma -- first law librarian at Berkeley, 1911-1935; also taught law bibliography
Billy McBride, the attorney protagonist of the Amazon series Goliath played by Billy Bob Thornton (and which Thornton won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama for portraying) is a Berkeley Law alumnus. In Season 3, Episode 4, "Full Circle", McBride goes through a box of law school mementos that include a page-flagged Constitutional Law casebook and a folded-up piece of paper with the words "Boalt Hall" on it. Also in Season 2, Episode 1, "La Mano", a "University of California" diploma can be seen hanging from the wall of McBride's makeshift office (that operates out of a room in the Ocean Lodge Hotel). By the process of elimination, this is a law degree diploma because in the pilot (Season 1, Episode 1, "Of Mice and Men"), McBride mentions he "went to college" at, and graduated with an undergraduate degree from Indiana University (where he also played baseball). The series creator Jonathan Shapiro is a Berkeley Law alumnus as well.
Sandy Cohen, a character on the popular television series The O.C., is a lawyer and a UC Berkeley Law 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 UC Berkeley Law School to speak on an annual basis.
^Gordon, Walter; et al. (1976-1979). "An Interview With Walter Gordon". Athlete, Officer in Law Enforcement and Administration, Governor of the Virgin Islands: oral history transcript / Walter Gordon (Interview). 1-2. Interviewed by Anne Hus Brower; Caryn Prince; Rosemary Levenson; Amelia R. Fry. Berkeley, California: Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office. Retrieved 2010.