UC Berkeley School of Law
The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law (commonly known as Boalt Hall, Berkeley Law, or UC Berkeley School of Law) 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%.
|University of California, Berkeley School of Law|
|Motto||Fiat lux (Latin); Let there be light (English)|
|Parent school||University of California, Berkeley|
|Parent endowment||$4.3 billion (2017)|
|Location||Berkeley, California, U.S.|
|Faculty||119 (Full- and part-time)|
|Bar pass rate||92% (ABA profile)|
The law school has produced a number of leaders in law, government, and society, including Chief Justice of the United States Earl Warren, United States Secretary of State Dean Rusk, United States Attorney General 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.
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'.
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.
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. 890 alumni are in their list of the top 5% of peer rated attorneys for 2009.
Bar passage rates
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
- Berkeley Center for Consumer Law and Economic Justice (est. 2018)
- Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice (est. 2006)
- Berkeley Center for Law & Technology (est. 1996)
- Berkeley Center for Law, Business, and the Economy (est. 2004)
- California Constitution Center — Berkeley Law
- Center for Clinical Education (est. 1998)
- Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
- 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
- Asian American Law Journal
- Berkeley Business Law Journal
- Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy
- Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law
- Berkeley Journal of Entertainment & Sports Law
- Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice
- Berkeley Journal of International Law
- Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern & Islamic Law
- Berkeley La Raza Law Journal
- Berkeley Technology Law Journal
- Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law
- California Law Review
- Ecology Law Quarterly
(Listed by year of graduation)
- Earl Warren, 1914 — Governor of California, Chief Justice of the United States
- Hugh S. Johnson, 1916, Administrator of the National Recovery Administration (1933–1934) during the Great Depression
- Walter Gordon, 1922 — first All-American at UC Berkeley, first African American graduate of Boalt Hall, Governor of the United States Virgin Islands, Federal District Judge.
- Roger J. Traynor, 1927 — Chief Justice, Supreme Court of California, 1964–1970
- Bernard E. Witkin 1928 — expert of California law and founder of the Witkin law treatise sets
- Melvin Belli, 1929 — attorney known as The King of Torts
- John Gabbert, 1934 — Associate Justice, California Court of Appeals
- Dean Rusk, 1940 — United States Secretary of State, 1961–1969
- William Horsley Orrick, Jr., 1941 — United States District Judge
- John Michael Doar (LL.B. 1949) — Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, 1960 to 1967
- Harry Pregerson, 1950 — Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- G. William Miller, 1952 — U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Chairman of the Federal Reserve
- Allen Broussard, 1953 — Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California, 1981–1991
- Merrill Kenneth Albert, 1955 — noted lawyer and author
- Jess Jackson, 1955 — attorney in the 1970s; founder of Kendall–Jackson Wines
- J. Clifford Wallace, 1955 — Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Cruz Reynoso, 1958 — Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California, 1982–1987
- Edwin Meese III, 1958 — former U.S. Attorney General
- Senior Chief Judge Lloyd D. George, 1961 — Federal judge on the United States District Court for the District of Nevada in the U.S. Courts.
- Pete Wilson, 1962 — former U.S. Senator, Governor of California
- Thelton Henderson, 1962 — Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- Kathryn M. Werdegar, 1962 — Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California, 1994–present
- William B. Shubb, 1963 — Senior Chief Judge of the Eastern District of California in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Courts.
- Rose Bird, 1965 — Chief Justice, Supreme Court of California, 1977–1987
- Howard Lincoln, 1965 — Chairman and CEO of the Seattle Mariners; former chairman of Nintendo of America
- Theodore Olson, 1965 — Solicitor General of the United States, 2001–2004
- Michael Tigar, 1966 — noted criminal defense and human rights lawyer, and Professor Emeritus, Duke University School of Law
- Larry W. Sonsini, 1966 — Chairman of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
- Neil Goldschmidt, 1967 — United States Secretary of Transportation, Governor of Oregon
- David B. Frohnmayer, 1967 — Oregon Attorney General, University of Oregon President
- Robert K. Tanenbaum, 1968 — novelist and former Mayor of Beverly Hills, California
- Lawrence R. Leavitt, 1969 — Magistrate Judge in the District of Nevada, a division of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit of the U.S. Courts system.
- Dale Minami, 1971 — leader of legal team that overturned the wrongful conviction of Fred Korematsu
- Michael H. Posner, 1972 — Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) of the United States
- Marsha S. Berzon, 1973 — Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- John L. Burris, 1973 — civil rights attorney
- Leigh Steinberg, 1973 — sports agent
- Peter Welch, 1973 — Congressman (D-Vermont) (2006–)
- Richard Delgado, 1974 — Professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Law and expert in civil rights law and critical race theory
- Barry Scheck, 1974 — co-founder of the Innocence Project
- Christopher Schroeder, 1974 — Professor at Duke University School of Law
- Claudia Ann Wilken, 1975 — Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- Lance Ito, 1975 — California Superior Court judge, presided over O. J. Simpson criminal trial
- Evan Wallach, 1976 — Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- Zoë Baird, 1977 — Bill Clinton's first unsuccessful nominee for attorney general in 1993.
- David M. Louie, 1977 — Attorney General of Hawaii
- André Bertrand, 1978 — French attorney, successful author of many treatises in the area of intellectual property
- Ed Lee, 1978 — First Chinese-American Mayor of San Francisco
- George B. Daniels, 1978 — Judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (2000–)
- Michele A. Roberts, 1980 — Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association
- Joan Donoghue, 1981 — Judge, International Court of Justice
- Frederick Hertz, 1981 — notable San Francisco Bay Area attorney
- William S. Price III, 1981 — co-founder, Texas Pacific Group
- Richard G. Andrews, 1981 — Judge, United States District Court for the District of Delaware
- Paul Krekorian, 1984 — Los Angeles City Councilmember (2010-present) and former California State Assemblymember (2006-2010)
- Melinda Haag,1987 — United States Attorney for the Northern District of California (2010–)
- Mark Anchor Albert, 1988 — noted lawyer, philanthropist, impresario, and lay Catholic leader; member of Los Angeles Archdiocese defense team during clergy sex abuse scandal
- Kevin Quinn, S.J., 1988 — Jesuit, law professor, President of the University of Scranton since 2011
- Jeff Bleich, 1989 — United States Ambassador to Australia, 2009–2013
- Jami Floyd, 1989 — award-winning broadcast journalist and legal analyst, hosting, “All Things Considered,” for WNYC New York Public Radio.
- Jon S. Tigar, 1989 — Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- Jonathan Shapiro — award-winning TV writer and producer of Boston Legal, The Practice and creator of the television show Goliath
- David Kappos, 1990 — former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Amul Thapar, 1994 — former Judge, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (2008–2017) , current Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- Miranda Du, 1994 — Judge, United States District Court for the District of Nevada
- Greg Genske, 1998 — Executive Director, President, and the Lead Negotiator of The Legacy Agency's baseball division
- Lea Brilmayer — Howard M. Holtzmann Professor of International Law at Yale Law School
- Noura Erakat — Palestinian American legal scholar, human rights attorney, and assistant professor at New Century College, George Mason University.
- Ricardo Garcia — public defender for Los Angeles County
- Larry Hillblom — Co-Founder of DHL Express
- Anthony W. Ishii — Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
- Anna Pauline (Pauli) Murray, MA of Laws — civil rights activist, women's rights activist, lawyer, and writer; first black woman ordained as an Episcopalian priest
- Reynato S. Puno, MA of Laws — Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
- Jennifer Rodgers — former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and CNN legal analyst
- Timothy Tau, LLM — Writer and Filmmaker
- Nicole Wong — Deputy White House Chief Privacy Officer
- Stephen Barnett (1935–2009), legal scholar who opposed the Newspaper Preservation Act of 1970
- Bob Berring — law librarian
- Nick Bravin — Olympic fencer
- Robert Cooter — scholar in law and economics
- Maria Echaveste — former Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton
- Christopher Edley, Jr. — Dean of Boalt Hall (2004–); co-founder of The Civil Rights Project formerly at Harvard University.
- Aaron Edlin — Richard W. Jennings, Class of 1939 Endowed Chair since 2005
- Melvin A. Eisenberg — author of contracts casebook and chief reporter for the Principles of Corporate Governance, issued by the American Law Institute
- William A. Fletcher — Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- Andrew T. Guzman — Scholar in international law and international trade law
- Phillip E. Johnson — professor of law and developer of intelligent design
- Herma Hill Kay — former Dean of the School of Law (1992–2000); Prominent leader in establishing no fault divorce laws.
- Hans Kelsen — jurist
- 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
- William L. Prosser — former Dean of the School of Law (1948–1961), author of several treatises and pioneer in the field of strict product liability
- Richard Rothstein— fellow at the Haas Institute, scholar of residential segregation in the United States
- Pamela Samuelson — intellectual property law expert
- Sho Sato — first Japanese American law professor at a major American law school
- Paul M. Schwartz — information privacy law expert
- Howard Shelanski, head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
- Sarah Song — professor of law and political science
- Eleanor Swift — led the establishment of Boalt's Center for Clinical Education, which brings clients in need of legal advice to Boalt, where students and faculty provide counsel.
- John Yoo — former deputy assistant Attorney General and author of controversial (and subsequently withdrawn) Justice Department memoranda relating to Presidential wartime authority.
- Sujit Choudhry — former dean of the school of law, Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law
Boalt Hall in popular culture
- 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", 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 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.
- 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.
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