Law

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The UC Berkeley School of Law offers a broad, three-year curriculum leading to the Juris Doctor (JD) degree. Berkeley Law educates students not only for the practice of law but also for all the varied roles lawyers perform in modern society. The law school provides an intellectually challenging course of study that imparts the theoretical and practical skills necessary for effective, creative, and responsible legal counseling and advocacy. To this end, Berkeley Law's curriculum is continually evolving and offers hundreds of courses, including dozens in its top-ranked Intellectual Property, International Law, Social Justice, and Environmental Law programs.

The school is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is accredited by the American Bar Association. Its graduates are qualified to become applicants for admission to practice in any state of the United States.

Berkeley Law does not require or even recommend a specific pre-law major. To prepare for law school, students should take courses that help them develop written and oral communication skills; increase analytical and problem-solving skills; obtain broad exposure to the humanities and social sciences in order to understand the social context within which legal problems arise; and acquire a general understanding of economics, because many legal problems relate to the economic functioning of society.

In selecting specific courses, consultation with an undergraduate advisor may be desirable. Berkeley Law seeks a student body with a broad set of interests, backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives.

The school also offers programs, mainly for foreign-educated attorneys, that lead to the degree of Master of Laws (LLM) or the degree of Doctor of the Science of Law (JSD).

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Master's Degree Requirements (LLM)

General Requirements for the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree 

1. A minimum of 21 units of Law coursework 

2. All students must enroll in courses for two academic year semesters.  3. All program requirements and coursework must be completed within three years of starting the program. 

4. All students must take a minimum of 10 units and a maximum of 16 units per semester.  a. Students may submit an Academic Rules Petition to take an overload of 17 units or an underload of 9 units per semester. 

5. Students may earn up to four units of credit for non-law/non-classroom coursework subject to  the following limitations: 

a. A maximum of two units for participating in a maximum of one independent  research and writing project (Law 299); 

b. A maximum of two units for participation in a maximum of one group research  and writing project (Law 298); 

c. A maximum of two units for participation in a maximum of one individual  research or research assistant project (Law 297); 

d. A maximum of one unit for participation in one journal course (e.g. Law 295.1A,  Law 295.1G, Law 295.1J, Law 295.1S etc.); 

e. A maximum of two units for participation in one advocacy competition (e.g. Law  295.3A, Law 295.3J, etc.); 

f. A maximum of four units for graduate-level academic coursework at another U.C.  Berkeley program such as Haas Business School or Goldman School of Public  Policy as approved by the Dean of Students; 

g. A maximum of four units for participation in a Judicial Externship or Field  Placement (e.g. Law 295.6A, Law 295.6J, Law 295.8B, etc.);  

6. Students may not count teaching and pedagogy coursework (Law 300 or Law 375P)  toward the degree. 

Required Coursework for Foreign-Trained LL.M. Students with a first degree  earned outside the U.S. or Canada 

1. Complete the 3-unit Fundamentals of U.S. Law class (fall semester) 

a. Law 208.9 Fundamentals of U.S. Law

b. Course description available at https://www.law.berkeley.edu/php 

programs/courses/coursePage.php?cID=27163&termCode=D&termYear=2020 

2. Complete the 2-unit Legal Research and Writing class (fall semester) 

a. Law 206.4A Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

b. Course description available at https://www.law.berkeley.edu/php 

programs/courses/coursePage.php?cID=26511&termCode=D&termYear=2020 

Required Coursework for U.S. or Canadian-trained Students with a J.D. in  Common Law 

1. LL.M. Capstone Writing Requirement - Complete a paper of a minimum 15 pages in length in any class or through an independent study (Law 299). 

a. Student must submit an LL.M. Capstone Writing Requirement Fulfillment form to the Registrar’s office prior to the spring semester Add/Drop Deadline. 

b. LAW classes that satisfy this requirement include: 

206.4A sec. 001 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206.4A sec. 002 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206.4A sec. 003 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206.4A sec. 004 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206.4A sec. 005 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206.4A sec. 006 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206.4A sec. 007 Legal Research and Writing for LL.M. Students 

206C sec. 001 Note Publishing Workshop 

207.5 sec. 003 Advanced Legal Writing 

208.1 sec. 001 Advanced Legal Research- Pathfinder 

208.8 sec. 001 Foundation Seminar in the Sociology of Law 

208I sec. 001 International and Foreign Legal Research 

209.45 sec. 001 Psychology of Diversity and Discrimination in American Law 209.5 sec. 001 Research Design 

210 sec. 002 Legal Profession 

210.2A sec. 001 Workshop in Law, Philosophy & Political Theory 

210.2B sec. 001 Workshop in Law, Philosophy & Political Theory 

212 sec. 001 Critical Theory and Social Science Method 

212.3 sec. 001 Critical Race Theory 

212.8 sec. 001 Anti-Blackness and the Law 

214.2 sec. 001 Law & Classical Social Theory 

214.4 sec. 001 Advanced Interdisciplinary Workshop on Law

215.41 sec. 001 Responsibility in Law and Morality 

215.5 sec. 001 Foundations of Political Philosophy 

217.11 sec. 001 Law and Political Economy 

217.12 sec. 001 Law and Economics Foundation Seminar 219.4 sec. 001 Poetic Justice: Dostoevsky, Nabokov and Literature in the  Shadow of the Law 

219.4T sec. 001 Courts, Lawyers and Justice in Film 

219.9 sec. 001 Law and the Greek Classics 

220.5 sec. 001 Constitutional Theory 

220A sec. 001 Marijuana Law and Policy 

220A1 sec. 001 Education Law and Policy: Access, Discrimination, and  Constitutional Litigation 

221.6 sec. 001 Education Law and Policy: Equity, Excellence, and  Regulatory Strategies 

221.74 sec. 001 Movement Lawyering from the Inside Out 221.74 sec. 001 Movement Lawyering from the Inside Out for 1Ls 221.75 sec. 001 From Social Movement to Legal Change 

223.1 sec. 001 Election Law 

223.21 sec. 001 Advanced Administrative Law: Trump and Obama Policies in  Court 

223.8 sec. 001 California Constitutional Law 

224.22 sec. 001 Mental Health and the Law 

224.23 sec. 001 Public Health Law 

225.3 sec. 001 Interpretation in Constitutional and Statutory Law 226.12 sec. 001 Media Law and the First Amendment 

226.2 sec. 001 Foreign Relations Law 

226.8 sec. 001 Strategic Constitutional Litigation in Property Rights and Economic Liberty 

230.2 sec. 001 Police Interrogations and Investigations: A Comparative  Perspective 

231.51 sec. 001 People, Prisons and the Pandemic 

232.11 sec. 001 When Technology Meets a Criminal Case 232.9 sec. 001 Crimmigration 

234.1 sec. 001 The School-to-Prison Pipeline 

234.2 sec. 001 Criminal Justice Reform 

234.21 sec. 001 Dismantling Mass Incarceration 

234.22 sec. 001 Dismantling the Carceral State 

241.3 sec. 001 Consumer Litigation: The Course of a Case 243 sec. 001 Appellate Advocacy 

243 sec. 002 Appellate Advocacy 

243 sec. 003 Appellate Advocacy 

244.61 sec. 001 Multidistrict Litigation: The New Reality of Class Actions and  Mass Torts 

244.8B sec. 001 Mediation Practicum

245 sec. 004 Negotiations 

245 sec. 005 Negotiations 

245.9 sec. 001 International Business Negotiations 

246.3 sec. 001 Depositions 

247.1 sec. 001 Regulation of Capital Markets and Financial Institutions 247.11 sec. 001 Consumer Financial Regulation 

248.2 sec. 001 Bioethics: From Nuremberg to Modern Times 248.62 sec. 001 The Law and Economics of Complexity 

249.4 sec. 001 Financial Management of Non-Profits 

251.21 sec. 001 Business Strategy in the Global Political Economy 251.7 sec. 001 Business in Society 

256 sec. 001 Transactional Drafting for LL.M. Students 256.2 sec. 001 Transactional Drafting 

256.2 sec. 002 Transactional Drafting 

260.1 sec. 001 Tax Policy and Public Finance 

261.17 sec. 001 International Organizations 

261.21 sec. 001 Foreign Investment Arbitration Seminar 261.22 sec. 001 International Commercial Arbitration Seminar 262.5 sec. 001 Comparative Constitutional Law 

262.62 sec. 001 From Minority Rights to Human Rights -- 1878 to the  Present 

262.65 sec. 001 Human Rights and Social Justice Writing Workshop 263.1 sec. 001 Advanced Topics in Corporate Governance: A Comparative  Analysis of the U.S and Asia 

264.1 sec. 001 Ocean and Coastal Law 

264.5 sec. 001 Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law 264.6 sec. 001 Health and Human Rights in Times of War and Peace 265.2 sec. 001 Asian Legal Systems 

267.31 sec. 001 Civil Rights in American History 

267.4 sec. 001 Law & History Foundation Seminar 

271.5 sec. 001 Environmental Law Writing Seminar 

271.51 sec. 001 Environmental Law Writing Seminar II 

273.63 sec. 001 Public Lands and Natural Resources Law 275.32 sec. 001 Network Neutrality Seminar 

275.65 sec. 001 Transnational Intellectual Property Law 275.66 sec. 001 Chinese IP Law 

276 sec. 001 Technology for Lawyers 

276.32 sec. 001 Topics in Privacy and Security Law 

276.67 sec. 001 Advanced IP: Theories of Innovation Policy and Culture 276.85 sec. 001 Intro to Information Privacy 

277.7 sec. 001 Art and Cultural Property Law 

278.33 sec. 001 Advanced Copyright Seminar 

280A sec. 001 Law and Technology Writing Workshop

282.1 sec. 001 Domestic Violence Law Seminar 

283 sec. 001 Representing Low Wage Workers 

283.4 sec. 001 Advanced Civil Rights 

285.4 sec. 001 Consumer Protection Law 

285.62 sec. 001 Animal Law 

285.85 Community Economic Development 

286.32 Civil Liberties in a Pandemic 

286.51 Federal Indian Law Writing Seminar 

286.6 Race, Sexuality and the Law 

286.81 Transgender Rights & The Law 

299 Independent Research and Writing 

Additional Coursework Required for Thesis Track Students  

Thesis Track students must complete the coursework requirements described above in Section  I.A.(b)(1) or (2), as applicable, and must additionally: 

1. Complete six units of Thesis Track Independent Study, completed in one of two ways: 

a. two units of 325A in the fall semester, followed by 4 units of 325B in the spring semester; OR

b. six units of 325AB taken during the spring semester 

2. Complete an original thesis in the form of a substantial research and writing project that is of publishable quality and roughly 50-60 double-spaced pages. The thesis paper is due by the last day of instruction in the spring semester.

 

Hybrid Master's Degree Requirements (hLLM)

General Requirements for the Executive Track Hybrid Option Master of Laws (hLL.M) degree 

1. A minimum of 24 units of Law coursework 

2. Three consecutive terms of enrollment: spring, summer, and fall in the same calendar year.  

3. Eight units of mandatory coursework must be completed online in the spring and fall terms. 

4. The student’s remaining units must be completed in the intervening summer term. 5. During the summer term, students must take a minimum of 10 units and a maximum of  16 units.  

a. Students may submit an Academic Rules Petition to take an overload of 17 units for the summer term. 

6. All program requirements and coursework must be completed within three years of starting the program. 

Required Coursework for Foreign-Trained LL.M. Students with a first degree  earned outside the U.S. or Canada 

1. Complete the 3-unit Fundamentals of U.S. Law class (spring semester, online) a. Law W208.9 Fundamentals of U.S. Law 

2. Complete either 3-units of Intellectual Property or 3-units of Business Associations  (spring semester, online) 

a. Law W275.3 Intellectual Property Law 

b. Law W250 Business Associations 

3. Complete 2-units of Legal Research and Writing for LL.M.s (summer term) a. Law W206.5 LLM Legal Research and Writing 

b. Law W206.3S LLM Legal Research and Writing 

4. Complete the 1-unit Capstone Project (fall semester, online) 

a. Law W206.6 Capstone Writing Workshop

Required Coursework for U.S. or Canadian-trained Students with a J.D. in  Common Law 

1. Complete 6 units of online courses during the spring semester 

a. Law 208.9 Fundamentals of U.S. Law (3- units) 

b. Law 275.3 Intellectual Property Law (3- units); or  

c. Law W250 Business Associations (3- units); OR 

2. Complete a the 2-unit Legal Research and Writing class (summer term) a. Law W206.5 LLM Legal Research and Writing;  

b. Law W206.8 LRW: Advanced Scholarship;  

c. Law 206.5S LLM Legal Research and Writing; 

d. Law 206.8S LRW: Advanced Scholarship; 

3. Complete the 1-unit Capstone Project (fall semester, online) 

a. Law W206.6 Capstone Writing Workshop 

Additional Coursework Required for Thesis Track Students  

Thesis Track students must complete the coursework requirements described above in Section  I.A.(b)(1) or (2), as applicable, and must additionally: 

1. Complete six units of Thesis Track Independent Study, completed in one of two ways: 

a. two units of 325A in the fall semester, followed by 4 units of 325B in the spring  semester; or 

b. six units of 325AB taken during the spring semester 

2. Complete an original thesis in the form of a substantial research and writing project that  is of publishable quality and roughly 50-60 double-spaced pages. The thesis paper is due  by the last day of instruction in the spring semester.

 

Professional Master's Degree Requirements (pLLM)

General Requirements for the Executive Professional Track Option Master of Laws
(LL.M.) degree [Two summers]

1. A minimum of 24 units of Law coursework

2. Two consecutive summers of enrollment. Students will not receive credit for courses taken at the law school during the academic year.

3. Students must take a minimum of 10 units and a maximum of 16 units each summer.

a. Students may submit an Academic Rules Petition to take an overload of 17 units
for the summer term.

4. All program requirements and coursework must be completed within three years of
starting the program.

Required Coursework for Foreign-Trained LL.M. Students with a first degree earned outside the U.S. or Canada

1. Complete the 3-unit Fundamentals of U.S. Law class during their first summer

a. Law 208.9 Fundamentals of U.S. Law

b. Law W208.9 Fundamentals of U.S. Law (if public health mandates require remote learning)

2. Complete the Capstone Writing Requirement by completing 2-units of Legal Research
and Writing for LL.M.s during their first summer

a. Law 206.5S LLM Legal Research and Writing

b. Law W206.5 LLM Legal Research and Writing (if public health mandates require
remote learning)

Required Coursework for U.S. or Canadian-trained Students with a J.D. in Common Law

1. Students who have earned a J.D. in Common Law from the U.S. or Canada may request a waiver of the requirement to take Fundamentals of U.S. Law.

a. Law 208.9 Fundamentals of U.S. Law (3- units)

2. Complete the Capstone Writing Requirement by completing 2-units of Legal Research and Writing for LL.M.s during their first summer

a. Law 206.5S LLM Legal Research and Writing

b. Law W206.5 LLM Legal Research and Writing (if public health mandates require remote learning)

Juris Doctor Requirements (JD)

Earning the Juris Doctor (J.D.) requires:

  • 85 units
  • Completion of first year courses (www.law.berkeley.edu/academics/jd/first-year-curriculum/)
  • residence for 6 semesters
  • completion of moot court (included in 1st year required courses)
  • completion of Law 220.6, constitutional law
  • completion of a course in professional responsibility
  • completion of 6 units of experiential courses
  • completion of the writing requirement
 
Students are limited to no more than 18 units of non-law/non-classroom units (www.law.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/JD_Units_Restriction_Summary2020.pdf)

Doctoral Degree Requirements (JSD)

1. Completion of J.S.D. Legal Scholarship Seminar (1 unit, fall semester):

The seminar will provide students with a foundation for conducting in-depth legal research and support the students with developing their proposed dissertation project. It will explore the following: different types of research, how to plan a research project, research methodology, and review available organizational tools. Students will also gain a better understanding of what research resources are available on their chosen topics. Students will have opportunities to discuss their research projects and ideas with the group and participate in constructive discussion and feedback. At the end of the seminar, students will have made progress on developing an outline/prospectus on their proposed dissertation project. By Academic Rules Petition submitted within the first two weeks of classes and for good cause shown, a student may be permitted to substitute another similar seminar for this one.

2. Completion of the following required courses during the first year:

  • One unit of J.S.D. Legal Scholarship Seminar (described above);
  • At least 12 units per semester of independent study (299A in the fall and 299B in
  • the spring) to be devoted to the student’s own research.

Any additional coursework must be approved by the student’s faculty adviser and the J.S.D. Program Faculty Director.

With prior approval from the J.S.D. Program Faculty Director, a student may be permitted to enroll in fewer than 12 units of independent study in a given semester in order to allow them to take a teaching pedagogy course in addition to one other course.

3. Submission of Fall and Spring Semester Progress Report and Course Approval forms:

During every semester of the J.S.D. program (including the first year), a student must complete and submit a “Progress Report and Course Approval” form to the ADP Office by the CalCentral Add/Drop deadline in Fall and Spring semesters. Each semester’s form must  detail:

  1. The progress the student has made toward the goals set out in his/her last report (explaining deviations from these goals, if any)
  2. Goals for the upcoming term, including a timetable for completion of those goals
  3. Course enrollment for the semester.

The form must be signed by the student’s faculty adviser. It must also be signed by the J.S.D. Faculty Director to approve any coursework beyond independent study. Timely submission of Progress Report and Course Approval forms is required to maintain a student’s good standing in the J.S.D. program. Late submission puts a student’s status at risk.

4. Formation of Committees:

By the Spring semester of the first year, in consultation with the student’s faculty adviser, the student must identify 4 faculty members to serve on their Qualifying Exam (QE) committee and 3 faculty members to serve on their dissertation committee. Each committee must have a Chair, an Academic Senate Representative (ASR), and one or more additional member(s). The chair of the dissertation committee must be the student’s primary faculty adviser; the chair of the oral exam committee must be a faculty member from the law school other than the student’s primary adviser. All committee members must be members of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate (i.e., tenured or tenure-track faculty) unless an exception is granted by the Graduate Division.

5. Qualifying Examination:

The Qualifying Examination for J.S.D. candidacy should take place in the Spring semester or summer of the first year (and no later than Fall semester of the second year). The focus of the examination will be on the student’s proposed dissertation project. Successful passage of the QE is required before advancement to candidacy. At least three weeks before the QE is to take place, students must apply to take the exam by submitting the Higher Degree Committees/Qualifying Exam eForm in CalCentral. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange a date and time for the exam that works for all committee members.

6. Submission of Abstract/Prospectus:

Two weeks prior to taking the QE, the student must submit to the QE committee a substantial piece of writing outlining a proposed dissertation project, in either of the following forms:

  1. A short abstract (one page), plus a table-of-contents-like outline of the dissertation as a whole, plus one chapter of minimum 20 pages, OR
  2. A minimum 20-page prospectus of the dissertation, providing a detailed discussion of the questions to be addressed, relevant literature and arguments surrounding the topic, and proposed research strategy for addressing the topic.

Where the student plans to write multiple shorter papers instead of a single long paper, he or
she should submit either:

  1. A 20-page draft of one of the papers plus short paragraph abstracts of the other two; or
  2. Multiple shorter prospectus-like summaries of each paper, of a minimum of six pages each.

7. Application for Candidacy:

A student will be eligible for J.S.D. candidacy once the student has passed the oral examination and successfully completed all required coursework. The student must submit the Higher Degree Committees/Advancement to Candidacy eForm by the end of the semester in which the student completes candidacy requirements. If a student will be working with human subjects or animals, then the student must also complete training in human subjects research by taking and passing the online CITI Program, a basic course in the Protection of Human Research Subjects. Before beginning research, students must obtain approval for their research protocol from the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects.

8. Continuous Enrollment:

Once advanced to candidacy, students must maintain their student registration by enrolling in 12 units of independent study per semester for the duration of the program. Upon advancing to candidacy, a J.S.D. candidate must focus primarily on the research and writing of the dissertation.

9. Duration of Program

All program requirements including coursework and the dissertation are to be completed within three years. Extensions of time will be considered on a case-by-case basis; if granted, students must enroll only in independent study and may not take additional coursework. Extensions of time will not include an extension of the nonresident tuition waiver (if applicable) or any financial support from the law school, if previously awarded. After five years, candidacy will lapse and may not be reinstated except in extremely extenuating circumstances.

10. Filing of Dissertation

An electronic copy of the dissertation must be filed with the Graduate Division no later than the last day of the semester in which the student intends to graduate. A copy of the Receipt of Filing must be submitted to the Registrar’s Office within one week of filing. The dissertation must consist of original work in the form of a monograph or three shorter papers suitable for publication, and constitute a substantial contribution to learning in the field of research. Publishable papers and article-length essays are acceptable only if incorporated into a larger argument that binds together the dissertation as a whole. Inclusion of a student’s already-published work in the dissertation requires advance approval by the Graduate Division (for details, see http://grad.berkeley.edu/academic progress/dissertation/). All student dissertations will be archived at the University Library.

Contact Information

School of Law

215 Boalt Hall

Phone: 510-642-6483

Visit School Website

Admissions, JD Program

Admissions

225 Boalt Hall

Phone: 510-642-2274

Fax: 510-643-6222

admissions@law.berkeley.edu

Admissions, LLM & JSD Programs

Admissions

214 Boalt Hall

Phone: 510-642-1476

Fax: 510-643-3070

llm@law.berkeley.edu

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