Legal Studies

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary, liberal arts major that engages the meanings, values, practices, and institutions of law and legality. The Legal Studies curriculum examines how law shapes and is shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces. The major is designed to stimulate critical understanding of and inquiry about the theoretical frameworks, historical dynamics, and cultural embeddedness of law.

The Legal Studies faculty and students grapple with important questions of social policy within the framework of significant concerns in jurisprudence and theories of justice. These concerns include individual liberty, privacy, and autonomy; political and social equality; the just distribution of resources and opportunities within society; the relationship between citizens and the state; democratic participation and representation; the moral commitments of the community; and the preservation of human dignity.

The major’s course offerings examine law and legality from both humanist and empirical perspectives. Courses are organized into interdisciplinary topical areas that transcend disciplinary boundaries in the interest of collaborative inquiry.

The Legal Studies major is under the academic supervision of the School of Law faculty.

Declaring the Major

Students may declare the major after completing two of the four prerequisites with a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) between the two courses and an overall UC Berkeley GPA of 2.0. For details regarding the prerequisites, please see the Major Requirements tab on this page. All courses taken for the major must be taken for a letter grade.

Honors Program

With consent of the major adviser, a student majoring in Legal Studies with an overall UC Berkeley grade point average (GPA) of 3.5 and a GPA of 3.5 in Legal Studies courses by the end of the spring semester junior year may be admitted to the honors program. The student must have completed at least half of the major requirements before being admitted to the honors program.

To graduate with departmental honors, students must:

  1. Enroll in LEGALST H195A honors seminar in the fall semester before writing the thesis;
  2. Enroll in LEGALST H195B and the one unit LEGALST H195C  in the spring semester following successful completion of the LEGALST H195A honors seminar and meet the GPA requirements;
  3. Meet periodically throughout the semester with the faculty supervisor during the spring;
  4. Complete an honors thesis, with a minimum of 40 written pages, approved by the student’s approved faculty adviser; and
  5. Finish their final semester with at least a 3.5 UC Berkeley GPA and at least a 3.5 major GPA.

The thesis is read by the faculty supervisor who will assign a letter grade. There are three levels of departmental honors: honors, high honors, highest honors. The level of honors is based on the final upper division major/honors GPA and the quality of the thesis as decided by a student’s faculty adviser.

For more detailed information regarding the honors program and thesis requirements, please go to and click on the Research tab.

Minor Program

There is no minor program in Legal Studies.

Visit Program Website

Major Requirements

In addition to the University, campus, and college requirements, listed on the College Requirements tab, students must fulfill the below requirements specific to their major program.

General Guidelines

  1. All courses taken to fulfill the major requirements below must be taken for graded credit, other than courses listed which are offered on a Pass/No Pass basis only. Other exceptions to this requirement are noted as applicable.
  2. No more than one upper division course may be used to simultaneously fulfill requirements for a student's major and minor programs, with the exception of minors offered outside of the College of Letters & Science.
  3. A minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 must be maintained in both upper and lower division courses used to fulfill the major requirements.

For information regarding residence requirements and unit requirements, please see the College Requirements tab.

Summary of Major Requirements

Four courses
Upper Division Requirements
Eight courses (if all Distribution Requirement courses are 4 units each), distributed among the following categories, totaling 32 upper division units:
Core Legal Studies Requirements: Four courses
Distribution Requirements: Four courses (may include the Capstone Experience). If a 3 unit course is chosen, make sure to take an additional unit to cover the 32 upper division unit requirement.
Capstone Experience (optional): One seminar course or research


Select one distinct course, from each of the following areas:
Introduction to Statistics [4]
Foundations of Data Science [4]
Introduction to Probability and Statistics [4]
Introductory Probability and Statistics for Business [4]
Greek Philosophy [4]
Individual Morality and Social Justice [4]
The Nature of Mind [4]
Knowledge and Its Limits [4]
Introduction to Logic [4]
Ancient Philosophy [4]
Modern Philosophy [4]
Philosophy of Mind [4]
History of Political Theory [4]
African Americans in the Industrial Age, 1865-1970 [4]
A Comparative Survey of Racial and Ethnic Groups in the U.S [4]
Contemporary U.S. Immigration [4]
Origins of Western Civilization: The Ancient Mediterranean World [4]
Origins of Western Civilization: Medieval Europe [4]
European Civilization from the Renaissance to the Present [4]
Introduction to the History of the United States: The United States from Settlement to Civil War [4]
Introduction to the History of the United States: The United States from Civil War to Present [4]
Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History [4]
Medieval Europe: From the Late Empire to the Investiture Conflict [4]
Medieval Europe: From the Investiture Conflict to the Fifteenth Century [4]
The Renaissance and the Reformation [4]
Modern Europe: Old Regime and Revolutionary Europe, 1715-1815 [4]
Modern Europe: Europe in the 19th Century [4]
Modern Europe: Old and New Europe, 1914-Present [4]
Course Not Available [4]
Course Not Available [4]
Social/Behavioral Sciences
Introduction to Economics [4]
Introduction to Economics--Lecture Format [4]
Economic Analysis--Micro [4]
Economic Analysis--Macro [4]
A Comparative Survey of Racial and Ethnic Groups in the U.S [4]
Transnational Feminism [4]
Introduction to American Politics [4]
Introduction to Comparative Politics [4]
Introduction to Sociology [4]
Principles of Sociology: American Cultures [4]
Evaluation of Evidence [4]
Four Centuries of Racial Vision and Division in the U.S. [4]

Upper Division: Core Legal Studies Requirements

Select four from the following, including at least one course designated as Humanities (H) and one course designated as Social Sciences (SS):16
Foundations of Legal Studies [4] (H or SS)
Theories of Law and Society [4] (H or SS)
Theories of Justice [4] (H)
The Supreme Court and Public Policy [4] (SS)
Law and Economics I [4] (SS)
Punishment, Culture, and Society [4] (H or SS)
Survey of American Legal and Constitutional History [4] (H)
Law, Politics and Society [4] (SS)
Sociology of Law [4] (SS)

Upper Division: Distribution Requirements1

Select two courses in one of the following areas, and one course each in two distinctly different areas, for a total of four courses. LEGALST H195B (Honors Thesis) or LEGALST 199 (Independent Study) for 4 units may substitute for one of the two courses selected from the same area.

Area I Crime, Law & Social Control
LEGALST 102Policing and Society4
LEGALST 104ACYouth Justice and Culture4
LEGALST 105Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Law3
LEGALST 109Aims and Limits of the Criminal Law4
LEGALST 160Punishment, Culture, and Society4
LEGALST 163Adolescence, Crime and Juvenile Justice4
LEGALST 170Crime and Criminal Justice4
LEGALST 185ACPrison4
Area II Law & Culture
LEGALST 103Theories of Law and Society4
LEGALST 104ACYouth Justice and Culture4
LEGALST 105Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Law3
LEGALST 107Theories of Justice4
LEGALST 116Legal Discourse 1500-17004
LEGALST 132ACImmigration and Citizenship4
LEGALST 140Property and Liberty4
LEGALST 151Law, Self, and Society3
LEGALST 152ACHuman Rights & Technology4
LEGALST 153Law and Society in Asia4
LEGALST 155Government and the Family4
LEGALST 156Bioethics and the Law4
LEGALST 159Law & Sexuality4
LEGALST 160Punishment, Culture, and Society4
LEGALST 161Law in Chinese Society4
LEGALST 168Sex, Reproduction and the Law4
LEGALST 173Course Not Available4
LEGALST 177Survey of American Legal and Constitutional History4
LEGALST 181Psychology and the Law4
Area III Law & Markets
LEGALST 105Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Law3
LEGALST 107Theories of Justice4
LEGALST 140Property and Liberty4
LEGALST 145Law and Economics I4
LEGALST 146The Law and Economics of Innovation4
LEGALST 147Law and Economics II4
LEGALST 152ACHuman Rights & Technology4
LEGALST 156Bioethics and the Law4
LEGALST 158Law and Development4
LEGALST 177Survey of American Legal and Constitutional History4
Area IV Law, Rights & Social Change
LEGALST 106Philosophy of Law4
LEGALST 107Theories of Justice4
LEGALST 132ACImmigration and Citizenship4
LEGALST 133ACLaw and Social Change: The Immigrant Rights Movement4
LEGALST 138The Supreme Court and Public Policy4
LEGALST 152ACHuman Rights & Technology4
LEGALST 154Human Rights, Research & Practice4
LEGALST 156Bioethics and the Law4
LEGALST 157International Relations and International Law4
LEGALST 158Law and Development4
LEGALST 159Law & Sexuality4
LEGALST 162ACRestorative Justice4
LEGALST 174Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel4
LEGALST 180Implicit Bias4
LEGALST 182Law, Politics and Society4
LEGALST 183Psychology of Diversity and Discrimination in American Law4
LEGALST 184Sociology of Law4
LEGALST 187Diversity, Law & Politics4
LEGALST 189Feminist Jurisprudence4
Area V Law & Sovereignty
LEGALST 106Philosophy of Law4
LEGALST 119Philosophy and Law in Ancient Athens4
LEGALST 133ACLaw and Social Change: The Immigrant Rights Movement4
LEGALST 138The Supreme Court and Public Policy4
LEGALST 139Comparative Perspectives on Norms and Legal Traditions4
LEGALST 153Law and Society in Asia4
LEGALST 157International Relations and International Law4
LEGALST 171European Legal History4
LEGALST 173Course Not Available4
LEGALST 174Comparative Constitutional Law: The Case of Israel4
LEGALST 176Twentieth-Century American Legal and Constitutional History4
LEGALST 177Survey of American Legal and Constitutional History4
LEGALST 178Seminar on American Legal and Constitutional History3
LEGALST 179Comparative Constitutional Law4
LEGALST 182Law, Politics and Society4
LEGALST 187Diversity, Law & Politics4

Students may use up to two preapproved law-related courses from outside of the Legal Studies Program to count toward the distribution requirements, for a maximum of 8 units. Outside courses should normally be drawn from the preapproved list of law-related UC Berkeley courses, but may be approved from other four-year institutions, or from study abroad programs. If the course is not on the preapproved list, students must submit a syllabus and a description to the Legal Studies student academic adviser for approval. For the list of preapproved law-related courses, see below.

Capstone Experience (Optional)

Legal Studies students are strongly encouraged to enroll in one legal studies seminar course (LEGALST 190), preferably in their senior year, to complete their remaining units. Alternatively, students who meet eligibility requirements are strongly encouraged to enroll in LEGALST H195A & LEGALST H195B, the honors program, for their capstone experience. Students who have a faculty mentor and a desire to do a research project but do not meet the eligibility requirements for honors, may enroll in 4 units of LEGALST 199 for their capstone experience provided that they meet the eligibility requirements for independent study. For details regarding eligibility requirements, please see the department's website.

Preapproved Law-Related Courses

ANTHRO 157Anthropology of Law4
ASAMST 141Law in the Asian American Community4
CHICANO 174Chicanos, Law, and Criminal Justice4
ETH STD 144ACRacism and the U.S. Law: Historical Treatment of Peoples of Color4
ESPM 162Bioethics and Society4
ESPM 163ACEnvironmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment4
HISTORY 100Course Not Available
ISF 100EThe Globalization of Rights, Values, and Laws in the 21st Century4
MEDIAST 104AFreedom of Speech and the Press3
NATAMST 100Native American Law4
NATAMST 102Critical Native American Legal and Policy Studies4
PACS 126International Human Rights4
PACS 127Human Rights and Global Politics4
PHILOS 104Ethical Theories4
PHILOS 115Political Philosophy4
POL SCI 112BHistory of Political Theory4
POL SCI 124CEthics and Justice in International Affairs4
POL SCI 150The American Legal System4
POL SCI 157AConstitutional Law of the United States4
POL SCI 157BConstitutional Law of the United States4
POL SCI 167ACRacial and Ethnic Politics in the New American Century4
PUB POL 190Special Topics in Public Policy1-4
RHETOR 152Rhetoric of Constitutional Discourse4
RHETOR 159BGreat Themes in the Rhetoric of Contemporary Political and Legal Theory4
RHETOR 160Introduction to the Rhetoric of Legal Discourse4
RHETOR 164Rhetoric of Legal Theory4
RHETOR 165Rhetoric of Legal Philosophy4
RHETOR 166Rhetoric in Law and Politics4
RHETOR 167Advanced Themes in Legal Theory, Philosophy, Argumentation4
RHETOR 168Advanced Topics in Contemporary Law and Legal Discourse4
SOCIOL 114Sociology of Law4
SOCIOL 137ACEnvironmental Justice: Race, Class, Equity, and the Environment4
SOCIOL 152Deviance and Social Control4
UGBA 107The Social, Political, and Ethical Environment of Business3
UGBA 175Legal Aspects of Management3

College Requirements

Undergraduate students must fulfill the following requirements in addition to those required by their major program.

For detailed lists of courses that fulfill college requirements, please review the College of Letters & Sciences page in this Guide. For College advising appointments, please visit the L&S Advising Pages. 

University of California Requirements

Entry Level Writing

All students who will enter the University of California as freshmen must demonstrate their command of the English language by fulfilling the Entry Level Writing requirement. Fulfillment of this requirement is also a prerequisite to enrollment in all reading and composition courses at UC Berkeley. 

American History and American Institutions

The American History and Institutions requirements are based on the principle that a US resident graduated from an American university, should have an understanding of the history and governmental institutions of the United States.

Berkeley Campus Requirement

American Cultures

All undergraduate students at Cal need to take and pass this course in order to graduate. The requirement offers an exciting intellectual environment centered on the study of race, ethnicity and culture of the United States. AC courses offer students opportunities to be part of research-led, highly accomplished teaching environments, grappling with the complexity of American Culture.

College of Letters & Science Essential Skills Requirements

Quantitative Reasoning

The Quantitative Reasoning requirement is designed to ensure that students graduate with basic understanding and competency in math, statistics, or computer science. The requirement may be satisfied by exam or by taking an approved course.

Foreign Language

The Foreign Language requirement may be satisfied by demonstrating proficiency in reading comprehension, writing, and conversation in a foreign language equivalent to the second semester college level, either by passing an exam or by completing approved course work.

Reading and Composition

In order to provide a solid foundation in reading, writing, and critical thinking the College requires two semesters of lower division work in composition in sequence. Students must complete parts A & B reading and composition courses by the end of their second semester and a second-level course by the end of their fourth semester.

College of Letters & Science 7 Course Breadth Requirements

Breadth Requirements

The undergraduate breadth requirements provide Berkeley students with a rich and varied educational experience outside of their major program. As the foundation of a liberal arts education, breadth courses give students a view into the intellectual life of the University while introducing them to a multitude of perspectives and approaches to research and scholarship. Engaging students in new disciplines and with peers from other majors, the breadth experience strengthens interdisciplinary connections and context that prepares Berkeley graduates to understand and solve the complex issues of their day.

Unit Requirements

  • 120 total units

  • Of the 120 units, 36 must be upper division units

  • Of the 36 upper division units, 6 must be taken in courses offered outside your major department
Residence Requirements

For units to be considered in "residence," you must be registered in courses on the Berkeley campus as a student in the College of Letters & Science. Most students automatically fulfill the residence requirement by attending classes here for four years. In general, there is no need to be concerned about this requirement, unless you go abroad for a semester or year or want to take courses at another institution or through UC Extension during your senior year. In these cases, you should make an appointment to meet an adviser to determine how you can meet the Senior Residence Requirement.

Note: Courses taken through UC Extension do not count toward residence.

Senior Residence Requirement

After you become a senior (with 90 semester units earned toward your BA degree), you must complete at least 24 of the remaining 30 units in residence in at least two semesters. To count as residence, a semester must consist of at least 6 passed units. Intercampus Visitor, EAP, and UC Berkeley-Washington Program (UCDC) units are excluded.

You may use a Berkeley Summer Session to satisfy one semester of the Senior Residence requirement, provided that you successfully complete 6 units of course work in the Summer Session and that you have been enrolled previously in the college.

Modified Senior Residence Requirement

Participants in the UC Education Abroad Program (EAP), Berkeley Summer Abroad, or the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC) may meet a Modified Senior Residence requirement by completing 24 (excluding EAP) of their final 60 semester units in residence. At least 12 of these 24 units must be completed after you have completed 90 units.

Upper Division Residence Requirement

You must complete in residence a minimum of 18 units of upper division courses (excluding UCEAP units), 12 of which must satisfy the requirements for your major.

Plan of Study

The following sample plan is just one way to go about planning your courses. See Lauri, the undergraduate academic adviser, for variations specific to your plans.

Fall | Freshman Year

Spring | Freshman Year

Fall | Sophomore Year

Spring | Sophomore Year

Fall | Junior Year (Junior Transfers start here.)
Upper Division Core (4 units)
Upper Division Area (4 units)

Spring | Junior Year
Upper Division Core (4 units)
Upper Division Area (4 units)

Fall | Senior Year
Upper Division Core (4 units)
Upper Division Area (4 units)

Spring | Senior Year
Upper Division Core (4 units)
Upper Division Area (capstone course) (4 units)

Student Learning Goals


Legal Studies is an interdisciplinary liberal arts major that engages the meanings, values, practices, and institutions of law and legality. The Legal Studies curriculum examines how law shapes and is shaped by political, economic, and cultural forces. The major is designed to stimulate critical understanding of and inquiry about the theoretical frameworks, historical dynamics, and cultural embeddedness of law.

The Legal Studies faculty and students grapple with important questions of social policy within the framework of significant concerns in jurisprudence and theories of justice. These concerns include individual liberty, privacy, and autonomy; political and social equality; the just distribution of resources and opportunities within society; the relationship between citizens and the state; democratic participation and representation; the moral commitments of the community; and the preservation of human dignity.

The major’s course offerings examine law and legality from both humanist and empirical perspectives. Courses are organized into interdisciplinary topical areas that transcend disciplinary boundaries in the interest of collaborative inquiry.

Legal Studies’ Pedagogic Objectives

Convey how law relates to social context:  Students will learn about the transformation of legal processes and systems across time and space (e.g., globalization, transnational processes). They will also study how law shapes and is shaped by economic, political, and cultural forces, as well as how and why law in action often differs from legal doctrine.

Adopt an explicitly interdisciplinary approach:  Students will focus on pervasive problems of legal and social policy across traditional curricular and disciplinary boundaries. Although the program encompasses multiple disciplinary perspectives (e.g., history, economics, sociology), it is designed to transcend academic identities rather than compartmentalize the study of law into the discrete perspectives of established disciplines. To accomplish this integration, the major is organized around areas of focus that explore common themes but include coursework across disciplinary boundaries.

Integrate empirical and humanities-oriented perspectives: Students will be exposed to both empirical and humanities-oriented perspectives on law and legal institutions through distribution requirements within the major. Empirical perspectives encompass public policy analysis, training in the epistemological commitments of social science (e.g., empirical methods, the logic of social inquiry), and familiarity with the central questions and tenets related to law in disciplines such as economics, sociology, and political science. Humanities perspectives include maintaining the program’s historical focus on clarifying fundamental values, examining philosophical questions related to law, and understanding the operation and effects of social and cultural practices as they relate to law, legal institutions, and the phenomenon they regulate. After students fulfill the basic distribution requirements, they may, but will not be required to, concentrate their efforts in either empirical or humanities-oriented perspectives.

Promote engagement with social policy: Students will be encouraged to engage deeply with social policy guided by significant themes in jurisprudence and theories of justice. These themes include individual liberty, privacy, democracy, and the relationship between the citizen and the state. Engaging with these themes ensures that policy studies are basic and critical, rather than confined to preexisting policy formulations and assumptions. This new objective of engagement with social policy is intended to connect humanistic inquiries regarding justice, morality, and values, with empirical inquiries into patterns of social behavior and the effects of law on society. This goal will be accomplished through both coursework and field work options.

Encourage civic engagement and an appreciation of the values at stake in legal concerns:  Consistent with the mission of a public university, the major will develop informed and engaged citizens with sufficient knowledge and background to participate in civic institutions and the development of law and policy during and after their education at Berkeley. This participation could take many forms, including interacting with public officials, joining the legal profession, working for legal institutions, engaging in policy analysis, advocacy, social movement building, community organizing, political activism, and the like. Civic engagement includes confronting the relationship between law and justice, and understanding how law affects the public interest and social utility.

Provide a liberal arts education: The major will continue to have a liberal arts orientation. Students will learn to analyze and understand legal rules and legal institutions, but from a broader perspective than is typically taught in a traditional law school setting.

Learning Goals for the Major

The faculty strongly supports an undergraduate liberal arts education that teaches students to develop their intellectual capacities: how to research topics independently, how to ask penetrating questions, how to analyze problems, how to construct arguments based on critical thinking, how to make well-founded judgments, how to identify issues of importance for the future. The intent of the program is that courses be framed with this perspective. In addition, the program is committed to introducing students to multiple disciplinary approaches to the study of law and legal institutions, as well as conveying important basic knowledge about the core features of the American legal system.

Critical Thinking Skills

In concert with the goals identified above, these critical thinking skills focus on particular forms of analysis central to engaging with law and legal institutions from multiple disciplinary perspectives.

  • Identify and evaluate arguments, synthesize ideas, and develop well-substantiated, coherent, and concise arguments, whether in oral or written form.
  • Identify and follow a logical sequence or argument through to its end; recognize faulty reasoning.
  • Develop the ability to critically evaluate proposed legal reforms and policies.
  • Develop the ability to formulate generalized, abstract principles in a way that clarifies the major issues at stake and identifies the most relevant elements of a concept or text.
  • Promote exploration of the role of law in American society from both social science and humanities perspectives.
  • Learn to draw from multiple disciplinary approaches and fields of study across philosophy, history, economics, political science, and sociology; synthesize, bridge, and question disciplinary boundaries to identify new inquiries or insights.

Basic Knowledge about Law and Legal Institutions

These goals address important basic knowledge about law and legal institutions that the program seeks to convey. These goals are not intended to provide a pre-professional education but instead to produce citizens literate in the basic functions and structure of legal systems.

  • Understand core theories about the relationship between law and society.
  • Be introduced to core features of the American legal system.
  • Understand basic legal terminology, legal concepts, legal actors, and modes of legal reasoning.
  • Become acquainted with legal systems other than our own, including how they compare to the current American legal system.
  • Develop insights into how law has evolved through time, including the temporal and geographical transformation of legal processes and systems.

Engaged Citizenship

The faculty believes that our role as a program in a public institution should include training students to be engaged, active, and critical citizens in our society. Many legal studies students engage in civic participation and service while at Berkeley, and many go on to careers in public service. We seek to develop more opportunities for students to develop practical skills and knowledge relevant to those experiences in addition to the broader intellectual skills conveyed by a liberal arts education.

  • Experience the law in action through service learning, exposure to legal clinics, problem solving, and social policy engagement.
  • Enable civic engagement and participation in developing and critiquing social policy.

Research Methods

A key part of a liberal arts education is learning how to conduct independent research and analysis. The program seeks to expose students to a multidisciplinary range of methods of research. 

  • Develop an understanding of methods of research and forms of evidence across multiple disciplines.
  • Develop skills necessary to find and to assess relevant jurisprudential, social science, and humanities materials related to law and legal institutions.
  • Develop basic abilities in statistical analysis and reasoning.
  • Understand the logic of inquiry in the social sciences.


(Defined as philosophy, political theory, and history.)

 These goals provide general guidance for curricular focus and development in the humanities as they relate to law and legal institutions.

  • Encourage understanding of and reflection on fundamental normative concepts such as fairness, due process, equality, and utility.
  • Encourage understanding of and reflection on rights, duties, punishment, and justice.
  • Encourage understanding of and reflection on the ethical dimensions of the relationship between citizens and the state, and the forms and limits of sovereignty.
  • Understand the historical contexts and forces within which legal systems operate and how legal systems influence history and societies.

Social Sciences

(Defined as sociology, political science, psychology and economics.)

These goals provide general guidance for curricular focus and development in the social sciences as they relate to law and legal institutions.

  • Develop the ability to connect theory about law and legal institutions with empirical predictions about the state of the world and to evaluate those predictions with data.
  • Understand how, and why, the law in action often differs from the law on the books.
  • Develop an expansive understanding of the social contexts in which law and legal institutions can be studied empirically.


Students are encouraged to take charge of their academic career by reading through the rich information that the Legal Studies website provides. Students are also welcome to come in for advising during Lauri’s drop-in office hours, 8:30 to noon and 1:30 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Lauri’s office is located in the back of the first floor at 2240 Piedmont, the big house right next to the Law School and just across the street from Memorial Stadium. Students should let Lauri know when they arrive, and if she’s with a student, they should have a seat out on the purple couch in the lobby. Prospective students or students not able to come in should e-mail Lauri with their questions at

Academic Opportunities

Independent Study (LEGALST 199)

LEGALST 199 Supervised Independent Study and Research is open to officially declared Legal Studies seniors with a 3.0 University grade point average (GPA) and a 3.0 GPA in upper division courses for the major. In order to enroll, the student must first develop a research topic, then find a Legal Studies faculty member who is willing to serve as a supervisor. The student should have already taken at least one course from the faculty member in the area in which s/he wishes to do research. The student should submit a written proposal to the faculty member outlining the scope and length of the research project. A general guideline is 1 unit of credit per 10 pages of text in the final research paper, up to a maximum of 4 units. For further information regarding this course, please visit the department's website.

Undergraduate Legal Studies Research Conference

In addition to writing a thesis, Legal Studies Honors Program participants also present their work at the annual Undergraduate Legal Studies Research Conference usually at the end of April. This event will showcase original research from students in Legal Studies as well as students from a number of other departments on campus. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to see what their colleagues have accomplished and what work they might pursue as a Legal Studies major.

The annual Legal Studies Undergraduate Research Conference celebrates the scholarship and creativity of the Legal Studies Honors students through an afternoon that focuses on law-related research. Berkeley Law and the Legal Studies Department co-sponsor the conference.

Berkeley Legal Studies Association (BLSA)

The Berkeley Legal Studies Association strives to create a community of individuals interested in law. Some events each semester include LSAT workshops with popular test preparation companies, lunches with Legal Studies professors, speaker panels, and The Living Catalogue. BLSA hopes that students will join the club and enjoy the friendly and intellectual environment that they are committed to providing. Please feel free to email them at with any questions or for more information on how to join.


Legal Studies

Faculty and Instructors

+ Indicates this faculty member is the recipient of the Distinguished Teaching Award.


Kathryn R. Abrams, Professor. Law, feminist jurisprudence, voting rights, constitutional law.
Research Profile

Catherine R. Albiston, Professor. Inequality, social change, law, employment, legal profession, public interest law, gender discrimination.
Research Profile

Kenneth A. Bamberger, Professor.

+ Robert Berring, Professor. China, law, contracts, Chinese law.
Research Profile

Robert D. Cooter, Professor. Economic development, constitutional law, private law.
Research Profile

Meir Dan-Cohen, Professor. Criminal law, legal philosophy, moral philosophy, organizations, bureaucracy.
Research Profile

Lauren Edelman, Professor. Work organizations, legal environments, civil rights laws, workers' rights.
Research Profile

Malcolm M. Feeley, Professor. Criminal law, punishment, social policy.
Research Profile

Kinch Hoekstra, Associate Professor. History of political, moral, and legal philosophy, ancient, renaissance, and early modern political thought.

Christopher Kutz, Professor. Criminal law, moral, legal and political philosophy.
Research Profile

Taeku Lee, Professor. Political science, discrimination, language, social movements, political behavior, identity, racial and ethnic politics, public opinion, survey research methods, social welfare policies, partisanship, stereotypes.
Research Profile

David Lieberman, Professor. Legal history, legal theory, comparative legal theory.
Research Profile

Kristin Luker, Professor. Social policy, jurisprudence.
Research Profile

Laurent Mayali, Professor. European legal history, comparative law, medieval jurisprudence, customary law.
Research Profile

Justin Mccrary, Professor. Statistics, law and economics, labor economics, business law.
Research Profile

Calvin Morrill, Professor. Sociology of law/social conflict, organizations, ethnography, social networks, social movements youth culture and conflict, urban schools, rights mobilization.
Research Profile

Dylan Penningroth, Professor.

Victoria Plaut, Professor.

Kevin Quinn, Professor.

Jonathan S. Simon, Professor. Punishment, social policy, risk, mass incarceration, reentry.
Research Profile

Sarah Song, Professor. Gender, race, citizenship, multiculturalism, immigration law and politics.
Research Profile

Rachel Stern, Assistant Professor.

Eric Stover, Adjunct Professor. Human rights, war, International Criminal Law, Forensic Sciences, International Criminal Justice.
Research Profile

Eric L. Talley, Professor. Economic analysis of law, corporate law, securities regulation, law and financial markets.
Research Profile

Christopher Lawrence Tomlins, Professor.

Leti Volpp, Professor. Citizenship, law and culture, identity (especially race and gender), immigration and migration, Asian American studies.
Research Profile

John Yoo, Professor. Constitutional law, international law, foreign affairs.
Research Profile

Franklin E. Zimring, Professor. Deterrence, capital punishment, imprisonment, drug control.
Research Profile


Jonathan Marshall, Lecturer.

Richard Perry, Lecturer in Residence.

Ben Brown, Lecturer.

Emily Bruce, Lecturer.

Rosann Greenspan, Lecturer.

Joan Hollinger, Lecturer.

Alexa Koenig, Lecturer.

Charles McClain, Lecturer.

Jamie O'Connell, Lecturer.

Alan Pomerantz, Lecturer.

James B. Rule, Lecturer.

Emeritus Faculty

Daniel L. Rubinfeld, Professor Emeritus. Antitrust, economic analysis of law, federalism.
Research Profile

Harry N. Scheiber, Professor Emeritus. American legal history, ocean law and policy, Law of the Sea (international law), federalism and state-federal relations, American constitutional development.
Research Profile

Barbara Shapiro, Professor Emeritus. Rhetoric, political and legal thought 1500-1700, intellectual and cultural history, 1500-1700, early modern legal and political discourse, science and society, Tudor and Stuart England.
Research Profile

Martin M. Shapiro, Professor Emeritus. Constitutional law, comparative law, European law.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Legal Studies Program

2240 Piedmont Avenue

Phone: 510-643-5823

Fax: 510-642-2951

Visit Program Website

Director, Legal Studies

Jonathan Marshall

2240 Piedmont Avenue

Phone: 510-642-3670

Fax: 510-642-2951

Undergraduate Academic Adviser

Lauri La Pointe

2240 Piedmont Avenue

Phone: 510-643-5823

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