How To Get Into

Berkeley Law School

Berkeley Program Overview

The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, referred to as Berkeley Law and Boalt Hall, is ranked one of the top law schools in the country. Esteemed alumni include Chief Justice Earl Warren and Attorney General of the United States Edwin Meese.

Berkeley is known for its commitment to providing a high quality legal education in a “supportive learning environment.” The school discourages competition by fostering collegiality amongst students not only through their unique non-letter grading system but by also encouraging social gatherings. In fact, students are known to have “bar review” every Thursday night where they congregate and relax at a local drinking hole.  Moreover, providing a supportive environment extends not only to its students but to the community as well. It should come as no surprise that while “[s]ome schools have a pro bono requirement; at Berkeley Law, [they] have a pro bono culture.

Located in the Northern California just east of San Francisco, Berkeley offers an energetic and exciting place to attend law school. Steeped in history and culture, students can debate legal topics right across the street at Caffe Strata, get a slice of pizza on the go at Blondie’s, root for the Bears at Memorial Stadium, catch a concert at The Greek or enjoy a relaxing hike in Tilden Park. And don’t forget, San Francisco is a short Bart ride away.


The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

 Important Insights about Berkeley Law School


Come Fall, between 260-280 students begin their first year of law school at Berkeley. Those 1Ls are further broken down into nine modules of about 30 students each. During their first semester, students will take a 12 person Legal Writing  and Research course, one smaller core course of about 30 and  two courses that are about 90-100 students in size. Despite the relatively large class sizes, within the small sections, professors “seek to interact extensively with students and generally have their students over for dinner at their home.” This 30 person “module” provides an opportunity for students to get to know each other and their course professor better.

Berkeley offers eight areas of specialized study, including Business and Start-Ups, Law and Technology and Environmental Law – each of which offer certification programs. Berkeley is perhaps best known for its expertise in the area of intellectual property law. Not to be overlooked, however, are the school’s other renown areas of study including its environmental law program. One of the first programs in this field, Berkeley Law offers an interdisciplinary approach to environmental law with opportunities to take classes in other graduate schools. Moreover, Environmental Law students can participate in the Ecology Law Quarterly, one of the nation’s preeminent law journals.

Another unique feature of this law school is that it does not give out traditional grades. Rather, students are given High Honors (10%), Honors (30%) or Passes (60%) in all their classes (very rarely do students receive No Credit or Substandard Pass).

Clinical and Experiential Learning
Clinical and Experiential Learning

Berkeley offers students the ability to gain hands-on experience in 13 clinics – eight in the community and five in the law school. Students can also gain practical knowledge through three practicums.

Moreover, as early as in the first semester, students have the opportunity to participate in Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects which provide pro bono services to the community.

Beyond the school’s building, Berkeley also places students with judges, government agencies and public interest firms for a semester through their Field Placement Program. Field placement opportunities are available both domestically and internationally.

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This is an opportunity for us to explore your background and start to help you cultivate a plan of action to get you into your top-choice law school. It’s free to get started.

 Important Facts about Berkeley Law School


Early Decision: Early decision is binding at Berkeley. Applicants admitted under ED automatically receive a $60,000 merit scholarship split evenly over the six semesters while at Berkeley. Additionally, there is no application fee for the ED program. If you are not admitted under ED and therefore entered into the regular applicant pool, you also will not be required to pay an application fee. The deadline for ED is November 12, 2017

Regular Deadline: Applications must be received by February 1, 2018.

Standardized Testing:

LSAT: December is the last possible date to take the LSAT. For Early Decision, applicant must take the LSAT by September. Applicants are allowed to submit an LSAT score from the last five years. When considering your score, Berkeley will consider “similar tests [that] may have under-predicted your academic performance in the past.

GRE: Berkeley does not currently accept the GRE in lieu of the LSAT.

Interview: Berkeley does not currently interview.

Notification: ED decisions are sent out by December 4, 2017. Regular decisions are sent out on a rolling basis. The majority of the decisions will be made by mid-March.

Class Profile

Class Size: 304

Average Age: 24

Women: 65%

Students of color: 42%

Median LSAT: 167 (low 164, high 168)

Median GPA: 3.79 (low 3.66, high 3.88)

Career Placement

Bar Passage Rate (first-time test takers): 85.1%


  • Law Firms: 59.81%
  • Judicial Clerkships: 15.82%
  • Business & Industry: 2.85%
  • Government/Public Interest: 20.57%
  • Education: 0.32%
  • Military: 0.63%


  • Northeast/Mid-Atlantic: 13.3%
  • Central: 2.8%
  • South Atlantic/Central: 12.7%
  • Mountain/Pacific: 70.9%
  • U.S. Territories/Foreign: 0.3%

Berkeley Law School Resources

Admissions Tips & Advice for Getting Accepted

Essay Prompts

Personal Statement

Please provide more information about yourself in a written personal statement. The subject matter of the essay is up to you, but keep in mind that the reader will be seeking a sense of you as a person and as a potential student and graduate of Berkeley Law.

Berkeley Law seeks to enroll a class with varied backgrounds and interests. If you wish, you may discuss how your interests, background, life experiences, and perspectives would contribute to the diversity of the entering class. If applicable, you may also describe any disadvantages that may have adversely affected your past performance or that you have successfully overcome, including linguistic barriers or a personal or family history of cultural, educational, or socioeconomic disadvantage.

Your personal statement should be limited to four double-spaced pages. The thoughts and words contained therein must be your own and no one else should assist in its creation beyond basic proofreading and critiquing. Please include your name and LSAC account number on each page of the statement.


You also may submit separate, supplementary statements to highlight any particular topics that you wish to bring to our attention. Examples may include a history of poor standardized test-taking (a copy of previous test scores is required) or other specific incidents that you wish to explain. Formatting: One to two paragraphs on a separate page.

Diversity Statement/Optional Essay

Applicants can submit two optional essays.

Diversity Statement: How will you (your perspective, experience, Voice) contribute diversity in our classrooms and community? (350 word maximum)

Why Berkeley Law?: Tell us more about your interest in Berkeley Law. What makes our school a good fit for you in terms of academic interests, programmatic offerings, and learning environment? (350 word maximum)

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