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School of Law

School of Law Rating: 4.9/5 (15 votes)


In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Business Administration).

Students must take 15 credits in their area of concentration. The School of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, international law, juvenile law, labor law, litigation, maritime law, securities law, tax law, torts and insurance, and intellectual property (including entertainment, sports, and media law). In addition, clinical programs include International Human Rights Clinic (3 units), Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic (6 units), and the Child Advocacy Clinic (6 units). Seminars are offered in many subjects including International Business and Civil Dispute Resolution (3 units), Murder, A Study of Deadly Human Violence (3 units), and Legal Ethics and the Practice of Law (3 units). The Clinical Internship and Judicial Externship programs give students the opportunity to earn academic credit while working in legal agencies (3 to 6 units) or with federal and state judges (3 to 12 units) throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Students may earn 1 to 2 units of credit working on a directed research project, under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. Special lecture series includes the McCarthy Institute, and the annual symposia of the USF Law Review, the Intellectual Property and Law Bulletin, the Journal of Law and Social Challenges, and the Center for Law and Global Justice. USF offers three summer abroad study opportunities in Dublin, Prague, and Budapest. Additional opportunities are offered in Brazil, Spain, and Cambodia. Academic support is available to select incoming students for the first semester based on admission criteria. All first year students are eligible for academic support, as needed, after the first semester or when referred by a faculty member. Support is ongoing for those in need through a special second year course and in the final year through a series of bar preparation workshops. The Academic Support Program (ASP) was created to assist students of diverse backgrounds in succeeding in law school. Special interest groups include the Intellectual Property/Cyberlaw Certificate, International and Comparative Law Certificate, and Business Law Certificate. The most widely taken electives are Corporations, Wills and Trusts, and Remedies.

To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 86 total credits, of which 48 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure I and II, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law (second-year part time), Criminal Procedure (second-year part time), Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis I and II, Moot Court (second-year part time), Property, and Torts I and II. Required upper-level courses consist of a research and writing requirement, Constitutional Law I and II, Evidence, and Legal Ethics and the Practice of Law. The required orientation program for first-year students is a week long orientation program which serves to welcome and inform incoming students. An introduction course provides essential initiation to first-year courses. Other meetings and events cover important topics and social activities designed to ease the transition to law school experience and environment.

In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement. Effective spring 2010 a 2.30 GPA will be required to graduate.


In the fall 2007 first-year class, 3582 applied, 1300 were accepted, and 250 enrolled. Three transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 78; the median GPA was 3.28 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 15; the highest was 96.

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include academic achievement, minority status, and motivations. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.

The application deadline for fall entry is February 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $60, 2 letters of recommendation, and an optional diversity statement. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is December for full-time, February for part-time. The law school uses the LSDAS.

Financial Aid

About 85% of current law students receive some form of aid. The maximum annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $52,980. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is February 15. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include the Academic Support Program, which provides two grants that vary in amounts up to $3500, based on need. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.


About 52% of the student body are women; 37%, minorities; 7%, African American; 18%, Asian American; 10%, Hispanic; 1%, Native American; and 4%, multi-ethnic. The majority of students come from California (90%). The average age of entering students is 26; age range is 19 to 46. About 19% of students enter directly from undergraduate school and 5% have a graduate degree. About 9% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 90% remain to receive a law degree.

Students edit the University of San Francisco Law Review and the University of San Francisco Maritime Law Journal ,1 of only 2 maritime law reviews published in the United States. Student members of the Intellectual Property Law Association publish the Intellectual Property Law Bulletin. The Forum is the student newspaper. Students participate in the National Moot Court Competition, National Appellate Advocacy Competition, and Phillip C. Jessup International Law Competition. Other competitions include the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition, State Bar of California Environmental Negotiations Competition, San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Mock Trial Competition, Judge John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition, Giles Sutherland Rich Memorial Moot Court Competition, and Roger J. Traynor California Moot Court Competition. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include the Public Interest Law Foundation, the Sports and Entertainment Law Association, the International Law Society, the National Lawyers Guild, St. Thomas More Society, the Equal Justice Society, Pride Law Association, the Federalist Society, and the Law in Motion Service Program.

The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Required courses for full-time students are offered during the day, and must be completed within 5 years. For part-time students, courses are offered mostly evenings and occasional weekend days and must be completed within 5 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is a 7-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.

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