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    May 25, 2024  
Draft 2024-2025 Law School Student Handbook 
Draft 2024-2025 Law School Student Handbook


LLM Program Admission

Application Requirements

All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible during the admission cycle. To receive consideration by the Admissions Committee, applicants must submit their applications by the posted deadline. Applications may be accepted after the posted deadline and are reviewed on a space-available basis. Applicants may use the electronic application form available through the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) website or apply directly by submitting a completed application to Applicants are advised to read the application form thoroughly and follow the instructions carefully. Applications are open one year prior to the start of the term.

A complete LLM program application consists of the following:

  • Completed and signed Application Form;
  • Personal Statement;
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (C.V.);
  • Character and Fitness Addendum (if applicable);
  • Letters of Recommendation;
  • Law School Transcripts (translated if not in English);
  • Interview (if applicable); and
  • Non-US applicants must submit additional documents, including English proficiency demonstrated with either the TOEFL, IELTS, interview with Program Director, or waived for the exceptions

Fees and Deadlines

There is no fee to apply. It is highly recommended that applicants apply prior to the priority deadline as admission and scholarship decisions are made on a rolling basis.

  • April 1 is the priority application deadline for starting the program in the Fall (August), deadline extension to May 15.
  • October 1 is the priority application deadline for starting the program in the Spring (January).
  • April 1 is the priority application deadline for starting the program in the Summer (late May) – limited to Taxation and Estate Planning programs ONLY.

Admission Process

Applications are complete when they contain all of the required materials detailed below. Once an application is complete, it is forwarded to the Admissions Committee for review. A decision is typically rendered four to six weeks after an application is forwarded to the Committee, but may be reached sooner. Applicants will be notified of decisions through email and LSAC’s Online Status Check (see below). All admission decisions are final.

Personal Statement

Applicants must submit a personal statement. The statement must be no more than 10 double-spaced, typed 8.5-11-inch (or A4) pages. The statement is the applicant’s opportunity to present credentials in non-statistical terms and may include reasons for seeking the degree. The statement may also address the applicant’s experiences as a law student or practitioner in the subject area of the specific LLM program. The applicant is encouraged to describe the impact of these experiences in the decision to undertake graduate legal study. The statement should be in narrative form. Applicants MUST certify their authorship of the statement, and the fact that they did not receive undue assistance in its preparation.

Resume or C.V.

Applicants must include a current resume or C.V. detailing educational and work history along with any current or past community service or volunteer experience.

Character and Fitness Addendum

If an applicant answers “Yes” to any of the questions in the Character and Fitness section, an addendum is required. Applicants must provide a statement that includes the date(s) of occurrence, an explanation of relevant circumstances, and how the matter was resolved for each “Yes” response in that section. If an applicant has questions or is uncertain about how to answer, the applicant is strongly encouraged to consult our Office of Admissions and/or the Committee of Bar Examiners in the state in which the applicant intends to practice law.

Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit at least two, but no more than four, letters of recommendation. Letters from current or former professors, professional colleagues, and/or supervisors who can attest to the applicant’s intellectual and professional attributes are most effective. Letters from friends, family members, and other such acquaintances are not advisable. Recommended for the Taxation and Estate Planning Programs. All letters of recommendation must be submitted by the recommender directly.

Law School Transcripts

Applicants must provide all undergraduate and graduate school transcripts. AT MINIMUM, APPLICANTS MUST POSSESS AN LLM OR EQUIVALENT LAW DEGREE FROM A LAW SCHOOL OR UNIVERSITY BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF NEW STUDENT ORIENTATION. Applicants are required to provide original, official transcripts or certified true copies of their academic record, whether from a U.S. institution or non-U.S. institution. These records must be in the original issuing language and come directly from the issuing academic institution. If that issuing language is not English, a certified English translation must accompany the record. If these records are included with the applicant’s submission, academic records should be in an official, sealed envelope from the institution. GGU Law will withdraw offers of admission from admitted students who cannot show proof of a conferred law degree.


Although an interview is not required, one may be scheduled upon request.

Credit Transfers

For LLM programs, up to twelve (12) completed units may be transferred in at admission. To be considered, the applicant must have taken the course within the last five years; the applicant must have earned grades of B- or better (minimum 2.50 GPA); the course must be equivalent to a required or elective course in that particular LLM program; and the LLM Program Director must determine that application of the units towards the degree is in the best interest of the student. The application of units is at the discretion of the specific LLM Program Director. Units from any non-law school program or LLM program will not be transferred in at admission.

Online Status Check

Through the LSAC website, GGU Law provides an Online Status Check for applicants to check the progress of their application. We encourage applicants to check their status via this service, as it provides the most up-to-date information. Once the Admissions Office receives an application, the applicant is emailed a confirmation, which includes a unique username and password to access the Online Status Check.

MLS Program Admission

Applicants to the Master of Law Studies  program should hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution or the equivalent from a recognized foreign (outside the US) institution and provide official transcripts. Master’s degree holders only need to submit transcripts from previous graduate programs. However, applicants are encouraged to submit all transcripts to maximize transfer credit. Applicants whose native language is not English must meet the University’s English-language proficiency admission requirements. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA below 3.00 should submit a statement of purpose and a resume. The statement of purpose should address the circumstances that may have led the applicants to poor academic performance, what had changed and why they think they will be successful now. 

J-1 Visiting Scholar Program Admission

GGU Law’s J-1 Visiting Scholar Program is intended to provide foreign nationals with opportunities to participate in educational and cultural programs in the United States and return home to share their experiences. It is also intended to encourage Americans to participate in educational and cultural programs in other countries.

Application Requirements & Checklist

Golden Gate University School of Law accepts applications for the J-1 Visiting Scholar program three (3) times a year for Fall, Spring, and Summer academic terms. Applicants must submit an electronic J-1 Visiting Scholar Application Form and ALL required supporting documents online in the student applicant portal before published deadlines. Incomplete or late applications will NOT be accepted. All applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible during the admission cycle.

To apply, please: 
  1. Complete & submit the electronic J-1 Visiting Scholar Application Form (available at J-1 Visiting Scholar Program page) .

  1. Once you submit your application form, you will receive an email notification requesting additional items that must be uploaded to the portal to complete your application. Without them, your application is incomplete, and we will not process incomplete applications. 

  1. The review process only starts after receiving the application and required documents, all of which must be received before the published deadline.

Application Checklist 

All the following documents are REQUIRED to submit: 

  • J-1 Visiting Scholar Application Form .

  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae (C.V.): Please include educational, publication, work history. 

  • Statement of Purpose: 

    • Please briefly describe the research you propose to undertake while at GGU, and your reasons for applying to be a J-1 Visiting Scholar at GGU School of Law. Please do NOT submit them separately. Both must be included in one (1) Statement of Purpose document. 

    • No more than 800 words, double-spaced. 

  • Proof of English Language Proficiency will be demonstrated with one (1) of the following: 

    • Official or Copy of TOEFL, or IELTS, or TOEIC exam score report .

      • Official score report for TOEFL or IELTS must be sent electronically to GGU from the testing organization. 

      • Official score report for TOEIC must be mailed to: 
        Attn: Delaram Farzaneh, Law School Student Affairs, Suite 2333 
        536 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-2968 

      • Copy of score report can be uploaded on the student applicant portal. You must submit the original hard copy to Dir. Delaram Farzaneh upon your arrival. 

    • Request to interview with the Program Director .

    • Request Waiver if: 

      • Your first language is English, OR 

      • Attended an educational institution in which English was the primary language of instruction, OR 

      • Worked in an English-speaking environment where English was the primary language of written and oral communication for a year or more. 

OPTIONAL: Application is considered complete without a letter of recommendation. 

Applicant may submit one (1) Letter of Recommendation that is written by a current or former professor, professional colleague, or supervisor who can attest to the applicant’s intellectual and professional attributes. Letters from friends, family members, and other such acquaintances are not advisable. 

Fees and Deadlines

There is no application fee. Applications are only accepted by the following deadlines:

  • May 1: Fall Semester (Starts August).

  • October 1: Spring Semester (Starts January).

  • February 1: Summer Semester (Starts late May).

For exact dates please review the Academic Calendar. The School of Law operates on a semester-based academic calendar, with fourteen (14) weeks of instruction in both the fall and the spring, and seven (7) weeks of instruction during the summer. 

Admission Review Process & Decision

The application review process begins once the complete application is received (application form & required documents) by the published deadline. 

An acceptance email with a formal Offer Letter will be sent to the applicant indicating formal admission to the program with detailed information. Visiting scholars must indicate their acceptance of our offer by signing the Offer Letter and emailing it to by the deadline included in the offer letter. This offer is contingent upon receiving a signed offer letter by the applicant. 

Upon receiving the signed offer letter, the office of International Student Services will assist visiting scholar with information they will need to start a J-1 visa process to purse research in residence at GGU. 

International Applicants

Golden Gate University School of Law is an award-winning, WASC-accredited law school with a prime location in the heart of San Francisco. GGU Law offers an innovative and personalized learning experience that produces a diverse group of graduates with the skill, judgment, and knowledge to become exceptional lawyers for today’s truly global market.

GGU Law invites qualified applicants from around the globe to expand and enhance their education.

LLM Program

  • Application form, personal statement, and transcripts in accordance with our LLM application requirements.
  • Resume or CV.
  • Official TOEFL score report sent to GGU Law directly from the testing agency as detailed below or through LSAC.
  • Official Certification of Finances form with bank seal and accompanying documents.
  • Letters of Recommendation; Optional (no more than 3 accepted).

Read more about the LLM admissions process on the LSAC website.


GGU Law requires a complete and detailed report, including course breakdown, grade evaluation, and degree equivalency. A report of basic equivalency is insufficient information.

We recommend that LLM applicants from other nations bring with them an extra copy of their official transcripts of undergraduate and law studies as well as any official documents they have received from the courts or bar associations of their home country indicating that they have been admitted to practice law in that country. Students planning to prepare for a bar examination may need a transcript evaluation by an independent agency. This evaluation can be completed after students arrive to begin the LLM program.


Applicants who received their degrees outside the United States must satisfy the Admissions Committee of the proficiency of their English language abilities. An official TOEFL score report sent directly from the Education Testing Service (ETS) to the appropriate program at GGU Law satisfies this requirement. Visit the TOEFL Website.

The TOEFL Institution Code for Golden Gate University is 4329.

The TOEFL Department Code for the School of Law is 03.

Applicants must receive a minimum TOEFL score of 580 Paper-based test (PBT), or 92 Internet-based test (iBT) for the LLM (Master of Laws) Programs.

TOEFL Practice Online is a community for test takers preparing for the next generation TOEFL test, or anyone wishing to improve their academic English skills. This is the ONLY website that has official test material from the new TOEFL test that will assess these language skills: Listening, Writing, Reading, Speaking. By becoming a member you can access helpful information, discussion boards, sample responses from a speaking test, and purchase a practice test and practice questions. TOEFL Practice Online Website.

GGU Law accepts International English Language Testing (IELTS) scores. Students need Level 6.5 to be admitted to the LLM (Master of Laws) Programs.

Proficiency may be demonstrated with either the TOEFL, IELTS, interview with Program Director, or waived for the exceptions.


You may submit your application to the LLM program through LSAC, which is the preferred method, or you may complete the paper application (LLM Application) and send it (signed and dated) to the following U.S. mailing address:

Golden Gate University School of Law
Graduate Law Programs
536 Mission Street, Suite 3300
San Francisco, CA, USA 94105-2968

To have an LLM application form mailed to you, email


A J-1 visa authorizes a sponsored scholar from abroad to research through a qualified US law school. Golden Gate University School of Law is able to accommodate a limited number of visiting scholars each year to engage in significant independent legal research projects. Prospective scholars may apply to the program as Senior Visiting Scholars – professors, government officials, and law professionals.

Since 2003, sponsored students have engaged in significant independent legal research projects at Golden Gate University School of Law, located in the financial district of the world’s most dynamic city, San Francisco, California, USA. These scholars have included students from many countries, including Iraq, Taiwan, and Turkey; attorneys from the major law firm HanaLaw; prosecutors from the South Korean Ministry of Justice; and senior Judges and court officials from the Supreme Court of Korea.

Since the inception of our Center for Advanced International Legal Studies in 1990, Golden Gate University School of Law’s international legal studies program has expanded from the traditional notion of international law to encompass a broader range of international and comparative legal studies. GGU’s rich offerings in international legal studies are enhanced by our diverse community of graduate law students from around the world, including experienced lawyers and professors of law who represent many of the world’s major legal systems. The center stands in a unique position to provide opportunities for its students and graduates.

J-1 Visiting Scholars also are eligible to enroll in the ELS Language Center of San Francisco located near the campus of Golden Gate University. ELS Language Centers are an industry leader in advanced English language instruction for professionals. Their wide range of English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are designed to help advance research, careers, and to improve advanced English.


The visiting scholar application process consists of two parts: admission to GGU School of Law Graduate Law and approval of a J-1 Scholar visa.


Prospective visiting scholars must first submit an application to the School of Law using the LLM Application form and checking the J-1 Visiting Scholar box. The completed application should include:

  • Personal Statement (1-3 pages, double-spaced).
  • Research Statement with a description of the applicant’s research plans and an explanation of the importance of conducting research at GGU School of Law (No more than 10 pages, double spaced).
  • Proof of English Proficiency (Proficiency may be demonstrated with either the TOEFL, IELTS, interview with Program Director, or waived for the exceptions).
  • Letter of Support (LOS required from employer or academic institution).
  • Letters of Recommendation (LORs not required for J-1, no more than 3 LORs should be submitted).

All applicants accepted into the visiting scholars program are considered “in residence” scholars and are expected to conduct their proposed research at GGU School of Law. Applications are reviewed for each applicant’s academic background, research interests, scholarly achievements, and English-language proficiency.


Most foreign visiting scholars will need to obtain a J-1 visa to pursue their research at GGU School of Law. J-1 visas are obtained by the issuance of a DS-2019 document. Applicants who obtain law school approval will receive a DS-2019 form along with the GGU School of Law J-1 Visiting Scholar invitation letter. DS-2019 applications are processed after an applicant is admitted to GGU as a J-1 scholar. Processing of the DS-2019 application takes from 1-2 weeks.


Upon payment of the GGU School of Law fees and the receipt of a campus GGU ID card, visiting scholars have access to research services through the GGU School of Law. Most important, they have full use of the law library’s extensive collection of legal material, which includes US and other common law jurisdictions as well as the law of more than 50+ jurisdictions of the world, and a collection of international, comparative, and human rights law. Visiting scholars may use the library any time the Golden Gate University Law Library is open. They may borrow any regularly circulating material from the law library and from most other campus libraries as well. In addition, visiting scholars obtain passwords to both Lexis and Westlaw, the two most important legal research databases in the United States. With these passwords visiting scholars will have access to extensive collections of US primary legal materials, journals and reviews, treatises and practice material, as well as to international law, newspapers, and other periodicals.

Due to space and budget restrictions, the law school cannot provide offices or library carrels for visiting scholars. Visiting scholars may be able to consult with law school faculty members in their specialized field of study, and they may audit law school classes with the professor’s permission. Academic credit is not given for audited courses.


Wireless access is available throughout the law school, including the law library. Once visiting scholars have their GGU4YOU ID card, they may use their laptop computers anywhere in the law school and in many locations throughout the GGU campus. In addition, the law library has a number of computers that can be used to gain access to all databases licensed by the campus, as well as to .edu .gov and .org websites. A commercial, fee-based, copying service is available in the law library.


Living expenses/costs for an individual scholar are at a minimum $2,200 per month. A married couple should expect to incur expenses of at least $2,500 per month, plus $200 per child. Proof of source funding, based on these amounts, are required for GGU Graduate Law and J-1 visa approval.

Auditing Courses

Members of the bar, GGU Law alumni, graduates of other law schools, and members of foreign bars may request to audit courses.

Non-Discrimination Policy

In accordance with federal and state law, Golden Gate University policy prohibits discrimination or harassment based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth, medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, religion, religious creed, age, veteran’s status, physical or mental disability, medical condition, or any other basis that is protected by law. Under the law, these forms of description are referred to as one’s membership in a “Protected Class” of people. Applicable laws governing these prohibitions include Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

For the purpose of this policy, “discrimination” is any decision, act, or failure to act which interferes with or limits a person’s or group’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, privileges, or activities of the University when such decision, act, or failure to act is based on the person’s status as a member of a Protected Class.

Claims for harassment that are not based on an individual’s membership in a Protected Class shall be handled under the applicable disciplinary process.

The University’s policy prohibiting discrimination and harassment applies to all individuals involved in University operations, including students, faculty and staff; applicants for admission or employment; and any persons doing business with or for the University.


It is the applicant’s responsibility to notify the Admissions Office of any changes (e.g., mailing address, email address, and/or phone number) that may occur after an application has been submitted. Contact the following regarding any such amendments:

Graduate Law Programs: or 415-369-5289

For document submissions:

Golden Gate University Law Admissions Office
536 Mission Street, Suite 3320
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968, USA