The Honors Lawyering Program (HLP) began in 1998 under the name Integrated Professional Apprenticeship Curriculum (IPAC). HLP is an honors alternative for students who want to maximize their practical experiences while in law school. HLP provides an active, hands-on legal education. HLP students follow the standard first-year schedule, with the exception of an exclusive elective course in the spring to prepare them for their summer studies. In the first summer, HLP students study in intensive, interactive sections. The summer curriculum includes direct representation of actual clients with real legal disputes. In the fall of their second year, HLP students work full time in professional apprenticeships in a wide variety of settings and locations. Students in HLP complete law school in three years, pay the same tuition, and take the same required courses as non-HLP JD students. Each HLP student undertakes at least three substantive work experiences in the legal profession before graduating.
HLP students are subject to the same rules and regulations as non-HLP JD students.
- Entering Students
Students may apply to HLP as part of the regular JD application process by checking the Honors Lawyering Program box on their admissions application.
- Spring Admission
First-year students may also apply to join HLP after the conclusion of the fall semester. This is the only opportunity to transfer into HLP. Details regarding the post-fall admission process will be posted in Law School News. Students interested in applying are encouraged to meet with the HLP Faculty Director to inquire about the transfer process. The HLP Committee considers a variety of factors in the post-fall admission process, including students’ demonstrated success in law school, professionalism, collegiality, volunteerism, high ethical standards, academic enthusiasm, and ability to perform successfully in a professional setting. The Committee evaluates each applicant’s fall semester grades, recommendations from School of Law professors, and a personal essay. The number of post-fall admittees to the program will depend upon the number of students already enrolled and the quality of applications. All eligible students are encouraged to apply.
- Part-Time Students
Part-time students are not eligible for enrollment in HLP.
- Joint Degree Programs
Students enrolled in the JD/MBA program are eligible for enrollment in HLP and should consult with the Associate Dean or Director of Student Affairs, Law School regarding their schedules.
Students who decide to withdraw from the Honors Lawyering Program must meet with the HLP Faculty Director and complete a Petition for Change of JD Academic Program form which requires the signatures of the HLP Faculty Director and either the Associate Dean or Director for Student Affairs, Law School. Students will not be able to register for courses outside the HLP curriculum or be considered by the Financial Aid Office as a non-HLP student until these steps are completed.
Registration and Required Courses
The HLP Faculty Director will work with the Registrar to administratively enroll rising second-year HLP students in HLP summer courses. The Faculty Director will coordinate with the registrar to assign each student to a course section. Rising second-year HLP students may not register for any other courses during the summer term. HLP students are subject to the same rules as non-HLP JD students, including those regarding tuition, tuition credit, refunds, and withdrawals.
While it may become necessary to adjust the specifics of the HLP curriculum for pedagogical or administrative reasons, the following HLP curriculum for the entering class of 2017 represents the basic structure of the Honors Lawyering Program:
- Summer Semester
The HLP students take 11 units during their first summer, consisting of the following courses:
- Advanced Legal Research (2 units)
- Constitutional Law I (3 units)
- Evidence (4 units)
- HLP Client Representation (2 units; Credit/No Credit)
The summer session usually begins in late May and ends in late July. Classes generally are held Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, with a break for lunch. On rare occasions, weekend classes also may be scheduled. Final class schedules will be published as soon as they are determined. Because of the intense course schedule, HLP students are well advised not to make any plans which would interfere with daily attendance. HLP students are prohibited from being employed during the summer curriculum.
- Third Semester
During their third semester (2L fall), students perform their full-time First Apprenticeship.
- Fourth Semester
During their fourth semester (2L spring), HLP students must enroll in HLP Constitutional Law II, along with other required and elective courses.
- Fifth and Sixth Semesters
The school may offer optional, additional HLP courses. Additional HLP courses may include a co-requisite lab component. If the course includes a lab component, students may not enroll in the lab separately from the course.
It is the HLP student’s responsibility to identify and secure a suitable position for his or her apprenticeship. Office for Career Services (OCS) staff members provide primary support to help students identify and secure such a position.
- First Apprenticeship
All HLP students must complete a full-time apprenticeship during the fall semester of their second year. Full time is defined as a minimum of 30 hours per week for at least 15 weeks. HLP students may not earn clinic units for their first apprenticeship.
- Second Apprenticeship
All HLP students are required to complete a second apprenticeship, which may be either full-time (see above) or part-time (a minimum of 280 hours during one semester). A full-time or part-time apprenticeship may be completed in any term after the first apprenticeship. HLP students are advised to meet with the Associate Dean or Director of Student Affairs, Law School to schedule this second apprenticeship within their other course requirements.
Students may earn externship and clinic units for the second apprenticeship. HLP students are held to the same clinic and externship prerequisites as non-HLP JD students. In some instances, students may find themselves volunteering extra hours at their apprenticeships to meet the 280-hour minimum. For example, a student enrolled in an externship clinic for 4 units (i.e., 180 hours of work) would need to work an additional 100 hours over the course of the summer or semester to reach the 280-hour threshold.
- Apprenticeship Procedures
First-year students meet with Office for Career Services(OCS)staff members beginning in October as part of the Office for Career Services orientation sessions. HLP students are required to attend these sessions.
Students are advised to submit a draft resume to Office for Career Services by the end of January. Students also should prepare a list of references and a writing sample in preparation for apprenticeship applications. Students should consult the Office for Career Services handouts, attend the OCS Resume/Cover Letter workshops, and use the OCS Resume/Cover Letter Review Service when preparing these materials. Students are encouraged to schedule an individual appointment with an OCS counselor.
HLP apprenticeships are available in private firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations, companies, and judicial chambers. OCS staff members work with students to develop career-search strategies. Students seeking apprenticeships outside of the Bay Area should consult a career counselor early in their search process.
Membership in HLP authorizes the HLP and OCS staff to view copies of grade reports and transcripts for HLP apprenticeship placement purposes and to share apprenticeship placement information with fellow HLP students and faculty.
ALL apprenticeships must be approved by the HLP Administrative Director. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the HLP Administrative Director of apprenticeship plans. No later than one week after securing an apprenticeship, students must complete and submit the HLP Apprenticeship Placement & Certification form to the HLP Faculty Director for review and approval of the proposed apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships must consist of substantive legal work under the supervision of a judge or practicing attorney. The nature of that work will vary depending on the environment. However, an apprenticeship that primarily consists of “shadowing” a judge or attorney, without any meaningful participation in the legal or judicial process, would not be sufficient to satisfy this requirement. For example, in the context of an apprenticeship with a judge, the apprenticeship experience must include a significant amount of legal research, writing and/or analysis. If you have any questions or doubts as to whether your particular placement meets the aforementioned requirements, please speak with the HLP Faculty Director before accepting an offer for an apprenticeship.
- Funding Options
There are two main funding options for HLP apprenticeships:
The employer pays the student directly. This arrangement is between the student and the employer, although OCS staff members are available to counsel students about salary ranges.
- Federal Work-Study
Most students are awarded federal work-study to help fund their HLP apprenticeship. For further information, refer to the “Financial Aid” section of this Handbook or consult a financial aid counselor.
The work-study program is subject to the amount of funding available each year. If an HLP student is not eligible for outside funding, HLP students may volunteer for employers.
- Fall Semester Enrollment
Students may enroll in up to five (5) units of coursework during the 2L fall semester while working at their full-time apprenticeships. With the written approval of the HLP Faculty Director, students may seek permission to enroll in a maximum of six units, so long as they are not enrolled in more than two classroom courses. Students engaged in a full-time apprenticeship may never enroll in more than six units. Students must enroll in at least three units during the fall to be eligible for federal financial aid.
Students who are apprenticing outside of the Bay Area and who need to enroll in three units for financial aid purposes may be allowed to enroll in classes at another ABA-approved law school. Alternatively, HLP students doing their apprenticeships may be allowed to enroll in an Independent Study for three units. Both of these options are subject to the prior approval of the Associate Dean or Director of Student Affairs, Law School students are encouraged to contact them early in the process.
Students must participate in at least one in-person check-in session with HLP staff during their full-time apprenticeships. The date, time, and location of the sessions will be announced at the beginning of the fall semester. Students undertaking their apprenticeships outside of the Bay Area must participate in these check-in sessions as well, either by telephone or video conference.
HLP or OCS staff may check in with the supervising attorneys by telephone during the semester. Personal site visits may be made by staff and can be made at the request of a student or employer.
Students who identify a problem at their apprenticeship should discuss it with their supervising attorney as early as possible. If that is not possible, or if the problem persists, students should promptly contact the HLP Faculty Director.
First-year HLP students are required to attend periodic events held throughout their first year of law school. These events are designed to orient students to HLP, their HLP colleagues, and HLP staff and faculty.
To remain in the program, HLP students are required to maintain a minimum required course GPA of 2.75 in their first semester of law school, and a minimum cumulative required course GPA of 2.75 at the end of each spring semester thereafter. Students failing to meet these standards will be academically disqualified from HLP. However, if a disqualified student’s cumulative required course GPA is 2.65 or higher, the student may petition the HLP Committee to remain in the program. Petitioning students are encouraged to submit a faculty letter of recommendation written in support of their petition, but are not required to do so. The decision to grant or deny the petition is at the Committee’s discretion, and conditions may be placed on a student’s continuation in the program. Any student who does not take a prerequisite for an HLP summer course prior to the summer session may not be eligible to continue in the program.
Disqualified students must meet with the Law School Student Affairs to determine next steps. Students who are disqualified from HLP after the spring semester of their first year but who are eligible to submit a petition may choose to remain in the summer HLP classes, but will only be allowed to complete a full-time HLP apprenticeship in the fall if the HLP Committee grants their petition to remain in HLP. HLP staff, in consultation with associate deans, may exercise discretion in allowing a student with a cumulative required course GPA below 2.65 to remain enrolled in HLP summer courses with or without additional conditions. Students who are disqualified from HLP after the spring semester with a cumulative required course GPA below 2.65 will not be allowed to remain in the summer HLP classes or do an HLP apprenticeship in the fall. Students should be aware that grades for the spring semester may not be available until after the summer HLP courses have begun.
Courses composed of 60% or more of HLP students, including the HLP summer classes, are not subject to the mandatory grading curve. HLP Client Representation is graded on a Credit/No Credit basis. All other HLP courses must be taken for a letter grade.
HLP students may earn any of the certificates of specialization offered at GGU if they satisfy the requirements for the certificate of specialization.. See the “Special Programs” section of this Handbook. Students should contact the certificate advisor and the Associate Dean or Director for Student Affairs, Law School for assistance in planning their academic schedules.
After students have completed the first HLP summer session, the registrar will add a notation to their transcripts stating, “Admitted to the Honors Lawyering Program (HLP).” In addition to confirming participation in the program, this notation helps to explain certain courses such as “HLP Client Representation.” Students who withdraw from HLP prior to completion of the first summer session will not have any reference to HLP noted on their transcripts.
The Financial Aid Office works closely with HLP students. HLP students pay the same tuition and are entitled to the same scholarship opportunities as non-HLP JD students. HLP staff and faculty do not have access to a student’s financial aid records. For any questions regarding financial aid, please contact the Financial Aid Office.
HLP students receive a notation in the School of Law commencement program indicating that they are graduates of the Honors Lawyering Program. Each year, the HLP Committee, in conjunction with HLP students, selects an Outstanding Honors Lawyering Program Student from among the graduating HLP students, with the award acknowledged in the School of Law commencement program.