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    May 25, 2024  
2020-2021 Law School Student Handbook 
2020-2021 Law School Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Special Programs

The special programs described below provide opportunities for students to earn credit through experiential learning, writing and publishing, clinics and externship programs.

Joint Degree Programs

Joint degree programs allow students to reduce the number of units necessary to earn both a JD and a graduate degree in another specialty area. They particularly are beneficial to students who have undergraduate degrees and/or previous work experience in a given field and who want to pursue careers that combine that experience and training with legal work. Students enrolled in joint degree programs are able to fulfill 12 units of electives needed for their JD degrees from specified courses completed toward earning the other degree.

The JD/MBA program is offered in collaboration with Golden Gate University’s Ageno School of Business. Students may apply to participate in this program after the completion of two semesters of law school, for full-time students, and after three terms for part-time students. Students’ LSAT scores will be accepted in lieu of the GMAT and writing proficiency requirement in order to gain admission to the MBA program.

Interested students should submit an Application for Joint JD/MBA Program to Student Affairs, Law School for approval. Students pay the same tuition for business courses as other MBA students. Students in the JD/MBA program must complete all requirements for both degrees before either degree will be conferred. JD students wishing to withdraw from the joint degree program must submit a Petition for Change of JD Academic Program form.

Certificates of Specialization

The School of Law offers certificates in the following areas of specialization:

  • Business Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Litigation
  • Public Interest Law
  • Privacy Law

A list of specific courses and requirements for the certificates can be found online on the Specialization Certificates webpage. The JD Specialization Certificate Application is available online on the Registrar’s Office forms webpage.

Students must submit an application for a specialization certificate to the Registrar’s Office during their last semester: by May 1 for May graduation candidates, July 1 for July graduation candidates, and by December 1 for December graduation candidates. Specialization certificates are mailed shortly after the student’s degree is conferred. Any specialization certificates earned will be noted on graduates’ transcripts.

Law Review

Law Review membership is among the highest honors that a student can earn during law school. First year membership provides students with opportunities to develop their skills in legal research, writing, and analysis, while second year membership provides valuable experience working on the editing process.

Each year, under the supervision of faculty advisers, selected students publish the Golden Gate University Law Review, which is included in the databases on Westlaw, LexisNexis, and HeinOnline.

Law Review is staffed by full-time and part-time students in their second, third, or fourth year of law school. Membership on Law Review is determined by grades or through a writing competition. Interested students should contact the Editor-in-Chief ( with any questions regarding eligibility.

Membership on Law Review is a two year commitment; members earn a total of six academic credits, with two units awarded during fall semester and one unit awarded during spring semester for both years of membership. Members are eligible to serve on the Editorial Board in their second year on Law Review. Some board positions earn an additional academic credit. The Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor are both eligible to receive 4 units of credit, while the Executive Articles Editor, Executive Comments Editor, Ninth Circuit Survey Executive Editor, Executive Research Editor, and Executive Online Editor are eligible to receive 3 units of credit.

Informational sessions are held prior to the spring write-on competition. Dates and times of these sessions will be published in Law School News. Students with questions about law review should contact the Editor-in-Chief at

Environmental Law Journal

The Golden Gate University Environmental Law Journal (ELJ) is a student-run publication dedicated to exploring contemporary and emerging issues in environmental law and policy. The ELJ not only showcases creativity and scholarship in the area of environmental law, but also provides an opportunity for Golden Gate University Law School students to be published alongside esteemed faculty and environmental law professionals.

The ELJ publishes one or two issues annually:

The “Symposium Edition” is published in the fall and contains lead articles written by academics and professionals, as well as student notes, comments and/or summaries. Its publication is coordinated with the Environmental Law Symposium that is held by Golden Gate University. The “Pacific Region Edition” contains lead articles written by academics and professionals, as well as student notes, comments and/or summaries focusing on environmental law and policy issues in the Pacific Region (including, but not limited to, the North American Pacific Coast and the Asian Pacific Rim and Basin). The inaugural issues of Volume I of the Golden Gate Environmental Law Journal were published during the 2007-2008 school year.

To be eligible for the ELJ, applicants must be JD or LLM students in good academic standing, have a minimum required course GPA of 2.5, and have completed 30 units or the equivalent of the first year required courses for their program. The application processes for writers and editors are both held in the spring, but the requirements are slightly different for editorial positions. Membership for writers is determined by grades or through a writing competition, while membership for editors is determined after the submission of a resume, cover letter, and writing sample.

The ELJ is a one-year commitment, and members earn three academic credits. Two units are awarded for the first semester and one unit for the second semester. Members who choose to continue on the ELJ for a second year become Associate Editors. Second year members are eligible to run for the Editorial Board. The Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor can earn four academic credits, while the Pacific Region Edition Editor, Symposium Edition Editor, and Research Editors can earn three academic credits.

Annual Survey of Comparative & International Law

The Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law provides a forum for the scholarly publication of articles written by academics, practitioners and other professionals working in the areas of international and comparative law and related fields. The Annual Survey encourages research based on empirical observations and experience, as well as theoretical and multi-disciplinary approaches.

Students who have been selected by the Production Editor to work on the Annual Survey will edit articles submitted by outside and selected student authors. Student articles are selected through a writing competition. JD students who have completed 30 units of first year required courses by the end of the spring semester (full-time first year or part-time second year students), are eligible to apply to work on the Survey in a mentee capacity. Membership requires a one semester commitment in the spring, and students may participate for more than one spring semester with the approval of the Production Editor. Information about this program is available from Professor Chris Okeke (

The Production Editor receives 2 academic credits for working on the journal. All other second and third year student editors receive 1 academic credit for their editorial work on the journal.

Academic Achievement & Bar Services Department

  1. Academic Achievement
    The Academic Achievement department is part of the Center for Student Success. It is committed to the academic success of each law student. Starting with the first year, Academic Achievement provides a wide range of academic support services throughout a student’s time at GGU, including administration of the first-year Practice Intensive Courses, one-on-one academic support, and academic skills-related workshops and courses. Academic Achievement also works individually with students on Academic Supervision and Academic Probation to improve their academic standing.

    Skills covered by Academic Achievement programming include the following:
    • Legal Literacy: The ability to think and communicate like a lawyer. This includes the ability to read and listen closely, note relevant details, and understand the key points or legal significance in readings and discussion.
    • Synthesis: The ability to take a large amount of information consisting of reading material, class notes, and other course-related material, and distill it down to an analytical framework or exam-targeted outline of reasonable length.
    • Self-Reliance/Self-Monitoring: The ability, with initial guidance and support from instructors, to assess one’s own preparation and performance and identify areas for improvement.
    • Analysis through Practice: The ability to perform thorough legal analysis (i.e. applying facts to law while examining alternative arguments) with the use of IRAC through repetition and practice.

The Academic Achievement department also administers two intensive skills courses designed to help students improve their performance: Legal Analysis and Legal Methods. For first year students, enrollment in Legal Analysis in the spring semester is determined by students’ academic performance during the fall semester. For second year students, enrollment in Legal Methods is determined by students’ academic performance during their first year. Students who wish to opt-in to either course may do so upon obtaining approval from Student Affairs and the Director of Academic Achievement.

  1. Bar Services Department
    Starting in their final year of law school, all students are encouraged to work with Bar Services. Bar Services administers two courses in the final year of law school. Practical Legal Writing (PLW) and Early Bar Preparation (EBP) are designed to prepare students with the framework and skills necessary to be successful on the Bar Exam.

    During the bar exam study period, Bar Services staff are available to help transition students from law school study to the bar exam.

Clinics and Externships

The School of Law offers students opportunities to participate in a variety of clinical experiences. Students who are interested in enrolling in a clinic or externship should review the Course Descriptions  in this handbook and the Clinical Legal Education Program Student Handbook. Students may be paid for credit-bearing externships provided they meet certain requirements. Students interested in earning both pay and credit for the same externship should review the Pilot Program Allowing Paid Credit-bearing Externships and apply at least one month before the start of the summer session.

Students may not take more than 13 units in externship and other clinical courses. Generally, these units are earned over the course of multiple semesters. Students may be required to seek the Director of Externships’ approval before enrolling in more than 4 units per semester. Courses that count toward the 13-unit limitation include all clinics and externships, regardless of whether they appear on the list below. Occasionally, the School of Law partners with other organizations or universities to provide additional, clinical opportunities.

In rare circumstances and with consent of the Associate Dean or Director for Law Student Affairs, a student may be approved for more than 13 units. A student may not enroll in more than one of these courses per term, unless permission is granted by the Associate Dean or Director for Law Student Affairs. Permission will depend in part on whether the student can verify that there is no conflict of interest between the student’s two clinical placements. In no case may a student enroll in more than one of these courses per term when one of the courses is for a judicial externship.

  1. On-Site Clinics
    Environmental Law & Justice Clinic
    Immigration Clinic
    Pro Bono Tax Clinic
    Women’s Employment Rights Clinic
    Veterans Legal Advocacy Clinic

  2. Externships
    Civil Field Placement  
    Criminal Litigation 
    Judicial Externship

Students must receive approval from the Director of Externship Programs to enroll in all externship programs and externship clinics.

*To be eligible for a judicial externship, students must have completed Evidence and meet other GPA requirements. With the approval of the Director of Externships, students may enroll in a judicial externship with Evidence as a co-requisite.

Students who have completed 28 units of law school and are in good academic standing are eligible to enroll in any of the externship courses except as noted above. Students on Academic Probation are not eligible to apply to any clinic without permission from the Associate Dean or Director for Student Affairs, Law School.