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School of Law

School of Law, Admission Office
530-752-6477; admissions@law.ucdavis.edu, http://www.law.ucdavis.edu

The University of California Davis School of Law offers a three-year professional curriculum leading to the degree of Juris Doctor. Within a uniquely supportive atmosphere, law students have access to a comprehensive modern law school curriculum taught by a nationally and internationally distinguished faculty. The School offers a full range of traditional law courses, opportunities for practical experience through clinical programs, and in-depth study of an area of law in an individualized program of classroom work, research, writing, or experience in the community. It further provides professional skills training in interviewing and counseling, negotiation and dispute resolution and trial practice. The School seeks to promote critical evaluation of law and legal institutions in a broad perspective, integrating non-legal disciplines with professional legal education.

UC Davis Law School is fully accredited by the American Bar Association, is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, and has a chapter of the Order of the Coif.

Preparing for the Study of Law

No specific college major is required for admission to the School of Law and there is no prescribed pre-legal program. Your college record and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score must, of course, demonstrate that you are highly qualified for the study of law.

As a pre-law student, you should plan a course of study that will give you a broad cultural background and include intensive work for a substantial period of time in a selected field of study. Pre-law students should develop the ability to think critically. You should gain an understanding of people and institutions and know how to gather and weigh facts, to solve problems and think creatively. You should be able to read rapidly with comprehension and express thoughts clearly, completely, and concisely, both orally and in writing.

You can get help with program planning from the Pre-Law Advising Office in 160 South Silo 530-752-4475.

For additional information, see the Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools, a publication of the Law School Admission Council and the American Bar Association. The guide includes information on the law and lawyers, pre-law preparation, applying to law school and the study of law, together with individualized information on all ABA approved law schools. The Official Guide is accessible at https://officialguide.lsac.org.

Applying for Admission

Deadline for filing electronic applications for admission to the School of Law:

March 15

  • Request the law school catalog to learn more about the School and the admission process. The electronic application is available at the School's website, http://www.law.ucdavis.edu or
    at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website at http://www.lsac.org. Complete instructions about the admission process, including answers to frequently asked questions, are available on the J.D. Admissions section of the Law School website.

    The last date for filing completed electronic applications, together with all supporting documents, including Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores, Credential Assembly Service (CAS) reports and letters of recommendation, is March 15 of the year in which admission is sought. Early filing of all application materials is strongly recommended.
  • You must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) so that the score will be reported to the school. You are urged to take the test as early as possible, and to take it no later than February of the year in which admission is sought; the June test date is too late for fall admission.

    Testing centers are located in all parts of the United States and in many foreign countries. LSAC administers the test four times a year:
    February, June, September/October, and December.

    To obtain information about the test, specific test dates, and the location of testing centers, visit the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) website at http://www.lsac.org/jd/. Both the CAS and LSAT registration process are electronic.
  • Register with the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) no later than December 1 at the LSAC website. Arrange to have a transcript from each college or university you have attended sent directly to LSAC. Complete instructions for the online services are available at the LSAC website.
  • Submit an updated official transcript of college work completed during the first semester or quarter of your senior year directly to the School of Law as soon as it is available. Failure to do so may delay consideration of your application materials. Successful applicants must submit a final transcript showing the award of a bachelor's degree.
  • Provide two letters of recommendation from objective and responsible persons who know you well. At least one of these letters should come from a faculty member under whom you studied while in college. UC Davis School of Law requires all applicants to submit recommendations to the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service (LOR) for inclusion with your CAS report.

    Your application will be reviewed by the School of Law Admissions Committee, which seeks students of demonstrated academic ability, as evidenced by a variety of factors including information provided in the required two-four page personal statement, letters of recommendation, LSAT score, and the undergraduate grade point average (GPA). The Committee seeks students of diverse backgrounds and considers economic factors, obstacles overcome, advanced degrees or other advanced studies, significant work experience and extracurricular and community activities during and after the college years. An applicant's growth, maturity, and commitment to the study of law are also major considerations. Students are admitted only on a full-time basis and only for fall admission.

    When accepted by the School of Law, you are simultaneously admitted to Graduate Studies on the UC Davis campus of the university for the program leading to the degree of Juris Doctor. If you intend to pursue studies leading to other graduate degrees, or wish to become a candidate for a Combined Degree Program, you must make separate application to Graduate Studies or the Graduate School of Management before commencing such studies.

Admission to Advanced Standing

If you have completed at least one year of full-time law course work in another American Bar Association (ABA) approved law school, you may be considered for admission to advanced standing with credit for not more than one year of such work. The application filing period is January 1-30. No application for advanced standing will be considered until the Office of Admissions has received transcripts for at least one semester of full-time course work in a three-year program.

Application procedures for advanced standing are the same as described above with the addition of (1) a letter of good standing, including class rank, from the dean of any law school previously attended; (2) at least one letter of recommendation from a law professor; (3) transcripts of all law school work; (4) LSAT score provided as part of an updated CAS report from LSAC; and (5) an official transcript from the school where you earned your undergraduate degree, stating the date the degree was conferred. The deadline for transfer applications is June 30 of the year for which transfer is sought. Those applicants who demonstrate high academic performance in the first semester of law school may be offered early admission. Those offered early admission must complete the first full year in the top one-third of the class or the School of Law reserves the right to reconsider its offer of admission. All other decisions are normally made in July or early August of the year in which admission is sought.

Students who have been disqualified at another law school will not be admitted to UC Davis Law School.

Recruitment of Underrepresented Groups

The students and faculty of the School of Law recognize the great need for lawyers from under-represented groups. The School, therefore, actively solicits applications from those groups that reflect the many diverse populations of California but, traditionally, have been underrepresented in the law school population.

The School of Law, in cooperation with the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), participates in programs designed to increase the number of law students from underrepresented groups. CLEO applications may be obtained by writing to Council on Legal Education Opportunity, 740 15th Street, N.W., 9th floor, Washington, D.C. 20005, 202-828-6100 or toll free 866-886-4343; http://www.cleoscholars.com.

Program of Study

The professional curriculum requires six semesters for completion and extends over a period of three years. It is for full-time students only; no part-time or evening program is offered. New students are admitted only at the beginning of the fall semester.

After satisfactorily completing the professional curriculum of 88 semester units and the required period of resident study, you will receive the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.). Students who fail to attain satisfactory grades may be required to withdraw from the School at the end of any academic year.

The first year’s work is prescribed and provides the essential foundation for subsequent legal study. Satisfactory completion of the first-year courses is, in all cases, prerequisite to second- and third-year courses. The work of the second and third years is elective. The courses of the professional curriculum are listed in the Undergraduate Courses chapter.

Combined Degree Programs

Individual students may find a combined degree involving law and another discipline such as economics, business, sociology, or science advantageous. To support this kind of study, the School, in conjunction with other schools and university departments, has established Combined Degree Programs. Under these programs, a student may work toward a J.D. degree and a master’s degree in another discipline at the same time. Students working toward a combined degree are required to spend their first year at the law school.

Normally, a Combined Degree Program will take at least four years. You will usually be able to earn up to 10 semester-hours of law school credit for work in the related discipline and normally can complete the combined degrees in less time than it would take to earn the two degrees separately. The first year of the Combined Degree Program must be taken entirely in the School of Law. During the remaining years, course work may be divided between the law school and the related discipline. You must satisfy the admission requirements for both programs and file applications with both units.

Students have pursued degree programs in combination with UC Davis departments for the M.A. degree in economics, philosophy, computer science, and sociology, and with the School of Management for the M.B.A. degree. The law school will attempt to work out an additional program if you are interested in other disciplines. You may enroll in the Combined Degree Program any time before the beginning of your third year in law school. If you are interested in pursuing a Combined Degree Program, and have made a separate application to another school or department, you should notify the School of Law if that application is accepted.

The LL.M. Program

530-752-6081; Fax 530-757-8596; internationallaw@ucdavis.edu

The Law School LL.M. (Master of Laws) program integrates American and foreign law students at all levels of study. For foreign law graduates, the program provides an opportunity to gain a basic knowledge of the United States legal system. United States law school graduates and selected foreign LL.M. candidates may also seek admission on a thesis rather than a course basis. Other opportunities available to all graduate law students include developing special expertise in a particular area and doing special projects and original research under the direction of a faculty member.

Each LL.M. candidate must successfully complete a minimum of 20 semester units of work, usually 10 units each semester. Foreign LL.M. students must enroll in the 1-unit course Introduction to Legal Research and the 2-unit course Introduction to the Law of the United States . They earn the remainder of their required course credit in regular elective J.D. courses. Each foreign student must also complete an intellectually rigorous legal research and writing project, constituting at least two units of credit.

All LL.M. candidates begin their year of study with a complete orientation in the academic and social life of the law school, the UC Davis campus, and the city of Davis. LL.M. students are encouraged to enroll in the School of Law’s Orientation in U.S.A. Law Program, given in the month before the LL.M. Program begins.

School of Law Academic Calendar 2014-2015

The School of Law operates on a semester system rather than the quarter system used on the remainder of the UC Davis campus.

Page content manager can be reached at Catalog-Comment@ucdavis.edu.

Updated: November 21, 2017 12:17 PM