UC Berkeley School of Law is indisputably one the nation’s most celebrated citadels of legal education. The curriculum includes a great mix of legal theory and practical courses, and the breadth of specialized courses is dazzling. “Students have the opportunity to pursue virtually any sub-genre of the law and receive credit for it,” says a satisfied 3L. “There are extensive externship opportunities at nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies.” There are nearly a dozen journals. Unlike at most law schools, all of them (except for the Law Review) are open membership, and students are allowed to participate immediately. Students tell us that the immense clinical opportunities “are the absolute highlight of Boalt,” though. “We get to start clinical opportunities, just like journals, from day one,” gloats a 1L. “There are a number of 1L clinics in employment, education, immigration and asylum, tenant rights, homeless aid—you name it.”The “illustrious” faculty at Berkeley Law is crammed with “almost frighteningly brilliant” professors who are “some of the most well-known and well-respected scholars in the field.” The “quality of instruction can vary widely” “from the poor to the most excellent,” but it’s always worth showing up to lectures for the dynamic classroom interaction. “Boalt’s intellectual rigor is most evident in class discussions,” reports a 2L, “where students’ learnedness, insightfulness, and curiosity come shining through.” Outside of class, professors are “incredibly devoted,” “always approachable,” and “want to develop relationships.” Sipping coffee with faculty members is practically customary, and it’s not uncommon to go to a professor’s house “for sushi and great wine, while discussing the Uniform Commercial Code.” Some students are “disgruntled” with the top brass, especially in light of ever-increasing tuition. However, even the harshest critics admit that management “runs things fairly smoothly.” “The administration is always ready to help,” declares a 1L, “whether it’s dealing with the crashing of a laptop during a final or hearing and considering an idea for school improvement.”Like every other law school, Berkeley Law is engaged in “a constant arms race to be better positioned for firm hiring.” The difference is that Berkeley usually wins. The “name has street cred,” and the Career Development Office “can and will help you find a job.” Job opportunities are beyond plum, and the school’s prestigious reputation helps students land summer associate jobs and extravagantly salaried full-time positions at prestigious firms around the country. Also, the loan repayment assistance program for students who choose to go work in the public interest is one of the best in the nation.“No one picks Boalt for its facilities,” and “Boalt’s exterior will never be much to write home about.” However, the interior of the school is “generally quite up-to-date,” if not “freaking gorgeous.” “Classrooms are pretty standard, not really good or bad,” but they’re “modern and laptop friendly.” The newly renovated library boasts a pretty striking reading room and, as you would expect, world-class resources.
- The Princeton Review