J.D. Academic Guidance
In addition to the required first year curriculum, you are required:
- in your second year (or second year or first semester of the third year for the class of 2013 and beyond), to successfully complete a course that fulfills the Professional Responsibility requirement -- see list of potential classes below
- before you graduate (though it is strongly recommended as a 1L-year Spring elective), to successfully complete a course that fulfills the Constitutional Law requirement – starting with J.D. students admitted for Fall 2009, the only course that fulfills this requirement is Constitutional Law 220.6
- by the first semester of your 3L year, to successfully complete the Writing Requirement
- in your second or third year , starting with the class of 2013, there is also a requirement to successfully complete a Professional Skills class – see list below
(Please be sure to refer to the Academic Rules for all graduation requirements. At the beginning of your third year, use the 3L Degree Worksheet to track your progress. Answers to 3L requirements can be found on our 3L Requirements FAQ.)
How you choose to organize your classes beyond those requirements is largely up to you. Given the number of choices we have at Berkeley Law, deciding how to structure your 2L and 3L years can be daunting. However, there are a number of resources available to help you when making decisions about your course selection. Please keep these in mind:
- Review the Schedule of Classes and the Two Year Curriculum Plan (Cal Net ID required), so that you can see when classes are offered and how you might organize your schedule to take all the classes that interest you.
- Seek out your professors--they are a good source of advice for making decisions about what courses to take and when.
- You may set up an individual appointment with Dean Hirshen to discuss your schedule. Contact the Student Program Assistant to schedule an appointment. You may also set up an individual appointment with the Director of Student Services, Mindi Mysliwiec, to discuss your schedule.
- Speak to practitioners about what courses they felt were valuable during law school.
- Speak to second and third-year students who can share with you their experiences here at Berkeley Law.
- While not required, you should keep in mind the second and third year courses that cover subjects tested on the California Bar Examination. (Bar courses are listed below).
- You should review the J.D. Requirements.
- You should review the Academic Rules and the Honor Code which govern your academic life here at Berkeley Law.
- Click through the Schedule of Classes to the webpage for a particular class to read the course description for any prerequisite information.
- Talk to Sue Schechter, Field Placement Program Director, about field placement and externship opportunities.
- Talk to the Clinic Directors about the work done in their Clinics.
- If you are planning to do an independent study, you must sign up for theses units by completing the Add/Drop Petition through the Registrar's Office. These units require a faculty supervisor's signature. Students wanting to add 297-299 must include a short write-up of the independent study and clearly print the name of the supervising faculty member. The Registrar's Office will assign you a course control number based on the information you provide. Please note that if you are signing up for 299 there is a separate section you must complete, which requires an additional signature from the supervising faculty if you choose a letter graded option for your project.
Non-1L Courses Tested on the California State Bar Exam:
Estates and Trusts
* Professional Responsibility is tested both on the California Bar examination and through the Multi State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) which can be taken during your second or third year. Professional Responsibility is a required course.
Courses that fulfill the Professional Responsibility Requirement:
Avoiding 'Club Fed'--Ethics and Integrity in Law and Business
Criminal Field Placement Seminar
Cutting Edge Issues in Professional Responsibility
Death Penalty Clinic Seminar
Environmental Field Placement Seminar
Ethical Issues for the Trial Lawyer
Ethics, Business, and Lawyers
General Field Placement Seminar
Law of Lawyering
Legal Ethics in the Practice of Law
Legal Ethics in Trial Practice
Legal Ethics: Regulation of Lawyers
International Human Rights Law Clinic Seminar
Regulation of Lawyers
Representation of Law in Film
Samuelson Clinic Seminar
Professional Skills Courses:
Advanced Entertainment Law Workshop
Advanced Legal Research
Advanced New Business Counseling Practicum
Advanced Trial Practice
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Child Welfare Law & Litigation
Civil Trial Practice
Criminal Field Placement Seminar (with field placement)
Criminal Pretrial Litigation
Criminal Trial Practice
Death Penalty Clinic Seminar (with clinic participation)
Domestic Violence Practicum
Drafting Legal Documents for New Businesses
EBCLC Seminar (with clinic participation)
Environmental Field Placement Seminar (with field placement)
Ethical Issues for the Trial Lawyer
General Field Placement Seminar (with field placement)
International & Foreign Legal Research
International Human Rights Law Clinic Seminar (with clinic participation)
IP in the Entertainment Industries
Judicial Externship Seminar
Labor & Employment Arbitration
Law & Rhetoric (Persuasion)
Lawyers and Entrepreneurship: Business Plans
Legal Interviewing & Counseling
Local government impact litigation
McBaine Moot Court Competition
Medical-Legal Partnership Practicum
New Business Counseling Practicum
Partnerships and LLC’s
Pre-Trial Civil Litigation
Quantitative Methods I
Reinventing California's Involuntary Commitment Law: A Legislative Drafting Workshop
Samuelson Clinic Seminar (with clinic participation)
Social Justice Skills & Practice Issues
Social Justice Workshop: Legislative Advocacy
UCDC Law (D.C. study program)
Veteran’s Law Practicum
Workshop on Development of the Environment
The instructor has the authority to refuse permission for you to take the final examination if you fail to attend class regularly.
Final Examination Schedule
Each semester, students are reminded of the limitations on examination rescheduling. Exams are not rescheduled to accommodate travel plans, employment, or other personal obligations. An in-class final exam will be rescheduled only if a student has: 1) two in-class final exams scheduled for the same exam period; 2) two in-class final exams scheduled for two consecutive exam periods (e.g., two exams on the same day, or one exam in the afternoon and another the following morning); or 3) three in-class final exams scheduled on three consecutive days. Although students may indicate a preference as to which exam is rescheduled, rescheduling decisions will be made at the discretion of the Dean of Students and the Director of Student Services. Rescheduled exams will not be given earlier than the original exam date.
Please note that, under Academic Policy 3.05, students who receive an Incomplete in a first-year course required for graduation must make it up before they can enter the second year. Students who receive an Incomplete in a second- or third-year course may make it up as follows: for courses requiring an exam, students must meet an approved timeline as determined by the Dean of Students. For courses requiring a paper, students must meet the timeline determined by the instructor.
Order of the Coif
To qualify for the Order of the Coif, (1) your GPA must place you in the top 10% of your class, and (2) 75% of your units must be taken in letter-graded courses. More information can be found on the Order of the Coif webpage.