J.D. Academic Guidance

In addition to the required first year curriculum, you are required:

    • complete a course that fulfills the Professional Responsibility requirement by the end of the third year — see the Schedule of Classes for potential classes
    • before you graduate (though it is strongly recommended as a 1L-year Spring elective), to successfully complete Constitutional Law 220.6
    • by the first semester of your 3L year, to successfully complete the Writing Requirement
    • in your second or third year, you must also successfully complete your Experiential requirement. For the Class of 2019 and later, you must complete 6 units of Experiential coursework – see the Schedule of Classes for courses that will satisfy the requirement.

These requirements are stated in the Academic Rules and we encourage you to check the rules yourself to understand what’s needed for the JD degree. At the beginning of your third year, use the 3L Degree Worksheet to track your progress and refer to our 3L Requirements FAQ if you have questions.

Also, you can (and should) check your degree audit and Academic Summary in Cal Central to confirm that your understanding of which classes you’ve taken and what requirements you’ve satisfied matches our records.

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.
  • You may set up an individual appointment with Dean Hirshen to discuss your schedule. To schedule an appointment, contact the Student Services Coordinator, Ilene Ochoa.  You may also set up an individual appointment with the Director of Student Services, Kyle Valenti, to discuss your schedule.
  • Seek out your professors–they are a good source of advice for making decisions about what courses to take and when. 
  • 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. (scroll down to see Bar courses).
  • 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 use a separate add form.  The Registrar’s Office will assign you a course control number based on the information you provide. 


Non-1L Courses Tested on the California State Bar Exam:

    • Business Associations
    • Constitutional Law
    • Criminal Procedure
    • Evidence
    • Community Property
    • Remedies
    • Estates and Trusts
    • Professional Responsibility*


* 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.



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.