JD Pre-Orientation Program

Pre-Orientation is an optional, by-application program for admitted and confirmed incoming Berkeley Law JD students.

Pre-Orientation brings 40 incoming JD students to campus a week early to learn about law school, meet other first-year students, and get to know some of our faculty and upper-division students. Think boot camp, but for law school. The week is designed to orient students to the study of law, and to help new 1Ls feel prepared, confident, and welcome at Berkeley Law. Much of the program consists of classes focusing on the basics of legal reasoning and analysis, fundamental legal concepts, and effective study techniques. But there also is plenty of time for community-building in both organized and more informal settings. You can read more about the impact of Pre-O in this short article.

The program is held the full week (Monday through Friday) preceding the week of 1L Orientation. It includes approximately four hours of class per day; organized lunchtime and afternoon panels, activities, and small-group discussions; reading and class preparation every evening; and a mock law school exam. Class materials are provided to participating students, but we also request that students read The Guide to Belonging in Law School, by Russell McClain, and Cracking the Case Method, by Paul Bergman, Patrick Goodman, and Thomas Holm. Both texts provide a sound foundation for understanding the typical first-year teaching and learning methodologies. They are available for free online once you have your CalNet ID or you can purchase a hard copy.

Because space is limited, we will give priority to students who, for any number of reasons, expect to find the transition to law school more challenging. This could include, but is not limited to, students who have been out of school for more than five years, first-generation college students, students for whom English is a second language, students who are differently abled, and students from a background that is underrepresented in the legal profession. Pre-Orientation is free, but accepted students are responsible for purchasing Cracking the Case Method and for their own meals and housing.

In order to give students ample time to plan their summer and arrival in Berkeley, the application process involves a tight turn-around. In mid-May, all incoming first-year students will receive an email from Admissions with information about how to apply. The application typically is due in early June, and we will let you know whether you have been accepted by late June. Please email Professor Diana DiGennaro with questions or if we can help you in any way.