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 here.

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 purchase (and read before arriving) Cracking the Case Method, by Paul Bergman, Patrick Goodman, and Thomas Holm. That text provides a sound foundation for understanding the typical first-year teaching and learning methodologies.

Because space is limited, we give priority to students who have been out of school for a number of years, students who are the first in their family to attend college, students for whom English is a second language, students with learning differences, and other students who, for any number of reasons, may find the transition to law school more challenging. 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 late May, admitted and confirmed students will receive an email from Admissions with information about how to apply. The application typically is due in mid-June, and we will let you know whether you have been accepted by early July. Please email Professor Diana DiGennaro (ddigennaro@law.berkeley.edu) with questions or if we can help you in any way.