Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take a semester or a year away when I have a child?
Yes. Campus policy allows students to take a parental leave of absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, and/or to care for and bond with their newborn child or a child placed with the student for adoption or foster care for up to one academic year (two semesters).This leave must be taken no later than twelve months after the child’s birth or adoption/placement. If there is a medical reason for a longer absence, an extension of leave may be granted for a total of up to two academic years (four semesters). A student must have registered for the semester during which the leave will be taken, or the semester immediately preceding the beginning of the period of leave requested. Upon return, students will be reinstated to the same student status held when the leave was taken. An international student wanting to take Parenting Leave must first consult with the Berkeley International Office (BIO) regarding implications for visa requirements. It should be noted that all 1L students who withdraw (for any reason) after the first semester of their 1L year are not be eligible to return until Spring of the following year.

Can I miss class for pregnancy-related appointments?
Yes. Please be sure to talk to Student Services about your needs, so they can work with you to communicate with your professors about missed class time and to ensure you have the opportunity to make up missed assignments. Student Services is located in 280 Simon Hall and can be reached at 510-643-2744.

If I am having a baby and will miss class, but don’t want to take a semester off, who should I talk to?

This is an option for you. Please talk to Student Services to talk about the specifics of your situation because each student’s situation is unique. Student Services is located in 280 Simon Hall and can be reached at 510-643-2744.

Can new non-birth parents take time off?
New non-birth parents can take off a semester or more from classes. If a non-birth parent wishes to remain enrolled and miss several weeks of class rather than the whole semester, the student should first talk to Student Services about how that may impact the successful completion of classes. Student Services is located in 280 Simon Hall and can be reached at 510-643-2744.

What should I do to request accommodations for pregnancy-related or post-partum related medical conditions?
Students should contact the Disabled Students Program at http://dsp.berkeley.edu and the Director of Student Services, who is located in 280 Simon Hall or can be reached at kvalenti@law.berkeley.edu

I gave birth two months ago and need to miss class to care for my child. Who should I talk to?
Absences that are not medically-necessary are treated the same way as all other absences from class. Students should refer to the attendance policy in the class syllabus to understand possible academic consequences for missing class. We strongly recommend that students first meet with Student Services to determine if there might be a class schedule that would enable the student to still be enrolled full time while balancing their other needs.

I have an In Progress grade in a paper class. When does it have to be finished?
The deadlines for In Progress grades are set by the professor for that class. If no deadline is set, then the student must finish those papers no later than the last day of finals of the semester they wish to graduate, unless other accommodations apply.

What flexibility do I have to choose classes my 1L year to fit with my childcare needs?
When students are admitted, Admissions asks them to notify their office if the student is a parent. Student parents are then placed in a parent mod and we make our best effort to have the schedule accommodate students with children. Students have a little more flexibility in the spring, when they can pick their elective classes.

I am nursing my baby. Does the law school have any space for me to pump?
The Law School has a lactation room located in 289 Simon Hall. There is a refrigerator in the Student Center or you can use cooling bags provided by the law school (please contact Student Services for more information). You can register for the campus Breastfeeding Support Program by contacting Health Matters at 510-643-4646 or by emailing 
breastfeeding@lists.berkeley.edu.

What are the sources of funding for childcare?
Student parents who live with dependent children and demonstrate financial need are eligible for a grant that may be applied toward housing/living expenses, dependent health insurance, child care, and/or tuition. More information is listed on the Graduate Division Website under the heading “Graduate Student Parent Grants”: http://grad.berkeley.edu/finan-cial/families/. Additionally, student parents are eligible for highly subsidized in-home or center-based back-up child care through the University. More information is available at the Back-Up Child Care Website: http://backupchildcare.berkeley.edu/. Students who work as Graduate Student Researchers may be eligible for child care expense reimbursement. Check the GSR Childcare Reimbursement Form: http://grad.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/gsr_child- care_form.pdf

How/when do I tell my summer employer / future employer I’m pregnant or a parent?
You should talk to the Career Development Office about how best to approach this with employers as this can vary by employer. The CDO is located in 290 Simon Hall and can be reached at 510-643-5370.

I am pregnant and about to take finals. Can I receive any accommodations?
Yes, please contact the Director of Student Services to talk about your specific situation. The Director is in 280 Simon Hall or at kvalenti@law.berkeley.edu.

What if I go into labor during finals week? What are my options for delaying finals?
If you go into labor before or during finals, please contact the Director of Student Services to create a delayed finals schedule. The Director of Student Services is in 280 Simon Hall or can be reached at kvalenti@law.berkeley.edu.

I just found out that I am going to have a baby. What should I do? Who can I talk to?
Students who are expecting should make an appointment with Dean Hirshen in Student Services (280 Simon Hall or 510-643-2744). If students want to talk to other students about their experiences with having a baby during law school, they can contact students in the Boalt Parents Network.

What should I do if I have trouble getting the accommodations I need from a faculty member?
Students should talk to the Director of Student Services in 280 Simon Hall or at kvalenti@law.berkeley.edu. If you want further assistance, you can contact the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination. OPHD can be reached at ask_ophd@berkeley.edu or 510-642-7985.

Are there any other student parents at Berkeley Law? How can I get in touch with them?
The Boalt Parent Network is a student organization for student parents. Their website is http://www.boaltparents.com/