University of California Hastings College of the Law

University of California Hastings College of the Law


University of California Hastings College of the Law

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 565-4623

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TippingTheScales (2013): 45
U.S. News (2013): 48
AboveTheLaw (2013): NR




Academics & Programs: University of California Hastings College of the Law, “in the heart of San Francisco,” has “a great reputation in the Bay Area” and students love its “worthwhile focus on practical” training. “The emphasis on concrete lawyering skills over abstract theory and the Socratic teaching method makes Hastings a very desirable place to be,” brags a 3L. “Hastings is well-known for creating lawyers capable of hitting the ground running from the moment they graduate.” “All Hastings students learn how to be successful oral advocates,” vaunts a 2L. “This school will turn the softest young student into a tough lawyer.” “The diversity of curriculum is unparalleled” as well. There are seven concentration areas. There are nine journals. There are fourteen study abroad programs. Clinics galore run the gamut from mediation to legislation to human rights to environmental law. The “great” moot court program is among the finest in the nation and UC Hastings competition teams bag a host of awards annually. The extensive externship program “is one of a kind.” Hastings is located “in a hub of legal activity for California,” “near courts at nearly every state and federal level.” As a result, over 100 students work for judges each year.

“The faculty is very eclectic and cultured” and, for the most part, “extremely accessible.” “Many professors are well-known in their respected field.” Even better, most are “compelling,” “fun-loving, and immensely talented” in the classroom. They “do a nice job of mixing legal theory with practical knowledge.” “However, there are a few who are just bad. They simply don’t know how to teach and just babble.” Also, class sizes “can be large.” “The number of students is really too large for the facilities and the number of professors.” The administration here is probably a little better than what you would expect from a state school in California. “They respond to e-mail quickly,” though there’s “very little handholding.”

Career-wise, “This school is heavily weighted toward public interest law.” It’s a big feeder for district attorney and public defender offices. Some students would like to see “more of an emphasis on private-sector and corporate placement.” Complaints are minimal, though. The “career services office is pretty good.” There’s a “large alumni network” that likes to help the latest batch of graduates. Employers conduct a few thousand on-campus interviews with Hastings students each year. Average starting salaries are considerable.

Campus Life/Facilities: “Hastings is so diverse it makes Berkeley look like BYU,” boasts a 3L. Students (and professors) here tend to be very, very politically liberal but they are quite a diverse group otherwise. Many come straight from college. “However, an equal or greater number of students have been many years out of undergrad.” Some of the future attorneys here tell us that the academic culture is “competitive and a little annoying.” “I have generally found the students to be closed to outsiders, competitive, and suspicious of others,” advises a 3L. “It is a little intimidating.” Others assure us that any cutthroat behavior is “isolated to relatively few students and does not infect the entire atmosphere.” “I had heard a lot about the hyper-competitive reputation of Hastings before matriculating, but have actually found almost all the students to be very pleasant,” says a 2L. “No one will help the slacker but we will all help a friend and fellow classmate who pulls their weight,” adds a 1L.

There is a solid contingent of people who “kind of do the school thing and go home” but “the social life at Hastings is very lively” if you want it to be. There are tons of student organizations, “and the school helps students fund and run their organizations.” “There are campus-wide events all the time.” There’s something for everyone, from students fresh out of undergrad who “need to play some beer pong and have a jam-packed social life to students with families and other commitments who prefer to treat law school as a nine-to-five job.” “If you can’t find social events to attend then you’re not looking,” admonishes a 2L. Students also love to explore all of the Bay Area in their precious downtime. Certainly, though, they don’t love the “pretty horrible” neighborhood that immediately surrounds Hastings, an area “teeming with homeless people and drug addicts.” Some students don’t see what the fuss is, though. “The Tenderloin is a low-income community,” counters a 2L, “but it’s not that dangerous or even ugly. Even the worst places in the Tenderloin at the worst times of night are better than Oakland.”

* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.