Golden Gate University School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Founded in 1901, Golden Gate University School of Law is located in the heart of San Francisco’s emerging entrepreneurial and hi-tech district. Law firms, government agencies, and grassroots advocacy organizations surround the law school’s downtown campus. GGU Law is noted for its long tradition of integrating the study of legal theory with practical skills training. The law school’s distinguished faculty share a strong commitment to both excellence in teaching and accessibility to students. The law school is fully ABA-accredited and is a member in good standing of the AALS.

Program Options

GGU Law’s JD program includes both a three-year, full-time day program and a four-year, part-time evening program. First-year students enhance their practical lawyering skills through a practice-based elective in the spring. The law school also offers an enhanced curriculum through its prestigious Honors Lawyering Program. Students focusing on courtroom advocacy may participate in the Summer Trial and Evidence Program (1st STEP), an intensive litigation “boot camp,” the summer after their first year.

Honors Lawyering Program

Each year, GGU Law selects a small group of highly qualified students for the Honors Lawyering Program (HLP). These students attend a regular first-year curriculum, then participate in an intensive skills-focused summer session during which they assist real clients with real problems. Participants then transition into a full-time apprenticeship in the fall semester of their second year. HLP students may apprentice in private law firms, courts, government agencies, or public interest organizations in the Bay Area or anywhere in the world. In the spring of their second year, participants return to full-time classes with a new appreciation for the practice of law. Before graduating, HLP students complete a second apprenticeship and have the option to enroll in additional practice-based courses.

1st STEP

GGU Law’s innovative Summer Trial and Evidence Program, or 1st STEP, is an integrated, nine-week summer litigation program for aspiring courtroom advocates. The program is designed to improve advocacy skills through both experiential training and traditional doctrinal coursework. 1st STEP students hone their skills through practical exercises and receive valuable feedback throughout the program. Classroom space has also been recently converted into state-of-the-art teaching courtrooms that provide a dynamic and modern training ground for 1st STEP students.

Public Interest Law

GGU Law is consistently recognized as one of the best public interest law schools in the country. The law school owes its reputation to several factors, including the law school’s curriculum, which extends to all areas of public interest law. GGU Law also supports a formidable externship program, which provides myriad opportunities to engage in public interest work. GGU Law offers a Certificate of Specialization in Public Interest Law, and students with prior public and community service experience may apply to the Public Interest Scholars Program, which provides special scholarships and a summer-employment stipend. Numerous student organizations support public interest work; for example, the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) raises funds for students working in unpaid internships. GGU Law also provides loan repayment assistance for graduates who pursue public interest careers.

Joint Degrees and Certificates of Specialization

GGU Law offers a joint JD/MBA degree through the Ageno School of Business at Golden Gate University and an accelerated JD/LLM degree in Taxation.

Certificates of Specialization are offered in six specialty areas of law:

  • Business Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Litigation
  • Public Interest Law

Externships and Clinical Programs

GGU Law has one of the most extensive externship programs in the country, offering students a broad array of opportunities to earn academic credit while working closely with practicing attorneys and actual clients in the community.

The law school has three on-site clinics. In the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic, students represent immigrant and domestic workers facing unfair labor practices. Through the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic, students assist low-income communities and communities of color in protecting their environmental interests and reducing their exposure to environmental hazards. The Pro Bono Tax Clinic provides assistance to low-income individuals in tax disputes before the California Board of Equalization.

Through GGU Law’s extensive Field Placement Externships, students work under the supervision of faculty, judges, and attorneys in government agencies, law offices, and courts. Externships include Criminal Litigation, Consumer Rights, Veterans Benefits, Family Law, Homeless Advocacy, Real Estate Law, Youth Law, and a Judicial Externship Program.


The Veterans Legal Advocacy Center (VLAC) assists veterans and their families with a range of benefits-related claims. Students argue cases for disability benefits through both the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Veterans’ Board of Appeals.

The Center on Urban Environmental Law (CUEL) takes the city as a natural starting point in assessing how the law shapes environmental conditions. CUEL’s research efforts produce white papers focusing on regulatory strategies to improve urban environments.

The Intellectual Property Law Center unites students, faculty, and practitioners to explore developments in the rapidly evolving area of IP law and policy.

The nationally recognized Litigation Center provides students with a clear path to the specific skills necessary to become successful courtroom advocates. The Center immerses students in an integrated litigation curriculum augmented by the school’s participation in regional and national advocacy and mock trial competitions.

The Sompong Sucharitkul Center for Advanced International Legal Studies serves as a hub for international legal studies, hosting an annual international law conference and publishing the Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law.

Graduate Law Programs

GGU Law offers highly regarded LLM (Master of Laws) programs in Environmental Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Legal Studies, Taxation, Estate Planning, and US Legal Studies. The law school also offers an advanced SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) program in International Legal Studies.

Law Library

The Law Library houses the largest law collection in the San Francisco financial district—nearly 300,000 volumes. Its holdings include a comprehensive series of case law reporters, statutes, digests, periodicals, and treatises dealing with domestic and international law; an extensive tax law collection; and a growing body of work in environmental law. Students have full access to a variety of Internet-based legal databases and resources.

Law Reviews, Journals, and Student Life

GGU Law publishes the Golden Gate University Law Review, the Environmental Law Journal, and the Annual Survey of International and Comparative Law. These journals provide students with the opportunity to showcase their legal research, writing, and editing skills.

GGU Law’s close-knit community fosters a collegial and professional environment where students thrive. The law school boasts more than 20 student organizations ranging from groups representing political or cultural/ethnic identities to groups focusing on specific areas of law. The active student government represents the law school student body on important issues facing students and the law school at large. Students have numerous opportunities to participate in special programs and attend a variety of lectures and symposia. These opportunities both enrich the law school learning experience and contribute to students’ professional development.

Law Career Development

Law Career Development (LCD) helps students prepare for a successful legal career by providing personalized services throughout law school and beyond. LCD assists students in researching the legal market, developing contacts, and building practical and networking skills through jobs and internships. For first-year students, LCD provides an online Job Search Guide and workshops on writing résumés and cover letters. For upper-division students, LCD offers print and online job listings, individual and small-group career counseling, job-search workshops, events highlighting the career paths of GGU Law alumni and other attorneys, special recruitment programs, and more. Many of these services remain available to alumni.

Admissions and Financial Aid

GGU Law strives to admit students who seek a rigorous legal education that provides a holistic, practical approach to legal learning. The application process is designed to identify applicants who possess the ability to succeed in the classroom and to contribute to the legal community both on and off campus.

GGU Law administers a full range of programs including scholarships, federal work study, veterans’ benefits, and private and federal loans to help students fund their education. All applicants are automatically considered for merit scholarships as part of the admission process, and the law school awards these scholarships to qualified entering students. The law school also offers special awards through the Public Interest Scholars Program (PISP) and Environmental Law Scholars Program (ELSP). Applicants to PISP and ELSP must submit a statement of interest and relevant experience as part of the law school application.

Presidential Scholarship

GGU Law awards our Presidential Scholarships to the top students of the incoming class. Recipients are awarded guaranteed scholarships in varying amounts.

Fellowship Program

GGU Law strives to attract the best and brightest students from around the world. To further that commitment, GGU Law established a Fellowship Program. GGU Law Fellowship recipients receive a full-tuition scholarship, which they will retain if they stay in good academic standing. Fellows will also receive a $5,000 stipend the summer after their 1L year for completing an internship in the area of their fellowship. Most important about the program is that GGU Law Fellows will be paired with a faculty mentor who will guide them through their time at GGU Law. These mentors will assist the GGU Law Fellows with job placement, gaining real-world experience in their chosen areas of law, and personalized attention that will not only help them succeed in law school, but in their chosen careers after graduation. Fellows will also be matched with an outside lawyer-mentor who will provide additional advice and support with gaining valuable real-world experience in their specialized fields.

Golden Gate University School of Law is proud to offer these one-of-a-kind fellowships in the following areas:

  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Breaking-In (Workplace Re-entry/Returning to School and Work)
  • Social Justice and Public Interest Law
  • LGBTQ Scholarship and Activism
  • Leadership Through Law with the Dean

Yellow Ribbon Program

GGU Law proudly participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Eligible students may have the entire cost of tuition met by a combination of scholarships and Yellow Ribbon Program funding.

The California Scholarship

In recognition of GGU Law’s longstanding relationship with California’s public universities, California Scholarships are awarded to select incoming first-year students who have made significant contributions to their undergraduate communities at University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Golden Gate:

3.01 to 3.47

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Golden Gate:

149 to 156

25-75% UGPA Range at Golden Gate:

3.01 to 3.47

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Golden Gate:

149 to 156

25-75% UGPA Range at Golden Gate:

3.01 to 3.47

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Golden Gate:

149 to 156

Contact Information

536 Mission Street, Office of Admissions,
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968,
United States