Getting Into Berkeley Law School

Learn what it takes to get into Berkeley Law School. 

See Acceptance Rates, Average LSAT Scores, 

GPA & More

Berkeley Law School Overview

The University of California, Berkeley is one of ten campuses representing the University of California. Berkeley is known worldwide as a place of innovation in many fields. Additionally, the campus has seen a number of widely-publicized protests and student-led movements. In any case, U.C. Berkeley is one of the best public universities in the state of California.

While U.C. Berkeley has dozens of departments in various fields of study, the university features one of the top law schools in the United States. Berkeley Law School (or simply “Berkeley Law” for short) was founded in 1894, more than 25 years after the founding of the flagship campus. Nowadays, the Berkeley Law School is among the best in the nation, with high post-graduate employment and BAR passage rates.

A number of esteemed lawyers, judges, and politicians earned their degrees at Berkeley Law School. For example, Earl Warren attended Berkeley before becoming the Governor of California, and later one of the most influential Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. Additionally, many of the school’s faculty and staff are regarded as exemplary educators in their respective areas.

Berkeley Law School offers JD, LLM, JSD, and Ph.D. programs. Students can also enter specialized programs in subjects ranging from Environmental Law to Social Justice. However, not everyone can qualify for Berkeley’s top-tier curriculum. Berkeley Law School has a notoriously selective admissions office, and only admits students who meet the necessary standards with their GPA, LSAT scores, and various other metrics.

Like many other law schools, Berkeley has centers dedicated to particular fields of study within the realm of law. These centers help advance legal research, promote social justice, and give students vital resources for their studies. While there are more than a dozen research and legal advocacy centers at Berkeley Law School, here are a few of the most prominent ones:

  • Berkeley Center for Consumer Law & Economic Justice
  • Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice
  • Center for Law, Energy, & the Environment
  • Center for the Study of Law & Society
  • Institute for Legal Research

The centers listed above serve many functions for students, the community, and legal research in the United States. Much of the work that students and faculty do at these centers is eventually published in the California Law Review, an academic journal that has been in publication by the University of California, Berkeley since 1912. Additionally, Berkeley Law School puts out the following law journals:

  • Asian American Law Journal
  • Berkeley Business Law Journal
  • Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy
  • Berkeley Journal of Employment & Labor Law
  • Berkeley Journal of Entertainment & Sports Law
  • Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, & Justice
  • Berkeley Journal of International Law
  • Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern & Islamic Law
  • Berkeley Technology Law Journal
  • Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law
  • Ecology Law Quarterly

Berkeley Law School Rankings

School rankings are very important for prospective students in any discipline, but they are especially relevant for students of law. Law school rankings indicate the quality of education at each respective university. Additionally, rankings are often cited by employers and other academic institutions as a vital metric when evaluating a job candidate’s eligibility.  Every year, dozens of independent organizations and news outlets use raw data to determine which schools currently sit at the top of the list.

While rankings vary somewhat based on which organization is doing the research and which metrics are given the most weight, the top 10 law schools in the country tend to be the same across the board. As of 2019, Berkeley Law School generally falls at #10 on most lists, making it one of the best law schools in the nation.

Berkeley Law School Admissions

What Is the Berkeley Law School Acceptance Rate?

Law school rankings also help determine how competitive a given law school will be for prospective students. In most cases, the higher a law school ranks, the harder it is to get accepted. However, a few other metrics, such as the “prestige” of the institution and type of academic programs offered can influence acceptance rates as well.

At Berkeley Law School, admissions are extremely competitive. While the average national acceptance rate for law schools is around 45%, it is much more difficult to get accepted into Berkeley Law. As of 2019, the Berkeley Law School’s acceptance rate sits at 21.18%, which is significantly lower than the national average. That said, Berkeley Law School is on par with many other top law schools in the United States, which accept students at a collective rate of 21.10%.

Annual variations are important, but they are often dictated by forces outside of an individual student’s or school’s control. For example, Berkeley Law School (and any other law school) can only accommodate a certain number of students every year. In 2019, Berkeley Law School made offers to 1,084 of the 5,117 applicants. However, the acceptance rate would likely be much higher (as a percentage of the total) if there were fewer applicants in a given year.

In any case, there are still a number of standard metrics based on students’ abilities that help determine a school’s acceptance rate. Undergraduate GPA and LSAT scores are perhaps the two most important metrics, though various other aspects of each application are also considered. In 2019, the average undergraduate GPA among Berkeley Law applicants was 3.78. This somewhat than other top law schools, like Harvard (3.86) and Yale (3.93).

There was less variation among the average LSAT scores between top law schools. This year, the average LSAT score for incoming students at Berkeley Law School was 166, though both Harvard and Yale had slightly higher average scores among their incoming students (173).  You can find more statistics on Berkeley Law School’s admissions for the class of 2023 in the table below:

Applications Offers Matriculated
Class of 2023 5117 1084 (21.18%) 294 (5.7%)
25% Median 75%
GPA 3.66 3.78 3.90
LSAT 162 166 168

Berkeley Law School LSAT Percentiles

75th percentile 168
50th percentile 166
25th percentile 162

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2019 Entering Class Profile

Number of Students 937
LSAT Score 166
Undergraduate GPA 3.78
% Women 56.5%
%  Students of Color 4.7%
% Enrolled Directly After College N/A

What Is The Tuition For Berkeley Law School?

In-State Resident Non-Resident
Full Time $48,625 $52,576
Part-Time N/A N/A

What Are The Living Expenses At Berkeley Law School

On-Campus $24,324
Off-Campus $24,324

What Are The Housing Options At Berkeley Law School

On-Campus Yes
Off-Campus Yes

BAR Passage Rates At Berkeley Law School

Reporting 74.1%
First Time Takers 289
Berkeley Law School Average 87.9%
California State Average 66.1%
National Average 54%

Application Deadlines

When will Berkeley Law School application materials be available?

Berkeley Law applicants can access application materials via the LSAC website starting on September 1st. Additionally, students can learn more about the required application materials at this link.

When does Berkeley Law School begin accepting applications?

Berkeley Law School begins accepting applications as soon as the application materials are made available on September 1st. The deadline to submit your application for the upcoming fall semester is February 15th.

How are applications to Berkeley Law School submitted?

Like many other law schools, Berkeley Law School accepts applications online via the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Applicants must follow a 9-step process in order to apply. The application process is outlined on the LSAC website.

Does Berkeley Law School have an “early admission” or an “early decision” process?

Yes, Berkeley Law School accepts binding early acceptance applications. This means that, if accepted, students must commit to Berkeley when they apply. The deadline for early decision applications is November 17th. You can learn more about the early decision program right here.

How much is the application fee and when is the deadline?

Application Fee $75
Early Decision Deadline November 17th
Regular Decision Deadline February 15th

Does Berkeley Law School grant interviews?

No, Berkeley Law School does not grant interviews to applicants.

Employment After Berkeley Law School

Median Salary Private Sector $180,000
Median Salary Public Sector $61,425

As one of the top law schools in the nation, Berkeley Law School has produced thousands of successful graduates. Many alumni go on to become politicians, judges, entrepreneurs, and trial lawyers. While not every graduate at Berkeley Law School will work in law, the vast majority do. In any case, let’s look at a few of the most recent job statistics for Berkeley Law School alumni:

  • Employment Status – As of 2018, almost 98% of Berkeley Law alumni found employment after graduation.
  • Location – Most graduates from Berkeley Law School find employment in the state of California. As of the latest data, approximately 62% of Berkeley Law alumni work on the West Coast (including California), 16% in the Mid-Atlantic, and 7% in the South Atlantic.
  • Job Sector – The vast majority of Berkeley Law School graduates go on to work in the private sector. Approximately 59% of graduates work at a law firm, 38% work in the public sector, and the remainder work for businesses,  academia, or are self-employed.
  • Salary – Law firm employees report the highest salaries by far, followed by business, and then the public sector. Salaries for Berkeley Law School students range from $68,000-$190,000.

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