University of California, Hastings College of the Law

University of California, Hastings College of the Law is a top tier law school located in the Civic Center of San Francisco, California. It was founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings, the first Chief Justice of California, as the first law school of the University of California (UC). The University of California, Hastings College of the Law is also commonly referred to as "UC Hastings" or simply "Hastings." UC Hastings was one of the first law schools in the western United States, and is one of the few university-affiliated law schools in the United States that does not sit on a general university campus. US News currently ranks Hastings 38th among all top US law schools, 17th among public schools, and 7th among law schools in the western United States.


Hastings has a unique relationship with the University of California. When he gave $100,000 to the University of California to start the law school named after him, Justice Serranus Clinton Hastings imposed two conditions: the school must remain in San Francisco near the courts; and it could not be governed by the Regents of the University of California. Thus, the school's leader (who holds the dual titles of Chancellor and Dean) must directly obtain funds from the California Legislature, not the UC Regents, as other UC chancellors must do.

In the 1960s, Hastings began the "65 Club," the practice of hiring faculty who had been forced into mandatory retirement at age 65 from Ivy League and other elite institutions. After the passage of age discrimination laws, however, the "65 Club" slowly phased out, and Hastings hired its last "65 Club" professor in 1998. In the mid-1950s, Newsweek Magazine published a story where then Harvard Law School Dean and Prominent Jurist Roscoe Pound declared, referring to UC Hastings: "Indeed, on the whole, I am inclined to think you have the strongest law faculty in the nation.


UC Hastings is located at 200 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94102. The university spreads among three main buildings, located along the 100 and 200 blocks of McAllister Street, in San Francisco's Civic Center. It is walking distance from the Civic Center BART and MUNI stations. UC Hastings is commonly but affectionately derided by students and alums as being located in the ugliest corner of the most beautiful city in the world. Indeed, the school was once referred to affectionately as UC Tenderloin long before it chose its new nickname, UC Hastings. Nevertheless, UC Hastings offers a very safe learning environment. Located within a two-block radius of the campus is the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the California Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeal for the First District, San Francisco Superior Court, San Francisco City Hall, United Nations Plaza (and Federal Building Annex), the San Francisco Asian Arts Museum, and the San Francisco County Public Library. The heavy concentration of public administrative buildings within the Civic Center, as well as the high crime rate, result in constant police presence in and around UC Hastings.

Organization and structure

UC Hastings is controlled by a nine-member Board of Directors. The UC Hastings Board of Directors exists independently of, and is not controlled by, the Regents of the University of California. Pursuant to California law, eight of the directors are appointed by the Governor of California. Pursuant to the UC Hastings constitutive documents, the ninth director must be a direct lineal descendant of UC Hastings founder Clinton Serranus Hastings.

UC Hastings' detachment from the UC Regents gives it a broad degree of independence in shaping educational and fiscal policies; however, due to a shrinking California education budget, Hastings must also compete for limited educational funds against its fellow UCs. Despite the apparent competition between the UC law schools, Hastings has been able to maintain its traditionally high standards without having to decrease class size or raise tuition prices to higher levels than fellow UC law schools.


Hastings offers a three-year Juris Doctor program with concentrated studies available in seven areas: civil litigation, criminal law, international law, public interest law, taxation, family law, and recently, a new concentration in intellectual property law. Most J.D. students follow a traditional three-year plan. During the first year, students take required courses as well as one elective course. In the second and third years, students may take any course or substitute or supplement their courses with judicial externships or internships, judicial clinics, or study abroad. The college also offers a one-year LL.M. degree in U.S. legal studies for students holding law degrees from foreign law programs.


US News ranks Hastings 38th among top law schools in the US, and is the most diverse of the four law schools in the UC system. It also has the largest student body and student/faculty ratio of the UC schools. In addition, it is the least expensive law school in the UC system, and although it also grants the least financial aid, students tend to graduate with less debt on average than at UCLA, although with more than at Berkeley or Davis.

According to Brian Letier's Law School rankings, Hastings ranks 27th in the nation in terms of scholarly impact as measured by academic citations of tenure-stream faculty, on par with USC. In terms of student quality, Hastings ranks 38th in the nation by LSAT scores in the 75th percentile.

UC Hastings is 14th in the nation for bar passage rate versus the average passage rate of its venue state.

According to the Web site "Law School Advocacy," UC Hastings had the No. 2 Moot Court program in the country in 2007.


Inaugurated in 1997 as the publishing department at UC Hastings, the O'Brien Center for Scholarly Publications publishes seven journals on various aspects of the law. The oldest journal out of the eight is the Hastings Law Journal, which was founded in 1949. The O'Brien Center also has published two books: Forgive Us Our Press Passes, by Daniel Schorr and The Traynor Reader: Essays, by the Honorable Roger Traynor.

Notable Alumni

Current Notable Faculty Members

The Sixty-Five Club: Notable Former Faculty Members

Hastings in popular culture


External links

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