Frequently Asked Questions
You need 88 units to graduate. You completed 31 units in your 1L year, leaving 57 units to take in your remaining 4 semesters. While you can divide your remaining units up as you choose, dividing the units evenly means that you should take 14-15 units in each of your remaining 4 semesters. Some students will take 16 units in a semester so as to have a lighter load in a future semester. You must enroll in at least 10 credits each semester and may take up to 17 credits each semester.
Students must take at least one or more course(s), totaling at least six credits, designated as satisfying the Professional Skills requirement. Lawyering Process (Law 200S) satisfies two credits of the skills requirement.
The course(s) can be clinical, externship or classroom course(s). You can take your skills course(s) at any time during your second or third year. While a minimum of six credits of skills course(s) is necessary to satisfy the Professional Skills requirement, you can take more than six units of skills course(s) if you so choose. Courses which satisfy the Professional Skills requirement will include opportunities for performance of the skill(s) being taught, direct faculty supervision of each student’s performance, and faculty feedback, in addition to classroom instruction.
You must write an individually authored work of rigorous intellectual effort of at least 20 typewritten, double spaced pages, excluding footnotes. Each semester, a number of courses are offered which can satisfy the writing requirement. Whether a course can satisfy the writing requirement is generally shown in the course's description. In addition to completing a seminar or course which satisfies the writing requirement, you can satisfy the writing requirement by completing a writing project in connection with Law 419 or Law 419A (Advanced Writing Project (1-4 units)) under the active and regular supervision of a faculty member, complete a student work of membership quality as a writer for the UC Davis Law Review, or complete a brief for the National Moot Court Team, the Traynor Moot Court Competition, or the Jessup International Law Competition.
You can take your writing requirement course at any time during your second or third year. While only one writing course is necessary to satisfy the upper division writing requirement, you can take more than one writing course if you so choose.
In addition to the courses you take during your first year (Civil Procedure, Contracts, Constitutional Law I, Criminal Law, Property and Torts), the following courses are tested on the California Bar Examination: Business Associations, Constitutional Law II, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Marital Property, Remedies, Trusts, Wills and Estates and Professional Responsibility.
Professional Responsibility is also tested on the Multi State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) which can be taken during your second or third year.
If you are planning to take a bar examination in a state other than California, check that state’s examination requirements to see what additional bar courses you may want to take in your 2L and 3L years.
Generally, Marital Property and Remedies are offered once each year, in either Fall or Spring. All other bar courses, including Professional Responsibility, are generally offered in both the Fall and Spring semesters.
Only Professional Responsibility is a required course. Each of the remaining bar courses is an elective to be taken at your discretion.
Since the bar courses are not required, should I take them? If so, which ones should I take and when should I take them?
You don't necessarily have to take all of the bar courses. However, taking the bar courses can be very helpful. Many of the bar courses are regarded as "foundational" areas of law that well-rounded lawyers are generally expected to understand. Also, it is very challenging to learn large amounts of new material in the short (8-10 week) period between graduation and the bar exam. Taking at least some of the bar courses during law school, when you have an opportunity to thoroughly learn the material, can provide the strong foundation you need to maximize your chances of passing the bar exam.
Students who graduate from King Hall in the bottom one-third of their class typically have a lower first time passage rate on the California bar exam than students who graduate with higher GPAs. If you are in this "high-risk" group, you may want to consider taking more bar courses, not fewer. For an individualized discussion of your bar course options, you are welcome to talk with the Director of Academic Success.
We have extensive resources to help you prepare for the bar exam in King Hall!
Again, this is up to you. Many students will take 2 bar courses and 2-3 other electives each semester, so that the bar courses are evenly spread out over their 2L and 3L years. This prevents "bar course burn-out" while leaving enough room for a range of elective courses. Also, any bar courses you take in your third year will be fresh in your mind in time for the bar exam!
No problem! It is quite common for students to be unsure about the type of law in which they want to specialize. You should not feel pressured to choose a specialty just because you feel that you "should know by now" or "my significant other/ roommates/classmates/ have picked a specialty so what's wrong with me?" You should also not worry that you'll make a mistake by taking a particular course or not taking a particular course. Don't hesitate to take courses that just sound interesting. Give yourself permission to take a course just because it sounds fun! Follow your own intellectual curiosity, and you might find yourself captivated by an area you had never considered for practice.
If you're not sure what you're interested in, use your 2L year to explore your possibilities. Bar courses can be a good way to explore new areas of law. For example, Business Associations or Trusts Wills & Estates can open your eyes to the fields of corporate law, tax and estate planning. Evidence can awaken an interest in litigation. If an elective has a course name that intrigues you (Animal Law, Juvenile Justice, Is International Law Democratic?), try it out. Clinics and externships can also be a good way to explore interests at any time in your 2L and 3L years.
If you take a course and find it doesn't interest you, you haven't wasted your time! It's just as important to find out what you dislike as what you like. And don't worry if you don't find your passion in your 2L year. That's why you have a third year of law school-to keep exploring and finding the practice area(s) right for you.
What if I know exactly what kind of law I’m interested in? Should I only take courses in that specialty area?
Of course, if you have specific plans or interests, take courses to show and develop them. Use Curriculum Clusters to choose courses which will help you build depth and expertise in your area(s) of interest. But don't take only courses in your specialty area. Balance that focus with a range of electives. Think about law school in the same way that you would view a good liberal arts bachelor's program. Taking courses in subjects other than your "major" gives you a broader view of the (legal) world, helps you see the law from many angles and gives you multiple tools to handle the wide range of issues that clients bring. Don't deprive yourself of the opportunity to explore areas that you might not have thought about before coming to law school-you might find a whole new area of interest to supplement (or even replace) the practice area you originally planned on.
This is a very personal decision. Who excites you and motivates you to do the work and come to class? Whose style of teaching meshes with your learning style most effectively? A good portion of class is learning to analyze and think like a lawyer; the subject area of particular statutes and cases will stay with you less than learning the general approach and ideas. Rely on your own analysis of how you learn best and avoid over-reliance on the reputational "grapevine." A professor that your 3L roommate disliked might have a teaching style perfect for you. And don't be afraid to take professors new to King Hall. We work very hard to hire "the best and the brightest" who, in turn, work very hard to give you the best legal education possible.
If there is a clinic or externship that interests you, you can do one at any point during your 2L or 3L year. Skills such as the ability to serve clients, meet deadlines under pressure, be organized, behave professionally and think “on your feet” can all be developed through clinics and externships.
Courses such as Trial Practice, Appellate Advocacy, Negotiations, Alternative Dispute Resolution and Pre-Trial Skills can be just as helpful in learning important lawyering skills as clinics or externships. You can learn just as much cross-examining a "mock" witness as a real one!
- The Clinic Administrator will enroll you in clinics and externships after you have been accepted into the clinic or externship.
- The Registrar's Office will enroll you in Moot Court competitions (Law 413) and other Law 400-unit courses, such as Research in Legal Problems(Law 499/499A) and Advanced Writing Projects (Law 419/419A), after you complete the appropriate request forms. These forms should be completed within the first 3 weeks of the semester. Forms for 413, 419/419A and 499/499A are available on the Registrar's website.
- To enroll in Moot Court competitions, complete the Application for 413 - Competitions.
- To enroll in independent study projects (Law 419 - writing requirement and Law 499 - independent study not satisfying the writing requirement), complete the Application for 419/499.
How should I plan if I think I want to go on a semester abroad, spend a semester doing a full-time externship, or spend a semester in the UCDC Externship Program? How will I fit in all the courses I want to take?
Full-time externships and participation in a King Hall exchange program are wonderful opportunities in many ways. However, being away for one-sixth of your legal education (one-fourth of your post-1L legal education) necessarily requires trade-offs. You will have 3 semesters at King Hall, instead of 4 semesters, to complete your desired coursework. You won’t be able to take every King Hall course that you might have otherwise desired. You might need to take more bar courses per semester than you prefer. You might miss specialty electives which are offered every other year. Whether the benefits outweigh the costs is a very personal determination. Feel free to talk to your professors, the director(s) of the program(s) you’re considering, other King Hall students who have attended those programs and/or Dean Kulwin to educate yourself about the practical realities of the program(s) and their effects (positive and less so) on your educational opportunities.
The law school does not have a summer program or summer classes. However, with the prior approval of Dean Kulwin, students may receive summer credit in one of three ways:
- Take courses at other A.B.A accredited law schools in the U.S. which have summer programs or an A.B.A. accredited summer abroad program.
- Students must earn grades of C or better in each course taken at an A.B.A. accredited law school (whether in the U.S. or abroad) in order to have the credits applied to their King Hall J.D. Grades earned in courses at other A.B.A. approvals are not computed in the student’s King Hall grade point average.
- Summer sessions and each summer course must be a minimum of 3 weeks long.
- Take non-law courses at any University of California campus, including UC Davis. Students may take up to two non-law courses and receive up to 5 total units of credit for all non-law courses during their time at King Hall.
- Note: Students must earn grades of B or better in each non-law course in order to have the credits applied to their King Hall J.D. Students cannot have taken the same or a similar course before. The course must advance the student’s legal training. Grades earned in non-law courses are not computed in the student’s King Hall grade point average
- Do an externship during the summer.
Students who want to take classes outside of King Hall must obtain approval from Dean Kulwin before registering for the course. To apply, students must complete the Dean’s Approval for Outside Units , attach copies of the course descriptions for each course the student wants to take and turn the completed form and course descriptions in to the law school Registrar’s Office.
Students who wish to take classes at another law school approved by the American Bar Association toward satisfaction of their J.D. requirements must obtain prior permission from Dean Kulwin. Students must be in their 2nd or 3rd year of study and the student’s grade point average at this school must be 2.0 or above. The Dean may set a maximum number of credits for the courses.
To have credit applied to their King Hall J.D., students must earn grades of C or better in each course taken at an A.B.A. accredited law school. Grades earned in courses at the other school are not computed in the student’s King Hall grade point average. Only units are applied toward the required 88 units for graduation from King Hall. No more than 31 units from other law schools will be applied towards the King Hall J.D. To apply, students must complete the Dean’s Approval for Outside Units .