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University of California, Hastings College of the Law (UC Hastings or Hastings) is a public law school in San Franciscomarker, Californiamarker, in the Civic Centermarker neighborhood.

Founded in 1878 by Serranus Clinton Hastings, the first Chief Justice of Californiamarker, it was the first law school of the University of California (UC) state university system and was one of the first law schools established in the Western United States. It is one of the few university-affiliated law schools in the United Statesmarker that does not share its campus with undergraduates or other graduate programs.

In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked Hastings 39th among all U.S. law schools.


Hastings has a unique relationship with the University of California. In 1878, when Justice Serranus Clinton Hastings gave $100,000 to the University of California to start the law school bearing his name, he 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 obtain funds directly from the California State Legislature, unlike other UC institutions, which receive money from the Regents. In a commencement address, Hastings called his school "a temple of law and intellect, which shall never perish, until, in the lapse of time, civilization shall cease, and this fair portion of our country shall be destroyed or become a desert."

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 published a story where then Harvard Law Schoolmarker dean and 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 campus spreads among three main buildings located near San Francisco's Civic Center:
  • 200 McAllister Street houses academic space and administrative offices
  • 198 McAllister contains mainly classrooms and faculty offices
  • 100 McAllistermarker (known casually as "The Tower") is student housing

The campus is within walking distance of the Muni Metro and Bay Area Rapid Transit Civic Center/UN Plaza Stationmarker. 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 has been referred to in jest as "UC Tenderloin."

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 Courtmarker, the California Court of Appeal for the First District, San Francisco Superior Court, San Francisco City Hallmarker, United Nations Plazamarker (and Federal Building Annex), the Asian Art Museum of San Franciscomarker, and the Main Library of the San Francisco Public Library system. The heavy concentration of public buildings within the Civic Center, as well as the high crime rate, result in heavy police presence, and high security, 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. The Hastings family member now serving on the board is Claes H. Lewenhaupt.

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 was 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, until the California budget crisis in June 2009, first raised the possibility of slashing $10 million in state funding.

A few days later, however, lawmakers rejected the harsh budget cut, agreeing to cut only $1 million and apparently preventing dramatic tuition hikes.

Under California law, if the government ever cuts funding to Hastings to below the 19th century figure of $7,000 a year, the state must return the $100,000, plus interest, to the Hastings family. State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) has argued that the rejected $10 million budget cut, in abandoning state financial support for the school, would have allowed the Hastings family to launch an expensive court fight to reclaim the $100,000 plus hefty interest.


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 39th 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..

"Super Lawyers" magazine recently ranked UC Hastings 11th in terms of law schools that produced the most "Super Lawyers"..

According to Brian Leiter'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 33rd in the nation by average LSAT score.

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 nine journals on various aspects of the law. The oldest journal out of the nine 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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