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Golden Gate University School of Law

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Golden Gate University School of Law
Established 1901
School type Private non-profit
Location San Francisco, CA, US
Faculty (See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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Golden Gate University School of Law is located in San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate University School of Law was founded in 1901 as the YMCA Evening Law School, a component of the San Francisco Central YMCA Evening College. Like other YMCA Law Schools across the nation, it was established to provide people who worked full-time the opportunity to attend law school at night. The YMCA Evening College and Law School was formally incorporated separately from the San Francisco Central YMCA in 1923, as Golden Gate College. It became Golden Gate University in 1972. The university is a California non-profit public benefit corporation.

About the Law School

Golden Gate University School of Law has a history of developing programs to meet the demands of law students, the community, and the legal profession. The Public Interest Scholars Program encourages students to use their legal education to serve their communities. In addition, the Law School's on-site Women's Employment Rights Clinic and Environmental Law & Justice Clinic provide opportunities for students to work with real clients who may not otherwise have access to legal counsel.

In the 1980s, the Law School developed a graduate legal program in Taxation and in the 1990s with graduate programs in Environmental Law, International Legal Studies Program, and U.S. Legal Studies.

In 1998, The Law School continued its tradition of providing a practical legal education by establishing the Honors Lawyering Program through which students participate in two full-time, semester-long legal apprenticeships.


Golden Gate University School of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Graduates qualify to take the bar exam in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia.

Certificates of Specialization are available in Business Law, Criminal Law, Environmental Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law, Labor and Employment Law, Litigation, Public Interest Law, and Real Estate Law. Students may also earned combined degrees: JD/MBA with Golden Gate University or JD/PhD with the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology.

In December 2005, the American Bar Association placed the GGU School of Law on two-year probation, citing the serious drop in its first-time bar pass rate. In 1996, the school's first-time pass rate in California hovered about 80%. By the end of 2005, it had dropped to hover about 44%.


  • Golden Gate University School of Law was northern California's first evening law school.
  • Golden Gate University School of Law was northern California's third law school.
  • Classes continued in tents when the YMCA building was destroyed after the 1906 earthquake and fire.
  • In 1973, Judith McKelvey was appointed Dean; she was the second woman in the United States to be named dean of a law school.
  • In 1985, Golden Gate began a midyear admission program, which allows students to start law school in January.

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