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University of San Francisco School of Law

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University of San Francisco School of Law
Motto Educating minds and hearts to change the world
Established 1912
School type Private non-profit
Location San Francisco, CA, US
Faculty (See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 0 (See List)
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University of San Francisco School of Law is located in San Francisco, CA

The University of San Francisco School of Law is a private law school located in San Francisco, California. First established in 1912, the law school has nearly 700 students.


The University of San Francisco School of Law's Koret Law Center occupies two buildings on the 55-acre hilltop USF campus overlooking Golden Gate Park, the Pacific Ocean and downtown San Francisco.

Today nearly 700 students are enrolled in the School of Law and approximately 200 students receive the Juris Doctor degree from USF each year.

Kendrick Hall recently completed a thorough renovation which included modernized classrooms, a new 70-seat moot court room, additional space for signature programs such as trial advocacy and dispute resolution, brand-new faculty offices and expanded administrative offices. Also added was a new café, student lounge, a student boulevard with lockers, mail boxes and e-mail stations, and numerous areas for students to gather. Wireless Internet access became available at the law school in 2006.

The Dorraine Zief Law Library is a modern, technologically advanced building that features a comfortable, flexible, fully accessible and fully wired research and study environment. Opened in 2000, the library is fully equipped with the latest technological infrastructure.


USF offers full and part-time programs leading to the J.D. degree. Students can also enroll in the J.D./M.B.A. program which takes four years of study. The majority of the student body has LSAT scores in the 80th percentile or higher. J.D. students can also receive certificates at graduation in Public Interest Law, Intellectual Property and International Law.

USF also offers a Master of Laws (L.L.M.) degree program in Comparative Law and International Transactions for foreign lawyers who have first degrees in law from a non-American university as well as an L.L.M. in Intellectual Property and Technology law for foreign and American lawyers.


The Law School has several school-sponsored publications in which students can participate. The Maritime Law Journal is one of two journals devoted to maritime law in the country and is subscribed to by the United States Supreme Court.

Student Life

USF sponsors student groups encompassing a wide range of interests, which reflects the diversity and drive of the student body. The various organizations sponsor lectures from notable attorneys and judges as well as a Last Lecture series highlighting the outstanding scholarship of the faculty. In addition, the Public Interest Law Foundation holds an annual auction, drawing lawyers, judges and other community members in support of the school's commitment to public service.

Institutes, Centers and Special Projects

USF sponsors a range of institutes, centers and special projects. Those with an international focus include the Center for Law and Global Justice which develops and implements international rule of law projects. In addition USF sponsors study abroad programs for its students in Prague, Dublin and Budapest. The exchange programs include instruction at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Relevant international coursework includes the study of European Community Law, International Business Transactions, and European Constitutionalism. The latter has been taught by Vojtech Cepl, the principal drafter of the post-communist Constitution of the Czech Republic. Following his role in the Velvet Revolution of 1989, Mr. Cepl currently is a justice of the Czech Constitutional Court.

USF is also home to the McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law, the Internet and Intellectual Property Justice Project, which provides legal assistance to those in need of intellectual property advice, and Picturing Justice, which focuses on images of law in film and television.

In addition, USF hosts programs designed specifically for students such as the Keta Taylor Colby Death Penalty Project, which places students in the South working on death penalty appeals. Students can also participate in the Intensive Advocacy Program, which brings students from a variety of law schools and places them in an intensive trial advocacy class featuring notable local practitioners as teachers.

The school also provides ongoing mentoring through its chapter of Inn of Court. The USF chapter is the American Inn.

Dorraine Zief Law Library

In 2000, the law school doubled in size when the brand new Dorraine Zief Law Library opened. Three years later, the law school's main classroom and administration building, Kendrick Hall, reopened after an extensive renovation. The library is also frequented by students of other local law schools, attesting to its comfort and functionality.

Notable Faculty

  • John Jay Osborn, Jr., author of The Paper Chase.
  • Peter Jan Honigsberg, author of Crossing Border Street: A Civil Rights Memoir, and the Gilbert Textbook "Legal Research, Writing and Analysis" and instructor for Barbri Bar Prep
  • Robert Talbot, national commentator for CBS News and Court TV.
  • William Bassett, author of California Community Property Law hornbook.
  • Richard Sakai, instructor for Barbri Bar Prep.
  • Eugene Crew, of Townsend Townsend and Crew.
  • William Bernstein, name partner at the nationally renowned plaintiffs' firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP.
  • Steven Shatz, author of California Criminal Law: Cases and Problems and Cases and Materials on the Death Penalty
  • Thomas A. Nazario, author of In Defense of Children
  • Carlos Castresana Fernandez, Prosecutor of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
  • Richard A. Zitrin, co-author of Legal Ethics: Rules, Statutes, and Comparisons textbook, and The Moral Compass of the American Lawyer.

Notable Faculty Sitting Judges

  • Hon. Charles Breyer, U.S. District Court Judge (brother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer)
  • Hon. Teri Jackson, San Francisco Superior Court
  • Hon. Elena Maria James, Magistrate Judge, US District Court, Northern District of California
  • Hon. Gary Nadler, Sonoma County Superior Court

Notable Alumni Sitting Judges

  • Hon. Ming Chin, associate justice of the California Supreme Court.
  • Hon. Saundra B. Armstrong, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Hon. Martin Jenkins, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • Hon. Barbara J.R. Jones, First District Court of Appeal
  • Hon. James A. Richman, First District Court of Appeal
  • Hon. William R. McGuiness, Presiding Judge, 1st District Court of Appeal
  • Hon. Joanne C. Parrilli, 1st District Court of Appeal
  • Hon. M. Lynn Duryee, Marin Superior Court
  • Hon. Paul Haakenson, Marin Superior Court
  • Hon. Vernon F. Smith, Marin Superior Court
  • Hon. Bill Schuette, Judge of the Michigan Court of Appeals and former Member of Congress
  • Hon. Daniel 'Mike' Hanlon (Ret.), former Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal and former Presiding Judge of the San Francisco Superior Court.
  • Hon. Richard F. Cornell, Pro Tem Judge, Reno Justice Court.
  • Hon. Michael E. Sullivan, Pro-tem Settlement Conference Judge for Superior Court of El Dorado County, California
  • Hon. James G. Conway, Jr., Circuit Court of Illinois
  • Hon. James Patrick McCann, Senior Adjunct Settlement Judge, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Oklahoma.
  • Hon. Gregory P. Lynch, Oregon Circuit Judge, Pro Tempore.
  • Hon. Cynthia L. Muniz, District Judge, Texas
  • Hon. Stephen C. Becker, Judge Pro Tempore, San Francisco County Superior Court and former Deputy Attorney General of New Jersey.
  • Hon. Brian Hill, Superior Court Judge, County of Santa Barbara, California

Notable Alumni

  • Kevin V. Ryan, former United States Attorney for the Northern District of California
  • Hon. John Burton, former Member of Congress and former California State Senate Majority Leader
  • Kimberly Guilfoyle, former assistant San Francisco district attorney, television personality, and ex-wife of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
  • John F. Shelley, former Mayor of San Francisco.
  • Cupcake Brown, author of A Piece of Cake
  • Martha Whetstone, Executive Director of the S.F. Bar Association and former senior aide to President Bill Clinton
  • Marjorie Scardino ('75), CEO of Pearson PLC, and the first woman to head a top 100 firm on the London Stock Exchange
  • Joseph Freitas, Jr. ('67) former San Francisco District Attorney
  • Peter Folger, founding partner of Folger Levin and Kahn
  • Chris Moscone, son of former Mayor George Moscone and founder of Moscone, Emblidge, and Quadra LLP
  • Douglas Boxer ('91), founder of Douglas Boxer & Associates and son of Sen. Barbara Boxer
  • Benjamin T. Reyes,II ('92), Principal of meyers|nave and City Attorney for the City of Pinole
  • Jeffery A. Blair, Acting General Counsel for the University of California system.
  • William Bernstein, name Partner in Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, recognized by the National Law Journal as one of the top plaintiffs' law firms in the U.S.
  • Hon. Susan C. Lee, Deputy Majority Whip of the Maryland House of Delegates


Then-Governor Bill Clinton served as graduation speaker at the Law School's graduation ceremony in 1985.

USF Law School was a member of the consortium of law schools which filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004, challenging the constitutionality of the Solomon Amendment, which requires military recruiting on university campuses. Rumsfeld v. Fair.

USF is ranked 10th on the State Bar of California's list of law schools with the largest number of graduates currently admitted to the State Bar, placing it above UC Davis, Stanford and Pepperdine, among others.

External links