academics: Specialization Certificates
Certificates of Specialization are awarded in the following areas listed below. Requirements vary, but usually include coursework and clinical practice.
Students should apply for a specialization certificate by submitting the JD Specialization Certificate Application to the Registrar's Office during their last term -- by March 1 for May and July graduation candidates; December 1 for December graduation candidates.
Students must supplement the required Business Associations class with at least six other business law courses, including three from either the domestic or international tracks. Students gain practical experience in business, corporate, and commercial law through the Civil Field Placement Externship, Real Estate Law Externship, and Pro Bono Tax Clinic.
Employers often remark that GGU Law produces students "who know where the courthouse is." GGU has a long and proud history of producing outstanding criminal lawyers and California’s Public Defender and District Attorney’s Offices are full of talented, dedicated GGU alumni.
In addition to the required Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure I, and Evidence courses, students must complete additional units in criminal law courses to earn the certificate. Students learn the foundational aspects of criminal litigation in classes like Advanced Criminal Procedure or Wrongful Convictions. Through the Criminal Litigation Externship, students intern with state and federal prosecutors and defense attorneys. They also obtain valuable practical experience by working for judges in criminal court and interning in law offices specializing in criminal defense.
The Environmental Law Specialization Certificate allows students to concentrate in environmental law courses covering many diverse fields within environmental law. All students must take either Environmental Law & Policy or Toxics Law & Policy, and take another seven units in courses ranging from Administrative Law to Water Law. In addition, students must have completed a substantial academic research paper and two units of an environmental practice component, for a grand total of at least 12 units in the program. The concentration includes opportunities to write on our Environmental Law Journal and practice law in our award winning Environmental Law and Justice Clinic as well as doing externships with leading environmental nonprofits, governmental agencies or private law firms.
Students who earn the specialization certificate in Family Law complete a rigorous course of study aimed at familiarizing them with this dynamic field of law. Through traditional coursework and internship opportunities, students study the nuances of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships; adoption and surrogacy; child abuse and abduction; and issues arising from the termination of a relationship such as divorce, annulment, alimony, and child custody and visitation.
The IP Law Specialization Certificate is awarded to graduating law students who have successfully completed required intellectual property courses that expose them to the breadth and depth of this complex and fast-changing area of law. The Certificate allows students to demonstrate proficiency in intellectual property law generally while also permitting them to create a program of study in IP law geared towards their individual areas of interest.
The International Legal Studies Program offers in-depth coverage of specialized areas of public and private international law, as well as international trade and comparative law. Students interested in international legal studies may also participate in other ABA international programs.
- Labor and Employment Law Courses
- Certificate Advisers: Marci Seville and Hina Shah
- Labor & Employment Law Faculty
To obtain this certificate, students must complete two required courses, four units of elective courses, two units of clinical training, and a comprehensive research paper. Students can also gain valuable labor and employment law experience through GGU Law’s Civil Field Placement Clinic and the Women’s Employment Rights Clinic.
The Litigation Certificate recognizes that a student has “majored” in Litigation and has achieved a high-level of achievement in the Litigation courses. To apply for the certificate of specialization, law students should schedule an individual meeting with the adviser to plan out their course of study and then submit a certificate application to the Registrar a few months before graduation.
Students must successfully complete: Trial Advocacy (with a grade of B- or above); either Advanced Trial Advocacy or Mock Trial: Competition; either Criminal Litigation or Civil Pretrial Litigation; and at least an additional 5 credits of approved elective courses. The adviser has the discretion to grant waivers from these requirements (so ask questions).
14 units in litigation courses are required to receive the certificate of specialization. The adviser has the discretion to grant waivers from these requirements (so ask questions).
The certificate shows employers that you are serious about litigation and have taken a concentration of courses in a variety of litigation skills. By the time you complete the program, you will have conducted a minimum of 5 mock trials.
GGU Law offers an extensive public interest law program and has a dedicated, full-time public interest law adviser who works one-on-one with students to promote public interest work. This certificate requires specialized coursework, supervised legal work in either a public interest or government setting, and community service. Graduating students are honored at the Annual Public Interest Graduation Reception.
- Property Development/Real Estate Courses
- Certificate Adviser: Roger Bernhardt
- Real Estate Law Faculty
This certificate requires concentrated coursework, an independent study project, and practical training through the Real Estate Law Externship. Students may focus on transactional or litigation-based projects at local law firms, public agencies, or non-profit organizations.
GGU Law’s Taxation Law Program is one of the preeminent tax law programs in the western United States. Studying under experienced faculty, students gain a solid foundation in the basics of federal, state, and local taxation as well as real estate, partnership, corporate, and international tax law. Students may choose to branch out into areas of particular interest, including business taxation, estate planning, or employee benefits.
Students must complete a set number of core courses and electives. Tax related programs and job fairs are hosted throughout the year by the Young Tax Lawyers Association. Students may also participate in the CAPITAL Group (Corporate Asset-Management Property Investment and Tax Association), a law student organization which also hosts high profile guest speakers.
Students who elect to specialize in Youth Law develop a network of valuable relationships with experienced practitioners in the field. In particular, our Field Placement Externship in Youth Law enables students to work in non-profit law offices, government agencies, or private offices and engage in litigation, administrative hearings, ADR (alternative dispute resolution), or other advocacy on behalf of children or youth. Students also attend seminar class meetings which emphasize reflective lawyering, professional responsibility, skills, and practice issues. Students may work in areas such as juvenile justice, dependency, education, disability, mental health, and/or civil rights.