special programs: Honors Lawyering Program

"I credit the Honors Lawyering Program with providing a powerful launching pad to my career in intellectual property litigation. The rigorous academic program and apprenticeship with a federal judge prepared me well for my clerkship with the Honorable John D. Love and the duties of an associate at a large law firm."

Raymond W. Yu (JD 07)
Associate, Paul Hastings LLP

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The Honors Lawyering Program takes a unique approach to legal education, integrating the theory, skills, and values learned in the classroom with actual work in the legal community - a modern version of the traditional apprenticeship.

HLP students attend a regular first-year curriculum, participate in an intensive skills-focused summer session, and work at a full-time fall apprenticeship. In the spring, students return to full-time classes with a new appreciation for the application of law to practice. During their third year, students complete a second apprenticeship and have the option to enroll in additional, practice-based courses.

Honors courses meet in small sections that integrate lawyering skills training with the substantive law curriculum. By the third week, students begin representing real clients under the guidance and supervision of the professors, who are themselves practicing attorneys. Students may apprentice in private law firms, companies, courts, government agencies, and public interest organizations.

Students in HLP complete law school in three years, pay the same tuition, and take the same required courses as students in the regular JD program. In the past three years, approximately 93% of HLP graduates passed the bar exam on their first attempt. For more information about the program, please read the FAQ below and the HLP chapter in the Student Handbook. Please feel free to contact the HLP administrative director with any further questions.

PROGRAM COMMITTEE
FACULTY

Full-Time Faculty


Adjunct Faculty

  • Stephen L. Collier
  • Kelly Cronin Martin
  • Katie Danielson
  • Katharine Demgen
  • Paul Dumont
  • Claire Greene, T.A.
  • Harmony Groves, T.A.
  • Fiona L. McKenna
  • Yvonne Mere
  • Gail Quan
  • Bob Rice, T.A.
  • Margaret M. Russell
  • Lois W. Schwartz
CONTACT
Golden Gate University School of Law

Honors Lawyering Program
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105


Jared D. Solovay

Administrative Director, Honors Lawyering Program
Phone: 415-369-5318
Fax: 415-543-6680
E-mail: jsolovay@ggu.edu

SCHEDULE

WHAT IS THE HLP SCHEDULE?

  • Your first year:
    You take the same required classes alongside other first-year law students.
  • Your first HLP summer:
    You attend school full time during the summer. The Honors courses are taught in small sections, integrating the lawyering skills courses with the substantive law curriculum. By the third week, you begin representing real clients, under the guidance and supervision of the professors who are themselves practicing attorneys.
  • The fall semester of your second year:
    During the fall semester of your second year, you work full time in a professional apprenticeship at a private law firm, company, government agency, court, or nonprofit organization. You meet with HLP staff and fellow students to discuss experiences, seek advice, and reflect critically on your work. You may continue your studies in one or two evening law school courses.
  • Your spring semesters:
    During the spring semesters, you enroll in required and elective courses from Golden Gate's extensive course offerings.
  • Your second HLP summer and fall:
    During your final year of law school, you complete a second apprenticeship and have the option to enroll in additional, practice-based courses.
  • View a sample Honors Program Schedule
INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYERS

HIGHLY-QUALIFIED

HLP only admits high achievers. By the time they start their first apprenticeships, these exceptional students have completed half of law school and have represented at least one client. They are ready to get to work for you.


WHY YOU SHOULD HIRE AN HONORS LAWYERING PROGRAM STUDENT

  • HLP students are available to work full-time during the fall.
  • Acceptance in HLP is highly competitive.
  • HLP's blending of academic and skills training prepares students for both the theoretical and practical demands of law practice.
  • All HLP students qualify for certification under the Practical Training of Law Students program through the California State Bar and may appear in court.


ADVANTAGES FOR EMPLOYERS

  • Employers get well-prepared, knowledgeable apprentices who are ready to work right away.
  • Apprentices work full-time or part-time in the summer or fall, as employer needs dictate.
  • HLP staff help employers to find the right apprentice for their offices.
  • Employers compensate students in accordance with their ability to pay.
  • Many of our students are eligible for salary subsidies.
  • Employers may be located anywhere in the world, not just the Bay Area.


BECOMING AN HLP EMPLOYER

APPLYING

HOW DO I APPLY TO HLP?

Students may apply to HLP as part of the regular JD application process by checking the Honors Lawyering Program box on their admissions application. Students applying in this manner will be notified by the Admissions Office regarding the results of their applications.

First-year students may also apply to join HLP at the beginning of the spring semester, after their fall semester grades have been recorded. This is the only opportunity to transfer into HLP. Details regarding the spring admission process are available each January in Law School News; an information session will be held in January during which prospective applicants can learn more about the program from HLP faculty, staff and upper-division students. Students interested in applying are also encouraged to meet with the HLP administrative director to inquire about the transfer process. The HLP Committee considers a variety of factors in the spring admission process, including students’ demonstrated success in law school, professionalism, collegiality, volunteerism, high ethical standards, academic enthusiasm and ability to perform successfully in a professional setting. The Committee evaluates each applicant’s School of Law admissions materials, as well as fall semester grades, a recommendation from a School of Law professor, and a personal essay. The number of spring admittees to the program will depend upon the number of students already enrolled in the program and the quality of the applications. All eligible students are encouraged to apply, regardless of whether or not they applied to HLP as part of the law school admissions process.


PART-TIME STUDENTS

Part-time students are not eligible for enrollment in HLP.


JOINT-degree PROGRAMS

Students enrolled in the JD/MBA program are eligible for enrollment in HLP and should consult with the Director of Law Student Services regarding their schedules. Students enrolled in the JD/PhD program are not eligible for enrollment in HLP.

APPRENTICESHIPS

As an HLP student, you work full-time in a professional apprenticeship during the fall semester of your second year. The second apprenticeship may be either full-time or part-time, depending on your course of study. You obtain the type of real-world experience that future employers value.


How do I find my apprenticeships? Do I get paid?

Law Career Services staff members assist you in your search for apprenticeships that fit your professional goals. Employers compensate students in accordance with their ability to pay.


Do I have to know what type of law I want to study before I do an apprenticeship?

No. You benefit from the professional apprenticeships whether you use them to explore different areas of law or you have already chosen a field of practice.


RECENT APPRENTICESHIPS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA INCLUDE:

Private law firms and companies practicing in a variety of fields:
  • civil litigation
  • commercial transactions
  • environmental law
  • family law
  • immigration law
  • intellectual property law
  • international law
  • labor and employment law

The Judicial System:
  • federal trial and appellate courts
  • state trial and appellate courts

Federal, State and Local Government Agencies:
  • California Attorney General's Office
  • California Department of Insurance
  • Federal Public Defender's Office
  • San Francisco City Attorney's Office
  • San Francisco District Attorney's Office
  • San Francisco Human Rights Commission
  • U.S. Attorney's Office, Criminal Division
  • U.S. Environmental & Natural Resources Division

Public Interest Organizations including:
  • Legal Services for Children
  • Asian Law Caucus
  • Bay Area Legal Aid
  • California Lawyers for the Arts
  • Earthjustice
  • Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
FAQS

HOW IS HLP DIFFERENT FROM TRADITIONAL LAW SCHOOL PROGRAMS?

  • The Honors Lawyering Program takes a unique approach to legal education, integrating the theory, skills, and values learned in the classroom with actual work in the legal community -- a modern version of the traditional apprenticeship.
  • As an HLP student, you attend a regular first-year curriculum, participate in an intensive skills-focused summer session, and work at a full-time fall apprenticeship. In the spring, you return to full-time classes. In your third year, you complete a second apprenticeship and have the option to enroll in additional, practice-based courses.
  • The extraordinary summer program prepares you for your apprenticeships. You study in a simulated law firm environment, taking unique course offerings that blend substantive law with essential lawyering skills.
  • All HLP students qualify for certification under the Practical Training of Law Students program through the California State Bar and may appear in court.


WHY SHOULD I JOIN HLP?

  • You want to learn by doing.
  • You want to develop strong connections in the legal community.
  • You want to experience an innovative learning environment that advances your career.


WHAT DO I DO DURING THE FIRST HLP SUMMER?

  • You represent real clients with real legal issues, under the supervision of experienced faculty who are also practicing attorneys.
  • HLP courses meet in small sections of only 12-26 students.
  • The courses integrate lawyering skills training with the substantive law curriculum.
  • You draft legal documents, make oral arguments, and more.
  • You learn the essential skills and values to practice law effectively.


WHAT IS AN HLP PROFESSIONAL APPRENTICESHIP?

  • The apprenticeship is a full-time, semester-long job.
  • You experience the real world of legal practice and learn the importance of professionalism in a work environment.
  • Staff members guide you in identifying and applying for apprenticeships in private law firms, companies, courts, government agencies, and public interest organizations.


DOES HLP TAKE MORE TIME? DO I HAVE TO PAY MORE?

  • No, you graduate in May of your third year and pay the same tuition as other law students.
  • You are eligible to participate in the full range of law school offerings including law review, specialization certificates, litigation competitions and the joint JD/MBA program.