About: Dean's Welcome

Rachel Van Cleave

Welcome to GGU Law

Before GGU Law opened its YMCA night law school more than a hundred years ago, only students who could attend school full-time were able to earn a law degree. Then and now, GGU Law provides the opportunity for working individuals to pursue a legal education characterized by diversity and innovation. Our part-time and full-time programs emphasize academic rigor, ethics, and the real work of lawyering to support our students' post-graduate success. Our graduates today succeed for the same reasons as their predecessors -- because they are immersed in a broad and challenging curriculum focused on the fundamentals of legal theory, the skills vital to the practice of law, and the highest ethical and professional standards.

GGU Law students bring unique backgrounds and life experiences to a learning environment that is focused on combining academic rigor and skills-infused courses to develop practice-ready graduates. The law school's dynamic, urban setting in the heart of San Francisco's financial district fosters confident, savvy, and socially responsible lawyers. Our location and program offer a rich array of opportunities to engage in pro bono and other legal work under the supervision of practicing lawyers and the guidance of thoughtful, generous, and experienced professors.

Indeed, our strong alumni network reflects the practice-rich education for which we are so justly known. Our alumni are present in all areas of legal practice and the judiciary, working in federal and state courts across the nation, as partners in large and small firms, as in-house corporate counsel, in government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and in other arenas. Counted among them are state and federal judges, members of Congress, renowned litigators, civil rights attorneys, and partners in law firms.

Today, institutions of higher education and law schools in particular are addressing new questions about the value and form of education we offer. Changes in the nature of the legal profession and the market are at the center of professional conversations, public debate and media stories.

GGU Law is prepared to respond to our students' needs and the exciting changes taking place in the profession. Doubtless, the practice-focused changes we have implemented in the past two years -- 1L Electives, 1st STEP, 1L Coaching, Practice Intensive Courses (PIC), and our collaboration with Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers -- are just a few of the new programs engaging our students and future colleagues.

As Dean, I am most proud of the unique combination of caring and professionalism that is the hallmark of GGU Law's faculty, staff, and students. GGU Law is a vibrant, intellectually stimulating, and close-knit community. I encourage you to explore GGU Law online, read our alumni magazine, and join our online communities (see social media links below) to learn more about GGU Law -- our academic offerings, our values and culture, and our contributions to the legal community and society.


Rachel Van Cleave

Rachel Van Cleave

Dean & Professor of Law

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