To be considered for admission with Regular Status, applicants must have either:
- a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university
- an Associate degree from an accredited community college, or
- have completed, in good academic standing, (a minimum of 60 semester or 90 quarter units) at an accredited institution
The grade point average on all subjects undertaken must be equal to that required for graduation.
Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
Most applicants must take the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), which is given four times a year at test centers locally, throughout the U.S. and in many foreign countries. Individuals who have previously passed the LSAT may not be required to retake the exam providing that their scores are sufficiently current, acceptable and obtainable from Law Services. Applicants may submit their admission materials through the Credential Assembly Service (CAS) of LSAC, but it is not required. The San Francisco Law School Code is 4712.
Upon approval, for qualified applicants, the LSAT requirement may be waived by San Francisco Law School.
Applicants wishing to be admitted with Regular Status must submit:
- completed application form
- personal statement
- two letters of recommendation
- $75 non-refundable application fee
In addition, applicants must have all official transcripts sent from issuing schools directly to San Francisco Law School. All degrees must be posted. Applications will be reviewed after the LSAT results and all required documents and fees are received.
As a condition of admission, a deposit of $500 is required of all applicants upon notification of acceptance. The deposit, which must be paid in full by the date specified in the letter of acceptance, will be credited toward tuition and fees.
A strong personal statement answers these questions: Why do you want to study law? What in your background leads you to believe you will be successful in law school and in a legal career? What special skills, attributes, and experiences will you bring to the Law School community? What other pertinent matters should the Committee consider in weighing your application?
The statement should be in essay form rather than resumé form and should be no more than three pages in length, double-spaced and typed. Applicants should not submit books, tape recordings, plays, theses, dissertations, or other such materials in lieu of, or in addition to, the personal statement; these materials will not be evaluated by the Admissions Committee.
The Law School encourages applicants to schedule a visit. The Law School Admissions Committee reserves the right to request formal interviews as part of the admissions process. All information which applicants wish to have considered by the Committee must be in writing and should accompany the application.
Restarting Law School
The State Bar of California is unique in allowing those who were not successful in their First Year of law school to restart afresh. San Francisco and its branch campus in San Diego will accept applications from those who seek to restart their legal educations. In addition to the usual application process, the restart applicant must complete the Starting Legal Studies Over Certification from the State Bar of California. For more information, see the Fresh Start page.
Admission with Special Status
Applicants lacking the academic qualifications for admission with Regular Status may apply for admission with Special Status. Special Status is for applicants who have a level of maturity and professional experience which has prepared them for successful completion of the law school curriculum.
In addition to the documentation required of applicants for Regular Status, Special Status applicants must submit two letters of recommendation from employers and/or others attesting to the applicant’s abilities and potential for success in law school. Also required is an LSAT score satisfactory to the San Francisco Law School Admissions Committee.
In addition, the Committee of Bar Examiner requires that all applicants seeking admission with Special Status take and pass the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) prior to admission to law school. For further details, contact the San Francisco Law School.
Upon successful completion of the First Year curriculum, Special Status students must take the First Year Law Students' Examination (FYLSE) administered by the California Committee of Bar Examiners. Students can continue into their second year of study despite their not having taken or not having passed the examination. They will receive credit for study completed up to the time they pass the examination, if they pass it within three administrations of the examination after their first become eligible to take the exam.
For CLEP Test applications or information contact:
The College Board, Western Regional Office 2099 Gateway Place, #480 San Jose, CA 95110 (408) 452-1400
Admission with Advanced Standing
To the extent deemed appropriate by San Francisco Law School and permitted by its own governing rules – and subject to the limitations prescribed by Guideline 5.8 of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules of the California State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners -- San Francisco Law School may grant academic credit toward the J.D. degree for courses completed at another law school by a student who was not disqualified for academic reasons. (This guideline does not require the law school to grant such credit.)
In addition to the requirements of applicants for Regular Status, such students must provide official transcripts of all law study and a letter of good standing from the Office of the Dean of the last law school attended. Only courses successfully completed – that is, courses in which the applicant has earned a grade at the good-standing level or higher from the awarding law school -- will be considered for transfer. The granting of such credit is at the discretion of the law school, and, in any case, a student must earn a minimum of 45 units while in residence in order to graduate from San Francisco/San Diego Law School.
To the extent deemed appropriate by San Francisco Law School and permitted by its own governing rules – and subject to the limitations prescribed by Guideline 5.6 of the Guidelines for Accredited Law School Rules of the California State Bar’s Committee of Bar Examiners -- San Francisco Law School may admit applicants who have been previously disqualified from law school for academic reasons. In addition to all other application requirements, such applicants must also provide the following: (1) two letters of recommendation from the dean and/or professors at the previously attended law school attesting to the student's ability for success in law school; and (2) a personal statement written by the applicant detailing the circumstances that led to his or her academic disqualification and the remedial steps taken to ensure success in future study. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to contact all references for a more detailed assessment of each applicant's potential.
Admission with Visitor Status
Students currently enrolled in good standing at other accredited law schools may, with the approval of their Dean, be admitted to San Francisco Law School with either non-matriculating Visitor Status or Auditor Status. Both Visitors and Auditors are subject to the same tuition, fees, policies and regulations as are Regular Status students of San Francisco Law School. For information regarding required documentation, contact the Admissions OFfice.
Applicants who have attended schools outside of the United States must arrange to have transcripts evaluated by either of the following entities:
Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. P.O. Box 514070 Milwaukee, WI 53203 (414) 289-3400 www.ece.org
International Education Research Foundation, Inc. P.O. Box 3665, Culver City, CA 90231-3665 Telephone: (310) 258-9451 www.ierf.org
San Francisco Law School does not offer other services or issue I-20 forms to foreign nationals. The School does require a level of English proficiency, both verbal and written, consistent with that which must be demonstrated to achieve an acceptable score on the required Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
Application Review Process
Acceptance to San Francisco Law School is determined by the Admissions Committee, which takes into account the LSAT score, undergraduate and graduate GPAs, professional background, and personal history of each applicant. Consistent with this holistic review of the individual and his or her accomplishments, the admissions process is not subject to a mechanical formula required for admittance. The Committee seeks students who will contribute positively to the student body, successfully complete the law school program, and go on to become productive and ethical members of the Bar.
San Francisco Law School admits students without regard to age, sex, race, creed, color, physical handicap, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or political affiliation, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded to students at the School. It does not discriminate on any of these bases in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, or other School-administered programs.
Upon successful completion of the San Francisco Law School program, a graduate is awarded a Juris Doctorate degree (J.D.).