UC Hastings Law reversed a downward trend in the U.S. News & World Report rankings and went up three spots, from 62 to 59. “We have good reason to believe we will remain on this positive trajectory in coming years,” said Chancellor and Dean David Faigman, thanks to greatly improved bar passage and employment statistics.
Faigman noted that U.S. News is two years behind in several of its data categories. For instance, the current ranking is based on bar passage and employment from 2018. Since then, UC Hastings graduates have improved bar passage rates by 20 percentage points (first-time pass-rate in 2019 of 80%; tied for seventh in the state) and employment is up by 11.2 percent (overall employment of 85%). “These improvements will be reflected in our future ranking,” Faigman said.
He went on to add that “as has been true for many years, I do not accept that this number fully captures the excellence that is UC Hastings. This is even more true this year than in past years.”
The law school has numerous programs that consistently out-perform the overall statistic, with four in the top 20: Dispute Resolution (13), Health Law (13), Environmental Law (20), and Trial Advocacy (20). Others in the top 30 or 40 are Tax Law (23), Clinical Training (27), International Law (28), Criminal Law (33), and Business Law (37). Also, several areas in which the school excels are not separated out for recognition by U.S. News. Among these are immigration law and employment law, powerhouse programs evidenced by the work of such top-flight centers as the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies and the Center for WorkLife Law.
“Also central to our resurgence,” Faigman said, “is the rapid construction of a state-of-the-art campus.” Specifically: The school’s new six-story academic building, the Cotchett Law Center at 333 Golden Gate Ave., is complete and ready for occupancy. Renovations to Mary Kay Kane Hall, the main administration building at 200 McAllister St., are ongoing. Soon, Snodgrass Hall at 198 McAllister St. will be demolished and replaced with a 14-story hybrid academic and student housing center. And a total renovation of the 28-story Tower at 100 McAllister St. is scheduled to begin in 2023.
In his letter to the UC Hastings community, Faigman took the opportunity to thank faculty, staff, and students who pulled together quickly to address the challenges presented by the COVID-19 threat. “Our community’s response illustrates the grit and determination that I have long appreciated about our school,” he said. “I could not be prouder of my association with this great institution. It is these characteristics that will see us through the current crisis and continue to serve us in establishing UC Hastings as one of the country’s great law schools.”