With the pandemic upending the California Bar Exam and some post-graduate opportunities, UC Hastings Law has expanded its suite of services and resources to recent graduates, including enhanced bar preparation and mentoring, a waiver of fees to audit certain courses, bar-study aid scholarships, and extended access to library and research services.
Academic Dean Morris Ratner outlined the extensive array of services in a letter to the Class of 2020 and encouraged recent graduates to take advantage of the programs.
“We want you to know that we’re committed to supporting you during this turbulent post-grad period,” he wrote. “To that end, we are launching the Class of 2020 Professional Success Program to help you pass the bar exam and find a rewarding job given the changing legal market.”
Bar Passage Support and Resources
- A Virtual Early Prep Program, running May 18 – May 31, for graduates planning to take the September 2020 California Bar Exam. It includes a Multistate Bar Exam (MBE) diagnostic, with debrief and review by UC Hastings faculty and special workshops.
- Additional training for those taking late-start commercial bar-prep programs, beginning June 1 and running through July, when commercial programs begin. Graduates will benefit from extended study and a better balance of review and spaced-repetition practice.
- Extended BEST programming, which the College offers as a supplement to commercial bar-prep courses. Students will receive reviews of specific areas of the law, regular practice essay tests, and individual feedback from tutors.
- Extended bar mentoring, with extended individual monitoring and support.
- Complimentary access to The Bar Peak Performance Program, a popular prep tool.
Also, the College is waiving audit fees for Summer Session 2 and Fall 2020 classes for Class of 2020 graduates who wish to enroll in bar-subject classes they may have missed. This option allows for additional preparation for graduates who plan to take the February 2021 bar exam.
“We know what works in supporting students studying for the bar, and what increases their likelihood of passing,” said Director of Bar Passage Support Margaret Greer. “This is a stressful time under any circumstances, but our data-driven and evidence-based approaches have been shown to increase pass rates.” The first-time pass rate for the July 2019 California Bar Exam for UC Hastings graduates was 80%, higher than the statewide average of ABA-accredited California law schools.
Enhanced Career Services Offerings
Likewise, the Career Development Office, led by Assistant Dean Amy Kimmel, will provide extra support to Class of 2020 graduates, with special emphasis on finding meaningful and rewarding employment during a recession. A wide range of new and updated resources are available.
The office’s Jumpstart! program creates tailored databases of resumes of 2020 graduates based on practice area and geographic preference, which are made available to alumni and employers. Every graduate who participates in the program is eligible to be matched with a member of the College’s Board of Governors, who will serve as a mentor throughout their job search.
Graduates will also have free access to GradLaunch, a self-directed on-demand module that includes worksheets, interviews, videos, and valuable information such as application and time-management tips.
The Career Development Office has marshaled a group of alumni who launched their careers during the 2008 recession and are available to offer insights—formally and informally—to graduates as they navigate a challenging job market. UC Hastings is also working to expand its Bridge Fellows Program, which provides competitive fellowships for JD graduates planning on starting their careers in the government or nonprofit sector.
The Law Library will provide graduates with 18 months of free access, starting right after graduation, to Westlaw, Practical Law, Drafting Assistant, Practice Point, Document & Form Builder, and other services. HeinOnline’s Law Journal Library for UC Hastings Alumni is available post-graduation indefinitely. Also, 2020 graduates will have unrestricted access to Bloomberg Law through June 1, 2021.
“Our recent graduates have so much to offer,” Kimmel said. “They will be well-positioned when they enter the job market, no matter the challenges. We are here to offer a variety of tools and support to ensure their success.”