The 1L Program
The first year at UC Hastings lays the foundation for understanding the law. We link theory to practice using innovative pedagogies, while emphasizing the need for creativity, adaptability, and innovation in a rapidly changing legal services market. Our first-year curriculum is traditional in that students take the black letter law courses found at all law schools, but unusual in that our students may take an elective in their spring semester.
Our first-year students (aka 1Ls) are divided into five sections of approximately 80 students each, called “Inns of Court.” 1L students take classes with their Inns, with class size ranging from the full Inn to a much smaller group of 12-15 students.
In addition to being the core group of classroom peers in the first year, the Inns of Court program also provides our students with opportunities to meet and interact with faculty, staff, and upper class students — all unique to each Inn — a built-in community of mentors.
The 1L Curriculum
All students take the first-year curriculum:
- Civil Procedure I
- Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law I or Statutory Elective
- Legal Research & Writing I & II
- Scientist to Lawyer (optional for students with STEM backgrounds)
Clara Shortridge Foltz was the first woman lawyer on the Pacific Coast, California’s first female deputy DA, and a public defender movement founder. She apprenticed at her father’s law office and attended classes at Hastings – then California’s only law school. She played a key role in winning women’s suffrage in California and tried cases when women were barred from juries. UC Hastings granted her a posthumous Doctor of Laws in 1991.
Emma Ping Lum, an alumna of UC Hastings College of the Law, was the first Chinese-American woman to practice law in California and the United States. Lum became the first Chinese-American female to practice before the United States Supreme Court. She received an A.B. from San Francisco State College and an M.A. from Columbia University. Throughout her career, Lum was affiliated with the California State Bar Association, San Francisco Bar Association, the Queen’s Bench, the Kappa Beta Phi legal sorority, and established a general practice in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Justice Wiley W. Manuel ’53 was the first African-American to serve on the California Supreme Court. Justice Manuel was born in Oakland and attended UC Berkeley. While a student at UC Hastings, Justice Manuel served as editor in chief of the Hastings Law Journal and graduated as a member of the Order of the Coif. Prior to his appointment to the judiciary, Justice Manuel long served as an attorney with the California Attorney General’s Office.
Honorable George R. Moscone ’56, the 37th Mayor of San Francisco, helped pay his tuition at UC Hastings by working as a school janitor alongside former Mayor Willie Brown. Moscone was ahead of his time as an early proponent of gay rights, and was the first mayor to appoint large numbers of women, gays and lesbians, and racial minorities to city commissions and advisory boards.
Justice Roger J. Traynor, the 23rd Chief Justice of California, taught at UC Hastings for over a dozen years after he retired from the California Supreme Court. Justice Traynor has generally been viewed by the American legal community as the single greatest judge in the history of the California judiciary, and one of the greatest judges in the history of the United States.