GGU Law expands access and opens new pathways to legal education
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- In keeping with its 121-year commitment to providing diverse student populations with access and opportunity, Golden Gate University School of Law (GGU Law) announces a multi-pronged plan to transform its legal education offerings, including full tuition scholarships to all students in its in-person Juris Doctor [JD) program and the introduction of Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Law and Master of Law Studies (MLS) degree programs.
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Ranked as one of the most diverse law schools in the nation, GGU Law has developed a broad, forward-thinking plan that supports the academic success of newly admitted and current law students alike and will ultimately provide a new debt-free pathway to a JD degree for underrepresented and underserved students.
"This bold new approach democratizes access to legal education and provides a pathway to a legal career for all individuals regardless of their economic circumstances. It will also ensure that students admitted to the JD program can successfully complete their studies, pass the bar exam, and excel as practicing lawyers," says Colin Crawford, Dean of GGU Law.
GGU Law's transformational plan includes the following four key elements:
- DIVERSE CLASS, ALL FULL SCHOLARSHIPS: Over the next three years, GGU Law will shift to a considerably smaller, but still highly diverse, in-person JD program, admitting highly qualified students eligible to receive Presidential scholarships, which are full-tuition awards. This ambitious vision began with the entire entering class of full-time, first-year, in-person JD students in Fall 2022. These awards will continue through to receipt of the JD degree, provided that the student remains in good standing. Similarly, beginning with the Fall 2022 entering class of JD-Flex students–working professionals who study online with weekend on-campus learning–the program will be open to significantly fewer students than before and focus on those who are academically qualified to receive either full or half-tuition scholarships.
- SMALLER CLASS SIZES, GREATER ATTENTION: While maintaining smaller classes of highly qualified students in both the full-time/in-person and part-time/hybrid programs, full-time law faculty will be able to provide greater attention to students and more resources to ensure academic success and improved bar pass rates.
- EXPANDED RESOURCES FOR ALL LAW STUDENTS: Beginning in the 2021-22 academic year, expanded resources and support were made and will continue to be fully available to all students, including:
- NEW BA IN LAW AND MASTER OF LAW STUDIES DEGREES: During the 2022-2023 academic year, GGU Law is launching two new degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Law (BA in Law), and a Master of Law Studies (MLS), a one-year, 30-credit program, both taught by full-time law faculty. These two programs will help identify strong candidates for the full scholarship in-person JD program and give access and opportunity to students who want to see if the study of law is right for them. In addition, these programs are well-suited for individuals who are either working in, or interested in, the robust array of careers in the public and private sectors where a JD degree is not necessary, but legal knowledge is needed. The BA in Law and the MLS programs will be available in-person, online and in hybrid formats at GGU's San Francisco campus. For details about these two new degrees, visit: law.ggu.edu
"Whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, the skills imparted by legal training are highly valued by employers," says GGU Provost Brent White, a longtime innovator in legal education. "Additionally, success in actual law courses identifies students with an aptitude for law much more effectively than a standardized test."
"We already know that students who do well in the first year of law school pass the bar exam at high rates," adds Dean Crawford. "We believe that we will be able to identify students with the ability to succeed as JD students through their demonstrated success studying law as undergraduates, or in our Master of Law Studies program. We will then offer some of the best of these students full scholarships for a JD degree so that they graduate from law school unconstrained by tuition debt and able to pursue legal careers of their choice, including — as many GGU graduates do — careers focused on advancing social justice."
Moreover, explains Provost White, "We believe that our BA in Law and Master of Law Studies programs will open careers in law to a highly diverse group of students, many of whom might otherwise have thought that law was not a realistic pathway."
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean of Boston University School of Law and GGU Law Advisory Board member, sees the GGU Law transformational plan as "a bold step that enables greater equity and access to the legal profession." She adds, "GGU Law has long had a diverse class, both in terms of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic background, but true access to the profession to law and the legal profession has been limited because of the unique impacts that debt has on graduates from lower income communities, particularly communities of color. With this truly extraordinary investment, GGU Law has extended its longstanding commitment with access by expanding beyond entry into law school to access to a more equitable educational experience and more freedom in choice of employment after law school."
John Sexton, the former President of New York University and also a GGU Law Advisory Board member, shares, "Almost every law school embraces the values of access and diversity; but, GGU has devoted the full force of its energy and resources to an innovative program that will empower generations of students, many from underrepresented communities, with the instrument of law. I cannot express adequately my admiration for GGU, its leadership, and its faculty."
Established in 1901, Golden Gate University School of Law has focused on educational access and opportunity for a richly diverse base of adult students since it began in the basement of the YMCA as a night school for immigrants, working adults, and others neglected by traditional law schools. GGU Law is recognized as an award-winning, ABA-accredited law school with a prime location in the heart of San Francisco—offering an innovative and personalized learning experience that produces a highly diverse group of graduates with the skill, judgment, and knowledge to become exceptional lawyers and socially conscious members of the global community. law.ggu.edu
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SOURCE Golden Gate University School of Law