4 out of 5 Stars
Strong theory first year; strong practical experience second and third yearsQuality of Life
Good; the low-level neighborhood is offset by all the courts and government offices adjacent to the school, and the City of San FranciscoAdmissions
Form and essaysGraduation Year
2004 or earlier
tldrQuality of Life
Urban campus, some housing in the MacAllister Tower but many students live elsewhere in SF/Bay area.Level
Good balance of theory and practical study; top-notch appellate clinic; good mix of Socratic method and lecture style; variety in class size (from up to 80 for 1L & survey classes), to classes as small as 4-8 (including non-seminars). Grading curve is relatively harsh, even though it's been recently relaxed. Still harsher than other schools. Still possible to get As with some work. Generally only 1 A+ given per class, although some professors do not give any A+s.Quality of Life
Cost of living is very high, mostly because of the rent. Food and entertainment, including restaurants and bars, do not tend to be as excessively expensive as the rent. The school facilities are comfortable and spacious, as is the newly remodeled moot court room, which is fantastic and well-equipped. The library is very big, and there's always study space, even during the height of exams. The neighborhood immediately surrounding campus is a mix of attorneys (all the courts are in that neighborhood) and more urban elements. The students tend not to be affected by crime in the area, except for some theft.
Living in San Francisco is the highlight - many of us think it's one of the best places in the world to live, and I agree. The city really makes the quality of life top-notch. It's a beautiful city, with great parks, culture (architecture, museums, ballet and opera, etc.), fun people, amazing bars and restaurants, and great nightlife. Whenever I walk to school on a beautiful day, I think about how lucky I am to live here.Admissions
The school is able to be fairly selective because a lot of well-qualified applicants coming from top schools (mostly with B.A.s from Berkeley and Stanford, and some from the Ivies). They want to come here rather than a somewhat higher-ranked school elsewhere in the country because of the location and reputation for practical education (e.g., the top-ranked Moot Court department). So it is fairly selective.
Good financial aid and scholarships; allows students who would not otherwise be entitled to financial aid because of their parents' income to receive financial aid if they are not supported by their parents, even if they are under a certain age; there's an alternative admissions program (LEOP) for disadvantaged students.Level
Hastings has a great mix of practical skills courses and more theoretical courses. The practical skills courses such as Negotiations, Mediation, Trial Advocacy, and Appellate Advocacy, are taught by great professors with real-word skills.
The curve is competitive but students are friendly and form great study groups.
Hastings offers lots of research opportunities with professors, and judicial externships with judges at the state and federal courts.Quality of Life
Our campus is surrounded by all of the courts- the CA state courts, and the 9th Circuit which offers lots of opportunities to get judicial externships, and makes it easy to get to and from work and class. We are in the middle of SF, so the environment is urban and we have all of the advantages of being in a big city. Public transportation is great, so it is easy to get around the city. It is also easy to get to downtown SF, where all of the big law firms are, and a lot of students work downtown part time.Level
Classes vary -- some focus on theory and others focus on practical study for practicing attorneys or bar study. The socratic method is lightly used, most classes ask students to summarize cases and answer a few question, and assign particular cases or dates to be on call for the cases. Class sizes are large of bar course lectures, but very small for seminars. Students are competitive. A lot of courses taught my persons working at the courts located nearby, including judges teaching. Frequently opportunities to work as research assistant with a professor. Lots of study abroad information and opportunities.Quality of Life
Living on campus is expensive. $800 - $1200 for a studio in the Tenderloin part of town. Nice facilities. Library is remodeled and looks great. Computer labs easy to access. Moot courtroom recently remodeled and fantastic. Cheap eats in the surrounding neighborhood and lots of lunch places nearby. Community is not so good and there is a crime and drug problem in the surrounding community. However, the school provides great safety tools -- van to drive students, lots of on-campus police, guarded exits and entrances on all buildings, etc.Admissions
General application process. Generous school-provided scholarships for financial need. Great admissions program for underprivileged applicants.Level
Everything I need except a grocery store!Level
I was admitted through the LEOP program. This gives students from underrepresented backgrounds but lower grades or lsat scores to attend law school. I have enjoyed the program and it has helped me become the top 30% of my class.Level
A bit more on the theoretical side, the professors do not let anyone get away with the standard hornbook answer. They really push you to think beyond the obvious. Class sizes outside of first year have not been too large. The workload is incredible, but it is law schoolQuality of Life
It is the Tenderloin, so kind of a scary area, but the courts are right here as well, so the proximity to them opens a lot of doorsAdmissions
Standard open ended essay, LSATLevel
Classes of ~75 typically use socratic method. Workload is heavy but manageable. Lots of opportunities for gaining practical experience and good network of employers.Quality of Life
Facilities are adequate, but there are lots of great students and student orgs. It's been really easy to make friends and has been a wonderful experience so far.Admissions
Essays, LSAT, Grades, etc. are required. Many need-based financial aid and scholarship programs available.Level