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About the University of the Pacific

The University of the Pacific was established in 1851 as the first chartered private institution of higher learning in California. Its main campus is in Stockton, with two additional campuses in San Francisco and Sacramento. The University has long been recognized as an innovator in private education. Today it offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional education through eleven schools on three campuses.

Located on the Stockton campus are the College of the Pacific for undergraduate liberal arts education, the Graduate School, the University College for adult re-entry students, the Conservatory of Music, and the Schools of Pharmacy, Engineering, Business, Education, and International Studies. The Dugoni School of Dentistry is located in San Francisco. McGeorge School of Law was an independent law school in Sacramento founded in 1924 until it merged with the University of the Pacific in 1966. It has retained the name of its founder, Verne Adrian McGeorge. In addition to the Juris Doctor degree, McGeorge School of Law offers the Master of Law, Master of Science in Law, Doctor of Judicial Science, Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Administration degrees. The 13 acre Sacramento campus is also home to the following programs: Physician Assistant, Doctor of Education, Master of Science in Analytics, and the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Behavior completion program.

The University of the Pacific is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and its professional schools and programs are also separately accredited by their respective accrediting agencies.

About McGeorge School of Law

Established nearly 90 years ago, the University of Pacific, McGeorge School of Law is an internationally recognized leader in the field of legal education with alumni practicing in all 50 states and in 58 countries. Its location in the capital city of California, Sacramento, has shaped the school's focus on state and local government law, International law, water law, and advocacy.

McGeorge School of Law began as a one-room night school in downtown Sacramento (L & 10th) in 1924, when it was founded as the Sacramento College of Law. Verne Adrian McGeorge was the founding dean and professor of law.  The first commencement in 1925 marked the graduation of five new attorneys. The first female graduate of the school was Rose Sheehan in 1927, marking the college as ahead of its time in diversity and inclusion. In 1929, the Board of Trustees renamed the school McGeorge College of Law in honor of its founder.

Succeeding McGeorge, Russell Harris was dean from 1930-1933. Gilford Rowland was dean from 1933-1937. Lawrence Dorety was dean from 1937 until the school closed during WWII. The school reopened in 1946 under Dean John Swan.  Dean Swan began to pursue a permanent home for McGeorge College of Law after several moves in downtown Sacramento.

Legacy of Leadership

In 1957, the influential Gordon D. Schaber became dean of McGeorge College of Law after Dean Swan's sudden death. Soon after, the Board of Trustees voted to move the school to a vacant well-baby clinic at the corner of 33rd Street and Fifth Avenue in the Oak Park neighborhood. Today, the McGeorge School of Law campus has grown to 13 acres. The law-school only campus continues to be located in Oak Park, three miles southeast of the state Capitol building in Sacramento, California.

For 34 years, Dean Schaber guided the school through its emergence as a first-class law school. In 1964, Schaber won accreditation by the Committee of Bar Examiners for the state of California. He recruited top-notch faculty, such as Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who taught constitutional law on the Sacramento campus from 1965-1988.

Emergence of McGeorge as a National Law School

McGeorge School of Law was accredited by the American Bar Association in 1968, paving the way for its rise to national prominence. In 1983, McGeorge School of Law became a member school in the Order of the Coif, the ABA's highest acknowledgement of academic excellence; less than half of all law schools accredited by the American Bar Association are also Order of the Coif member schools. 

The ABA bestowed on Schaber its highest honor for service in legal education (The Kutak Award) in 1991, the year he stepped down as dean. Dean Gerald Caplan succeeded Schaber in 1991. During Caplan's tenure, the Governmental Affairs program was established to capitalize on the school's location in Sacramento.  He expanded McGeorge's presence in intercollegiate Mock Trial competitions around the nation.  In 2002, Dean Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker became the eighth dean of McGeorge School of Law.  Parker championed the expansion of student study and faculty exchanges in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Parker expanded externships and started new clinical programming in specialty areas such as immigration, mediation, and appellate advocacy. She launched strong collaborations with high schools to establish mentoring programs and law-themed curricula.

McGeorge School of Law Today

Michael Hunter Schwartz, former dean and professor of law in the William H. Bowen School of Law, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, became the 10th dean of McGeorge School of Law, in 2017. Each of the past three years, Dean Schwartz has been ranked among the 15 Most Influential People in Legal Education; he was ranked ninth in 2017. The McGeorge School of Law faculty includes full-time and part-time professors who hold law degrees from top law schools in the country, including Harvard, University of Chicago, Stanford, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, McGeorge, and Georgetown. McGeorge faculty members have created three national law school textbook series, have published, collectively, more than 100 books, and have published law school textbooks that have been adopted at more than 2/3 of the law schools in the United States.

The McGeorge School of Law Legal Studies Center was opened in 2011 and houses the Gordon D. Schaber Law Library. The state-of-the-art library serves the Sacramento legal community of students, law clerks and members of the Sacramento County bench and bar.

McGeorge School of Law enjoys a number of significant national rankings, including a top-10 ranking for trial advocacy, a top-10 ranking for government law, an A+ ranking for providing practical legal training, a top-20 ranking for International Law, and a top-35 ranking for part-time programs.

McGeorge School of Law has more than 13,000 alumni who practice in all 50 states and in 58 countries. More than 350 McGeorge alumni serve as judges, including two who are judges of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the second-highest court in the nation, and two who are state Supreme Court justices in Nebraska and Nevada. 

McGeorge’s unique Focused Decisions arm serves practicing lawyers all over the country providing litigation and jury consulting services, including mock trials and focus groups, trial presentations and technology support, and videography and editing services. 

Affiliation with University of the Pacific

McGeorge merged with University of the Pacific as their school of law in 1966 and began offering day classes the following year. The original evening program for California leaders continues today, and is consistently recognized as one of the best part-time law programs in the nation.

Areas of Academic Distinction

McGeorge School of Law offers award-winning programs in moot court and mock trial, having won dozens of competitions, has one of the strongest government law programs in the country, and enjoys a global reputation for its programs in international law and water law. Its master program in Transnational Business Practice counts 500 alumni around the globe, and the law school offers the only LL.M. in water law in the nation. McGeorge also offers the only Masters in Public Policy and Masters in Public Administration degrees in the nation that are housed in a law school. The school offers annual summer programs for J.D. students in Salzburg, Austria, and Antiqua, Guatemala, attracting law students from around the world.

McGeorge's location in Sacramento, California's capital city, is a benefit to students who want to study public law and governmental decision-making. The McGeorge Capital Center prepares students for careers in leadership and service through extensive externship and co-curricular opportunities.

McGeorge has a rigorous core curriculum and also offers students a cutting-edge legal writing program and outstanding legal clinics, including clinics providing legal services in the areas of immigration law, mediation, legislation and public policy, bankruptcy, elder and health law, criminal law, and small business law. Students and supervising attorneys handle hundreds of civil and immigration cases a year through all phases, including trial and appeal; author legislation actually enacted by the California legislature; mediate disputes between prisons and prison inmates; and draft legislation.

Accreditation and Memberships

McGeorge School of Law is fully accredited by the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar of the American Bar Association, and by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California. Degrees other than the JD (LLM, MSL, JSD, MPP and MPA) are offered with the formal acquiescence of the American Bar Association Accreditation Committee. McGeorge School of Law is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The school is approved for participation in veterans’ educational benefits programs.

The law school has been awarded a chapter of The Order of the Coif, a national law school honorary society founded for the purposes of encouraging legal scholarship and advancing the ethical standards of the legal profession.

Full-Time and Part-Time Divisions

McGeorge School of Law offers programs leading to the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree through a Full-Time Division and a Part-Time Division. The two divisions have the same curriculum, faculty, and methods of instruction; maintain the same scholastic standards and degree requirements; and adhere to the same objectives.

The law school operates on the semester system; two semesters of 14 weeks each plus examination periods. All year-long courses begin in the Fall Semester, which starts in mid-August. The Spring Semester begins in January. Summer Sessions are also offered beginning in May.

The course of study in the Full-Time Division leading to the J.D. degree requires three academic years (six semesters) of full-time study. A Full-Time Division student must enroll and earn credit for a minimum of 12 units each semester; the usual course load is 14 to 16 units per semester. Full-time students are expected to devote substantially all their working time to the study of law and are required to limit outside paid employment to not more than 20 hours per week during the academic year.

The Part-Time Division program offers a reduced course load which generally requires four academic years (eight semesters) plus two summers of part-time study to meet J.D. degree requirements. Course loads usually range from 8 to 10 units each semester, with a minimum of 8 units required per semester. Most Part-Time Division students enroll in Summer Session courses to reach the required 88 units,  but may, schedule permitting, take those units during the academic year instead. An accelerated Evening Division program enables a student to meet degree requirements in three and one-half years (seven academic semesters and Summer Sessions).

First-year required courses and second-year part-time required courses must be taken with the division in which a student is enrolled, unless an exception is approved by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. Electives and upper-division required courses may be taken after the first year during day or evening hours, as individual schedules permit. Students who wish to change their programs of study from one division to another should schedule an appointment with an academic counselor regarding approval and course of study. Appointments can be made by calling 916.739.7089.

Catalog Publication

As you review our catalog, we hope it will become a useful guide that will help you throughout your academic journey at McGeorge School of Law.

The catalog includes information about courses, campus resources and student services, program descriptions, program requirements and information about policies and procedures.  It provides you with the information you will need to be a successful student.

Because the catalog is compiled well in advance of the academic year it covers, changes in programs, policies, and the academic calendar may well occur.

All catalog information is subject to change without notice or obligation.