Santa Clara University School of Law

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Santa Clara University
School of Law
Santa Clara Law logo.png
MottoLawyers Who Lead
Parent schoolSanta Clara University
School typePrivate
Parent endowment$876 million
DeanMichael J. Kaufman
LocationSanta Clara, California, US
USNWR ranking126th (2021)[2]
Bar pass rate64% (July 2019 1st time takers)[3]
ABA profileSanta Clara University School of Law

The Santa Clara University School of Law (Santa Clara Law) is the law school of Santa Clara University, a Jesuit university in Santa Clara, California, United States, in the Silicon Valley region. The School of Law was founded in 1911.[4] The Jesuit affiliation of the university is manifested in a concern with ethics, social justice, and community service.

Santa Clara Law offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.) law degree. It also offers several double degree programs, including J.D./Master of Business Administration (J.D./M.B.A.) and J.D./Master of Science in Information Systems (MSIS) offered in conjunction with Santa Clara University's Leavey School of Business, ranked 10th in graduate programs on the U.S. News & World Report graduate schools rankings.[5] In addition, the school offers Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees in intellectual property law, in U.S. law for foreign lawyers, and in international and comparative law. Santa Clara Law also features specialized curricular programs in high tech and intellectual property law, international law, public interest, social justice law and a Privacy Law Certificate.[6] The school offers more summer study abroad programs than any other law school in the United States, with 13 different programs in 17 countries.[7]


Santa Clara University School of Law was founded in 1911. The school is part of Santa Clara University (founded 1851), the oldest operating institution of higher learning in California and the oldest Catholic university in the American West. It was approved by the American Bar Association in 1937.[8] It joined the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) in 1940.[9]

Prior to the requirement that all Californian law graduates must take the state bar exam, Santa Clara Law was one of the five schools whose graduates were exempt from the examination, along with Boalt Hall, Hastings, Stanford, and USC.[10]


According to the required disclosures under ABA Section 509, 50.3% of the Class of 2013 was employed in full-time, long-term positions requiring bar admission.[11]

Law school rankings of Santa Clara Law include:

  • Number 4 for Intellectual Property Law among law schools in the United States[12]
  • Number 12 for diversity among law schools (tied for first in California with the USC Law School)[13]
  • Number 126 overall among law schools in the United States[2]
  • Princeton Review "Best 170 Law Schools" (2008) – number 22 overall among law schools for average starting salary[14]
  • The Census Group Composition ranking, which scores law schools based on selectivity, salary, placement and yield, ranks Santa Clara Law at Number 64.[15]
  • Hylton Rankings, which scores programs based on their U.S. News & World Report peer assessment ratings provided by law professors and by the mean LSAT scores of each law school, ranked Santa Clara Law at Number 78 overall.[16]
  • Listed Number 13 overall for mid-career median salary (at $188,000 a year) in Forbes' list of Best Law Schools for Getting Rich[17]
  • Graded as "B-" in the January 2011 "Best Public Interest Law Schools" listing by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students[18]
  • Graded as "A" in the March 2011 "Diversity Honor Roll" by The National Jurist: The Magazine for Law Students[19]
  • Its journal, Santa Clara Computer and High Technology Law Journal, is ranked #6 nationally for intellectual property.[20]
Charney Hall

Bar passage rates[edit]

Based on a 2001–2007 six-year average, 73% of Santa Clara University Law graduates passed the California State Bar.[21]

Post-graduation employment[edit]

According to Santa Clara's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 42.2% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[22] Santa Clara Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 34.5%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[23]

Law School Transparency reports a 41.3% employment score for the Class of 2011.[24]

According to the American Bar Association's "Official Guide to ABA-Approved Law Schools," 94.5 percent of Santa Clara students were employed nine months after graduation, with 77 percent of graduates employed in the private sector and 21 percent employed in the public sector.[25]

According to the Princeton Review, the average starting salary for Santa Clara Law graduates is $90,000.[26] According to Forbes magazine, mid-career median salary is currently $188,000 a year.[17]

According to a study done by online salary-information company PayScale, graduates of Santa Clara Law have the third highest midcareer median salary among all graduate programs in the United States.[27] The report found that Santa Clara Law graduates typically make $76,900 the first year following graduation and attain a midcareer median salary of $197,700.[28]

ABA employment summary for 2013 graduates[29]
Employment status Percentage
Employed - bar passage required
Employed - J.D. advantage
Employed - professional position
Employed - non-professional position
Employed - undeterminable
Pursuing graduate degree full time
Unemployed - start date deferred
Unemployed - not seeking
Unemployed - seeking
Employment status unknown
Total of 322 graduates


Atrium inside Charney Hall

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Santa Clara for the 2021-2022 academic year was $89,444 for first-year law students.[30] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $262,472.[31]


For the 2021 entering class, the top-five feeder schools into Santa Clara Law, were UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Diego, San Jose State University, and Santa Clara University.[32]

The top-five feeder states in order are California, Texas, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona.[33] For the 2021 entering class, 2,336 people applied to the School of Law and 205 full-time and 21 part-time students matriculated.

For the 2021 entering class, the LSAT scores for entering full-time students were 160 for the 75th percentile and 155 for the 25th percentile. The undergraduate GPA for full-time entering students was 3.62 for the 75th percentile and 3.21 for the 25th percentile.[34]

Santa Clara Law has 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.[35]


Over the last century, the Santa Clara University campus, located along El Camino Real in Santa Clara, has expanded to more than 104 acres (0.4 km2; 0.2 sq mi). Amid its many Mission Style academic and residential buildings are the historic mission gardens, rose garden, and palm trees. The campus benefits from the area's mediterranean climate, with more than 300 days of sun a year.

Until 1939, the law school inhabited present-day St. Joseph's Hall at the center of campus. Under the tenure of Dean Edwin Owens, Bergin Hall was constructed and became home to the school in 1939. The new building was built using monies collected through Santa Clara football's successful appearances in the Sugar Bowl and named after Thomas Bergin, Santa Clara's first graduate, a California legal pioneer, and an early donor to the School of Law.

The Edwin Heafey Law Library was constructed in 1963, and expanded in 1973 to include more space for library materials. Heafey was renovated and expanded again in 1988. The collection contains over 400,000 volumes in print and digital formats.[36] Additionally, the library manages an institutional repository which currently contains over 4,000 digital items including a collection of papers related to the Congressional hearings regarding the Watergate Scandal donated by Congressman Don Edwards.[37] Other digital collections include documents relating to litigation over the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (also known as Obamacare) and the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.[38]

Charney Hall - Law Library Reference Desk

Also in 1973, Bannan Hall was built, including space for the Law School on the ground floor. In 2008 Dean Donald Polden announced the law school would have exclusive use of Bannan Hall, and the building was renovated and used exclusively by the law school shortly thereafter.

In 2018, the Law school moved into Charney Hall, a new $60-million building built specifically to house the Law school.[39] The 96,000-square-foot building is a vast improvement over the school's previous facilities, which were spread over very different buildings, one of which was built a century ago. In contrast, Charney Hall calls to mind the nearby Silicon Valley tech campuses thanks to copious amounts of open space, natural light, cutting-edge classroom technology, plenty of student comforts, and flexible spaces that foster collaboration and innovative teaching.[40]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Law School deans[edit]

Timeline of historical events, including previous deans.[53]

  • James Campbell – 1911 to 1918
    Dean Lisa Kloppenberg with law students
  • Lawrence E. O'Keefe, SJ – 1919 to 1920
  • Clarence Coolidge – 1920 to 1933
  • Edwin J. Owens – 1933 to 1953
  • Byron J. Snow – 1953 to 1955
  • Warren P. McKenney – 1955 to 1959
  • Leo Huard – 1959 to 1969
  • George Strong (acting) – 1970
  • George Alexander – 1970 to 1985
  • Richard Rykoff (acting) – 1985 to 1986
  • Gerald Uelmen – 1986 to 1994
  • Mack Player – 1994 to 2003[54]
  • Donald J. Polden – 2003 to 2013[55]
  • Lisa Kloppenberg – 2013 to 2021[56]
  • Michael Kaufman – 2021 to present[57]


  1. ^ "Santa Clara University Consumer Information" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-11-01.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. News & World Report, "Best Law Schools: Santa Clara University"".
  3. ^ Rubino, Kathryn. "California Bar Exam Results: A Breakdown By Law School (July 2019)". Above the Law. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
  4. ^ "Santa Clara Law historial timeline".
  5. ^ "Business – Best Graduate Schools – Education – US News and World Report". Archived from the original on 2009-03-17.
  6. ^ "Privacy Law Certificate - Santa Clara Law".
  7. ^ "Santa Clara Law Center for Global Law & Policy".
  8. ^ "ABA-Approved Law Schools by Year". ABA website. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "Member Schools - Association of American Law Schools".
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Santa Clara University School of Law - Class of 2013 Summary Report", Retrieved on 15 October 2014.
  12. ^ "U.S. News and World Report - Intellectual Property Law".
  13. ^ "Law – Best Graduate Schools – Education – US News and World Report – Most Diverse". Archived from the original on 2009-03-09.
  14. ^ "National Jurist - January 2008".
  15. ^ "University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign College and University Rankings Site".
  16. ^ Hylton Rankings Microsoft Word – HYLTON RANKINGS 2007 _2_.doc
  17. ^ a b Badenhausen, Kurt. "In Pictures: The Best Law Schools For Getting Rich".
  18. ^ Weyenberg, Michelle (January 2011). "Best Law Schools for Public Interest". The National Jurist. San Diego, California: Cypress Magazines. 20 (4): 24–28.
  19. ^ Larsen, Rebecca (March 2011). "Most Diverse Law Schools (Diversity Honor Roll)". The National Jurist. San Diego, California: Cypress Magazines. 20 (6): 30–37.
  20. ^ Washington and Lee School of Law - Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking, 2005-2012 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2018-05-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Internet Legal Research Group: Santa Clara University, 2009 profile". Retrieved April 13, 2011.
  22. ^ "ABA Disclosures".
  23. ^ "Santa Clara Profile".
  24. ^ "Law School Transparency". Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  25. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-06-17.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ "Santa Clara University - School of Law - The Princeton Review Law School Rankings & Reviews".
  27. ^ Belkin, Douglas (22 October 2014). "Harvard Law Graduates Top Salary Survey" – via
  28. ^ "Top 10 Law Schools by Salary Potential". 23 October 2014.
  29. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates".
  30. ^ "Costs".
  31. ^ "Santa Clara University Profile".
  32. ^ "2020 Class Profile". Santa Clara Law. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  33. ^ "2021 Class Profile". Santa Clara Law. Retrieved 2021-09-10.
  34. ^ "2021 Class Profile". Santa Clara Law. Retrieved 2021-09-10.
  35. ^ Smith, Anesha. "member chart".
  36. ^ "About the Library - Santa Clara Law".
  37. ^ "This series is a collection of papers produced during the Watergate Hearings that were donated by Congressman Don Edwards to the Heafey Law Library. - Law Library Collections - Santa Clara Law".
  38. ^ "Browse by Collection or Center - Santa Clara University School of Law Digital Commons".
  39. ^ "Charney Hall | Santa Clara Law". Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  40. ^ "Santa Clara Law\'s New Campus Channels Silicon Valley | The Recorder". The Recorder. Retrieved 2018-04-01.
  41. ^ Santa Clara Law Prof. Colleen Chien Joins White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, "Santa Clara Law", Sep. 13, 2013
  42. ^ Bowmaker, Simon W. (2010). The Heart of Teaching Economics: Lessons from Leading Minds. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 319. ISBN 9781848447905.
  43. ^ "Technology & Marketing Law Blog". Technology & Marketing Law Blog.
  44. ^ University, Santa Clara. "Press Releases - News & Events - Santa Clara University".
  45. ^ "Alphonso Michael (Mike) Espy". Black Americans in Congress. United States House of Representatives. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  46. ^ a b c d "Lawyers Who Lead alphabetical list". Santa Clara University. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  47. ^ "Representative Beth Kerttula". Alaska State Legislature: House of Representatives. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  48. ^ "LAGOMARSINO, Robert John - Biographical Information".
  49. ^ "Judicial Profile: Edward Panelli - The Recorder".
  50. ^ Hennessey, Virginia (July 30, 2013). "Jimmy Panetta following in father Leon's footsteps". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  51. ^ "Senator Curren D. Price, Jr". California State Senate. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  52. ^ "Former Mayor of San Jose, Bronco Football Player Passes Away". 11 February 2003.
  53. ^ "Santa Clara Law historical timeline - Santa Clara Law".
  54. ^ "Mack A. Player | Santa Clara Law". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  55. ^ "Donald J. Polden | Santa Clara Law". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  56. ^ "Lisa A. Kloppenberg | Santa Clara Law". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  57. ^ "Deans & Administrators". Santa Clara Law. Retrieved 2021-09-09.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°20′55″N 121°56′21″W / 37.34861°N 121.93917°W / 37.34861; -121.93917