McGeorge School of Law ranked as one of the nation’s most diverse law schools

14 graduates wearing regalia pose for a photo in front of a white backdrop

Class of 2022 graduates participates in McGeorge School of Law's Unity Graduation on May 26, 2022. 

Front row: Mark Bennett, Melissa Hurtado Valdez, and Shisha Yang; second row: Kajal Patel, Sofia Schersei, Marisa Gonzalez, Julienne Correa, and Candra Jackson; third row: Milad Ryan Sefidpour, Isaiah Crockran, Michael Garcia, and Michael Crisostomo; and back row: Jordan Niemoeller and Justin Lee.

School also earns top marks in public policy, government law, and trial advocacy

The University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law was recognized as one of the nation’s most diverse law schools in the Winter 2023 issue of preLaw Magazine. McGeorge also earned accolades in public policy, government law, and trial advocacy.

“McGeorge School of Law is proud to be honored for its strengths in diversity, trial advocacy, government law, and public policy,” Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz said. “These rankings affirm our commitment to opening doors to the legal profession for students from marginalized populations and ensuring all of our students are practice-ready on day one of their legal careers.”

McGeorge School of Law was ranked as the No. 14 most diverse law school in the country. The ranking reflects the school’s long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB).

The magazine’s diversity ranking measures the percentage of diverse students and faculty from five racial groups in comparison with the national average. The five racial groups included in the ranking’s methodology are Asian and Pacific Islander, Black, Caucasian, Latinx, and Native American. 

This fall, a majority of the law school’s incoming class of students identified as racially or ethnically diverse for the first time in the history of the law school. 51 percent of the school’s first-year law students are from marginalized populations. Additionally, McGeorge’s Class of 2025 is comprised of 54 percent women, 38 percent first-generation college students, and 83 percent first-generation law students.

“One of the greatest strengths of McGeorge School of Law is that we recognize and celebrate diversity and its indelible impact on our campus community. We not only recruit and enroll talented, diverse students at our institution, but also strive to create an inclusive and welcoming environment where students feel seen, valued, and appreciated because they are,” said Valerie James, Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions, Financial Aid, & Diversity Initiatives. 

In the past two years, the law school has hired eight full-time faculty. Of the new faculty hired, six are women, four are People of Color, one is of Middle Eastern descent, and two are members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The McGeorge alumni community spans all 50 states and 64 countries, and represents a broad range of legal careers, including both traditional and non-traditional paths.

“Since being at McGeorge, I’ve been convinced every day that I could not have made a better choice. McGeorge challenges me in every way, but in ways that I know will mold me into the best attorney that I can be,” said second-year law student Francia Orduño. “McGeorge has been, is, and will continue to empower a generation of attorneys that will go on to transform the legal field.”

Five people walk and chat with each other in front of the CA Capitol Building

(From left to right) Omar Figueroa, '23; Director of the Capital Center for Law & Policy Erin O’Neal; Mo Roeckl-Navazio, ’22; Mamta Singh, ’22; and Deanna Kadkhodayan, ’23, chat with one another in front of the California Capitol Building in Sacramento. 

McGeorge earned an A ranking in public policy for the fourth consecutive year and an #4 ranking for Government Law. The public policy ranking recognizes McGeorge as one of the top 10 schools in the nation for public policy, and McGeorge is one of only two California-based law schools, along with UC Berkeley, to receive the honor this year. McGeorge’s Government Law ranking makes the law school the highest-ranked program in California.

McGeorge provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to gain knowledge, skills, and experience to prepare them for careers at the intersection of Government Law and Policy. The 13-acre campus is located three miles from the California State Capitol Building and is home to the Capital Center for Law & Policy.

“McGeorge is the Capitol’s law school. Our proximity to the Capitol building and our unmatched network of alumni working in the Capital arena provide students with access to government and policymaking on a level possible only at McGeorge,” said Erin O’Neal, director of the Capital Center for Law & Policy and Capital Lawyering Concentration.

The school’s Capital Lawyering Certificate of Concentration trains students to be effective policy advocates in and around local, state, and federal governments. Additionally, McGeorge offers a Master’s of Public Policy (MPP) degree, a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) degree, a fully online Master of Science in Law (MSL) degree in Government Law & Policy, and an LLM degree in U.S. Law & Policy.

The school’s one-of-a-kind Legislative and Public Policy Clinic gives students the opportunity to craft and pass public policy while completing their degree. Since the Clinic’s inception in 2015, students have drafted more than 30 bills that have been introduced by members of the California Legislature, with more than 17 enacted into law.

Two students look at a book together in the courtroom

McGeorge School of Law students Hannah Cho, ’23, (left) and Jasmine Smith, ‘23, analyze evidence from a case together in the law school's courtroom. Photo by Ashley Golledge.

Additionally, McGeorge earned an A ranking in trial advocacy and is one of only four California-based law schools to receive the honor this year. The recognition marks McGeorge’s sixth consecutive appearance on the annual list and places McGeorge among the top 22 law schools in the nation for trial advocacy.

“McGeorge’s successes this year once again demonstrates the extraordinary quality of the law school’s faculty, program, and coaches,” said Reza Rezvani, associate director of trial advocacy and assistant professor of law.

Students involved in McGeorge School of Law’s trial advocacy program compete throughout the fall and spring semesters at some of the nation’s best intercollegiate mock trial competitions. The program’s leadership and student success have earned the law school a national reputation for the quality of its trial advocacy program.

During the 2022-23 academic year, trial advocacy students excelled in competitions.

  • Second-year law student Mandi Weburg and third-year law students Alec Watson, Holly Pounders, and Darrin Baluyot won Region Three of the All-Star Bracket on Oct. 9, 2022, and competed at the national finals in November 2022. Weburg was one of only two advocates out of 360 students competing in the country to receive an award for Best Advocate in all four rounds of the competition.
  • Second-year law students Razia Bath, Kris Chaney, Kai Ellsworth, and Karla Noyles won the Annual San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association Mock Trial Competition on Oct. 29, 2022.
  • Third-year law students Abby Williams and Mark Marsenovic won Region 14 of the Texas Young Lawyers Association National Trial Competition on Feb. 4, 2023. They will represent McGeorge School of Law at the National Trial Competition Finals in Texas in March 2023. Watson, Weberg, and Pounders were also regional finalists.

The news of McGeorge’s high rankings in trial advocacy and diversity comes on the heels of McGeorge School of Law receiving $30 million last year in support of the school’s trial advocacy center and for scholarships dedicated to first-generation students and Students of Color. McGeorge received a historic $25 million gift from Robert T. Eglet, ‘88, and Tracy A. Eglet in addition to $5 million in matching funds from the University of the Pacific’s Powell Initiative.

Learn more about DEIB at McGeorge, Capital Center for Law & Policy, and the Eglet Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution.

For more information about McGeorge School of Law, visit our website.

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