King Hall
400 Mrak Hall Drive
(530) 752-0243

The UC Davis School of Law teaches law. From its founding class in 1966 whose students were actively involved in legal, political and social debates of the late sixties to its current student body, King Hall has been actively focused on public interest issues and is today recognized for that heritage. King Hall has moved to the forefront of legal education in the United States, establishing accreditation from the American Bar Association, membership in the Association of American Law Schools, and recognition from the Order of Coif, the national honor society for lawyers. It is one of the highest ranked small public law schools in the United States and is regarded as the best law school established in the last fifty years, consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the first-tier of law schools since the inception of the national rankings. The school's diverse student body sits among the top ten small public law schools in the US when it comes to diversity.

Generally, California law schools are amongst the finest in the nation and towards the top of this list are the four renowned University of California law schools: the School of Law at UC Davis (King Hall), Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley, UCLA School of Law, Hastings College of Law, and UC Irvine School of Law, which opened in fall of 2009. Of the five UC law schools, UC Davis is generally regarded as the third most prestigious school, closely following Berkeley and UCLA.

Despite the notoriously difficult California State Bar Exam, King Hall boasts one of the nation's highest bar average passage rates over the last twenty years. In fact, it took Governor Jerry Brown (Yale) two attempts while former Governor Pete Wilson (Boalt) had to try four times! Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa (People's College of Law, unaccredited) of Los Angeles never managed to pass after failing four times. Areas in which King Hall excels include International Law, Environmental Law, Business Law, Intellectual Property Law, Human Rights & Social Justice Law, Public Interest Law and Immigration & Civil Rights Law.

King Hall FAQ

The King Hall FAQ was last updated in 1996 and is an interesting time capsule of what life at King Hall was like during the mid 1990's. Its author also published the then-useful (but now-amusing) UCDavis Usenet FAQ at the same time.

US News Rankings

These rankings are extremely controversial. For one, their methodologies aren't very strict, subject to all sorts of variations, and essentially boil down to a non-statistically-valid measure of reputation rather than quality or rigor of education. However, for better or for worse, they influence perceptions of law schools among potential applicants and potential employers. Over the last 15 years, Davis has performed fairly comparably to Hastings.

[Legend: Black Diamond= UC Davis School of Law | Grey Square= UC Hastings College of Law]

Also note that the other "Top 100" (according to US News) California Law Schools are typically ranked as follows: Stanford ~2, Berkeley ~9, UCLA & USC ~16, Loyola ~60, U. San Diego ~65, Pepperdine ~77, Santa Clara ~77, McGeorge ~90. The chart above reflects the fact that the numerically ranked schools only included the top 25 until 1994, and the top 50 until 2003, and has since ranked 100 schools. UC Davis jumped to #35 (from #44 in 2008) in the most recent rankings, published April 23, 2009. In 2010, it continued its dramatic upward trend, hitting number 28! It is the youngest law school to make the top 30. In a separate review performed by a University of Chicago law professor looking at law faculty scholarly influence, King Hall ranked in at 23rd in the nation. Continuing its upward surge, King Hall was ranked 23 in the nation in 2011 by US News.


Listed by order of first publication:



Students get a chance to have hands-on experience with the law by working with clinic staff on cases.

  • Prison Law Clinic
  • Immigration Law Clinic
  • Family Protection and Legal Assistance Clinic
  • Civil Rights Clinic

Student Groups


See Law Students.

Annual Events

Notable Alumni

  • Ray Allen '02 (General Counsel, Burning Man)
  • Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84 (Third District Court of Appeals; nominated in July 2010 by Arnold Schwarzenegger as Chief Justice, California Supreme Court)
  • Dario Frommer (State Assemblyman)
  • Frederick L. Jones '96 (Chief Spokesman, White House National Security Council)
  • Robert Mendez '80 (Senior Vice President, Diversity, Disney-ABC Television Group)
  • George Miller (U.S. House of Representatives)
  • Pedro Nava (State Assemblyman)
  • Darrell Steinberg (State Senator)
  • Sen. Art Torres (Chairman, California Democratic Party)
  • Honorable Judge Dave Rosenberg (Presiding Judge, Yolo Superior Court, former Mayor of Davis, etc, etc)
  • Sarah Granda '09 (paralyzed, she sued and won to get bar exam accommodations)
  • Phil Satre (retired CEO, Harrah's Entertainment)
  • Daniel Watts 2011 (ran for Davis City Council in 2010, California governor in 2003)

Notable Faculty

  • Vikram D. Amar, Professor — Leading expert on Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure
  • Edward Imwinkelried, Professor — Leading expert on Evidence and Scientific Evidence
  • Kevin Johnson, Professor and Dean — Leading expert on immigration law and civil rights, senior immigration advisor to Barack Obama during 2008 Campaign
  • Miguel A. Méndez, Professor — Leading expert on Evidence
  • Cruz Reynoso, Professor Emeritus — Former Supreme Court Justice of the California Supreme Court, 2000 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Bar Exam Rate Discussion

Despite King Hall's very high overall bar pass rate, there was a dip in passage rates at one point. In 2009 it was back to 90%. Still, it is usually among the top-performing schools in the country. In the 1980s and early 1990s, the bar pass rate was consistently above the 90% mark, earning UC Davis a commendation of the California State Senate (which is framed in one of the hallways at King Hall). However, for a while around 2005 the pass rate slipped to the mid 70s, something that one alumnus believes is rooted in the lowering of academic standards which culminated in the altering of the "forced curve." The old curve is discussed in the antiquated "King Hall FAQ," and because a passing examination answer was supposedly correlated closely to a passing bar examination answer, there could be some relationship. [The examination vs. bar examination difficulty correlation likely disappeared prior to the forced curved being altered, but this change, something perhaps emblematic of this shift in grade policy.] —JaimeRaba

  • The bar passage rate for King Hall graduates taking the July 2005 exam (as first time takers) was 76%. —SamanthaGrant
  • For July 2009, we had 89% for the California bar exam (first time takers), 90% overall (meaning other states). Really fantastic! — TomGarberson

Directors of Clinics

Millard A. Murphy, photo by Elise Kane