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Who May Access Zief Library

The University of San Francisco is a private, Jesuit institution, and the Dorraine Zief Law Library is a private research and reference library for the University of San Francisco community.

Beginning on June 1, 2014, we will be offering a paid Special Access Card to non-alumni licensed attorneys in good standing with any state Bar in the United States.  We will also offer a paid Special Access Card to non-alumni studying for the Bar who hold an ABA-accredited law school ID card.  Applications will be available in May 2014.

Licensed Attorney / $400 per year:
  Non-alumni licensed attorneys in good standing with any state Bar in the United States, (including active or inactive members of the California Bar) may purchase a Special Access Card. We will need your firm name (if applicable), your Bar Number, and a valid government ID.

Bar Study for Non-Alumni / $50 per exam:  Law graduates with an ABA-accredited law school ID card, the expected date of the Bar Exam, and a valid government ID may purchase a Special Access Card.  This card is valid for approximately two months, depending on date of purchase. 

This does not apply to current law students with a valid ABA-accredited law school ID card.

Please see Special Access Card for more information.


As a private institution, the Zief Library is not open to the general public, and it will restrict access to the facility when necessary.

The Zief Law Library's primary clientele — USF School of Law faculty, USF School of Law staff, and currently-enrolled USF School of Law students — have priority access to the collection and library services.

Persons not currently enrolled in or employed by the University of San Francisco (those who are not current USF students, faculty, or staff) will be admitted to the library only if they belong to one of the following groups:

  1.  Law school students from other ABA-accredited institutions may qualify for access, provided that they have a current law student ID card.  However, the law library reserves the right to change our policy regarding access for non-USF law students at any time in order to help ensure that USF law students have access to sufficient study space in the law library.   

  2. Law faculty and staff from other ABA-accredited institutions, provided that they have a current faculty or staff ID card;

  3. USF School of Law alumni (Law library staff may verify alumni status of any USF Law alumni who are not members of the California bar);

  4. Practicing California attorneys, provided that they have their current California Bar card;

  5. Persons needing to consult federal or state depository documents. 

Faculty and students from non-U.S. law schools must have some affiliation with the University of San Francisco School of Law or its faculty before approval will be granted by the Circulation Librarian to gain access to the law library.

Access for persons in Categories 1-5 above does not include circulation privileges; all materials must be used in the library. The Zief Law Library does not provide access to anyone who is not in the above categories (such as students from non-USF undergraduate or graduate programs, paralegal programs, or law schools not accredited by the ABA).

In order to gain access to Zief Law Library, individuals who are seeking federal or state depository documents must discuss their research needs with a reference librarian to ensure that the library has the materials that they are seeking. If a reference librarian is unavailable, individuals seeking depository documents must discuss their research needs with the Circulation Supervisor on duty.

All users of the Zief Law Library must show appropriate identification in order to enter the library. All visitors not currently affiliated with USF must register at the Circulation Desk in addition to showing the required form of ID and/or guest pass. This policy applies whenever the library is open.

USF students, faculty and staff must swipe their current USF ID. USF School of Law alumni must show a Bar card or a USF Law alumni card issued by the USF Law Alumni Relations office. Law students, faculty or staff members from other ABA-accredited law schools must show a current school or university ID. California attorneys must show a current California Bar card. Federal or state depository document users must sign in at the Circulation Desk and, as discussed above, such users must discuss their research needs with the appropriate library staff.

This Access ID Policy is intended to help ensure the safety of our patrons and the security of the building and its contents. Zief Law Library reserves the right to bar or remove any individual who causes disruption or poses a threat to library staff, other patrons, or the security of the library's collections.

Evening Access: Notice to Library Users Who Do Not Possess a USF ID Card

The Zief Law Library entrance doors lock at 5 p.m. Individuals who have a USF ID card may enter the library after 5 p.m. by swiping the ID card through the release mechanism just outside the door.

Individuals who do not have a USF ID card should buzz the Circulation Desk, using the buzzer to the right of the entrance doors. These individuals will still need to satisfy the above access requirements in order to use the law library.

Exam Period Access

During exam periods, access to the Zief Law Library is further restricted to make more room available for USF law students. During exam periods, only the following groups may use the law library:

  • Current USF faculty and staff;
  • Current USF law students;
  • USF School of Law alumni;
  • USF graduate and undergraduate students, if they are doing legal research;
  • Members of the Bar;
  • Persons needing to consult federal or state depository documents.