The First Year: Foundational Knowledge and Skills

Students in classThe first year combines traditional classroom course work with practical training in basic lawyering skills. Students study the basic substantive areas of torts, contracts, criminal law, property, and civil procedure. These courses, combined with the required substantive law courses in the second year, provide the basic foundation of principles, doctrines, concepts, cases, and rules needed for a successful career in law.

In addition, first-year students are required to take Lawyering Process I and II, a series of intensive practice skills courses that focus on legal reasoning, including case analysis, case synthesis, and statutory analysis; legal research and problem solving; and the fundamentals of a basic tool in the practice of law: legal writing. In the Lawyering Process courses, students learn how to help link knowledge of the law with skills needed to apply that knowledge effectively. They also learn about the legal system and the role of lawyers within it.

For new students, the required full-time curriculum during the first year is:

Fall Semester

  • 1L Lab (P/F)
  • Civil Procedure I (2)
  • Contracts I (3)
  • Criminal Law (3)
  • Lawyering Process I (3)
  • Torts (4)

Spring Semester

  • Civil Procedure II (4)
  • Contracts II (3)
  • Lawyering Process II (3)
  • Property (4)

The Second and Third Years: Clinical Practice and Specialization

In the second and third years of the Juris Doctor program, each student has multiple opportunities to combine classroom learning in more advanced and specialized areas with the actual practice of law under the supervision of faculty members. Students have the freedom to select various combinations of elective courses, to choose two different clinical experiences, and to elect to participate in an externship.

Required courses in the second and third years are:

  • Business Organizations
  • Clinic I
  • Clinic II
  • Constitutional Law I
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Legal & Bar Success Foundations
  • Moot Court
  • Professional Responsibility

The School of Law also draws upon the legal expertise of its full-time faculty members and other experienced attorneys in the Washington area to offer a variety of electives such as:

  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Criminal Procedure
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Entertainment Law
  • Family Law
  • Federal Courts
  • Gender & Sexual Orientation Law
  • Immigration Law
  • International Human Rights
  • Mass Communications Law
  • Negotiations
  • Race and the Law
  • Remedies
  • Taxation I
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Uniform Commercial Code I
  • Wills and Estates

In the Spring semester of the second year, most full-time students enroll in Clinic I, a seven-credit course. In the Fall semester of the third year, students enroll in Clinic II, a second seven-credit course. As students advance through the Clinical Program, they acquire and refine skills in trial advocacy, client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, legal research and drafting. More broadly and more fundamentally, they develop their capacities as lawyers in the major competency areas of oral communication, written communication, legal analysis, problem solving, practice management, and professional responsibility.

As noted above, each full-time student must complete at least two seven-credit clinics from the following clinical offerings:

Descriptions of all the courses mentioned above are available in the Course Catalog.