Our academic program is designed to take students on a structured, challenging, and intellectually interesting journey from complete novices to J.D. graduates who are prepared for practice. In three years of study, our students acquire a firm grounding in legal concepts, a mastery of subjects necessary for the bar exam, and an introduction to a number of legal specialties. Along the way, they also acquire essential research, writing, and legal practice skills.
The first year consists of required courses in the recognized building blocks for the study of law: Contracts, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Constitutional Law. In addition to addressing the substance and procedure of the law in these bedrock subjects, the courses provide a foundation in basic legal methods and tools. A year-long course in Legal Research and Writing introduces skills essential for any lawyer and rounds out the first year curriculum.
Full-Time Program: Students attending full-time take 15 credits in the fall and spring semesters in order to complete all required first-year courses. Sample class schedule
Part-Time Evening Program: Students in the part-time evening program typically take 9-10 credits a semester and complete the first-year required courses in two years. Sample class schedule
Part-Time Day Program: The part-time day program is flexible. Students typically take 9-10 credits per semester and complete their first-year required courses in two years. Sample class schedule
Second and Third Years
After the first year of required courses, our students take charge of their education. The second and third years consist of a combination of required courses, a set of recommended courses, and a wide range of electives and clinics.
Required courses: In addition to the first-year required courses, our students must successfully complete Evidence and Legal Ethics. They must also satisfy a requirement of two upper-level research and writing projects under faculty supervision. These projects allow students to enhance the legal research and writing skills learned in the first year and to learn more about a field of interest. Each student must also complete two credits in a designated professional skills course.
Recommended courses: Although not required for graduation, a number of upper-level courses cover subjects that tend to be tested on the Ohio and other state bar examinations and are recommended for the second and third years. These include: Business Associations, Trusts and Estates, Criminal Procedure – Investigations, Commercial Paper, and Secured Transactions. In addition, we recommend Federal Income Tax and Administrative Law as advisable preparation for law practice.
Elective courses: Elective courses include a wide variety of more specialized courses. Some, such as Environmental Law and International Law, provide the foundation for certificates in those fields (discussed below). Our students may also choose to participate in one or more of our legal clinics, externships, law journals, student organizations, moot court teams, or public interest fellowships – and most do.
Flex courses: These one- and two- credit courses meet outside of regular course hours, often on weekends or during semester breaks. Experienced practitioners and academics from around the country and the world visit and share their expertise in specialized areas of law. Recent flex courses have included Art Law, Intellectual Property Litigation, Electronic Discovery, and Terrorism and International Law, among many others. Flex courses also serve to help working students with their course scheduling.
Certificates of Concentration
The College offers five Certificates of Concentration that permit a student to focus in a particular field of interest. They are:
Each Certificate has its own set of required and elective courses, described at the links above. Although not required for graduation, the Certificates of Concentration are excellent preparation for the practice of law in these specialty areas.
Joint Degree Programs
The College of Law, in conjunction with other colleges and departments in the University, offers four joint degree programs, leading to a juris doctor degree and a master’s degree. They are:
In general, after completing the standard first-year curriculum in the College of Law, the student will apply to and enroll in one of the master’s programs. The College of Law will accept up to 12 credit hours from the master’s program toward the J.D., and the master’s program will accept up to 12 credit hours from the College of Law toward the master’s degree. The combination results in a significant savings of time and money for the student pursuing two degrees.
In addition, the Juris Doctor (J.D.)/Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) joint degree program offers graduate students the opportunity to earn two graduate degrees evidencing the completion of the curriculum for the J.D. degree from the College of Law and the M.D. degree from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, in an accelerated period of study, generally six years.