The curriculum of Thomas Goode Jones School of Law equips students for their roles in the institutions of justice. We provide our students with a foundation of legal knowledge and skills upon which they can build lives of service within the legal profession. In their first year, students engage with substantive law in subjects such as contracts, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, and property, and they study the procedural rules governing litigation. They learn the basics of legal research, sharpen their written and verbal communication skills, and learn to write legal documents. In addition, our first-year students wrestle with foundational questions about the meaning and sources of law, the obligations imposed by law, and what it means to be a member of the legal profession.
In the second and third years, students continue their studies in substantive law, but they also begin to put their new knowledge into practice. For example, they complete a scholarly research and writing project on a legal topic they select. They also participate in a course designed to simulate real-world legal practice, and they gain additional practical experience by assisting clients in one of the law school’s three legal clinics or by working under the supervision of practicing attorneys in a field placement. During this time, they round out their legal education with elective courses that provide opportunities for deeper learning in subjects of particular interest to them. All of these experiences are designed to produce graduates who are ready for the bar exam and for the practice of law.
Rigorous Writing Requirement
The Rigorous Writing Requirement involves substantial scholarly research and writing. It may be satisfied by writing a paper in connection with a seminar (or other upper-level course), by writing an “argument” portion of a brief for an interscholastic moot court competition meeting the Requirement’s standards, or by writing a directed research paper under the supervision of a full-time faculty member.
Professional Development Requirement
The Professional Development Requirement has two components: an Advanced Practicum Requirement and an Experiential Learning Requirement. Advanced Practicum courses simulate law practice experiences, and they include Advanced Legal Research; Appellate Advocacy; Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation; Contract Drafting; Pretrial Practice; Trial Advocacy or Trial Advocacy for Competition; and various advocacy competition teams. Experiential Learning courses offer hands-on legal experience, and they include the law school’s clinics—the Mediation Clinic, the Elder Law Clinic, and the Family Violence Clinic—and field placements working with practicing attorneys.