Tulane’s first-year program emphasizes developing core analytic and legal writing skills. Faculty teach required first-year courses in classes of approximately 75 students to encourage close participation in the give-and-take of Socratic discussion. Using the case method, students dissect judicial decisions, respond to professors’ and classmates’ questions and carefully consider competing arguments. First-year legal research and writing professors also teach small-section courses, in which students develop the writing strategies and skills to succeed in practice.
After the first year, students are free to design their own curriculum from an array of electives. Tulane offers specialized courses in conjunction with our certificate programs, which approximately one-third of students complete. Many students also earn academic credit through in-depth training opportunities outside the classroom. Some choose to hone their writing and editing techniques by joining one of our eight legal journals. Others compete in trial and appellate moot court teams to train in oral and written advocacy. Students acquire real-world experience in our law clinics and labs. Our clinics, Trial Advocacy course and boot camp skills-training program teach the students key skills to succeed in their future practice.
Areas of Study
Tulane is proud to offer six distinctive programs in which students may earn a certificate of concentration: Civil Law, International and Comparative Law, Maritime Law, Environmental Law and Sports Law.
Beyond the certificate programs, Tulane holds core courses in alternative dispute resolution; constitutional law; consumer law; corporate and commercial law; civil law and procedure; criminal law and procedure; energy law; legal ethics and professionalism; family law; health law; labor and employment law; property and real estate law; administrative and regulatory law; state and local government procedure; tax law; and advanced legal writing. Faculty in both specialty and traditional areas of study are nationally and internationally recognized for their contributions to their fields. Upper-level students have the freedom to choose from our broad range of course offerings and can select any combination of classes.
Civil Law Program
Tulane Law’s capacity to teach the world’s two preeminent legal systems is one of its greatest strengths. Students who intend to practice in common law jurisdictions will find the same extensive course offerings at Tulane as at other national law schools. However, Tulane offers students who plan to practice internationally or in civil law jurisdictions an assortment of civil law classes not offered at most law schools. Students may take either common or civil law courses, and many take a mix of both to expand their legal knowledge and practice potential.
Candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must spend six full-time semesters in academic residence and complete 88 semester hours at the Law School with at least a 2.0 or C average. All candidates must successfully complete (i) the first-year curriculum, (ii) the Legal Profession course, (iii) the upper-class writing requirement, (iv) six credits of experiential learning, and (v) the 50-hour pro bono requirement.
Tulane’s first-year curriculum emphasizes developing core analytic and legal writing skills.
All students are required to take the following courses:
|1LAW 1080||Constitutional Law 1||4|
|1LAW 1110||Contracts I||3|
|1LAW 1210||Criminal Law||3|
|1LAW 1310||Civil Procedure||4|
Tulane offers its students the unique opportunity to take courses in the civil law system: during the Spring semester of their first year, JD students elect to complete the first-year curriculum by taking civil law courses (Civil Law Property and Obligations I) or common law courses (Common Law Property and Contracts II). All students have the option to take foundational and advanced courses in both systems as electives.
|1LAW 1160||Contracts II||3|
|1LAW 1340||Civil Law Property||4|
|1LAW 1360||Common Law Property||4|
|1LAW 1410||Legal Research & Writing||0-4|
|1LAW 1420||Becoming Lawyers||0|
|1LAW 1440||Obligations I||3|
Legal Research & Writing
The first-year legal research and writing program is designed to teach the fundamentals of legal writing and to acquaint the student with various research techniques utilizing the resources of the law library and computerized legal databases. Over the course of two semesters, students will learn the techniques of legal problem-solving, and learn to research and draft legal memoranda and briefs through a series of progressively more complex writing assignments. The course culminates with the drafting of an appellate brief and an oral argument before an appellate moot court.
After their first year, J.D. students are free to design their own curriculum from an array of electives, or to concentrate their studies in an area of curricular strength advanced courses in conjunction with our certificate programs. Optional summer programs and externship opportunities are offered in New Orleans and in a variety of locations throughout the world.
Upper-Level Writing Requirement
JD students must successfully complete one rigorous writing project after their first year of law school. The upper class writing requirement may be satisfied through an approved seminar or course, a directed research project supervised by a faculty member, or production under faculty supervision of a publishable case note or comment in any of our student-edited journals.
J.D. candidates must successfully complete courses providing a minimum of six experiential learning credits. Experiential credits may be earned through participation in our traditional live-client clinics, as well as through simulation courses and externship field placements.
Journals and Co-curricular Activities
Some students choose to hone their writing and editing abilities by joining one of our law journals. Others compete in trial and appellate teams in our Moot Court Program to train in oral and written advocacy.
Pro Bono Service
In addition to the academic requirements set forth above, each JD candidate must complete a total of 50 hours of approved uncompensated, law-related pro bono service.