Based upon the standards as outlined by the American Bar Association, the requirements for the Juris Doctor degree at the UConn Law are designed to provide students with the curricular and practice-based knowledge relevant in today’s legal community. All requirements for the degree are subject to change at any time by the faculty. No increase in the number of semester hours required are made effective for students enrolled at the time of such change who remain in continuous attendance. Students who are not in continuous attendance or who transfer from another law school are subject to the requirements in effect at the time of their re-entrance or admission.
All candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must successfully complete a minimum of eighty-six (86) credits, 65 of which must be in regularly scheduled class sessions. Three year day division students must complete all credits in a minimum of six semesters in residence, or the equivalent thereof, at this or another accredited law school. Evening division students must complete all credits in a minimum of eight semesters, or the equivalent, at this or another accredited law school. Credit may not be given for work taken before a student's regular matriculation in the first degree in law program. No course of study may be less than 24 months. Full-time students must complete all coursework for the Juris Doctor degree within five years; part-time students must complete coursework within six years. As a general rule, all students are required to be enrolled in academic credits in this law school during their last year of study.
Grade Point Average Requirements
All candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must have a cumulative grade point of 2.30 for all work undertaken at the Law School. In computing the average, no consideration is given to grades received for work completed at other schools, including other law schools, even though transfer credit has been given for such work. To ensure that students are meeting the requirement, academic support and counseling is offered to students throughout their legal studies.
To provide students with both the foundational knowledge necessary to excel, yet choose a curricular path that best meets their individual needs, specific course requirements have been carefully chosen, yet are kept purposefully minimal. A group of courses, known commonly as the 1L curriculum, includes Contracts, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Property, Torts and Legal Practice. The Legal Practice curriculum covers research, writing, interviewing, counseling and oral advocacy. Taken together, these courses form a foundation of doctrinal knowledge and legal skills that upper division courses will build upon.
The 1L curriculum also allows, and indeed requires, all students to take a statutory/regulatory course elective. This group of courses looks at law based on statute and regulations of administrative agencies as opposed to law based on decisions of the courts. The myriad of courses from a variety of legal disciplines that make up the list of statutory/regulatory courses allow students the ability to begin designing their curriculum early in their course of study.
There is one required course beyond the 1L year. Students are required to successfully complete a course devoted to the issues of professional responsibility and legal ethics. At UConn Law this course is Legal Profession.
Upper-Class Writing Requirement
In recognition of the importance of legal research and writing to the well-trained lawyer, students in the upper division are required to complete a scholarly paper. Drawing upon the research and writing skills taught in the 1L Lawyering Process and Moot Court courses, the upperclass writing requirement paper is done under the close supervision and guidance of a faculty member in a legal discipline of the student’s choosing. Students are mentored through various drafts and the final paper is often of such quality that students may seek publication of their work.
The curriculum is designed so that seminar courses provide the backdrop to many of these scholarly papers. Students may also satisfy the upperclass writing requirement through an independent research project or written work for one of the Law School's legal journals.
Practice-Based Learning Requirement
Finally, to develop a student’s professional skills, all candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must successfully complete credits in any of the school’s clinical or field placement programs including any in-house, partnership or field placement clinics. Students may also satisfy this requirement in a practicum course or individual field placement so designated.