Learning Outcomes of the J.D. Program

Upon sucessful completion of the J.D. Program:

Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law:  Graduates will be able to explain and employ basic rules and concepts in core legal areas and in any chosen area of specialization.   

Legal analysis and reasoning:  Graduates will be able to analyze, synthesize and apply legal principles drawn from judicial, statutory, administrative, and other sources.  Graduates will be able to formulate and critique legal arguments, identify and evaluate counter-arguments, and think critically about existing legal rules and possible alternatives. 

Legal research and fact investigation:  Graduates will be able to conduct accurate and efficient legal research by locating relevant legal and non-legal sources and assessing the relevance, currency, and authoritativeness of those sources.  They will be able to identify potentially relevant facts, develop fact-gathering strategies, and organize and evaluate the information gathered. 

Problem-solving and client counseling:  Graduates will be able to identify and clarify the nature of problems they confront as legal professionals; generate and evaluate alternative solutions; and implement an effective plan of action.  In working with clients, graduates will be able to identify their clients’ objectives and concerns; interview and counsel clients in a sensitive and appropriate manner; develop potential strategies to meet the client’s goals; and help clients reach informed decisions. 

Written and oral communication:  Graduates will be able to present information, analysis, arguments, and advice in a clear, concise, well-organized, and professional manner that is appropriate to the audience and the circumstances.  They will be able to draft documents essential to most areas of legal practice, including briefs and other persuasive documents; objective memoranda; and contracts or agreements.  They will be able to negotiate effectively in dispute and transactional settings.  They will be able to listen and respond effectively to clients, colleagues, adjudicators, opposing lawyers, and others with whom they have professional interactions.  They will understand and be sensitive to the impact of cultural differences on communication.     

Ethics and Professionalism:  Graduates will be prepared to become members of a profession with special responsibilities for the promotion of justice.  They will know and be able to apply the rules of professional conduct for attorneys, and will be able to evaluate the broader ethical impact of their actions.  Graduates will understand and exemplify core professional values, including those relating to honesty, fiduciary obligations to clients, public and pro bono service, and improving the administration of justice.  They will be able to collaborate effectively as part of a team, and engage in self-critique to improve their professional skills and judgment.