JD Program Objectives & Methods

Our Juris Doctor program provides degree candidates with the opportunity to equip themselves for active and effective participation, as professionals, in legal counseling, advocacy and decision-making. Whether the context be courtroom or legislative hearing, attorney's office or corporate board room, state agency or federal commission, community center or international conference table, our graduates are prepared. Students are encouraged to study law and legal institutions as integral parts of larger social, political-economic, and ecological systems.

Techniques of instruction include the traditional "Socratic method" (where an instructor rigorously questions individual students in a large group setting), lectures, problem-based learning, seminars, informal small group discussions, individually supervised field and library research projects, and a variety of experiential methods. "Clinical" components, in the form of real or simulated lawyers' tasks, are an essential part of the program. Small-group work, especially in the first year, is organized around hypothetical client problems. Second- and third-year small-group seminars and clinical workshops permit students to developing lawyering skills in areas of their practice interests.

The Law School is committed to the view that learning is an enterprise in which members of the faculty should function as facilitating participants as well as sources of knowledge. Accordingly, students are expected to develop their own legal skills and abilities and to clarify their values. Successful performance of those tasks depends on the inclination and ability to learn continuously and on one's own. Therefore, a foremost concern of the school is to provide assistance in "learning how to learn."

Law Student Pledge

In the study of law, I will conscientiously prepare myself;

To advance the interests of those I serve before my own,

To approach my responsibilities and colleagues with integrity, professionalism, and civility,

To guard zealously legal, civil and human rights which are the birthright of all people,

And above all, To endeavor always to seek justice.

This I do pledge.


Denise E. Antolini

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
(808) 956-6238