The Catholic University of America

 

 

 

 

Faculty Approves Important Changes to Curriculum

 

   Print Friendly and PDF

 


After months of intense study, consultation, and debate, the faculty of the Columbus School of Law voted on April 18 to approve a number of important changes to the Law School's first-year and upper-division curriculum.

This revised approach to coursework will be in effect as early as fall, 2013.
 
The new curriculum is designed to achieve three main goals. It aims to strengthen some doctrinal courses by allowing more credit hours to focus on the fundamentals. It supports development of practice-area concentrations to enable students who wish to specialize in selected substantive areas to acquire relevant expertise.  And, it increases emphasis on training for transition to the real world of practice.
 
 “We are excited about these forthcoming changes to our curriculum,” said Dean Daniel F. Attridge. “We think they will enhance our students’ educational experience by renewing focus on core doctrinal courses, complemented by integrated learning experiences and enhanced opportunities for specialized training.”
 
Highlights
 
First Year - These changes apply to both day and evening divisions.
 
Civil Procedure and Practicum: Credit hours increase from 4 to 5. The extra credit hour will permit faculty to incorporate integrated learning experiences into the course. For example, students might be asked to draft motions, pleadings, or other litigation documents while learning the legal doctrine relating to civil procedure. Civil Procedure will become a full-year course with a graded mid-term. Civil Procedure will become a full-year course with a graded mid-term.
 
Contracts and Practicum: Credit hours increase from 5 to 6. The extra credit hour will allow faculty to increase coverage of the Uniform Commercial Code and to incorporate integrated learning experiences into the course. For example, students might be asked to draft or negotiate contracts or engage in other skills exercises that emphasize statutory construction.  Contracts will become a full-year course with a graded mid-term.
 
Constitutional Law: Credit hours increase from 5 to 6.
 
 
Upper Division - The following changes will be made to the upper division curriculum.
 
To respond to the increased demand for specialized legal services, the Law School will develop practice-area concentrations for upper division students. This will be in addition to existing Institutes and Special Programs in Communications Law, Securities Law, Law and Public Policy, and Comparative and International Law, which we will continue to support and encourage students to pursue. Each concentration will include: (a) foundational requirements; (b) a menu of electives; (c) one upper division writing requirement satisfied in the area of concentration; and (d) a transition to practice course requirement in the area of concentration. The specific concentrations will be announced and implemented as soon as feasible.  
 
The Law School will develop a transition-to-practice course requirement for all J.D. students as soon as feasible. This is expected to be fulfilled by taking either a clinical course, or a capstone course (some of which remain to be developed). The transition-to-practice requirement will afford students the opportunity to apply the doctrinal knowledge, professional skills, and ethical values they have learned in the classroom to real world settings in an actual law practice or complex simulated practice. 

“We believe these improvements will put our students in an even better position to respond to the demands of the modern marketplace for well-grounded, practice-ready lawyers,” said Dean Attridge.