Curricular Offerings

Curricular Offerings

1. Clinical Programs and Course Requirements
2. Judicial Externships
3. Directed Research
4. Teaching Assistants
5. Student Publications
6. Moot Court Competitions
7. Other Competitions
8. Pro Bono Initiatives
9. London Consortium Semester Abroad
10. ABA-Approved Study Abroad Programs
11. Individual Programs at Foreign Law Schools

1. Clinical Programs and Course Requirements
The following courses, which shall be graded, are required of students receiving credit for clinical placements:

  • The Criminal Process course and some instruction in oral advocacy (such as provided in Trial Advocacy) to precede or accompany the Criminal Clinic.
  • The Lawyering Skills Course or approved similar instruction in interactive lawyering skills to precede or accompany the Civil Clinic.
  • The Judicial Process course to accompany or follow any work in the Judicial Clinic.

All field supervising attorneys should be approved by the Clinical Subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee and the Dean as adjunct clinical instructors.

College Council – April 24, 1985

Clinical placements are normally 2 to 3 credit hours, but the Clinical Program Director may approve up to 6 credits (subject to the 14 credit maximum for all credit toward graduation requirements). Enrollment for more than 6 credit hours in a semester-long clinic placement (except the judicial externship—see below) must be approved by the College Council and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

College Council – December 6, 2001; March 3, 2005

2. Judicial Externships
The approved Judicial Extern Program involves regular placement with local judges who are respected jurists and teachers, and who are willing to provide the degree of supervision demanded in the Guidelines for Judicial Clinics. In order to allow manageable oversight, the number of student-judge participants during any semester should be limited to ten (10). Judicial externs must comply with all instructional and oversight provisions for the Judicial Clinic, and the Clinical Director should continue to communicate regularly (monthly) with both student and judge. Not all judges who currently supervise judicial interns should become supervisors of judicial externs, and not every judge who is initially approved to supervise an extern will become a permanent participant in the program.
In extraordinary circumstances and after careful scrutiny, the Clinical Director may approve an extern placement with a judge outside the immediate locality provided that the judge is willing to comply with the Judicial Clinic Guidelines and to provide the individualized supervision to the student that is most important. The extern program is limited to third-year students. Second-year students with outstanding qualifications should be encouraged to apply for post-law school clerkships. Third-year students who have not been accepted as post-law school clerks should be the primary population for participation in the judicial extern program.

The paradigmatic one-semester judicial externship is 12 credit hours. However, the Clinical Director is authorized to approve student judicial externships for lesser or greater credit (but not to exceed a maximum of 14 credit hours in a semester). Additionally, students performing a judicial externship are authorized to take the Judicial Process course, if offered, that semester. The taking of any other law school course, or participation in any other law school activity or program, for credit while performing a judicial externship requires approval, in advance, from the Clinical Director. The Subcommittee approval may be on such terms and conditions as it deems appropriate. The Subcommittee’s discretion is to be exercised with a view to furthering the student’s educational needs in light of all the circumstances.

The absolute prohibition against credit for both judicial internships and externships is repealed. The Subcommittee is authorized, in appropriate cases, and subject to such terms and conditions as the Subcommittee may require, to allow a student to take a judicial externship even though a judicial internship has previously been taken.

In all cases, the Clinical Program’s existing work/credit ratio will remain constant (50 hours of work for each hour of credit). It is contemplated that variations from the 12 credit hour full-time norm will only be made for good cause. It is anticipated that, over time, the Clinical Subcommittee will develop guidelines both with respect to situations in which credit variations (to increase or decrease from the norm) will be permitted and the extent to which other law school courses, activities or programs for credit will be permitted during the externship semester.

College Council – April 15, 1987; April 13, 1988

3. Directed Research

a. Objectives of Directed Research
Directed research enables the student to pursue a depth of knowledge in a discrete subject tailored to the professional and intellectual interests of the student. Students who desire to explore a particular aspect of a subject regularly offered as a course in greater depth than course coverage would ordinarily permit or pursue a subject that is not available in a regularly offered course may do so through a directed research program. Supervision by a full-time member of the College of Law faculty is required, or by a full-time faculty member in cooperation with (1) an auxiliary faculty member, (2) a faculty member from another college at the University of Utah, or (3) a faculty member of another university.

b. Requirements and Criteria
(1) No single semester directed research project may be undertaken for less than 1 credit hour, nor for more than 3 credits hours. However, a student may register for a two-semester directed research project of up to 6 credit hours with a single project proposal. No student may count more than 6 credit hours of directed research toward satisfaction of the J.D. requirements. (A student wishing to pursue directed research in excess of the maximum limits is free to do so; however, only the first 6 credit hours will be counted toward graduation. The grade and credit in the excess hours will be indicated on the student’s transcript and will be used for the purpose of computing grade-point average.)

(2) Directed research may not be used as a substitute for a regularly offered course that the student has not taken, even if the regularly scheduled course is full, nor may it be used as a mechanism for teaching assistance or for research assistance absent independent educational value otherwise consistent with this policy. A directed research project cannot fulfill the College of Law skills requirement, or consist primarily of skills-based rather than scholarly work product.

(3) A low-credit directed research project may be undertaken to accompany an arranged clinical placement and to serve as the classroom component for that field placement.  In this case, the writing will include a reflective journal regarding the work which will be periodically shared with the supervising faculty member(s) and the final written work product should arise out of the field experience.

(4) No student may undertake more than one directed research project in a single semester.

(5) Prior to registration for a directed research project, the following requirements must be met:

(i) The student shall submit a written statement of thesis to the supervising faculty member that describes the scope and content of the project and the criteria to justify the credit to be granted, or in the case of a directed research project accompanying an arranged clinical placement the written statement will describe the nature of the placement and expected areas(s) of study.
(ii) The supervising faculty member shall sign the statement of thesis to indicate approval of the project described and the credit to be awarded on completion.
(iii) The statement of thesis with signed approval of the faculty member shall be submitted to the Registrar and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for approval. Approved projects shall be submitted to the Register and placed in the permanent file of the student at the College of Law.

(6) While no absolute criteria for directed research projects are possible or desirable, faculty and students shall comply with the following guidelines in formulating and approving directed research projects:

(i) A substantial and scholarly paper reflecting approximately 50 hours of research or study, writing and consultation with faculty for each credit hour of directed research is expected.
(ii) Several written analyses of specific problems may be an appropriate substitute for a single paper. Legal research need not be confined to library research, but may include empirical research or study. Where appropriate, the supervising faculty member may use substantial tutorial discussion in lieu of research, but may not dispense with the requirement of a scholarly written product.

(7) Directed research may be either graded or on a credit/no credit basis, as determined at the outset by the supervising faculty member.

College Council – April 10, 1991; September 29, 1993; November 29, 2007

4. Teaching Assistants

a. Applications
Students may apply to be Legal Methods Teaching Assistants or Academic Support Teaching Assistants. Applications are taken during spring semester.

b. Objectives of service as a teaching assistant
Service as a teaching assistant enables the student to enhance his or her knowledge in a particularly effective manner; that is, the mastery of a subject or skill that comes only with the responsibility for teaching it to others. Academic credit for teaching assistantships should be given only where the student’s efforts further his or her legal education. To the extent there are other purposes for an assistantship (e.g., relieving faculty burdens or delegating administrative responsibilities), these shall be compensated in some form other than academic credit.

c. Requirements
Teaching assistantships are allowed subject to the following requirements:

(1) Beginning in 1990-91, any teaching assistantship other than for the legal writing and academic support programs shall receive monetary compensation rather than academic credit.

(2) Academic credit (rather than monetary compensation) may be granted to teaching assistants in the legal methods and academic support programs. For each credit hour granted, students are expected to expend approximately 50 hours of work in preparing materials and methodology for teaching, consulting and reviewing with supervising faculty and teaching students.

(3) Supervising faculty shall have sole discretion in selecting students to serve as their teaching assistants.

(4) Credit shall be awarded by the supervising faculty member on a graded basis for the legal methods and academic support programs. Teaching assistants in the academic support program wishing to assist for a second, different course will receive upgraded credit for the second course.

(5) Before credit or no credit is given, the supervising faculty member must prepare and place in the student’s permanent file a memorandum that describes the student’s work and the nature and extent of the faculty supervision, and gives a general evaluation of the student’s performance as a teaching assistant.

College Council – May 13, 1986; April 4, 1990; April 29, 1990

5. Student Publications
The following scholarly journals are published by students. Members of the journals are chosen from summer writing competitions following spring semester exams. Non-graded credit may be received for participating on a journal. A student may not participate on more than one journal at a time.

a. Journal of Law & Family Studies
The Journal of Law & Family Studies (JLFS) addresses topics relating to family and juvenile law as well as a broad variety of issues relevant to family law in a broader sense. JLFS publishes articles involving doctrinal, practical, and theoretical issues in family law as well as articles from various related disciplines including sociology, psychology, economics, family and consumer studies, and history.

b. Utah Environmental Law Review
The Utah Environmental Law Review (UELR) is a multi-disciplinary journal focusing on natural resources and environmental law and policy. It publishes manuscripts from legal, literary, scientific and other disciplines concerned with environmental issues. UELR is committed to promoting public education and dialogue on natural resource and environmental policy.

c. Utah Law Review
The Utah Law Review is a journal of critical analysis and commentary on current legal problems. The summer writing competition and a student’s cumulative law school GPA determine selection of Law Review staff at the end of the first year of law school. Second year students also have the opportunity to write-on to Law Review at the end of their second year. Law Review selection will be accomplished without disclosure to the Law Review members of individually identifiable rank or GPA of the candidates.

College Council – May 13, 1986, October 18, 1989

6. Moot Court Competitions

a. Traynor Moot Court
Traynor Moot Court is a one semester class open to all second and third year students during spring semester. Teams of two research and write an appellate brief and participate in multiple rounds of oral argument. Eight teams advance to the semi-final rounds. The two top scoring teams advance to the final round. Preliminary rounds are judged by members of the local bar and judiciary. The final round is judged by the College of Law’s David T. Lewis Distinguished Jurist in Residence and two other prominent judges. Final rounds are generally held in April.

b. National Moot Court Competition
The top six students from the Traynor Moot Court Competition are invited to represent the College of Law in the National Moot Court Competition as third year students. Finalists in regional competitions advance to the national finals. Team members also receive credit for serving as brief judges of the Traynor Moot Court competition, which uses the same problem.

c. Appellate Advocacy Competitions
Participation in other appellate advocacy competitions is available to advanced students.

  • Participation in appellate advocacy competitions is dependent upon appropriate faculty supervision, completition of pre- or co-requisite courses, and available funding. (Preference for participation in appellate advocacy competitions will be given to third year students.)
  • The Traynor Moot Court course is a pre-requisite for participation in the National Moot Court Competition.
  • Students who desire to participate in an appellate advocacy competition in a specific subject, such as environmental law or patent law, are required to take at least one course in the substantive area of law related to the competition.
  • Students are strongly encouraged, but not required, to take Appellate Practice.
  • Students participating in appellate advocacy competitions must complete the appropriate paperwork available from the Registrar’s office. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs must approve and sign off on a student’s request to compete.

College Council – March 25, 1999; April 25, 2002

7. Other Competitions
One credit competition courses are available to support students’ entry in a range of skills competitions available regionally and nationally, following the students’ outstanding performance in the related pre-requisite skills course.

Competition courses may be offered, upon invitation by the supervising faculty member, to a limited number of students in the following areas:

  • Trial Advocacy Competition – following completion of the Trial Advocacy course
  • Negotiation Competition – following completion of the Lawyering Skills course
  • Counseling Competiton – following completion of the Lawyering Skills course
  • Mediation Competition – following completion of the Alternative Dispute Resolution course

Whether any particular competition course is offered will depend upon available funding for expenses related to the competition.

College Council – March 25, 1999

8. Pro Bono Initiatives
The Pro Bono Initiative is a voluntary program offered by the College of Law to emphasize the importance of public service in the legal profession. The goal of the program is to create a greater awareness among law students of a lawyer’s ethical obligation to provide legal services at no fee or a reduced fee to public service, charitable, not for profit organizations, or individuals of limited means, and to introduce students to unexplored areas of law and methods of practice.

The Pro Bono Initiative encourages all students to perform fifty hours of law-related volunteer work under the guidance of a supervising attorney before graduation. The Initiative office will facilitate this work by developing pro bono placements with attorney supervision and matching students with appropriate assignments. First year students, following their first semester, and second and third year students are encouraged to participate.

9. London Consortium Semester Abroad
The College of Law participates in the London Law Consortium which offers students the opportunity to study in London during spring semester of either their second or third year. The academic program consists of a selection of courses taught by visiting Consortium faculty and University of London law lecturers. Students must sign up for the London Program during the first few weeks of fall semester for the following spring semester. Space is available for six participants from the College of Law. One faculty member from the law school attends as part of the teaching faculty every other year. Students attending the program are not charged University of Utah tuition but will be responsible for program fees and expenses.

10. ABA-Approved Study Abroad Programs

a. Educational Objectives
The College of Law encourages students who have academic or career objectives that will be served by participation in a program of legal study outside of the United States to pursue such a program. The study of foreign law and practice outside the United States can provide a practical as well as theoretical basis for comparing the American and foreign legal systems, including observing differences in professional responsibilities, practices and procedures. Three basic opportunities are available to College of Law students, all of which are limited to students who are second or third-year candidates for the J.D. degree:

(1) Study at a foreign, ABA-approved Semester Abroad Program with credit to be granted towards the J.D. degree. The London Law Consortium, in which the College of Law participates, is one of these opportunities.

(2) Study in a summer program conducted by an accredited American law school(s) at an overseas site.

(3) An individual program of legal study at a foreign university.

b. ABA-Approved Programs
Qualified programs are approved annually by the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education. Any student in good academic standing may enroll in such a program and receive academic credit toward the J.D. degree. Prior to enrollment in such a program, a student is encouraged to consult with the Dean or Dean of Student Affairs to assure that the contemplated program has received the necessary approval from the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and that all requirements for College of Law credit recognition are also met.

College Council – December 7, 1983
ABA Criteria for Approval of Semester
Abroad Programs and Foreign Summer Programs

A student participating in a study abroad program may receive credit only for courses in which the student receives a minimum grade of “C”. Courses successfully completed will be credited on the students’ transcript, but will not be computed into the students’ GPA.

11. Individual Programs at Foreign Law Schools
Credit for an individual program of foreign study will be awarded in accordance with the ABA criteria and the following requirements:

a. A student in good academic standing who has completed all first-year requirements may submit a specific program of study to the College of Law Curriculum Committee. No program of study may be undertaken without prior approval of the Curriculum Committee.

b. In addition to obtaining Curriculum Committee approval, the student must be admitted to study at the chosen foreign law school and must meet its requirements for eligibility and registration. The chosen foreign institution shall be one that provides an academic program leading to a first degree in law. The institution shall be one that is (a) government sanctioned or accredited, if educational institutions are state regulated within the country, (b) recognized or accredited by an evaluation body, if such a body exists within the country, or (c) chartered to award degrees in law by the appropriate authority within the country.

c. Individual programs will vary according to the individual student’s goals in undertaking the program. The student’s selection of courses must be approved in advance by the Curriculum Committee. The academic content of the course work and the methods employed to evaluate student performance shall meet the same standards employed at the College of Law. Credit for individual research shall not exceed the limits for directed research at the College of Law.

d. An individual member of the College of Law faculty shall be selected by the student, in consultation with the Curriculum Committee, to supervise the work of the student. The faculty supervisor shall be responsible for determining the College of Law credit to be granted and shall provide such supervision to any individual research project as appropriate.

e. Before the study abroad commences, a representative of the foreign institution must give written assurance to the College of Law that the student’s proposed objectives can be achieved at the institution. The student must have full-time faculty supervisor at foreign institution. If a foreign law school advisor or faculty member is available pursuant to the foreign study program, it is contemplated that the College of Law faculty supervisor shall consult with the foreign law school advisor and/or faculty concerning these responsibilities.

f. Before commencing study at a foreign institution, the student shall provide the College of Law faculty supervisor with a written plan defining the educational objectives sought by the student. The faculty supervisor shall review the student’s written plan, and shall establish a method of evaluating the student’s performance. Any grade accorded by the foreign law school shall be translated by the individual faculty supervisor in consultation with the foreign law school for the purposes of establishing pass/fail grade according to College of Law academic standards (if applicable).

g. A student who participates in an individual study abroad program may not receive more than 12 semester hours of credit toward a J.D. degree for such study.

(1) Although a student may be permitted to take courses in foreign programs in both one semester and one summer, the total credits approved in such summer and semester shall not exceed 22 credits [twenty-five (25) percent of the 88 semester hours credits required for graduation].

(2) The foreign study shall be considered as in residence study for the purposes of the J.D. degree requirements.

h. At least forty-five (45) days prior to scheduled enrollment in the foreign institution, a pre-visit notification form, available from the Registrar, must be completed and submitted to the ABA for approval. In addition, a Petition for Study Abroad Credit, available from the Registrar, must be submitted and approved by the College of Law Curriculum Committee.

Absent a determination by both the ABA and the College of Law Curriculum Committee that the proposed course of study complies with the ABA and College of Law criteria, credit will not be given for work undertaken at a foreign institution.

College Council -December 7, 1983;
ABA Criteria for Approval of Individual
Student Study Abroad for Academic Credit