Menu
curriculum header

Curriculum

In 2013, Valparaiso University Law School began a new chapter in legal education by immersing first-year law students in a law school curriculum that has been completely rethought.

The innovative new curriculum starts with courses on legal analysis, legal communications, and practical legal skills, including live client contact starting in the very first semester.

Now in its third year, the new curriculum is continuing to change the face of legal education to reflect the needs of today’s legal marketplace.

To read more about our bold new curriculum, please click here.

THE FIRST YEAR

  • Seven-week sessions expedite assessment and feedback
  • New courses on the foundation of legal analysis and professional communications taught by senior faculty
  • Students engage in live-client contact in the first semester of law school.

LEGAL WRITING AND RESEARCH

Rigorous training in legal writing begins in the first year and extends into the second and third years at Valpo Law. This includes not just traditional seminars but courses on appellate advocacy, legal drafting, legal journalism, and subject-matter specific advanced legal writing and drafting courses. Valpo Law graduates have a reputation for strong legal writing and research skills, and the new curriculum has embraced and enhanced that strength.

CORE SUBSTANCE & SKILLS

First Year Curriculum – Four Seven-Week Sessions (30 credit hours)

Session

1

Foundations of Legal Analysis (1st 7 weeks)

(2 credits)

 

Legal Communications (2nd 7 weeks)

(1 credit)

Contracts I

(2.5 credits)

Criminal Law I

(2 credits)

Research I (full semester)

(1 credit)

2

Contracts II

(2.5 credits)

Criminal Law II

(2 credits)

Torts I

(2 credits)

3

Legal Writing I (full semester)

(2 credits)

 

Intro to Experiential Learning (full semester)

(1 credit)

Property I

(2.5 credits)

Civil Procedure I

(2.5 credits)

Torts II

(2 credits)

Research II (full semester)

(1 credit)

4

Property II

(2.5 credits)

Civil Procedure II

(2.5 credits)

THE SECOND YEAR

  • Focus is on foundational courses including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Evidence, and Trust and Estates
  • Students are prepared to take a practice bar examination at the end of the second year

PRACTICAL SKILLS

Valparaiso Law has long been a stronghold of clinical and externship training. Our practical skills training extends from the beginning of the first semester to third-year practicums, nationally recognized externships, and nine live-client clinics in one of the oldest clinical programs in the country.

Required 2L Courses – Required Graduation Credits – “Comprehensive Student Diagnostic”

  1. The 2L curriculum has 25 required credits. All credits beyond the 25 are elective. Assuming a standard 30-credit academic year, this allows for 5 elective credits. The required 2L (i.e., must be taken after the first year and before the third year, summers included) courses are:
    Constitutional Law I & II – 4 credits
    Evidence – 3 credits
    Legal Profession – 2 credits
    Trust & Estates – 3 credits
    Administrative Law – 2 credits
    Business Associations – 3 credits
    Legal Research III – 1 credit
    Legal Writing II – 2 credits
    Total credits required:  20

    PLUS: Skills (Experiential Learning) –  6 credits

  2. Additional credits required for graduation (i.e., must be taken after the first year and before the end of the final semester, summers included). Students must take no less than 9 credits from the following list of courses:
    UCC (3 credits)
    Tax (4 credits)
    Family Law (2 credits)
    Criminal Procedure (3 credits)
    Bankruptcy (4 credits)
    Constitutional Law III: Separation of Powers (2 credits)
  3. At the end of the beginning and end of the second year, a comprehensive exam in the format of a bar exam (“comprehensive student diagnostic”) will be given to assess the students’ progress on curricular learning objectives.

THE THIRD YEAR

  • Students engage in clinical and practicum experiences that integrate courses into specific practice areas
  • Advanced study in writing and research expands practical skills
  • Valpo Law graduates are practice-ready from graduation day
  • Graduation requirements:
    • Writing requirement
    • Bar review course

PRO BONO

Valpo Law students are required to perform 60 hours of pro bono work before graduation, but most Valpo graduates exceed that requirement. Pro bono opportunities are available for Valpo Law students from the beginning of their first semester, reflecting the mission of Valparaiso Law School, which embraces law as a calling to leadership and service.

The third year is totally elective in nature (with the exception of any unfulfilled graduation requirements outlined in the second year, above and a requirement that all third year students must take a writing/research experience). The feature of the third year is the offering of practicums – coordinated, intensive, and immersive offerings.


 

ELECTIVE COURSES BY SUBJECT AREA

The curriculum offers related courses in various subject matters. The following are courses offered in the current and past two academic years in different areas of practice. Elective courses listed are offered from the curriculum offerings in 2015, 2014, and 2013 (subject to change).

Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Labor Arbitration
Negotiation
Mediation
Mediation Clinic
Remedies

Business Law/Intellectual Property Law
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Bankruptcy
Business Planning
Corporate Finance
Federal Income Tax: Individuals
Income Taxation of Corporations & Partnerships
Intellectual Property Law
International Business Transactions
Mergers & Acquisitions
Municipal Finance Law
Non-Profit Organizations
Real Estate Transactions & Finance
Securities Regulation
Trademark & Unfair Competition
UCC: Sales & Commercial Paper
UCC: Secured Transactions

Civil/Constitutional Law
American Legal History
Civil Clinic
Civil Rights Legislation & Litigation
Constitutional Law III
Indiana Constitutional Law
Jurisprudence
Remedies

Criminal Law
Advanced Discovery
Criminal Forensics
Criminal Law Clinic
Criminal Procedure: Investigation
Criminal Procedure: Adjudication
Post-Conviction Legal Clinic

Elder/Health Law
Elder Law
Estate Planning
Health & Medical Research for Lawyers
Medical Malpractice
Medicine, Law, & Ethics
Social Security Disability

Employment/Labor Law
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Employment Law
Labor Arbitration
Labor Law
Workers’ Compensation Law

Environmental Law & Policy
Agrarianism, Farming, & Sustainability
Environmental Law & Policy
Food Law

Human Rights/Immigration
Civil Rights Legislation & Litigation
Immigration Law
Immigration Law Clinic
International & Foreign Legal Research
International Moot Court
Israel/Palestine International Humanitarian Law
National Security Law

International & Comparative Law
Comparative Law: Europe
International & Foreign Legal Research
International Business Transactions
International Law: Human Rights
International Law: Use of Force
Introduction to American Law & Legal System
Israel/Palestine International Humanitarian Law
National Security Law
Public International Law: Introduction

Juvenile/Family Law
Children and the Law
Domestic Violence Clinic
Family Law
Family Law Practicum
Juvenile Law Clinic
Selected Topics: Family Law

Practical Skills
Academic Success Program
Advanced Appellate Advocacy
Advanced Discovery
Advanced Legal Research
Current Representation
International Moot Court
Legal Clinics
Law Practice Management
Law Review
Legal Drafting
Legal Profession
Moot Court Society
Pretrial Skills
Technology in Law
Trial Practice I
Trial Practice II

Sports & Entertainment Law
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Art Law
Entertainment Law
Media Law
Mediation
Negotiation
Sports Law
Sports Law Clinic

State & Local Government
Land Use
Local Government Law
Municipal Finance Law

Taxation
Federal Estate & Gift Taxation
Federal Income Tax: Individuals
Federal Tax Procedure
Federal Tax Research
Federal Tax: Corporations/Partnerships
Tax Law
Tax Law Clinic

ASP/Bar Prep
Advanced Legal Analysis MPT
Advanced Legal Studies
Advanced Topics (Selected MBE Subjects)
ASP Workshops
MBA Strategies

Other
Animal Law
Cambridge/London Study Abroad
Independent Reading & Research
Israel Spring Break Study Abroad
Seminar (various topics)
Washington D.C. Summer Program