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    University of South Dakota
   
 
  Dec 12, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

Law (J.D.)


Admissions Information  

90 Credit Hours Required

DEGREE:

Juris Doctor

Program Description

The mission of the University of South Dakota School of Law is to prepare lawyers and judges for the federal, state, and American Indian justice systems in South Dakota and to provide South Dakota residents and other students an affordable legal education imparting the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the practice of law or other careers in a culturally diverse and global environment. Students at the Law School are a highly selective group that has demonstrated intellectual aptitude and personal characteristics desirable in the legal profession, including a desire to serve others.

A primary objective of the Law School curriculum is to develop analytical and other skills that are fundamental for the legal profession. The faculty employ a variety of pedagogical techniques to achieve that objective, including Socratic dialogue, the case method, lecture, and simulation. The curriculum is designed to familiarize students with basic legal doctrines and to instill in them the values of the legal profession and the judicial system.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of co-curricular and extracurricular activities at local, regional, and national levels. These student activities complement the formal components of the curriculum and assist in the development of legal skills. Activities include, but are not limited to, participation in the South Dakota Law Review, the Moot Court Board, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Board, and Trial Advocacy Competition.

Joint Degree Program Description

The School of Law offers a joint degree program with other colleges/schools of the University of South Dakota leading to the juris doctor degree and a master’s degree in one of the following nine disciplines:

  • College of Arts & Sciences
JD/Master of Arts in English
JD/Master of Arts in History
JD/Master of Arts in Political Science
JD/Master of Arts in Psychology
JD/Master of Public Administration
JD/Master of Science in Administration
  • School of Business
JD/Master of Business Administration
JD/Master of Professional Accountancy
  • School of Education
JD/Master of Arts in Education Administration

Dual Degree Program in Environmental Law

Vermont Law School and the University of South Dakota School of Law offer a dual-degree program that enables qualified students to earn two degrees in three years: a J.D. from South Dakota and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School (JD/MELP). The dual-degree program is composed of courses taught at Vermont Law School’s Summer Session and courses offered by distance learning from Vermont Law School during the regular academic year, or a combination of Summer Session, distance learning courses, and internships.

Graduation Requirements


First-Year Required Courses: Total 32 credit hours


The first-year curriculum is designed to give students a broad understanding of the American legal system and the role of law in our society. These required first-year courses expose students to the fundamental principles of needed legal skills, including legal analysis.

Second-Year and Third-Year Studies


The required, upper-division courses include Evidence (LAW 823 ), Legal Profession (LAW 857 ) Constitutional Law (LAW 810 ), a code course (minimum 3 credit hour), and 6 credits of experiential learning course work. These complete the core curriculum, and are taken after the first year. In addition, upper-division students take other, elective courses. The upper-division curriculum offers opportunities to develop and refine practice skills and to apply accumulated legal learning by resolving practical problems. Third-year students may enroll in the Extern Education Program during the summer before they begin third year courses to acquire practical experience in a law firm, governmental agency, or other law office. An upper-level writing requirement must also be completed in order to qualify for graduation, which requires a total of 90 credit hours.

Upper-Division Required Courses (19-21 cr hrs required):


Electives (39 cr hrs required):


Some students may desire to focus their studies and activities in a particular area of law.  For these students, the Law School offers curriculum and career planning advice in the form of curricular tracks. Curricular tracks are provided in the following areas:

  • Business Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Commercial Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Indian Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Tax Law

Note:


Students must fulfill the Law School’s Upper-Level Writing Requirement either through successful completion of a designated writing course or under faculty supervision in the production of a significant written product, e.g., appellate brief, law review article, research paper, etc.

Flex-Time Requirements


This option will permit certain well-qualified students to take less than the normal load of credits each semester and to graduate with a juris doctor degree within five years instead of three years. Flex-time students follow the same class schedule as all other students, but take fewer hours each semester. The program’s flexibility is designed to admit a limited number of well-qualified students who could not otherwise attend law school on a full-time basis. The Law School does not offer evening or weekend courses. Flex-time students may apply to transfer to the full-time program after completion in good standing of the first year of law studies [1L] (two years in the flex-time program [1L]). Students must complete four additional semesters. Flex-time students who are not in good standing at the end of the first year of law studies (two years in the flex-time program) are subject to the dismissal and probation provisions of the Law School’s Academic Rules and Student Policies. Semester five through ten suggest credit hours that allow the student to complete their degree after the tenth semester with 90 credit hours total.

FIRST SEMESTER: Total 8 credit hours


SECOND SEMESTER: Total 7 credit hours


THIRD SEMESTER: Total 8 credit hours


FOURTH SEMESTER: Total 9 credit hours


FIFTH SEMESTER: Total 9-10 credit hours


  • LAW 823 - EVIDENCE 1-3 cr hrs
  • LAW 857 - PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY 1-3 cr hrs (3 cr hrs required)
  • LAW XXX - Select a minimum of 2 credits worth of electives
  • Note: Starting the fifth semester students may select among a combination of elective courses and the additional Upper-Division Code (minimum 3 credits required), Experiential (6 credits required), and Writing course requirements, each of which may be taken at any point after the conclusion of the 1L year (see full description of these courses below). Student will complete 39 elective credits. Some students may desire to focus their studies and activities in a particular area of law.  For these students, the Law School offers curriculum and career planning advice in the form of curricular tracks. Curricular tracks are provided in the following areas: Business Law, Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law & Procedure, Employment Law, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Indian Law, Real Estate Law, or Tax Law.

SIXTH SEMESTER: Total 10-11 credit hours


  • LAW XXX - Select a minimum of 8 credits worth of electives

SEVENTH SEMESTER: Total 10-11 credit hours


EIGHTH SEMESTER: Total 10-11 credit hours


  • LAW XXX - Select a minimum of 8 credits worth of electives

NINTH SEMESTER: Total 10-11 credit hours


  • LAW XXX - Select a minimum of 8 credits worth of electives

TENTH SEMESTER: Total 8-9 credit hours


  • LAW XXX - Select a minimum of 8 credits worth of electives