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Academic Requirements

Tulane's Juris Doctor (JD) program is designed to prepare students for practice by combining academic studies with real-world experiences.

Candidates for the Juris Doctor degree must spend six full-time semesters in academic residence and complete 88 semester hours at the Law School with at least a 2.0 or C average. All candidates must successfully complete (i) the first-year curriculum, (ii) the Legal Profession course, (iii) the upper-class writing requirement, (iv) six credits of experiential learning, and (v) the 50-hour pro bono requirement.

First-Year Curriculum

Tulane’s first-year curriculum emphasizes developing core analytic and legal writing skills.

Required Courses

All students are required to take the following courses: Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Contracts I, Torts, and Constitutional Law. Tulane offers its students the unique opportunity to take courses in the civil law system: during the Spring semester of their first year, JD students elect to complete the first-year curriculum by taking civil law courses (Civil Law Property and Obligations I) or common law courses (Common Law Property and Contracts II). All students have the option to take foundational and advanced courses in both systems as electives.

Legal Research & Writing

The first-year legal research and writing program is designed to teach the fundamentals of legal writing and to acquaint the student with various research techniques utilizing the resources of the law library and computerized legal databases. Over the course of two semesters, students will learn the techniques of legal problem-solving, and learn to research and draft legal memoranda and briefs through a series of progressively more complex writing assignments. The course culminates with the drafting of an appellate brief and an oral argument before an appellate moot court.

Upper-Class Curriculum

After their first year, J.D. students are free to design their own curriculum from an array of electives, or to concentrate their studies in an area of curricular strength advanced courses in conjunction with our certificate programs. Optional summer programs and externship opportunities are offered in New Orleans and in a variety of locations throughout the world.

Upper-Level Writing Requirement

JD students must successfully complete one rigorous writing project after their first year of law school. The upper class writing requirement may be satisfied through an approved seminar or course, a directed research project supervised by a faculty member, or production under faculty supervision of a publishable case note or comment in any of our student-edited journals.

Experiential Learning

J.D. candidates must successfully complete courses providing a minimum of six experiential learning credits. Experiential credits may be earned through participation in our traditional live-client clinics, as well as through simulation courses and externship field placements.

Journals and Co-curricular Activities

Some students choose to hone their writing and editing abilities by joining one of our law journals. Others compete in trial and appellate teams in our Moot Court Program to train in oral and written advocacy.

Pro Bono Service

In addition to the academic requirements set forth above, each JD candidate must complete a total of 50 hours of approved uncompensated, law-related pro bono service.