Through a curriculum noteworthy for its breadth and depth, Tulane Law School offers students the opportunity for an extraordinary legal education. Tulane offers tradition-in the form of a core curriculum of over 125 common law and federally oriented courses encompassing every variety of corporate, commercial, and public law. In addition, Tulane offers a full civil law curriculum, which simultaneously prepares students who wish to remain in Louisiana and those who might wish to expand their horizons to the world beyond the United States.
Our fortunate situation permits us to serve as a bridge between the common and civil law worlds, and enables us to expose our students to a singularly valuable outlook on law. Our students are free to choose courses consisting solely of common or federal law, but if they wish to do so, they can enroll in a variety of courses-common, federal, civil, and international-to prepare themselves to transcend the narrower confines of any one legal system and position themselves to take advantage of the move toward globalization.
The curriculum is designed to prepare students to analyze legal problems and to transform that analysis into attorney work product, often in the form of research memoranda and briefs. Students' preparation at Tulane Law School should enable them to apply that analysis on behalf of clients through the skills of negotiating, mediating, arbitrating, and litigating.
The First Year
The first-year program focuses upon basic legal concepts in the context of their historical development and explores their application to current social and economic problems. Emphasis is placed on legal research and writing. Analytical thinking is developed through use of the case method, which requires students to dissect cases, respond to Socratic questioning by each other and their professors, and to consider the insights of their fellow students.
The first year curriculum at Tulane consists of eight required courses totalling 29 credits. All students take Introduction to Civil Procedure, Contracts I, Criminal Law, Torts, and Legal Research & Writing during the fall semester. During the spring semester, all students complete the two-semester Legal Research & Writing course, as well as Constitutional Law I, one of the two introductory Property courses, and either Contracts II or Obligations I.
The second and third years of law school at Tulane are fully elective, with the exception of the required legal ethics hours (our 3-credit Legal Profession course). In addition, all students must complete the upperclass writing requirement, the professional skills requirement, and 30 hours of pro bono legal work. Upperclass students may choose from a wide spectrum of courses and seminars. They are free to develop areas of concentration within the curriculum, for example, in admiralty, taxation, or international and comparative law, if they so desire. Certificates of specialization are offered in European Legal Studies, Environmental Law, Sports Law, Maritime Law, and CIvil Law. Students may receive only one certificate at graduation. For more information about the certificates offered at Tulane Law School, click here.
In order to obtain a certificate of specialization, JD students use a portion of their elective hours to take specified courses in the specialty area. Alternatively, students may choose to survey a variety of areas, given the unknown nature of their future practice. Many other law schools identify certain courses that must be taken after the first year. Other than a course in the legal ethics, Tulane does not. Tulane relies upon the informed judgments of its students to decide what problems concern them most and on their ability to translate those judgments into appropriate, valuable choices, including the choice to pursue one of the concentrations available at Tulane.
A review of the records of recent graduates showed some of their choices relative to the upper-level curriculum. In recent years, the following courses were elected most often by Tulane law students:
|| % of students taking course
| Business Enterprises
| Constitutional Criminal Procedure
| Trial Advocacy
| Income Tax
| Intellectual Property
| Trusts & Estates/Successions
| Administrative Law
| Family Law
Other courses for which one third to one half of recent students have registered include Admiralty I, Fourteenth Amendment, Freedom of Speech & Press and Secured Transactions.