J.D. Program

Professor Sarah Williams

J.D. Degree Requirements

Each student is responsible for fulfilling the J.D. degree requirements. Students should track their academic record and progress by consulting with their assigned faculty advisor, the Registrar’s Office, and other administrative personnel.

To earn the Dickinson Law J.D. degree, a student must:

  • earn at least 88 credits;
  • complete with a passing grade all first-year required courses;
  • complete with a grade of at least C the course labeled Legal Analysis & Writing I: Objective;
  • complete with a grade of at least C the course labeled Legal Analysis & Writing II: Persuasive;
  • complete with a grade of at least C one course designated as a Seminar course (“SEMNR”);
  • complete with a grade of at least C the course in Professional Responsibility;
  • complete with a grade of at least C, one course beyond the first-year required courses, designated as having subject matter focused on civil rights, equal protection, or social justice;
  • complete with a grade of at least C, or a grade of Credit in Credit/No Credit courses, 12 credits in Experiential Learning from the upper level curriculum. The student must earn at least 6 of the required 12 credits in an in-house legal clinic (“EXPCL”), an internship (“EXPIN”), or a semester-in-practice (“EXPIN”). The student may earn the remaining experiential learning credits in an in-house legal clinic (“EXPCL”), an internship (“EXPIN”), a semester-in-practice (“EXPIN”), or in courses designated as simulation courses (“EXPSK”);
  • comply with the Semesters-in-Residence Requirement; and
  • comply with the Academic Standing Rules.

Contingent J.D. Degree Requirements

Students who rank in the bottom quarter of their class after the second semester of law school and who earned a grade below 'C' in any first-year course have the following additional requirements for graduation:

  • must take and pass at least six substantive doctrinal bar courses (“BAR”) in order to graduate; and
  • must take and pass the Fundamental Skills for the Bar Examination during the final semester of law school.

J.D. Degree Requirements for Transfer Students

As part of the transfer admission process, the admissions committee and academic deans will evaluate transferable credits and completion of the J.D. degree requirements. See additional information on the J.D. degree requirements for transfer students.

Required Courses

Fall 1L Required Courses

Like every law school, our first-year curriculum includes a set of courses that establish the core doctrinal, theoretical, and policy foundations of law. But our 1L curriculum uniquely includes a series of courses that are designed—from the first day of law school—to fulfill our mission of producing practice-ready lawyers.

You will begin practical training the very first day of class. In Law Practice I: Critical Skills, you will work with practicing lawyers and law school faculty to acquire the skills that lawyers use to begin and maintain relationships with individual, corporate, and governmental clients. As part of this training, every student will interview an actual client and observe real world legal proceedings. The course also introduces the entirely different argument structure that a lawyer uses to persuade jurors to find disputed facts in favor of her client. You will then use that protocol to deliver a closing argument in the Law School’s Apfelbaum Family Courtroom.

  • Civil Procedure (4 credits)
  • Criminal Law (3 credits)
  • Law Practice I: Critical Skills  (2 credits)
  • Legal Analysis & Writing I: Objective (2 credits)
  • Legal Research I (1 credit)
  • Race and the Equal Protection of the Laws (1 credit earned in spring 1L semester)
  • Torts (4 credits)
Spring 1L Required Courses

The second semester introduces an additional set of lawyering skills. You will begin your training on the challenging art of conveying complex legal analysis in writing. In Legal Analysis & Writing I: Objective, you will evaluate a series of realistic client problems by using effective research techniques. You then will write a memorandum of law, the lawyer’s primary tool for communicating objective legal analysis. Class sessions with lawyers will expose you to the diverse practice settings and substantive areas of practice in which you may choose to use your law degree. As a result, you will be able to make more informed choices about your elective courses and better position yourself for success in the job market.

  • Constitutional Law I (3 credits)
  • Contracts (4 credits)
  • Law Practice II: Contexts and Competencies (2 credits)
  • Legal Analysis & Writing II: Persuasive (2 credits)
  • Legal Research II (1 credit)
  • Property (4 credits)
  • Race and the Equal Protection of the Laws (1 credit earned in spring 1L semester)
Experiential Learning Requirement

The capstone of our educational mission to ready you for the workplace is the upper-level experiential learning requirement. You will practice law in a real-world setting as a certified legal intern in our in-house legal clinics; as an intern with a government agency, federal or state prosecutor or public defender’s office, or nonprofit entity; or by full immersion in a legal setting in our semester-in-practice program.

Students must earn at least 6 of the required 12 credits by practicing law in an in-house legal clinic, an internship, or a semester-in-practice. The student may earn the remaining credits by enrolling in courses designated as experiential learning courses. For more information, see the above J.D. Requirements.