Curriculum

UMass Law's curriculum reflects a combination of tradition and innovation, combining subjects that form the core of a comprehensive legal education with an emphasis on skills and values based on best practices—all within the context of our mission to educate lawyers prepared to pursue justice. 

Curriculum guides & checklists: see Law Enrollment Center

Core program requirements

  • Contracts‌
  • Property
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Evidence

Skills & writing requirements

Legal Skills Program: A 3-semester Legal Skills requirement uses a simulation-based approach to teach such fundamental lawyering skills as:

  • Legal analysis
  • Legal research
  • Legal writing
  • Oral argument
  • Fact analysis
  • Client interviewing
  • Client Counseling
  • Negotiation
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving

Upper-level writing requirement: Students must also satisfy an upper-level writing requirement by writing a paper in an elective course or as an independent research project.

Distribution requirements

There are 3 "distribution" requirements:

Code requirement: Students are required to take at least 1 course (3 credits) in which the primary focus is on statutory (rather than case) law. Courses that satisfy this requirement include:

  • Commercial Law
  • Secured Transactions
  • Federal Income Tax

Foundational requirement: Students are required to take at least 6 credits of "foundational" courses, which include:

  • Business Organizations
  • Trusts and Estates
  • Administrative Law
  • Family Law
  • Any elective designated as a code course that is not used to satisfy the code distribution requirement

Practice requirement: All students are required to take at least 6 credits of "practice" courses, which include:

In-House Clinics

Off-Site Clinics

Field Placement

Simulation Courses

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Criminal Motion Practice
  • Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation
  • Land Use Regulation
  • Family Law Practice
  • Interviewing, Counseling, Negotiating, and Fact Investigation Practice
  • Massachusetts Probate Practice
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Trial Practice

Effective for the entering class of 2014, 3 of the 6 practice credits must be satisfied through a clinical or field placement course, thus ensuring that all students have a real professional practice experience.

Bar preparation

Students are also required to complete the Bar Preparation course in their final semester.

Pro Bono requirement

All students are required to volunteer the equivalent of at least 1 work-week of pro bono legal or law-related work under the supervision of a licensed attorney in a law office, government office, legal services organization, or other non-profit organization.

More information

Credit Hours Policy