REQUIREMENTS FOR AWARD OF THE J.D. DEGREE
To graduate with a J.D. degree from the UNT Dallas College of Law, the following requirements
must be met:
1. Credit hour requirement. Students must complete no fewer than 90 semester credit hours.
2. Residency requirement. Students must complete at least 53 credit hours in residence.
3. Completion of required courses. For the required courses, see required courses listed in Curricular Requirements.
4. Completion of Writing, Skills, Research, Experiential, Practice-Related Technology, and Advocacy Requirements.
5. Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
6. Complete all requirements in no fewer than 24 months and in no more than 6 years after matriculating at the College of Law or at a law school from which the student has received transfer credit. The ABA Standards address the pace at which a student may complete his or her legal studies. Standard 304(c) requires that the course of study for a J.D. degree be completed “no earlier than 24 months and no later than 84 months after a student has commenced law study at the law school or a law school from which the school has accepted transfer credit.” The College of Law has adopted a maximum period of 6 years (72 months). In exceptional circumstances, the College of Law may extend this requirement but for no more than the maximum allowed by ABA Standard 304(c).
First-Year Required Courses
Note: Some of these courses will occur in the fall semester of the second year for evening-division students.
• Lawyering Fundamentals
• Civil Procedure (2 semesters, 5 hours total)
• Contracts (4 hours total)
• Criminal Law (3 hours)
• Legal Methods (1 hour)
• Legal Research (2 hours)
• Legal Writing (2 semesters, 6 hours total)
• Interviewing and Counseling (3 hours)
• Property I (2 hours)
• Torts (4 hours)
Second-Year Required Courses
• Constitutional Law (4 hours)
• Federal Criminal Procedure
• Negotiation and Conflict Resolution (3 hours)
• Property (4 hours)
• Legal Writing III (3 hours)
(Note: Legal Writing III will occur in the third year for the evening-division students.)
Other Required Courses
After the first-year courses are completed, students are required to fulfill one of two upper-level course menus in order to graduate. Determining which menu applies is based on each student’s cumulative GPA at the end of the second semester (for students in the day division) or at the end of the third semester (for students in the evening division). If a student’s cumulative GPA after completing the first-year curriculum is 3.00 or higher, those students take required courses from the UBE Required Menu. Those students may elect:
- UBE Family Law (3 hours) or UBE Wills, Trusts, and Estates (3 hours)
- Business Associations (3 hours) or Commercial Law (Sales and Secured Transactions) (3 hours)
- Conflicts of Law (2 hours) or Remedies (2 hours)
For a student whose cumulative GPA was below 3.00 after completing the first-year curriculum, those students must take required courses from the UBE Modified Menu and they must enroll in:
- UBE Family Law (3 hours)
- UBE Wills, Trusts, and Estates (3 hours)
- Business Associations (3 hours)
- Commercial Law (Sales and Secured Transactions) (3 hours)
and either Conflicts of Law (2 hours) or Remedies (2 hours).
In addition, all students must complete:
• Evidence (3 hours) or Evidence Practicum (4 hours)
• Professional Responsibility (3 hours)
• Capstone I: Legal Analysis and Bar Readiness (3 hours)
• Capstone II: Legal Analysis and Bar Readiness (3 hours)
In addition to required courses, some required courses contain requirements related to an important skills, experiences, or proficiency that students at the College of Law are expected to attain. Requirements are satisfied through credit-bearing courses, not-for-credit courses or experiences, or demonstrated proficiency.
Writing Requirement. To graduate, students must satisfy the Upper-Level Major Writing Requirement. After the first year of law school, UNT Dallas College of Law students are required to complete a three-hour Legal Writing III course in the fall (full-time students) or spring (part-time students) of their second year. The College of Law offers a variety of Legal Writing III courses that students can select based on their interest, including: (i) Appellate Drafting; (ii) Civil Motions; (iii) Criminal Motions; (iv) Discovery Drafting; (v) From Bar to Practice Readiness (by referral); (vi) Judicial Writing; (vii) Transactional Drafting; and (viii) Teaching Fellows (by application/invitation only). Legal Writing III courses, which are taught by full-time professors or adjunct professors who have previously taught Legal Writing I or II, offer a rigorous writing experience that enables College of Law students to fine-tune their legal writing skills, while simultaneously exploring various areas of substantive law. Legal Writing III is designed to give students experience drafting multiple writing assignments and engaging in the process of rewriting each of the major assignments in the course. Although the type of writings being drafted vary based on the topic of the Legal Writing III course, all Legal Writing III courses include at least (and often more than) a total of 25-pages of writing with the opportunity to rewrite the major assignment(s) after significant written and oral feedback from the course professor. Major writing assignments must comprise at least 60 percent of the course grade. Additionally, all Legal Writing III courses require students to complete at least two Multi-State Performance Tests ("MPT") selected by the Director of Legal Writing. A practice MPT will be given at the midterm exam and a graded MPT (worth 10 percent of the course grade) will be given at the final exam.
Research Requirement. The Research Requirement is satisfied by completion of four to five (4-5) research segments (UBE Required Menu has 4 required research segments. UBE Modified Menu has 5 required research segments). A research segment requires the completion of at least one significant research assignment, which will include a research plan, a research trail, and a research bibliography. To ensure that students become proficient in the foundational information and research abilities required in practice, multiple research segments will address and reinforce knowledge of sources, creation of a research plan, use of multiple platforms for research, maintaining a research trail, and storing information.
Skills Requirement. The Skills Requirement is satisfied by completion of two to three (2-3) skills segments in addition to the skills provided in the required classes of Practice Foundations I and Practice Foundations II. (UBE Required Menu has 2 required skills segments. UBE Modified Menu has 3 required skills segments). A skills segment is a performance or activity in which students are assessed and which requires a student to engage in one or more of the following professional skills, or other skills recognized by the faculty as a possible basis for a skills segment: interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency and self-evaluation.
Experiential Education Requirement. To satisfy this requirement, a student must complete either an Externship or a Clinic (3 hours each).
Non-Credit Bearing Experiential Course Requirements. Students must satisfy both requirements below.
1. Satisfactory completion of the Community Engagement Program
2. Satisfactory completion of the L.A. Bedford Mentorship Program
Advocacy Requirement. The Advocacy Requirement is satisfied by competing on a traveling Moot Court or Mock Trial team or by competing in the Thompson-Knight intra-school Moot Court Competition in the fall semester or the Kastl’s Law Intra-school Mock Trial competition in the spring semester or by participating as a witness in the Kastl’s Law competition.
Practice-Related Technology Requirement. The Practice-Related Technology Requirement ensures that students graduate with
competence in practice-related technologies. Competent and effective law practice
entails the ability to use such technologies. Rule 1.1 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional
Conduct explains that the requirement of competent representation “requires the legal
knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation necessary for the representation,”
and competent representation requires a lawyer to “keep abreast of changes in the
law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.”
To satisfy this Requirement, students must demonstrate basic proficiency as to practice-related
technologies, including case management and time-keeping software; trial and litigation
software; word processing; and databases. The College of Law will provide means for
necessary training and for demonstrating the required proficiencies. This requirement
may be fulfilled by either of the two options below:
1. LAW 7127- Law Practice Technology (1 hour)
2. Procertas, a practice-technology online course (non-credit bearing)