Program of Study for J.D. Degree

The Second and Third Years

The only specific course requirement after the first year is the successful completion of Problems in Professional Responsibility. The candidate must also satisfy the Residence, Public Service, Professional Skills and Advanced Writing requirements. All other second-year and third-year courses are elective, making it possible for students to design programs that best suit their interests. A wide range of alternatives, cutting across many fields of law, is available.

Non-traditional Curricular Offerings

In addition to traditional classroom courses, several other types of curricular offerings are available, including:

Seminars permit small groups of students to engage in extended discussions with a faculty member, and to write research papers on a subject of current interest. The seminars available in any particular year will depend on the interests of students and a faculty member in a specific area of research. They may extend from one to three quarters. Students may also earn credit for individual writing and research projects performed under the supervision of a faculty member under Law E500 and Law 600.


Several types of externships for credit are available, including those with:

  • judges (B530)
  • staff members of the Washington Legislature (Law B535)
  • attorneys who work for government agencies (Law B538)
  • attorneys who work with public interest agencies (Law B539)
  • public defenders and state or federal prosecuting attorneys (Law B560)

Under changes to ABA Accreditation Standard 305, adopted in August 2004, all externships should provide opportunities for student reflection on their field placement experience, through a seminar, regularly scheduled tutorials, or other means of guided reflection. Where a student can earn 6 credits or more for fieldwork, the seminar, tutorial, or other means of guided reflection must be provided contemporaneously. The contemporaneous course requirement may limit externship credits to no more than 15 credits during a quarter.

Lawyering Skills

Students may develop lawyer skills in courses providing simulated experiences, such as:

In addition, a limited number of students may obtain live client experience in such areas of practice as the:

Non-Law Coursework

A student enrolled in the Law School may earn up to 18 credits toward the Juris Doctor degree for advanced course work taken in other units of the University. Prior approval must be obtained from the Dean for Students; applications must show that such course work will contribute significantly to the students professional education. Law credit will be granted only for courses in which the student receives a grade of 2.7 or better. Normally, only 400 or graduate-level courses will be approved. Grades from non-law courses will not be used in computing a student’s grade-point average. Students pursuing a concurrent degree program who wish to take advantage of the full allowance of 18 credits of non-law course work should realize that they will not be able to earn externship credits.


The selection of courses in the second- and third-year program is subject to certain limitations:

  1. Only 18 credits may be earned by a student for non-law course work or externships.
  2. Only 8 credits in the aggregate may be earned by a student for Law 600C, D, E, and F.
  3. Only 12 credits in the aggregate may be earned in any calendar academic year for Law E500, Law 600, and seminars, no more than 6 may be earned in any one quarter. A calendar academic year begins with Summer Quarter and ends with the following Spring Quarter.
  4. Some courses in the Law School are offered on a Credit/No Credit basis. There is no limit on the number of non-graded course credits a student may earn. However, it should be noted that membership in the Order of the Coif, the national honor society for lawyers (top 10 percent), is not available to persons who take more than 25 percent of their law school work on a non-graded basis.


The faculty recommends that each student take at least one course that is intended in part to provide a perspective on the legal system and its development. Examples include courses concerning legal philosophy, legal history, jurisprudence, legal method, and foreign, international, or comparative law. Valuable perspectives are also provided by substantive law courses that study the evolution of legislative and judicial responses to important economic and social changes.

To assist each student with planning a program of study consistent with that student's goal, academic counseling is available from the faculty and deans at the Law School.

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