Through a curriculum exceptionally rich in both theoretical and practice-based courses, students in the University of Maryland School of Law J.D. program develop the clarity of thought, precision and analytical skill that are the hallmarks of a successful lawyer. Our 12:1 student/faculty ratio is one of the best in the country. Small class sizes enable students to work in one-on-one settings with some of the country's top law professors, in the classroom, assisting in research, and collaborating on real-life cases and policy development.
A Maryland J.D. combines several key components.
Unique among law schools in the nation, Maryland requires its students to undertake an experiential learning opportunity of providing representation to real-life clients who lack access to justice. Additionally, our externship program enables students to learn, in supervised governmental and not-for-profit organization settings, about law and its practice.
More on practice-based learning.
These programs are leaders in innovation and accomplishment in a wide range of legal fields, providing opportunities for in-depth scholarship and teaching.
More on Specialty Programs.
As at most law schools, first-year students take foundation courses in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Torts, Property and Criminal Law that form the basis for further specialized study.
The School of Law’s specialty programs offer overview introductory courses, supplemented by advanced courses and seminars that enable students to develop a deep understanding of subject areas. Maryland is one of few schools that allow students to begin taking electives in their first year, allowing them to pick and choose from a range of areas to experiment with their interests.
In-depth and interdisciplinary offerings on emerging areas of legal practice give students the opportunity to work with lawyers and other professionals on issues that transcend traditional boundaries.
Students develop in-depth research techniques as they undertake writing assignments of increasing complexity, culminating in the completion of an original paper of publishable quality about a legal problem.
More on the Legal Writing Center.
The School of Law offers enrollment options to fit a range of needs.
Typically students enrolled in the full-time day program complete degree requirements in six semesters over a three-year period. In the first year, full-time day students must take the required curriculum. Beginning with the fall semester, first-year, full-time day students take 16 credits of required classes, with meetings typically Monday through Friday between 8:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
In the spring semester these students take 13 credits of required courses and a two or three credit elective course. After the first year, full-time day students register for 11 to 17 credits in each semester, completing the required courses and selecting from a wide array of electives to develop a program which meets their academic interests and prepares them to achieve their career goals. Full-time day students should not work in their first year and may work no more than 20 hours per week thereafter.
The four year evening program is designed for those who wish to obtain their legal education while working full time. Students in the evening program take required courses in the first two years for approximately 10 credits per semester. First- and second-year evening courses are scheduled Monday through Thursday beginning at 6:30 p.m. and ending between 8:30 and 10:00 p.m. Third- and fourth-year evening students generally register for eight to twelve credits in each semester which may result in students attending two, three or four nights per week. This flexibility of scheduling from a wide array of electives provides students with the opportunity to develop a program which meets their academic interests and prepares them to achieve their career goals.