Capstone Project (4 credits)

Each student will complete a capstone project relating to his or her specialty area. Under the guidance of a faculty member or practitioner advisor, students must demonstrate in their project that they are able to apply at least three of the Program’s core competencies to a practical challenge. The core competencies are:

  • An ability to recognize and understand the legal regimes and structures that regulate or otherwise affect their professional roles;
  • A capacity to read and understand legal documents, including contracts, judicial opinions, statutes, regulations, executive orders, legislative commentaries, and legal opinion letters;
  • An ability to identify the legal context for effectuating policy, and thus to recognize and better appreciate the legal risks that may affect decision-making in public and private organizations;
  • An understanding of major modes of dispute avoidance and resolution, including negotiation, private settlement, mediation, arbitration, and litigation;
  • The ability to conduct basic legal research and draft documents for internal use; and
  • The ability to assess more effectively when legal issues require or justify the engagement of legal professionals and the ability to communicate more effectively with those professionals in identifying and evaluating the range of options appropriate to specific circumstances.

Samples of the types of projects students may use as the basis for their capstone include researching and developing policies; conducting regulatory analysis; or working on legislative advocacy. Projects may relate to specific situations in the student’s own work setting; may be real-life projects submitted by external agencies or institutions to the administrators of the Program; or may be based on topics of particular interest to the student. Students will work with a capstone advisor in their specialty area to obtain approval for their project, develop the topic and the parameters for the project; and receive guidance throughout the process. Final work products may vary depending on the project but students should complete a final paper with research and recommendations of approximately 25-30 pages in length or an equivalent product appropriate to the project. The final product will be formally evaluated by a Maryland Carey Law faculty member with input from external supervisors if appropriate.