​To earn a Certificate in Public Interest Law, a student must complete the eighty-six (86) semester hours required for the Juris Doctor (JD) degree and satisfy all JD requirements. Within the elective course work required for the JD degree, a student must complete 12 (twelve) credits of required courses: two core courses, one writing component, and one experiential component. In addition, the student must complete one three (3) credit elective. All courses are worth three (3) credits each unless otherwise indicated. Certificate courses may not be audited.

An applicant must earn a minimum GPA of 3.00 in the certificate courses. If a student takes more than the 15 (fifteen) credits required for the Certificate, all of the  Public Interest Law courses will factor into the final GPA. A student must declare on the Certificate application form all public interest courses tkaen, even if a grade is not yet known. A student may earn a maximum of one Certificate while enrolled in law school.

Course Requirements

Electives

Students must take three courses from the following:

Service in Public Interest Law

Students must satisfy both of the following experiences:  (1) One semester in a public service-oriented clinical or field placement program and (2) fifty (50) hours of service  through the Pro Bono Community Service Initiative.
Foundations of Public Interest Law

Students must take at least one of the following courses:

LAW 202

EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION

(3 credit hours) This course covers the most important Federal laws dealing with discrimination in employment and emphasizes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The course is designed to develop an understanding and recognition of racism and sexism in the context of employment.

LAW 206

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND THE LAW

3 credit hours. An examination of the legal issues raised by sexual orientation. Beginning with prosecution of sodomy and legal discrimination, including exclusion from military service, and anti-civil rights initiatives. The struggle for gay lesbian rights will be examined in the context of employment, schools, and domestic relations.

LAW 213

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

(3 hrs) This course will examine the criminal system response to domestic violence, focusing on the transformation of laws and institutions to address a problem historically conceptualized as "private." Topics will include: barriers to victim cooperation and law enforcemnet; law and policies governing mandatory arrest and prosecution; marital rape; battering during pregnancy; battered women who kill; expert testimony on battered woman syndrome; child protection concerns; evidentiary issues arising in domestic violence trials; anti-stalking legislation; civil/criminal protective order practice; and recent US Supreme Court decisions impacting domestic violence.

LAW 250

SENIOR RESEARCH SEMINAR

(3 hrs) Required for JD. The student must write an in-depth paper of Law Review quality on a topic of the professor's choosing.

LAW 313

CRIMINAL JUVENILE JUSTICE

(3 hrs) This course will deal with the legal processes for dealing with juvenile crimes and status offenses.

LAW 323

CHILD PROTECTION: ABUSE & NEGLECT

(3 credits) This course deals with the legal processes for dealing with child abuse and neglect.

LAW 359

INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS

(3 hrs) Examines issues in workplaces that are not governed by collective bargaining, such as hiring, wrongful termination, workplace privacy and defamation, protection against harassment, employees' legal obligations to employers.

LAW 361

ECONOMIC JUSTICE, IDENTITIES & MARKETS

This course will explore how the law and the marketplace create and preserve economic inequality according to race, gender, sexual orientation, and other identity categories while maintaining a stance of 'neutrality.' The class will critically analyze the inter-relatedness of law, markets, and identity using frame-works from classic market theory, law and economics, critical race theory, feminist legal theory, 'queer theory,' and critical legal studies. The course objective is to provide critical analytic skills to students to develop contemporary critiques of classic market and legal structures for the purpose of aiding subordinated communities in the pursuit of economic justice. By so doing, students should be able to negotiate more effectively, the societal tension between 'efficiency' and 'equality' in the law and in the marketplace. The course and casebook are designed to provide materials for students and teachers do not have formal training of economics, but who are interested in cross-cutting issues of discrimination and unequal wealth that results from the history of cumulative and synergistic discrimination. 3 credit hours

LAW 367

ANIMAL LAW

This course will offer a comprehensive examination of the rights afforded to animals as well as a look at the application and enforcement of those rights. Topics will include a history of animal rights, legislation, case law, ethics, lobbying and a discussion of issues confronting major lobbying and activist organizations. Constitutional, land use planning, international and environmental law issues will also be presented. The course will be taught through lecture and extensive class discussion including case and regulation analysis. 3 credit hours

LAW 410

EVIDENCE

(3 hrs) A survey of the rules governing the presentation, admission and exclusion of facts in civil and criminal judicial proceedings, including rules of competency, relevancy, privilege and hearsay.

LAW 417

LABOR LAW

This course addresses the common law and federal statutes applicable to private sector labor-management relations with an emphasis on organizational matters and negotiations. The course contains the following aspects: statutory interpretation, policy concerns, appropriate practical strategies for both labor and management, social issues and values, ethical issues, advocacy skills, administrative law, critical analysis of decisions, remedies and the relationship of federal labor law to other laws.

LAW 422

PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW

(3 hrs) Covers the general principles of international relations, including such topics as what is a state, the elements of state responsibility, jurisdiction and nationality, the Law of War, the United Nations and certain international organizations.

LAW 444

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

(3 hrs) A survey of federal and state remedies for the protection of the environment.

LAW 449

PREDATORY LENDING

(3 hrs.) This course will examine the origins and dimensions of predatory lending, defined as mortgage loan origination fraud and foreclosure rescue fraud. Emphasis will be given to the development of the sub-prime mortgage market, facets of predatory lending and various methods to curb it. This course will include background lectures and discussion, case study and analysis, and written and oral advocacy exercises related to actual cases.

LAW 457

FEMINIST JURISPRUDENCE

3 credit hours. This course examines various feminist legal theories and their impact on the philosophy of law. After introductory materials addressing equality theory and constitutional standards, the class will apply feminist legal theories to different substantive areas, especially violence against women.

LAW 464

ADVANCED CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: PRETRIAL

(3 hrs) Offers an in-depth analysis of the decision to prosecute, restraints and prerogatives in the acquisition and use of evidence of criminal conduct, the law of arrest, search and seizure, interrogation, pretrial detention, preliminary hearings, pretrial motions, plea bargaining and other selected topics related to the pretrial phase of criminal prosecutions.
Prerequisites:
LAW 506 and LAW 518 are a prerequisite for this class.

LAW 465

ADVANCED CRIMINAL PROCEDURE: TRIAL

3 credit hours. Analyzes the important phases of the criminal trial, including jury selection, opening and closing statements, presentation of witnesses, defense issues, assistance of counsel, guilty pleas, double jeopardy, jury instructions, sentencing, and ethical issues.

LAW 468

WHEN JUSTICE FAILS

This course is designed to examine the circumstances in which the judicial system is likely to fail to serve the interests of justice. The course begins with an examination of the ideas and historical events that have led us to expect that our courts will operate in a neutral and fair manner. At the same time, some consideration is given to when the system is unlikely to operation in this manner. the bulk of the course will be spent in examining five famous trials in which justice appears to have failed. 3 credit hours.

LAW 472

MENTAL HEALTH LAW

(3 hrs) Cross listed course for Public Services program. Examines significant issues in law and psychiatry and involves indepth research and writing. Subjects include regulation of mental health professionals, malpractice, informed consent, confidentiality, incompetency, guardianship, commitment and mental health issues related to criminal law.

LAW 477

FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOM OF SPEECH

(3 cr.) This is an advanced constitutional course focusing upon First Amendment Freedom of Speech. Topics that will be covered include: the history and philosophy of freedom of speech; speech that incites action; fighting words; libel; obscenity and sexually explicit speech; commercial speech; content-based and content-neutral regulations of speech; vagueness and overbreath; prior restraints upon speech; freedom of association; the right not to speak; campaign contributions as speech; freedom of association; freedom of the press; and, the broadcast media.

LAW 482

INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS I

(3 hrs) Surveys and analyzes the legal aspects of protecting human rights through international action. Relevant treaties, conventions and international practices are discussed.

LAW 487

HOUSING LAW

(3 hrs) An examination of local and federal laws and policies aimed at creating and preserving housing, low-income and affordable housing, both rental and owner-occupied. Includes consideration of housing-related litigation and issues related to subsidized housing, landlord-tenant court, fair housing, and predatory mortgage lending.

LAW 490

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

(3 credit hours) This course examines state court decisions from around the country to illustrate the array of state constitutional issues occurring in modern American law. State constitutions are a source of rights independent of the Federal Constitution and frequently are applied by state courts to grant more expansive protection for individual rights than the Federal Constitution afford. Moreover, state constitutional law, like its federal counterpart, is not limited to issues involving individual rights. Course coverage may include equality, due process of law, criminal procedure, property rights, religion, freedom of speech, school funding, the right to a remedy, the structure of state government, judicial power, and amendment processes.

LAW 497

CONSUMER PROTECTION

(3 hrs) Surveys the common law and state and federal statutes which protect consumers in various aspects of sales and credit transactions. The course begins with inducements (advertising and marketing techniques), explores financing the deal (credit regulation), substantive contract tersm (unconscionability, warranties, and interest rates) and post-transaction problems (debt collection).

LAW 503

CIVIL RIGHTS

(3 hrs) Analyzes selected topics in the civil rights field, with emphasis on the reconstruction amendments to the Constitution and equal protection. Statutory issues will be discussed. Different topics will be chosen for in-depth treatment, such as voting rights, housing, criminal justice administration and education.

LAW 507

FEDERAL CRIMINAL LAW

(3 hrs) Examines criminal enforcement resources, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statute, mail fraud, drug enforcement, criminal tax issues, criminal civil rights, obstruction of justice, fugitive felons and other aspects of federal criminal system.
Prerequisites:
LAW 506 and LAW 518 are a prerequisite for this class.

LAW 516

IMMIGRATION LAW AND POLICY

(3 hrs) This course gives students an understanding of the complexities of U.S. immigration law and policy. Topics of discussion include: sources of immigration power; role of the federal courts; methods of admission, including family and employment immigration; grounds of removal; and the acquisition of citizenship.

LAW 517

ASYLUM AND REFUGEE LAW AND POLICY

(3 hrs) Examines the substantive asylum law based on the Refugee Act of 1980 and the United States response to refugees within the context of the United Nations Convention and the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

LAW 531

LABOR RELATIONS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

(3 hrs) Explores the existence and extent of public and quasi-public employment rights to engage in concerted activities, to be represented by unions and to bargain collectively. Attention is given to the context and implementation of federal, state and local legislation and ordinances andvarious executive orders. Emphasis is given to the various dispute resolution and impass resolution machinery developed in the public sector, including mediation, fact-finding, voluntary arbitration and mandatory arbitration.

LAW 546

POVERTY LAW

(3 hrs) Provides an overview of poverty law and the legal problems encountered by the poor in our society. The course considers legislative and administrative representation as methods of poverty advocacy, as well as the current trend away from constitutional litigation and toward state responsibility. It considers the legal developments in poverty law including housing, education, family and public benefits.

LAW 561

COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

This public interest law course will focus on the strategies for developing low-income communities and to engage in strategies and organizational forms to change lives. 3 credit hours

LAW 586

CONSTITUTIONAL TORTS & SECTION 1983

(3 crs.) This course provides an in depth study of 42 USC sec. 1983, the most widely used statute for protecting civil rights and redressing violations of the constitution. Among the topics covered are the elements and defenses to a cause of action, municipal liability, absolute and qualified immunity for public officials, state action, monetary relief, injunctive remedies, causation, choice of forum, and attorney's fee shifting.
Prerequisites:
LAW 410 is a prerequisite for this class.

LAW 702

ELDER LAW

(3 hrs) Cross listed course for Public Services program. Deals with the new speciality of elder law. Considering today's demographics, many attorneys will require a knowledge of the unique problems of the aging population. Through statutes, cases and research, students will understand the lawyer's role in counseling the elderly, assess the legal needs of an elderly client and provide counsel as to the available options.

LAW 730

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN CRIMINAL LAW

(3 hrs) Cross listed course for Public Services program. Deals with how mental disability affects the legal rights and liabilities of persons in the criminal justice system. Among the issues considered are the insanity defense, alternative criminal accountability concepts, fitness to stand trial, and various provisions for the treatment of sex offenders and prisoners.

LAW 412

FEDERAL COURTS

(3 hrs) Studies the problems, conflicts and accommodations in jurisdiction, procedure and review peculiar to the dual system of federal and state courts.
Prerequisites:
LAW 140 is a prerequisite for this class.

LAW 493

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: FIRST AMENDMENT RELIGION CLAUSES

(3 hrs) This course explores religious freedom in America under the First Amendment. The focus of the course is on the constitutional doctrines relating to the Free Exercise Clause and the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, as well as the underlying assumptions and conflicts that have animated First Amendment constitutional argument over time. In addition, the course proposes to examine the extent to which religious interest groups have influence and control the development of religion clause jurisprudence.

LAW 508

ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

(3 credit hours) Reviews the powers and procedures of federal, state and local administrative bodies as they affect private parties, including administrative jurisdiction, adjudication, rulemaking, methods of decision, rules of evidence and judicial review.

LAW 518

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

3 credit hours. A survey of the administration of criminal justice, with an emphasis on pretrial procedure. Primary focus is placed upon government evidence gathering, as well as the prosecution and defense of offenders.

LAW 521

LEGISLATIVE PROCESS

(3 hrs) Surveys the legal aspects of the legislative process such as legislative structure, role of statutes, committees, access to information, enactment process, campaign finance, lobbying, speech and debate clauses, and legislative compromise.