Catholic University of America (Columbus School of Law)

The School of Law at The Catholic University of America is committed to excellence in legal education within the profound intellectual tradition of the Church. Giving priority to the sacred dignity and uniqueness of each human person, the law school program is a standing invitation for men and women to pursue a professional calling fully informed by faith, moral inquiry and respect for the rule of law. The rigorous course of study embodies, in the words of the university's first rector, "the harmony between reason and revelation . . . [and] the genius of America."

Founded by Pope Leo XIII in the late 19th Century, The Catholic University of America maintains a singular charter and standing both within the Church in America and around the world. Welcoming students and faculty of all faiths ever since its inception in 1897, the School of Law understands legal training as a form of servant-leadership enabling lawyers to take up the burdens of others and make possible a civil and peaceful life in accord with God's creative design. Often referenced as the Columbus School of Law because of its alliance with an early program of legal education supported by the Knights of Columbus, the 1.6 million "strong right arm" of the lay Church, the Columbus School of Law has been accredited by the Association of American Law Schools since 1921 and the American Bar Association since 1925.

The CUA law faculty are well-recognized for their teaching and scholarly distinction throughout a comprehensive and well-structured curriculum. The law school takes full advantage of its strategic location just minutes from the Congress and the Supreme Court by enlivening required study with presentations by national and international decision-makers, either as adjunct faculty or distinguished lecturers. The highly regarded Institutes in Law and Religion as well as Law and Public Policy introduce students to the jurisprudential sources and legislative, administrative and empirical methods necessary to make law both just and effective. Another Institute dealing with Comparative and International Law prepares law students for global legal work and is attractively augmented by a sought-after summer program. Conducted at The 14th Century Jagiellonian University, one of Europe's most prestigious universities, CUA students study, not as insulated sightseers, but collaboratively with their international peers. And long before other law schools incorporated a few classes discussing the Internet and advanced technology, CUA's Communications Law Institute has been inviting talented students to address the multi-faceted legal problems of new and established forms of media in courses and integrated fieldwork with the FCC, Congress and the telecommunications industry, itself.

Guided by the Church's preferential option for the poor and believing that the measure of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens, the Columbus School of Law is the acknowledged pioneer in clinical legal instruction in Washington, D.C. The school's Columbus Community Legal Services translates faith into action by meeting the needs of the elderly, the oppressed, and the least advantaged with compassion and dedication.

The Columbus School of Law occupies a state-of-the-art facility completed in 1994 and situated amidst the university's venerable stone structures and spacious tree-lined quadrangles. The 170,000 square foot law building with ample library, classroom, student activity, and office space is built around a magnificent atrium. Our alumni are privileged to serve in both high elective and appointed office and as principals in law firms and businesses across the nation. In the profession, the families they nourish, and the communities they build or sustain, they are the living testament to CUA's commitment to excellence shaped by faith.

At the Columbus School of Law of The Catholic University of America we realize that lawyers have an ever changing responsibility to society. Lawyers find themselves continually challenged to create new laws and legal institutions, to correct the imbalance between the rich and the poor, to protect individual freedom from encroachment by the state, and to preserve human dignity in an increasingly crowded society.

The law school's curriculum is designed to provide law students with the analytic skills and basic knowledge to become effective lawyers in this changing legal environment.

The acquisition of legal skills is a process that occurs during the course of a lifetime. The educational experience at the Columbus School of Law is designed to provide the student with the intellectual foundation upon which this lifelong process can be built. There is no single formula for constructing that foundation. The wide variety of courses and types of educational experiences offered by the law school provide the student the opportunity to choose the curriculum that is most compatible with the student's intellectual interests and career objectives.

At the Columbus School of Law, the academic programs are a comprehensive legal education weaving a strong theoretical foundation with sophisticated practical training. This distinctive educational approach furnishes students with the mental tools to face the demands of the 21st century.

The Juris Doctor program at the Columbus School of Law is a comprehensive legal education experience designed to equip our students for a professional career in the law. An extensive course selection, professional skills training, clinical opportunities and co-curricular activities add up to a rich academic program.

To be eligible for the J.D. degree a student must meet the school's residency requirement and earn at least 84 semester hours of credit while maintaining a GPA of at least 2.0.

Students can earn their degrees in either a six-semester day program or an eight-semester evening program. Courses are offered in two academic year semesters and one annual summer session. Both day and evening semesters run from August to mid December and January to mid May.

Classes in both divisions are scheduled Mondays through Fridays and occasionally Saturday mornings. All students should be prepared to devote a significant amount of time to library research.

One of the greatest benefits of the Columbus School of Law is our class size. The law school maintains smaller-than-average class size to ensure considerable student and faculty interchange. Average class size is 70 for first-year students and 30 for the upper division. Few classes are larger than 80.
At the Columbus School of Law, the academic programs are a comprehensive legal education weaving a strong theoretical foundation with sophisticated practical training. This distinctive educational approach furnishes students with the mental tools to face the demands of the 21st century.

The first-year curriculum, which is prescribed for all students, is designed to develop the basic analytic skills that characterize the able lawyer and to give the student some familiarity with the dominant features of the substantive areas of law.

The courses, materials, and method of teaching in the first year are designed to enable the student to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, to question underlying assumptions and supposed facts, and to place real-life situations into a workable legal framework.

Through the analysis of judicial opinions, statutes, and other material, the first year curriculum is designed to give students the ability to perceive a problem from many different perspectives and to realize that choices must be made and procedures must be followed to effectively meet the client's needs. The student learns to use facts, to isolate the relevant from the less relevant, and to arrange a factual pattern into a legal framework. The student also learns how to apply legal principles in different practical applications.

The first-year curriculum is also fashioned to orient the student to the general areas of substantive law. No law student, or lawyer for that matter, can have a detailed knowledge of all legal areas but the student should be able to recognize the basic legal dimensions of a problem and work that problem through to its conclusion. The first-year curriculum is designed to give students a fundamental understanding of the law.

A pioneer in clinical education with programs dating back over 30 years, CUA's well-established clinical programs draw on a rich history, while preparing students for law practice in the 21st Century.

The clinical curriculum offers eight programs that provide a variety of clinical experiences suited to most students' personal learning objectives. Five programs emphasize case planning and strategy, trial or administrative advocacy, and work with clients in real situations. These programs are Advocacy for the Elderly, the Families and the Law Clinic, and the General Practice Clinic offered by Columbus Community Legal Services; Mediation Clinic; Criminal Prosecution Clinic; and D.C. Law Students in Court, civil and criminal divisions.

Students learn practical trial techniques, refine research and writing skills, and develop other important lawyering skills, such as counseling, interviewing, negotiating, and mediating. Students also have opportunities to wrestle with the ethical issues that confront lawyers and to examine such critical issues as racism, sexism, and class bias in the context of the legal system as well as power imbalances and negotiator styles in alternative dispute resolution.

In each of the three Columbus Community Legal Services clinics, students have primary responsibility for their clients' cases. The students may draft pleadings, deal with opposing counsel, argue motions, conduct hearings before local and federal agencies, conduct trials in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, and present appeals to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The clinics' supervising attorneys interact daily with students and closely monitor case strategy and development. A supervising attorney also accompanies each student to all court appearances. In the Mediation Clinic, after extensive mediation training, students serve as neutral mediators in a range of campus and community disputes.

The other two programs are the Securities and Exchange Commission Student Observer Program and the Legal Externship Program in which students with special interests can set up individual placements.

In addition to the "live client" programs, the law school offers excellent simulation courses in appellate advocacy, educational law practice, interviewing, counseling and negotiation skills, mediation and arbitration skills, trial advocacy, trial practice and trial skills.

The law school curriculum offers concentrations in areas that are the fulcrum of national and international social, economic and political changes. These concentrations include international law, communications law, law and public policy, law and religion and securities and corporate law. Through coursework, externships, research opportunities and lecture series that make up these institutes and special programs, students have the opportunities to gain the extensive knowledge and skills that future employees are looking for.

School name:Catholic University of AmericaColumbus School of Law
Address:3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Zip & city:D.C. 20064 District of Columbia

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