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University of Missouri - Kansas City (School of Law)

The UMKC School of Law is dedicated to educating students to become outstanding lawyers who will serve their communities and the nation in the highest traditions of the legal profession, and is committed to producing significant scholarship that will enrich legal discourse among those who study and practice law.

UMKC takes pride in being the urban law school in the University of Missouri system. From this unique vantage point, faculty and students actively lead and participate in professional activities with greater Kansas City bar associations, continuing legal education programs, lawyers and law firms located in both Kansas and Missouri and the judiciary.

The School of Law community enjoys strong partnerships with many area causes and concerns. A variety of community-based projects, ranging from the rehabilitation of inner-city houses to tax preparation services, receive benefits from this involvement. Students work with faculty on research of value to the community and are often involved in drafting or commenting on pending legislation. The Law School houses and assists the Kansas City Youth Court, a diversion program from juvenile court, where high school students act as lawyers and judges. Faculty, students, staff and alumni volunteers also help introduce inner-city high school students to careers in law.

Graduates of the UMKC School of Law have important responsibilities in legal arenas throughout the city, state and country. From corporate counsel positions in more than 25 national companies to the library of the Supreme Court of the United States, Law School alumni provide distinguished service.

On a local level, the annual listing of "Outstanding Lawyers in the Kansas City Metropolitan Area" names more UMKC alumni than from any other school. In addition, only two women have served as president of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association; both are UMKC Law School alumnae. A majority of the active judges of both the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri and the Missouri Court of Appeals (Western District) are graduates of the School of Law. Circuit benches throughout the multicounty metropolitan area are filled with a predominant number of UMKC alumni.

The Law School is proud of the fine reputation of its alumni and the outstanding contributions they have made and continue to make in both the legal and non-legal communities.

UMKC Law School graduates have a wide variety of job opportunities available. The largest number of them join law firms, ranging in size from one to more than 500 attorneys. Some of these firms specialize in advising corporate clients or solving civil legal problems. Others practice solely criminal defense. Many firms offer a general practice that spans corporate, civil and criminal law; some deal mainly with litigation work, personal injury cases, family law; or copyright, patent and trademark law.

Some law graduates do not want to practice law at all, desiring instead to use their legal skills in the business world as executives, bankers and corporate tax experts. Therefore, corporations, accounting firms, title companies, banks and insurance companies recruit them.

The legal departments of state and municipal government agencies also employ graduates. Prosecutors' offices, public defenders and legal service organizations recruit at the school. Branches of the United States military recruit lawyers for service in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and federal government agencies, such as the Department of Labor and the Environmental Protection Agency, hire graduates to staff their legal departments. Graduates have taken positions in all of these settings.

The school's juris doctor degree program is designed to prepare students for the general practice of law and for policy-forming functions in government, business and other organizations in society. Courses provide students with a basic knowledge of the principles and processes of the Anglo-American system of law and of the integration of law into other disciplines and institutions.

The curriculum and program recognize that in order to be of the utmost service to clients, the lawyer must "see life whole" and appreciate the relationships among legal, social and political aspects of human endeavor. They also recognize that the best interests of society require a lawyer to be a thinker and scholar as well as a skilled technician.

Both the curriculum and methods of instruction are designed to meet these objectives. Although the casebook method is the predominant form of classroom instruction in larger classes, the faculty also employ other approaches. Classes such as lawyering skills, negotiating mergers and acquisitions, mediation, and law practice management combine theory with opportunities to learn about lawyering first-hand. Many of the classes use documents and "real life" problems to demonstrate concepts studied in class. The curriculum also includes opportunities for research and writing, seminar discussions, clinical instruction and skills training.

The School of Law is committed to its students' success. Although the study of law is a difficult and challenging endeavor, the school attempts to work with students to maximize their efforts and see them through the process successfully. Several programs contribute to this effort.

The Structured Study Group Program, which is based on the innovative Supplemental Instruction (SI) model developed by the campus Center for Academic Development, offers first-year students the opportunity to participate in guided study groups in one of their first-year courses. The groups are led by an upper-class student who has successfully completed that course. The student leader attends the class with the first-year students and conducts weekly small-group sessions in which the leader models successful learning strategies for that class.

The Academic Enrichment Program is available to all students. It is especially beneficial for those students who feel they need assistance in the transition to law study. The Academic Enrichment Program is not remedial in nature. Rather, it is designed to maximize the potential of students who participate by teaching skills and strategies for success in law school.

Academic Enrichment begins with a brief summer program immediately before orientation. This is a limited enrollment program to give students a "jump-start" to their legal education. This program is followed up during the academic year with weekly group meetings focusing on learning styles, learning strategies, time management and development of skills necessary for law school success. Students also meet weekly with Academic Enrichment teaching assistants. The year-long program is open to all students.

The Business and Entrepreneurial Law Emphasis Area is designed to provide a well-rounded program of study for students interested in an emphasis on business law and transactional practice. Reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of conducting business in compliance with a variety of modern laws and regulations, the required courses and electives for this program have been selected to expose students to a wide range of substantive law education and skills training opportunities. Thus, in addition to required and elective courses in pertinent areas of law, the curriculum requirements include a course with a practical skills component, as well as training in ethics and a research and writing project targeted at business and entrepreneurial law topics. Students who qualify for and successfully complete the credential requirements in the Business and Entrepreneurial Law Emphasis Area should thereby be in an excellent position to pursue and succeed in careers as advisors to entrepreneurs and to for-profit or not-for-profit businesses, whether in private practice or in company legal departments. This program would also be suitable for students destined for public sector careers, particularly in areas involving the regulation of businesses and business transactions.

The legal system is called upon to solve a host of societal problems, but none more fundamental and complex than the problems of planning and adjustment of relationships within families. The demand for legal services for families is great: more people use an attorney to address family law issues than any other legal need; over half of all state court cases involve domestic relations matters. Moreover, these cases routinely require more than mere legal advocacy or negotiation. The field of family law requires an entirely different type of lawyer – one who can work collaboratively with professionals from a wide variety of disciplines to craft creative and just solutions and empower clients to work together toward long-term solutions.

The UMKC School of Law Emphasis in Child and Family Law prepares students to serve these pressing and unique legal needs. The program prepares students to serve the whole family -- from infants to elders -- and maintains a unique collaborative and interdisciplinary framework. The emphasis program requires that students master the basic doctrine and legal theories involved when the legal system interacts with families. In addition, however, students undertake study exposing them to the perspectives of other disciplines such as psychology and social work. Students study the unique ethical dilemmas of this area of law in specialized workshops and gain hands-on experience in representing children and families in the program’s clinical components. Finally, all students in the emphasis complete an in-depth capstone research and writing project. Students who qualify for and successfully complete the credential requirements in the Child and Family Law program should be in an excellent position to pursue and succeed in careers serving children, families, and elders, whether in private or government practice or in other leadership roles.

School name:University of Missouri - Kansas CitySchool of Law
Address:5100 Rockhill Road
Zip & city:MS 64110 Missouri

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