Students must take 14 credits in their area of concentration. The David A. Clarke School of Law offers concentrations in public interest law. In addition, 7 clinics are offered for 7 credits each in topics such as Small Business and Community Development, Government Accountability Project, and Low-Income Tax. Seminars are offered each semester. A 2-credit internship seminar is required of all students who do an internship. Internships with government or nonprofit agencies, for 4 or 10 credits, are offered for advanced students who have completed 14 credits of clinic and are in good standing. Students may be selected to be research assistants on faculty research projects. The clinics involve students in various forms of field work. In addition, the internship program provides full-time field work, such as in the School’s Immigration Law Project. Special lecture series include the Dean’s Lecture Series. The Career Services Office and student organizations also plan guest speakers’ visits and programs. Students may participate in study abroad programs sponsored by other law schools. The Academic Success Program provides small group and individual tutorials for students during the 3 years of law school. The Program requires students to examine the analytic processes needed to solve legal problems. It also provides counseling and tutoring for students whose GPA falls below 2.0. This program also sponsors workshops on time management, test-taking, and self-regulated learning. The most widely taken electives are Race and The Law, Business Organizations I, and Uniform Commercial Code.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 90 total credits, of which 75 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure I and II, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Law and Justice, Lawyering Process I and II, and Torts I & II. Required upper-level courses consist of Clinic I and II, Constitutional Law I and II, Evidence, Moot Court, Professional Responsibility, and Property I & II. All students must take clinical courses. The required orientation program for first-year students begins in early to mid-August and lasts approximately 2 weeks. Students take two courses, Lawyering Process I and Law and Justice. There are other enrichment activities, such as student and faculty presentations, tours of the Supreme and D.C. Superior Courts, and a Dean’s reception.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 1291 applied, 312 were accepted, and 93 enrolled. Four transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 43; the median GPA was 3 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 25; the highest was 91.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include general background, GPA, and LSAT results. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is March 15. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $35, 2 letters of recommendation, and a supplemental essay. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 96% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $25,200; maximum, $38,550. Awards are based on need and merit. Students may apply for non-need-based alternative loans with eligibility based on credit worthiness. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and NEED ACCESS required for institutional scholarships. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 31. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students are available through need-based named scholarships donated to the law school’s scholarship fund for minority student awards. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.
About 60% of the student body are women; 50%, minorities; 28%, African American; 5%, Asian American; 10%, Hispanic; 1%, Native American; and 6%, foreign nationals. The majority of students come from the South (46%). The average age of entering students is 29; age range is 21 to 57. About 35% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 12% have a graduate degree, and 47% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 5% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 91% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit The District of Columbia Law Review, The Advocate. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include the UDC-DCSL Student Bar Association, Women’s Law Society, Black Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta, National Lawyers Guild, National Association of Public Interest Law, Sports and Entertainment Student Lawyers Association, Voces Juridicus Latinas Student Association, and Gay and Lesbian Outlaw Student Association.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered both day and evening and must be completed within 5 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is an 8- to 10-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.