Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration) and J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration).
The Thurgood Marshall School of Law offers concentrations in litigation and tax law. In addition, clinics include criminal law, administrative law, and civil law. Seminars include criminal trial practice, writing, and First Amendment. Internships are available through the clinics offered, including a judicial internship with federal and state judges. Research programs allow for independent research and thesis research. A special lecture series, the Quodlibet, is a faculty- and student-sponsored program on current legal issues that are debated by faculty. Students may participate in study-abroad programs sponsored by other ABA-approved law schools. Each first-year section is assigned a student tutor who reviews substantive materials, discusses hypotheticals, and provides study help for each professor’s class. The Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) is a 6-week summer program to develop oral and written legal analysis skills. Minority students are offered the third-year Mentor Program in which students are assigned alumni mentors in the third year through the bar examination. Academic counseling on course selection and personal goals is available. The most widely taken electives are Estate Planning, Legal Clinics, and Oil and Gas Law.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 90 total credits, of which 70 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, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Lawyering Process/Legal Writing I and II, Property I and II, and Torts I and II. Required upper-level courses consist of a writing seminar, Appellate Litigation, Basic Federal Income Taxation, Business Associations, Commercial Law, Constitution Law, Consumer Rights, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Federal Jurisdiction and Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Texas Practice, Trial Simulation, and Wills and Trusts. The required orientation program for first-year students consists of a 1-week introduction and lectures on skills.
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, 2135 applied, 710 were accepted, and 186 enrolled. One transfer enrolled. The median GPA of the most recent first-year class was 2.91.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include LSAT results, GPA, and motivations. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is April 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $55, and 2 letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is between February and May (majority). The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 90% 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 $20,500; maximum, $23,725 (in-state), $24,475 (out-of-state). Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is April 1. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application after the financial aid forms are processed and before enrollment if the application was submitted before the deadline.
About 46% of the student body are women; 80%, minorities; 49%, African American; 7%, Asian American; 26%, Hispanic; and 17%, Caucasian, 18%; other 1%. The majority of students come from Texas (70%). The average age of entering students is 27; age range is 20 to 35. About 60% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 10% have a graduate degree, and 40% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 35% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 65% remain to receive a law degree.
The primary law review is the Thurgood Marshall Law Review. The student magazine is The Solicitor. The James M. Douglas Board of Advocates sponsors numerous moot court and mock trial programs. Law student organizations include the Student Bar Association, Black Law Students Association, and Chicano Law Students Association. There are local chapters of Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Phi Alpha Delta, and Phi Delta Phi.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 4 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is a 9-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.