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JD (Juris Doctor) Program
At the Law School, we are committed to learning as a collaborative enterprise with an approach that focuses on “learning how to learn.” Through this approach, our students are challenged to grow intellectually and professionally with the support of faculty. In this partnership, faculty members actively engage with students and serve as sources of knowledge.
The curriculum at the Law School is both rich and diverse. Students are encouraged to study law and legal institutions as integral parts of larger social, political-economic, and ecological systems. Classroom experiences include vigorous discussion in traditional Socratic classroom settings, as well as lectures, seminars, informal small group discussions and individually supervised field and library research projects.
Learning practical skills is an important part of training to be a lawyer and one of these key skills in becoming a practicing lawyer is knowing how to write. At the Law School, writing skills are honed in small groups and on a one-to-one basis with experienced faculty and practitioners.
Lawyering is also taught through practice, which is why experiential clinical courses are an essential part of the program. Experiential courses provide a wide array of opportunities to practice skills through real courtroom experiences, simulation clinics and externship opportunities. Through the combination of these elements of rigorous training, students prepare for challenging and rewarding professional lives equipped with skills in legal counseling, advocacy, and decision-making.
Through rigorous, stimulating, and challenging study, the Law School’s graduates are well-prepared to work in any jurisdiction in the country.
The full-time JD program requires students to enroll for at least 12 credits per semester during the three-year program (a normal semester course load can range from 14 to 16 credit hours.)
JD Full Time Program
The JD program is a 3-year, full-time course of study that begins in August with a 3-day orientation for new students. The JD degree is awarded upon completion of the satisfactory completion of 89 credit hours, including a selection of required courses. Completion of the program must be attained within seven years of the date of first registration. Full-time study is defined as registration for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester plus regular attendance at scheduled class meetings. In addition, all law students must complete 60 hours of pro bono legal service in order to graduate. Degree requirements
The Law School provides our law students opportunities to observe, experience, understand, and appreciate basic and advanced lawyering skills in supportive, real-world settings. The Experiential Learning program assists students in their choice of career paths by providing an opportunity for them to work in the specific environment in which they are interested, enabling them to gain unique and informed knowledge of the practice of law while enhancing their overall professional development. Through work, students will gain an understanding of their ethical responsibilities as future officers of the court.
January Term (J-Term) Program
The Law School’s January Term (J-Term) Program, established in 2005, gives law students the bonus of specialized mini-courses taught by some of the world’s leading scholars and professors and judges. Mr. Frank Boas, a generous supporter of the Law School, helped to start the Program and the Law School continues to sponsor a Visiting Harvard professor each J-Term in Frank’s memory. The Wallace S. Fujiyama Distinguished Visiting Professor Fund supports many of our other J-Term professors.
Ulu Lehua Scholars Program
The initiative, now known as the Ulu Lehua Scholars Program, was established in 1974, the year after the school’s founding. The program selects students from legally under-served communities who have overcome adversity and demonstrated academic potential, leadership ability, and commitment to social justice, and provides an opportunity for them to obtain a legal education. Ulu Lehua Scholars are fully matriculated into the JD Program and benefit from participation in a small, supportive learning community within the law school.
Hawai‘i Summer Law Program
Students who have completed at least one year of study at an ABA-accredited law school may apply for the Hawaiʻi Summer Law Program. Our Summer Program offers an excellent selection of courses, including bar exam subjects, taught by world-class faculty, evening classes for students who are working or doing internships during the day, the chance to network with students from other law schools across the U.S., and the amazing beauty and rich cultural diversity of the Hawaiian Islands.
Dual Degree Programs
Law students may earn dual degrees—a law degree and another graduate degree. Applicants interested in earning another graduate degree should check with the respective graduate program and the Law School to discuss degree requirements, tuition assessment, and potential financial aid issues. Dual Degree Program
Students may study law in a foreign country through summer or semester abroad programs to broaden their comparative knowledge of other legal systems and cultures. The University of Hawai’i maintains ties with universities around the world that could serve as possible host institutions for law students. Richardson students have participated in programs or internships at several institutions, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore, and Monash University in Australia. Study Abroad Program