Course selection is a crucial element in your development as a legal professional. With this in mind, we suggest you think about the entire scope of your legal education: what interests you? What are you passionate about? Where do you see yourself thriving in the legal community? We urge you to engage with Denver Law’s robust experiential learning curriculum and make connections with professors and professionals across our institution. I’m looking forward to helping you chart your JD journey!
– Allison Peters, Director, Academic Initiatives and Advising
Academic Advising Resources
JD Degree Requirements
Visit the Office of the Registrar page below to view the requirements to graduate with a Juris Doctor degree.
Experiential Learning at Denver Law
Discover how to engage in purposeful real-world work through practical experience at Denver Law.
Certificates and Pathways at Denver Law
An undeniable trend in the legal profession is toward specialization in practice. Denver Law responds with opportunities for our students to dive deeply into one or more areas of law during their second and third years.
Denver Law offers Certificates, earned as you complete the requirements for your JD, in seven areas of the law. Each Certificate program features a customized curriculum. See requirements to earn each Certificate at the following link:
Certificates in Legal Research
Three Certificates in Legal Research are earned by attending non-credit courses taught by law librarians throughout the year.
To complement the Certificate programs, we constructed the following pathways in various areas of the law to guide your course choices.
- Civil Litigation
- Civil Rights Advocacy
- Criminal Law – Defense
- Criminal Law – Prosecution
- Education Law
- Employment Law
- Energy Law
- Family Law
- Immigration Law
- Judicial Clerkships
- Marijuana Law
- Public Interest and Non-Profit Law
- Public International Law
- Sustainability and Community Development
Public Good Distinction
Students demonstrating commitment to public interest law are awarded the Public Good Distinction upon graduation. See more information and the requirements to be met here.
Denver Law offers a number of dual degree programs that can enhance the value of your legal education.
Moving Into Your 2nd & 3rd Year
As you move into your second and third (and for our evening and part-time professional JD students, your fourth) years of law school, though some requirements for graduation remain, you begin to choose which classes to take. These choices shape your JD journey. We suggest two guides as you make your selections:
1. Think About the Scope of Your Legal Education
Try to balance two aims. First, round out your legal education. Your first year courses covered foundational areas of law, ones “every lawyer ought to know.” They are also tested on the bar exam. Continue to take more of these courses. Examples of courses you might consider taking are Family Law, Criminal Procedure, Corporations, Commercial Law Survey and Trusts & Estates. Second, you now get the chance to begin to specialize in areas of the law in which you might like to practice. To assist you, Denver Law offers Certificate programs in six areas of the law, and we have constructed over a dozen Pathways in other areas.
2. Take Advantage of Denver Law's Experiential Learning Curriculum
We encourage you to quickly engage with Denver Law’s robust experiential learning curriculum. Do this in three ways. One, the Externship Program places students in more than 400 externships per year, allowing students to work in the field under the supervision of an attorney, with support from Externship faculty. Many students do their first Externship during the summer following their 1L year. Two, Denver Law’s Clinical Programs provide students the opportunity to learn and practice lawyering skills by representing real world clients. Clinics are semester- or year-long and are open to 2Ls and 3Ls. Three, many courses offered to second- and third-year students incorporate skills and professional identity formation elements into the traditional doctrinal curriculum. In the Class Schedules, these courses are identified in the “EA” column.
Three Additional Classes are Required to Graduate
During your second and third years, you must take Administrative Law, Evidence and Legal Profession. The pathways you pursue suggest when to take these courses. For example, if you are pursuing a career in litigation, or if you want to be in one of the clinics involving litigation, you will want to take Evidence and Legal Profession early on. Administrative Law is important for a student interested in environmental and natural resources law, business law, intellectual property law and healthcare law.
See a Complete List of ALL Requirements to Earn the JD Here
Preparing for the Bar Exam
Discover how DU's Bar Success program can help you prepare for the exam through free resources and one-on-one coaching.
Who to Talk to at Denver Law
It makes sense to reach out for advice about course choices and with questions about all the opportunities Denver Law offers. Where do you go and with whom do you speak?
We believe everyone in this building has information that can assist you in charting your JD Journey. We are here to help you. So throw a wide net—collect information from a variety of sources and get lots of advice. Then think about everything yourself. Put it all together and use course choices to chart your law school pathways. Be informed, be intentional, be intelligent.
Allison Peters is the Director of Advising and Academic Initiatives and can be a consistent resource for charting your JD journey during your time at the Sturm College of Law. Make an appointment with her to talk about specific coursework, degree planning, course scheduling, and general advice about law school.
Professors are the go-to experts for advice about particular courses and about how to put courses together to gain expertise in areas of the law. Faculty offices are on the third and fourth floors. There are several ways to identify which professors to talk with for academic advice about specific courses and pathways:
- Look at current and past Class Schedules to see who teaches courses in areas you are interested in.
- Consult with faculty members listed in the Pathways descriptions (see "Certificates and Pathways" link on this page)
- Go to the Faculty Directory. Click on the "Filter" button. Then open the "Specialization" tab. A drop-down menu lists many areas of law; select the one you are interested in. Then click on "Apply" to learn the names of faculty members who teach and write in the selected area of law.
- Ask a professor you know or the academic advisors identified below to direct you to the appropriate professor for the course or area of law that interests you.
The Student Affairs Office offers many services to students. See Jessica Boynton (Assistant Dean for Student Affairs) for academic advising as well as for counseling on personal matters, for example, managing stress, crisis intervention, disability services and accommodations. The Student Affairs Office is in Suite 115, just inside the law school’s front door. Email Student Affairs here. Call the office at 303-871-6108.
The Career Development and Opportunities Office helps students formulate career plans. Assistant Dean Eric Bono and his staff of career consultants have a great sense of what is available in this building to help you build an impressive record and put you on the path to meaningful employment. Drop into the CDO Office, in Suite 223 on the second floor. Or contact them here.
The Registrar’s Office maintains all student academic records and is the authority for determining when JD requirements are met. Visit the office outside the elevators on the second floor. You are able to assess progress toward completing degree requirements by doing an online degree audit here. You can email the Registrar’s Office here.
The Office of Public Interest Initiatives, part of the Externship Office, supports students interested in using their law degree to work on behalf of the public good. The Office also administers the Public Good Distinction and the Public Service Requirement. Contact Professor and Director Alexi Freeman here.
The Peer Mentoring Program provides first year students an opportunity to connect with a second or third year student to talk about all aspects of life and learning at Denver Law. Peer Mentors also act as a sounding board for times when law school becomes particularly hectic. Peer mentors and students are assigned at the end of Orientation Week.
As you continue along the path that leads to your JD, you will learn that practicing members of the profession are valuable sources of advice when it comes to choosing courses and getting the most out of your law school experience. The Professional Mentoring Program offers law students the opportunity to develop a professional relationship with a practicing lawyer or judge. Students and mentors are matched by interest areas, and they participate in a series of practice-oriented discussions.
The Academic Achievement Program, directed by Professor Diane Kraft, provides assistance to students to enable them to master legal study skills necessary for success in law school, on the bar exam, and in legal practice. The AAP Resource Center in Room 457 is available to all law school students, offering study aids and one-on-one advice regarding academic skills needed during law school. Contact the AAP here.
The DU Bar Success Program provides instruction, guidance and feedback to students preparing to take the bar exam. Professor Scott Johns directs the program. In their final semester before graduation, students are encouraged to enroll in Legal Analysis Strategies, a 3-credit course focusing on skills necessary for bar exam passage. Graduates then enroll, for free, in the two-month Bar Success Program, to be taken alongside a commercial bar review course in the period leading up to the bar exam.
The Office of Student Financial Management provides advice regarding educational costs and the financing options available to students. If you have any questions about the costs of or financing options for any of programs you are considering – summer internship, study abroad, dual degree, etc. – please make an appointment with Roger Lane, Director of Student Financial Management, or stop by Suite 115.
The Denver Law Student Handbook has answers to many questions that may arise during your law school career.
You are entering a profession. Your fellow professionals are valuable resources as you think through your JD Journey. Speak with and listen to your fellow students and to attorneys you meet and with whom you are working.
Remember: you can cull valuable information and advice from multiple sources. The choices you make are yours. Everyone’s journey is different.