At the Law School, we are committed to learning as a collaborative enterprise. Our program challenges students to grow intellectually and professionally. Faculty members engage with students as partners as well as serving as sources of knowledge. A foremost concern of the Law School is to provide assistance in "learning how to learn." Students prepare for a challenging and rewarding professional life equipped with skills in legal counseling, advocacy, and decision-making. Students are encouraged to study law and legal institutions as integral parts of larger social, political-economic, and ecological systems.
The Law School curriculum is rich and diverse. 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. Writing skills are honed in small groups and on a one-to-one basis with experienced faculty and practitioners. Students participate in experiential clinical courses that provide a wide array of opportunities including real courtroom experience, simulation clinics, and externship opportunities. All students in the full-time JD program must enroll for at least 12 credits during the three-year program. A normal semester course load is 14 to 16 credit hours. Through rigorous, stimulating, and challenging study, the Law School's graduates are well-prepared to work in any jurisdiction in the country.
- Civil Procedure I and II
- Constitutional Law I
- Contracts I and II
- Criminal Law
- Lawyering Fundamentals I & II
- Professional Responsibility
- Real Property I
- Second Year Seminar or Law Thesis
- At least six credits of experiential learning coursework (for students entering before Fall 2016, at least two credits are required)
- 60 hours of pro bono (volunteer) legal work
- 89 total credit hours
Objectives & Methods
Our Juris Doctor program provides degree candidates with the opportunity to equip themselves for active and effective participation, as professionals, in legal counseling, advocacy, and decision-making. Whether the context is courtroom or legislative hearing, attorney's office or corporate boardroom, state agency or federal commission, community center or international conference table, our graduates are prepared. Students are encouraged to study law and legal institutions as integral parts of larger social, political-economic, and ecological systems.
Techniques of instruction include the traditional "Socratic method" (where an instructor rigorously questions individual students in a large group setting), lectures, problem-based learning, seminars, informal small group discussions, individually supervised field and library research projects, and a variety of experiential methods. "Clinical" components, in the form of real or simulated lawyers' tasks, are an essential part of the program. Small-group work, especially in the first year, is organized around hypothetical client problems. Second- and third-year small-group seminars and clinical workshops permit students to develop lawyering skills in areas of their practice interests.
The Law School is committed to the view that learning is an enterprise in which members of the faculty should function as facilitating participants as well as sources of knowledge. Accordingly, students are expected to develop their own legal skills and abilities and to clarify their values. Successful performance of those tasks depends on the inclination and ability to learn continuously and on one's own. Therefore, a foremost concern of the school is to provide assistance in "learning how to learn."
Student Learning Outcomes
The Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association and a member of the Association of American Law Schools. In compliance with ABA Standard 301(a) for the Objectives of Program of Legal Education, the Law School strives to “maintain a rigorous program of legal education that prepares its students upon graduation, for admission to the bar and for effective, ethical, and responsible participation as members of the legal profession.” In accordance with ABA Standard 301(b), the Law School has established and publishes the following learning outcomes designed to achieve these objectives.
Students admitted to the J.D. program must have an undergraduate degree, among other requirements. In Hawaiʻi and nearly every other state, a J.D. degree from an accredited school is essential to becoming a licensed attorney. The Law School necessarily focuses substantial attention on those learning objectives aimed at preparation to pass the bar exam and to practice law ethically and effectively. The school also emphasizes areas of law of importance to Hawaiʻi and to the school’s mission.
In compliance with ABA Standard 302, Learning Outcomes, the Law School’s J.D. Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are:
- Understand ethical responsibilities as representatives of clients, officers of the court, and public citizens responsible for the quality and availability of justice;
- Obtain basic education through a curriculum that develops:
- understanding of the theory, philosophy, role, and ramifications of the law and its institutions;
- proficiency in legal analysis, reasoning, problem-solving; oral and written communication; legal research;
- fundamental professional practices necessary to participate effectively in the legal profession;
- mastery of substantive law regarded as necessary to effective and responsible participation in the legal profession through a completion of a curriculum of required and elective study;
- Understand the law as a public profession calling for performance of Pro Bono legal services;
- Promote the development of students' critical thinking skills and other intellectual tools that will serve their life-long learning needs, and enable them to provide leadership in law through contributions in research and practice;
- Understand and respect the law as a social institution in the context of a diverse state with a unique and important history; and
- Recognize our global connectedness, especially to the Asia and Pacific regions.