Learning Outcomes: Law, JSD

Learning Outcomes for the Doctor of the Science of Law


  1. Demonstrate basic knowledge of American substantive and procedural law. This requires:
    1. The foundational rules governing liability for civil and criminal wrongdoing.
    2. The foundational rules that regulate the transaction of business among individuals and the ownership of property.
    3. The constitutional rules that shape the American legal system.
    4. The procedural rules that govern court adjudication.
    5. Several advanced areas of substantive or procedural law or both. 
  2. Use legal reasoning and legal analysis. This requires:
    1. The ability to identify, formulate, and apply legal rules.
    2. The ability to read and analyze judicial opinions.
    3. The ability to parse and interpret statutes, regulations, contracts, and other similar legal texts.
    4. The ability to construct legal arguments and evaluate critically one’s own and others’ legal arguments.
    5. The ability to identify and evaluate the practical consequences of various legal rules and to formulate policy arguments for and against those rules.
  3. Develop practical legal skills. This requires:
    1. The ability to write clearly and effectively in a wide range of legal contexts and for various audiences, such as courts, clients, opposing counsel and academics.
    2. The ability to articulate one’s thoughts verbally in a clear and effective manner.
    3. Knowledge of and ability to use tools of legal research.
    4. The ability to identify and gather factual information relevant to the application of legal rules.
    5. The ability to work collaboratively with others, including others with opposing interests.
  4. Conduct himself or herself professionally and in keeping with the highest standards of civic virtue. This requires:
    1. Knowledge and appreciation of the ethical rules governing legal practice and/or academic research.
    2. The ability to learn and grow professionally through self-reflection and continuing education.
    3. An understanding of the lawyer’s distinctive role in society and of the lawyer’s concomitant responsibility to contribute to society through public service and pro bono representation. 
    4. The ability to understand and be understood across various social, economic, cultural, political, national, racial, gender, and ethnic backgrounds.       
  5. Produce a substantial piece of original academic research. This requires:
    1. Mastery of literature in a particular area.
    2. Mastery of the sub-field in which a thesis will be written.
    3. Acquisition of expertise in the subject area of one’s thesis.