UMKC Catalog


Juris Doctor Degree Program

The school's juris doctor degree program is designed to prepare students for the general practice of law and for policy-forming functions in government, business and other organizations in society. Courses provide students with a basic knowledge of the principles and processes of the Anglo-American system of law and of the integration of law into other disciplines and institutions.

The curriculum and program recognize that in order to be of the utmost service to clients, the lawyer must "see life whole" and appreciate the relationships among legal, social and political aspects of human endeavor. They also recognize that the best interests of society require a lawyer to be a thinker and scholar as well as a skilled technician.

Both the curriculum and methods of instruction are designed to meet these objectives. Although the casebook method is the predominant form of classroom instruction in larger classes, the faculty also employ other approaches. Classes such as lawyering skills, negotiating mergers and acquisitions, mediation, and law practice management combine theory with opportunities to learn about lawyering first-hand. Many of the classes use documents and "real life" problems to demonstrate concepts studied in class. The curriculum also includes opportunities for research and writing, seminar discussions, clinical instruction and skills training.

Law students do not have a formal major, but have options for obtaining sequenced and advanced training in areas of interest to them, including:

  • Advocacy and Litigation
  • Business and Tax Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Estate Planning and Administration
  • Criminal Law and Procedure
  • Domestic Relations
  • Labor and Employment
  • International Law
  • Property and Real Estate
  • Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  • Environmental Law

In addition, through participation in the Inns of UMKC program (, externships, competitions, journals and student organizations, students are able to develop skills and contacts in specialized areas of the law.

Students may also elect to participate in one of the Law School’s newly adopted formal areas of emphasis within the Juris Doctor degree program:

Students interested in particular practice areas are guided by faculty members and practitioners in developing their programs. The school, in conjunction with the Student Bar Association and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, sponsors a course scheduling and registration convocation and advisement program each semester at which representatives of the various practice areas give advice and guidance to students. In addition, an Elective Course Information Handbook is prepared each semester prior to course pre-registration that provides additional details regarding course sequencing, prerequisites and relevance of courses to practice and the bar exam.