UMKC Catalog


J.D. Degree Requirements

Graduates will be prepared for admission to the Bar and effective and responsible participation in the legal profession and in their communities.

Graduates will demonstrate effective problem-solving skills by:

  • Critically examining complex facts.
  • Identifying client needs and determining legal issues.
  • Efficiently finding relevant law, policy and factual information.
  • Applying appropriate legal rules and standards to the problem.
  • Generating alternative solutions and developing plans for implementation.
  • Continually reviewing and reassessing a plan of action.
Graduates will demonstrate effective communication skills by:

  • Communicating appropriately and effectively with relevant audiences.
  • Relating effectively to professionals from other disciplines.
  • Listening actively.
  • Writing and speaking clearly.
  • Demonstrating cultural sensitivity.
Graduates will demonstrate entry-level competence in legal skills by:

  • Identifying appropriate forums and means for resolution of legal problems.
  • Being able to determine legal issues for analysis and research.
  • Possessing elementary skills in interviewing, counseling and negotiation.
  • Drafting documents to implement basic legal transactions.
  • Dealing sensitively with people in conflict.
Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of the practice of law by:

  • Being aware of career and job options in law practice.
  • Having systemic knowledge of legal bibliography and resources.
  • Possessing basic skills to enter practice as an associate.
  • Having knowledge of basic techniques of law practice operation and management.
Graduates will demonstrate commitment to justice, competence and service to the profession and the community by being:

  • Aware of the history and values of the legal profession.
  • Committed to ethical practice.
  • Aware of the rules governing the profession.
  • Able to critically assess laws and rules and propose alternatives.
  • Committed to lifelong learning and self-development.
  • Appreciative of the value of ideological and cultural diversity.

First Year Required Courses

All students must complete the following required courses during the first year:

Full-Time Progress

Fall Semester (15 credit hours)
   LAW 8501 Contracts I (3)
   LAW 8634 Criminal Law (3)
   LAW 8531 Introduction to Law and Lawyering Processes I* (3)
   LAW 8541 Property I (3)
   LAW 8511 Torts (3)
Spring Semester (15 credit hours)
   LAW 8521 Civil Procedure I (3)
   LAW 8631 Constitutional Law (4)
   LAW 8502 Contracts II (3)
LAW 8532 Introduction to Law and Lawyering Processes II* (2)
   LAW 8542 Property II (3)

Part-time Progress

Students enrolled on a part-time basis must take three of the required courses, including Introduction to Law and Lawyering Processes, in their first year. The remaining courses must be completed in their second year of study.

* Introduction to Law and Lawyering Processes I and II: These two first-year courses introduce students to legal reasoning; analytical and critical thinking; case research and analysis; legal writing, including office memoranda, briefs and letters to and on behalf of clients; advocacy; and all forms of legal research. They offer education in many of the fundamental skills and processes of legal practice through a combination of lecture classes and small group sessions. They are required of all first-year law students in order to supply a strong foundation of thinking, research and writing skills upon which all later, advanced courses will depend. In the second semester, some students may be assigned to, and others may have the option to elect, analytical sections of Introduction to Law (Intro Plus) to obtain more intensive instruction and practice in legal analysis and problem-solving.

Other Required Courses

Students must complete the following courses as a condition of graduation:
Required to be Taken During the Summer Preceding
or Fall of Second Year:
LAW 8601 Business Organizations(4)
  LAW 8552 Federal Taxation(3)
  LAW 8522 Civil Procedure II(2)
Required to be Taken During the Summer Preceding
or Spring of Second Year:
Required to be Taken During the Second or Third Year:
  LAW 8635 Criminal Procedure I(3)
  LAW 8721 Commercial Transactions, LAW 8721, Sales and Leasing or LAW 8720 Secured Transactions(3)
    Note: This is no longer a requirement effective for the 2010 entering class. 
  LAW 8731 Professional Responsibility(2)


A  course that fulfills the school's jurisprudential requirement.



Professional Skills Requirement. A student must meet the school's professional skills requirement. It may be met in one of the following ways:

1.   Completion of one credit hour of professional skills education. This requirement may be completed by successfully completing one or more courses designated as meeting all or a portion of the professional skills education requirement.

2.   Completion of a one credit hour independent study providing professional skills education, which indpendent study is certified to the School's Records Office as meeting the one credit hour professional skills education requirement.

3.   Participation in law school programs that, even if not for credit, provide professional skills education (this would primarily consist of the various advocacy, counseling and negotiation competitions which do not provide course credit. 

Required to be Taken at any Time Prior to Graduation and
May be Taken During the Second Semester of the First Year:
  A course that fulfills the school's (3)
      advanced torts requirement

The requirements for the J.D. degree:

  1. Completion of 91 credit hours, 80 of which must be classroom credits.
  2. A cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 (see Administrative Rules and Regulations, Scholastic Probation and Dismissal, in this section).
  3. Six semesters in residence carrying not less than 10 classroom credit hours each semester.

    Acceleration. For purposes of being considered “in residence”, two UMKC summer sessions may count together to form one semester in residence (except with respect to the School's summer abroad courses). Thus, students taking five regular semesters and two summer sessions at the Law School having at least ten classroom credit hours may graduate in 2 1/2 years. A student desiring to attend a summer abroad program offered by another school should check with the Associate Dean for Students to see if the program may count as 1/2 of an in-residence semester.

  4. Completion of all required courses (see Required Courses in this section).

  5. Fulfilling the school's research and writing requirement. This requires students to have a rigorous writing experience evidencing legal analysis resulting in a paper of professional quality.
  6. Fulfilling the school's professional skills requirement.
  7. Regular and punctual class attendance.
  8. Successful completion of all coursework within five years from the day students began their course of studies leading toward the degree. A student will not be allowed to enroll in any course after the five-year period.