Academic Programs

A.  DOCTOR OF JURISPRUDENCE

  1. Curriculum Requirements
  2. First-Year Curriculum
  3. Required Courses after the First-Year Curriculum
  4. Upper-Level Electives
  5. Areas of Emphasis
  6. Part-Time Program

B.  DUAL-DEGREE PROGRAMS

  1. Master's of Business Administration
  2. Master's of Public Administration
  3. J.D./LL.M in Energy and Sustainable Development Law

C.  LL.M. - MASTER OF LAWS

  1. Energy and Sustainable Development Law
  2. Forensic Justice

A.  DOCTOR OF JURISPRUDENCE


  1. Curriculum Requirements
  2. First-Year Curriculum
  3. Required Courses after First-Year Curriculum
  4. Upper-Level Electives
  5. Areas of Emphasis
  6. Part-Time Program

A.1  Curriculum Requirements

Students at the West Virginia University College of Law must earn 91 credit hours with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 2.30 in order to graduate.  Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 2.30 after the second semester to remain in good academic standing.  The first-year curriculum is a fixed set of courses taken by all students.  Students are largely free to shape their own courses of study during the last two years of law school, subject to a small number of upper-level requirements.

Minimum GPA of 2.3 or higher required.
First-Year Required Courses
LAW 638Legislation and Regulation3
LAW 641Introduction to Legal Research1
LAW 700Legal Analysis, Research and Writing 12
LAW 703Contracts 14
LAW 705Criminal Law3
LAW 706Civil Procedure: Jurisdiction2
LAW 707Property4
LAW 709Torts 14
LAW 711Legal Analysis, Research and Writing 22
LAW 722Civil Procedure: Rules3
LAW 725Constitutional Law 14
Upper-Level Requirements
LAW 715Appellate Advocacy2
LAW 742Professional Responsibility3
Seminar (any 688, 689, or 794 course)2
Perspective2
Capstone4
Electives (credit may vary - used to reach minimum of 91 hours for the degree)46
Total Hours91

A.2  First-Year Curriculum

The first-year curriculum is a required set of courses designed by the faculty to give new law students an introduction to the fundamentals of legal practice. You will be assigned to a section of each required course. The first-year curriculum covers three areas: 

  • Private Law governs the legal relationships and the resolution of disputes among private persons and entities. The Private Law courses you will take are Torts (civil wrongs), Contracts, and Property.
  • Public Law concerns governmental regulation of private persons and entities.  The Public Law courses you will take are Criminal Law, Legislation & Regulation, and Constitutional Law.
  • Practice courses teach procedural law and the skills of legal research, reasoning, and writing.  The Practice courses you will take are Civil Procedure (both Jurisdiction and Rules), two semesters of Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing, and Introduction to Legal Research.

Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing (four credits).  First-year students must pass both LRRW I and LRRW II with an average grade of C (2.0) or better over the two semesters in order to satisfy the Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing (LRRW) course requirement.  The vast majority of students will satisfy the requirement by making grades of C or better in both semesters of LRRW.  However, a student who makes a C- in one semester must make a C+ or better in the other semester to obtain a C average; a student who makes a D+ in one semester must make a B- or better in the other semester to obtain a C average; a student who makes a D in one semester must make a B or better in the other semester to obtain a C average.  A student who fails one or both semesters of LRRW must repeat the course.

Students who fail to obtain an average of C or better in the first-year LRRW program have a second opportunity to satisfy the LRRW requirement in a second taking of the two-semester, first-year sequence of LRRW I and LRRW II.  (In some years, an LRRW III class will be offered in the fall semester for such students to take in lieu of retaking LRRW I and II.)  Students who fail to make a C or better in their second attempt to satisfy the LRRW requirement  will be dismissed from the College of Law.  For students who make a C or better on the second attempt, both grades will count in the student's law school GPA, but the student will receive only four total hours of credit toward law school graduation.

No student will be allowed to drop the required first-year LRRW course.  Students needing to decelerate during the first year of law school must drop another required course.  There is one possible exception to this policy:  if a student receives an F in LRRW I, the student may drop LRRW II with the permission of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.  Part-time students must take LRRW during their first year of law school.

Successful completion (an average grade of C or better) of the first-year LRRW program is a prerequisite for taking Appellate Advocacy, any seminar, or any clinic.  This prerequisite may not be waived.  Students will receive a detailed policy handbook at the beginning of the LRRW course; all policies will be in effect for the duration of the course.

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A.3  Required Courses After the First-Year Curriculum

After successfully completing their first year of law school, students are able to choose several options to complete 91 credits, including doctrinal courses, skills courses, and experiential learning courses (an externship or clinic, for example). Students have a few required courses they must take after their first year, including Professional Responsibility, which must be taken before a student's third year of law school. Other required courses that must be taken before graduation are:

Appellate Advocacy: Students must take Appellate Advocacy and receive a C or higher in the course to graduate.

Seminar Requirement (two-three credits, depending on length of class meetings and paper length) from a menu of seminars. Seminars are specifically noted by the letters “Sem” in the course title and are numbered as “LAW 688, 689 or 794.” Seminars have a common structure: small-class discussions geared toward the production of a substantial (i.e. at least 8,000 words [~ twenty-five pages]) written product supported by extensive research. Typically, the research seminar aims at the production of a law-review style research paper of publishable quality. Seminars may aim at other written products, such as draft legislation or jury instructions, so long as these products are accompanied by papers urging their adoption by the appropriate lawmakers. Enrollment is limited to fifteen students in each seminar. Two-hour seminar courses must meet as a group for no less than 10 weeks and no less than 110 minutes per week. Three-hour seminar courses must meet as a group for no less than 10 weeks and no less than 165 minutes per week. Students must obtain a grade of C or better to satisfy the seminar requirement. Independent studies and externships do not satisfy the seminar requirement.

Perspective Requirement.  The perspective requirement reflects the College of Law’s conviction that legal education should expand students’ horizons by connecting their studies to the traditions of the liberal arts (i.e., the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences). Perspective courses, therefore, examine law and lawyers primarily from points of view that are significantly different from the doctrinal and policy analysis taught in standard upper-level courses on various areas of practice.  Perspective courses look across doctrinal boundaries and engage students in conversations about the relationships between law and other disciplines; explore the nature of the American legal system by contrasting it with other legal systems; and discuss the ways in which law and lawyers both shape and are shaped by the liberal arts and wider culture.

Students must take one perspective course in order to graduate.  Some seminars satisfy the perspective requirement, but students cannot count one perspective seminar as simultaneously satisfying both the perspective and seminar requirements.  (In other words, there is no "double-dipping" on the perspective and seminar requirements.)  This means that a student can satisfy the perspective and seminar requirements by

(a)  taking one perspective class and one research seminar (which may or may not be a perspective), or

(b)  taking two research seminars, at least one of which is also a perspective.

In addition, students who complete either the joint M.B.A. or joint M.P.A. program at the time of earning the J.D. are deemed to have satisfied the perspective requirement.

The following courses satisfy the perspective requirement:

Perspective Courses
LAW 601Lawyers, Poets and Poetry3
LAW 602Lawyers and Film3
LAW 607Psychology for Lawyers3
LAW 614Jewish/Islamic Comparative Law3
LAW 621Lawyers as Leaders3
LAW 688ASeminar in American Constitutional History2
LAW 688DSeminar in Science and the Law2-3
LAW 689HSeminar: Bioethics and the Law2
LAW 689ISeminar: Environmental Justice2
LAW 689KSeminar: Civil Disobedience2
LAW 689MSeminar: Race/Racism and American Law2
LAW 689PSeminar: Gender and Law2
LAW 689SSeminar: Law and Socioeconomic2
LAW 689TSeminar:Comparative and International Workplace Law2
LAW 689YSeminar in Sustainable Development2
LAW 701International Human Rights3
LAW 712Analytical Methods for Lawyers3
LAW 739American Legal History3
LAW 744Law and Economics3
LAW 746Lawyers and Literature3
LAW 752Jurisprudence3
LAW 768International Law3
Additional Approved Courses
LAW 791Adv Crim Law: Crime File Doc
LAW 793Comparative Law (Common Law v Civil)
LAW 793Comparative Law: European Union
LAW 791Dying & the Law
LAW 793Lawyer as Storyteller
LAW 791Memoir and Legal Education
LAW 794Sem: Democratic Transitions
LAW 794Sem: Empirical Legal Methods
LAW 794Sem: Genetic Property & the Law
LAW 794Sem: Sexuality and Law
LAW 791Trends in the Profession

Capstone Requirement.  Capstone courses provide students with opportunities to critically synthesize and apply knowledge and skills they have developed during law school.  The following course(s) satisfy the capstone requirement:

Capstone
LAW 627
LAW 628
Land Use/Sustainable Development Clinic 1
and Land Use/Sustainable Development Clinic 2
12
LAW 650
LAW 651
Entrepreneurship Clinic 1
and Entrepreneurship Clinic 2
14
LAW 655
LAW 656
Law and Public Service Full-Time
and Law and Public Service Externship Full-Time
13
LAW 677
LAW 678
United States Supreme Court Clinic 1
and United States Supreme Court Clinic 2
8
LAW 756Trial Advocacy (C or better)4
LAW 779Business Transactions Drafting4
LAW 780
780A
Federal Judicial Externship 1
and Federal Judicial Externship 2
13
LAW 782
LAW 783
Legal Clinic 1
and Legal Clinic 2
14

In addition to the above-listed capstone courses, students may also fulfill the capstone requirement by completing the following:

  • When available: writing a faculty-supervised brief and making an oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia as an independent study project (two credits)
  • By petition only: an interdisciplinary project supervised by a law faculty member and a university faculty member who is not a law faculty member.

Prerequisite Requirement for Some Capstone Courses.  The course in Evidence is a prerequisite to taking Trial Advocacy, the Clinical Law Program, or a Federal Judicial Externship. (There is no requirement that the student attain a particular grade in Evidence prior to taking the other courses.) 

Requirement Waiver.  In exceptionally rare circumstances, the Academic Standards Committee may exempt a student from taking a required course or may permit a student to take a course out of sequence.

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A.4  Upper-Level Electives

Apart from the small number of upper-level requirements already described, students choose from a wide variety of upper-level electives to create their courses of study over the final two years of law school.  A list of all the permanent law school courses with their descriptions can be found elsewhere in this academic catalog.  (See "Courses.")  The law school also offers additional courses on a temporary basis that are not included in this catalog.

With so many choices, students may wish for guidance about how to choose the courses best suited to their goals and interests.  Toward that end, each spring the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs meets with rising 2L students and publishes on the law school website a booklet entitled Curriculum Opportunities and Options:  An Informal Guide to Planning Your Last Two Years of Law School.  For the latest version, go to the "Course Schedules and Student Resources" link on the College of Law homepage.  This booklet includes, among other things, advice about curricular planning, lists of key courses for various areas of practice and when they are typically offered, and information about subjects tested on the bar exam.  Students with questions about choosing courses that are not addressed in the booklet should consult faculty in their areas of interest and/or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

In addition, the College of Law website contains a "Course Classifieds" page where professors may post information about courses to be offered in the next semester.  Typically, "course classifieds" listings for a given semester begin to appear a few weeks before registration for that semester.

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A.5  Areas of Emphasis

An Area of Emphasis (also informally called a "Concentration") is a course of study that enables students to develop skills and competency in a particular area of the law.  A student who satisfies the requirement of an Area of Emphasis will have that Area of Emphasis listed on the official transcript. The College of Law has four Areas of Emphasis:  (1) Energy and Sustainable Development Law, (2) International Law, (3) Labor and Employment Law, and (4) Public Interest Law.

Energy and Sustainable Development Law Area of Emphasis

The Energy and Sustainable Development Law Area of Emphasis is intended to educate the next generation of lawyers who will work in and shape the fields of energy, environmental, and sustainable development law, by providing an opportunity to learn the applicable laws and regulations in this area, consider policy issues through written work, and obtain practical skills applicable in this area through an experiential learning requirement.

Course Requirements.  In order to satisfy the requirements of this Area of Emphasis, a student must have (1) all required first-year courses; (2) all required core courses; and (3) seventeen (17) total credit hours from a combination of the required courses, designated elective courses, and the experiential learning course (see below).  Note:  No more than five credits of the 17 credits can come from clinic or an externship.

Required Courses9
Energy Law
Administrative Law
Law of Environmental Protection
Elective Courses5
Natural Resources
Agriculture & Food Law
International Environmental Law
Land Use/Sustainable Development Clinic 1
Energy Reg, Markets and Environ
Land Use and Resilience Law
Energy Siting & Permitting
Water Law
Nuclear Law & Policy
Energy Business/Law & Strategy
Science & Technology of Energy
Administrative Energy Law and Practice
Law of Coal
Mine Safety & Health Law
Renewable Energy & Alternative Fuels
Seminar in Human Rights & the Environment
Seminar in Hydraulic Fracturing
Seminar:Issues in Energy Law
Coal/Oil and Gas
LAW 791
Hazardous Waste
LAW 793
Intrntl Enrgy/Climate Law
Writing Requirement
Experiential Learning3
Extra/Co-Curricular Activities
Total Hours17

Writing Requirement.  Students must produce a written paper or court document of no less than 25 pages on a topic related to energy, environmental, and/or sustainable development law.  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  1. Law Review Note, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.
  2. A Court Document, e.g. Amicus Brief or Memorandum of Law (real or moot), with the approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.
  3. Independent study overseen by an Area of Emphasis faculty member.
  4. Qualifying paper in any elective course listed above.
  • The writing requirement requires input and approval from a faculty member and the Area of Emphasis administrator, even if the writing was completed outside a formal class or independent study arrangement.  A student may fulfill the writing requirement through an alternative method with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Experiential Learning.  Students must meet the following experiential learning requirement of no less than 3 credits (no more than 5 credits from participation in a clinic count toward the 17 credit requirement).  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  1. Land Use and Sustainable Development Clinic
  2. Externship approved per catalog, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator
  3. Other clinic or simulation course, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator
  • A student may fulfill the experiential learning requirement through an alternative method with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Extra  Curricular or Co-Curricular Activity Requirement.  Students must also meet the following requirement:

  1. Ten hours of related extracurricular or co-curricular activities, such as active participation in the Energy Law Society or Environmental Law Society, attending relevant meetings, hearings or speakers, administrative or other active participation in related events (e.g., moot court, symposia).

INTERNATIONAL LAW AREA OF EMPHASIS

The International Law Area of Emphasis is intended to educate the next generation of lawyers who will work in careers related to international law and its many subspecialties (in both public international law and its many subspecialties (in both public international law and private international law).  The Area of Emphasis will provide students with robust and varied opportunities to learn and develop skills in international law-related practice areas.

Course Requirements.  In order to satisfy the requirements of this Area of Emphasis, a student must have (1) all mandatory first-year requirements; (2) all required core courses; and (3) seventeen (17) total credit hours from a combination of the required courses, designated elective courses, and the experiential learning course (see below).  Note:  No more than five (5) credits of the seventeen (17) credits can come from clinic or an externship.

Required Courses12
Comparative Brazilian Law
Comparative Law in Mexico
Geneva Study Abroad
International Trade Law
International Business Transactions
International Human Rights
International Law
Elective Courses3
International Environmental Law
Jewish/Islamic Comparative Law
International Trade Law
International Business Transactions
Seminar in International Trade Regulations
Seminar: Refugee and Asylum Law
Seminar:Comparative and International Workplace Law
Seminar: National Security Law
Seminar in Sustainable Development
Immigration Law
Administrative Law
LAW 793
SPTP:Intrntl Enrgy/Climate Law
LAW 793
SPTP: Internatnl Criminal Law
LAW 794
Sem: Jewish/Islamic Comp Law
Writing
Experiential Learning2
Extra/Co-Curricular Activities
Total Hours17

Additional courses may be added with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Under exceptional circumstances, a student may fulfill the study abroad requirement through an alternative method with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Writing Requirement.  Students must engage in research and produce a written paper or court document of no less than 25 pages on a topic related to international law.  This requirement can be satisfied by satisfactory completion and submission of a written document that falls within any of the following categories:

  1. Qualifying paper in any designated elective course or seminar.
  2. Independent Study approved per WVU College of Law catalog and overseen by an Area of Emphasis faculty member.
  3. Law Review Note, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.
  4. A Court Document, e.g. Amicus Brief or Memorandum of Law (real or moot) with the approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.

The writing requirement requires input and approval from a faculty member and the Area of Emphasis administrator, even if the writing was completed outside a formal class or independent study arrangement.  A student may fulfill the writing requirement through an alternative method with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Experiential Learning Requirement.  Student must meet the following experiential learning requirement of no less than two (2) credits, with no more than five (5) credits from a clinic counting towards the seventeen (17) credit requirement.  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  • Participation in at least one year of the College of Law's Jessup International Moot Court team (LAW 652)
  • International Organization Externship (full- or part-time)
  • Government Agency Externship (full- or part-time - must be related to an area of international, comparative, or transnational law)
  • Immigration Clinic

Note:  Any externship placements for the International Law and Practice Area of Emphasis must comply with the general rules of the externship program.

A student may fulfill this Area of Emphasis requirement through an alternative method with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Extra Curricular or Co-Curricular Activity Requirement.  Students must also meet the following requirements:

Ten hours of related extracurricular or co-curricular activities, such as active participation in the International Law Students Association, by attending relevant meetings, hearings or speakers, administrative or other active participation in the international law-related events (e.g., symposia).

Foreign Language

Students are strongly encouraged to gain competency in a foreign language in conjunction with pursuing this Area of Emphasis.

LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW AREA OF EMPHASIS

The Labor and Employment Law Area of Emphasis is intended to educate the next generation of lawyers in West Virginia and beyond who will work in and shape the fields of labor and employment law by providing an opportunity to learn the applicable laws and regulations in the area, consider policy issues through a written work, and obtain practical skills applicable in the area through an experiential learning requirement.

Course Requirements.  In order to satisfy the requirements of this Area of Emphasis, a student must have (1) all required first-year courses; (2) all mandatory core courses; and (3) seventeen (17) total credit hours from mandatory core courses, designated elective courses, and an experiential learning course (described below).  Note:  No more than five (5) credits of the seventeen (17) credits can come from clinic or an externship.

Required Courses9
Employment Law
Employment Discrimination
Labor Law
Elective Courses5
Advanced Labor Law
Mine Safety & Health Law
Seminar: Law and Socioeconomic
Seminar:Comparative and International Workplace Law
International Human Rights
Entertainment Law
Sports Law
Immigration Law
Constitutional Law 2
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Workers Compensation Law
Administrative Law
LAW 791
ERISA
Writing
Experiential Learning3
Extra/Co-Curricular Activities
Total Hours17

Writing Requirement.  Students must produce a written paper or court document of no less than 25 pages on a topic related to labor law, employment law, employment discrimination law, benefits law, and/or comparative/international work law.  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  1. Qualifying paper in any designated elective course.
  2. Independent Study approved per WVU College of Law catalog and overseen by an Area of Emphasis faculty member.
  3. Law Review Note, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.
  4. A Court Document, e.g. Amicus Brief or Memorandum of Law (real or moot) with the approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.  For example, a student may fulfill this requirement by participating in New York Law School's Wagner Moot Court Competition as part of the Moot Court Team.

Experiential Learning Requirement.  Student must meet the following experiential learning requirement of no less than three (3) credits (no more than 5 credits from participation in a clinic count toward the seventeen (17) credit requirement.)  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  1. Externship in a labor/employment practice setting approved by the Area of Emphasis administrator and complying with the general rules and policies governing externships
  2. Entrepreneurship Clinic (LAW 650 & LAW 651)
  3. Other clinic or simulation course, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator

Area of Emphasis students in the Entrepreneurship Clinic or any other clinic approved by the Area of Emphasis administrator shall make every effort to work on labor and employment matters within these clinic placements.

A student may fulfill the experiential learning requirement through an alternative method with the consent of the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Extra Curricular or Co-Curricular Activity Requirement.  Student must also meet the following requirements:

  1. Ten hours of related extracurricular or co-curricular activities, such as active participation in the Labor Law Society or ADR Society, attending relevant meetings, hearings or speakers, administrative or other active participation in the work-law related events (e.g., moot court, symposia).

Public Interest Law Area of Emphasis

The objective of the Area of Emphasis in Public Interest Law is to prepare students to work to advance the common good of the general public using the legal process through the representation of individuals and organizations who might otherwise be unrepresented.

Course Requirements.  In order to satisfy the requirements of this Area of Emphasis, a student must have (1) one required course; and (2) seventeen (17) total credit hours from one required course, designated elective courses, and the credits allowed for the experiential learning course (see below).

Required Courses (choose one)3
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Trial Advocacy
Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiation
Elective Courses11
Natural Resources
Post-Conviction Remedies
Child Protection and the Law
Agriculture & Food Law
Elder Law
Nonprofit Organizations
Advanced Family Law Advocacy
Parent, Child, and State
Seminar: Lawyers and Legislation
Seminar: Environmental Justice
Seminar: Civil Disobedience
Seminar: Refugee and Asylum Law
Domestic Violence and The Law
Immigration Law
Constitutional Law 2
Civil Rights
Employment Discrimination
Family Law
Labor Law
Law of Environmental Protection
LAW 794
Seminar: Disability and the Law
Writing Requirement
Experiential Learning3
Pro-Bono Requirement
Total Hours17

Writing Requirement.  Students must produce a written paper of no less than 25 pages on a topic related to public interest law.  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  1. Law Review Note, with approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator and with a faculty member as advisor.
  2. Qualifying paper in any elective course listed above.
  3. Qualifying paper in a non-designated elective course if the topic involves matters of public interest, with the advance approval of the Area of Emphasis administrator.
  4. Independent study approved per the catalog and with the advanced approval of the AOE administrator.
  5. Qualifying alternative approved by AOE administrator.

Experiential Learning.  Students must meet the following experiential learning requirement of no less than 3 credits.  No more than 7 credits from participation in a clinic shall count toward the 17 credit hour requirement for the concentration.  A student may fulfill this requirement through any of the following methods:

  1. Any West Virginia University College of Law clinic; provided, however, that any student in clinic shall make every effort to work on matters that further the common good using the legal process through the representation of individuals and organizations who might otherwise be unrepresented.
  2. Externship approved per the catalog and approved by the Area of Emphasis administrator.

Pro-Bono Requirement.  Students must also meet the following requirement:

  1. Twenty-five pro-bono hours over the student's three years at the College of Law (which may include, but is not limited to, participation in Public Interest Advocates).

A.6  Part-Time Program

Full-time students average just over fifteen hours per semester in order to amass ninety-one credits in six semesters.  Students taking significantly fewer hours per semester will take longer to finish their degrees and are considered part-time students at the College of Law. (Note, however, that in the eyes of the university, graduate or professional students taking nine hours or more are charged full tuition and fees.  Thus, some “part- time” students will still pay the same tuition and fees each semester as their full-time colleagues.)

Part-time students are subject to the same graduation requirements in terms of total credit hours (ninety-one credits), cumulative grade point average (2.30), and specific required courses. Per ABA requirements, part-time students have to complete all graduation requirements within seven years from the date of initial enrollment.

Students Who Wish to Begin Law School as Part-Time Students.  The Enrollment Management Committee selects first-year part-time students from students already admitted to the Law School. The total size of the entering class is not increased.  Written requests for part-time status are required, and selection is based on objective indicators of the need to attend on a part-time basis. Students who wish to become part-time students after starting law school but before completing the first-year curriculum must consult with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs as indicated in this catalog's section on Academic Policies and Procedures.  Students who have completed the first-year curriculum (see "First-Year Curriculum" above) may become part-time students by advising the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of that intention at the beginning of the semester.

First-Year Curriculum.  Part-time students must take both semesters of LRRW and the fall Introduction to Legal Research course in their first year of law school. Typically, part- time students take two courses in addition to LRRW/Legal Research  in each semester of the first year, then take the rest of the first-year curriculum in their second year of studies. As a general rule, part-time students may not enroll in upper-level courses until they have completed the entire first-year curriculum.  Exceptions to this rule may be granted for good cause by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Scheduling of Classes.  Part-time students must consult the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in scheduling.

Probation and Dismissal.  Students entering the part-time program during the first-year curriculum are subject to the probation and dismissal rules applicable to full-time students who have completed the first-year curriculum only when the part-time students have completed the entire first-year curriculum. Part-time students do not receive a class rank until they have completed the entire first-year curriculum.  In all other respects, part-time students and full-time students attending more than six semesters are subject to probation and dismissal rules substantially equivalent to those applicable to full-time students.

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B.  DUAL-DEGREE PROGRAMS


  1. Masters of Business Administration
  2. Masters of Public Administration
  3. J.D./LL.M in Energy and Sustainable Development Law

Students may enroll in an approved joint degree program with another College of the University.  At present, there are two such programs:  a joint J.D./M.B.A. (Masters of Business Administration) and a joint J.D./M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration).

B.1  Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A.)

A J.D./M.B.A. student may earn law school credit pursuant to the dual degree requirements approved by the faculties of the College of Law and the College of Business and Economics and published to students admitted to that program.  (See below for program requirements.)  J.D./M.B.A. students receive twelve credits toward the J.D. degree if the M.B.A. degree is awarded  concurrently with the J.D. degree, which means that at least 79 J.D. credit hours are required.  Grades earned in business school classes do not affect the cumulative law school GPA.  Professor Jena Martin is the College of Law contact person for the J.D./M.B.A. program.  

Required J.D. Curriculum38-39
First-Year Curriculum
Appellate Advocacy
Professional Responsibility
Seminar
Upper-Level Requirements31
Lawyers as Leaders (**)
International Business Transactions (**)
Taxation of Business Entities
Income Taxation 1
Business Organizations
Administrative Law
Sales and Secured Transactions (**)
Business Transactions Drafting
Securities (**)
Electives***10
Required M.B.A. Courses (BADM 600-level coursework)12

*The College of Law's perspective requirement is met by completing the dual-degree.  Also, the capstone requirement is met by completing Business Transactions Drafting, which is required in the J.D./M.B.A. program.

**Students may substitute up to two (2) of the courses marked with a double-asterisk with approval from the J.D./M.B.A. advisor.

***Students are strongly advised (but not required) to take the Entrepreneurship Clinic (4-8 hours) as part of their J.D./M.B.A. electives.


B.2  Masters of Public Administration (M.P.A.)

A J.D./M.P.A. student may earn law school credit for one M.P.A. course (up to four hours) if that course is taken after the student has entered the College of Law.  In addition, if the M.P.A. degree is awarded before or concurrently with the J.D. degree, an M.P.A. student may receive an additional two hours of law school credit for courses included in the M.P.A. degree that the student takes while enrolled in the College of Law.  Grades earned in Public Administration do not affect the cumulative law school GPA.  Professor John Taylor is the College of Law contact person for the J.D./M.P.A. program.


B.3  J.D./LL. M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law

WVU Law students can apply for the program at the end of their 2L year (approximately May 1). Applications must be received by June 15. 

J.D./LL.M. students are required to completed their J.D. with an emphasis on Energy and Sustainable Development Law. Following completion and conferral of the J.D. degree and after completing the requirements for the Energy and Sustainable Development emphasis, students must complete an additional 14 credits of coursework that qualify for the LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law, including the LL.M. Seminar and LL.M. Capstone. Students seeking this J.D./LL.M. shall endeavor to obtain a clinical opportunity in an appropriate clinic or a relevant externship opportunity, and if unable to do so, shall enroll in such other experiential learning opportunity (including Business Transactions Drafting and Trial Advocacy), which is necessary to fulfill the requirements of the Energy and Sustainable Development Area of Emphasis. 

Students from other law schools can apply for the program starting on February 1 each year. Applications to the J.D./LL.M program must be received by June 15. 

Students who are admitted to the J.D./LL.M. program will apply to attend WVU Law as visiting students for their entire 3L year. Visiting student from other law schools should state the intent  to pursue the J.D./LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law as the primary reason for seeking admission as a visiting student. An application to attend WVU Law as a visiting student will not be considered without a letter from the applicant's Dean (or equivalent) authorizing the student's attendance at WVU Law and stating that the home school will agree to transfer credits earned at WVU Law.

Visiting students must complete the coursework for the Energy and Sustainable Development Law Area of Emphasis in their 3L year while attending WVU Law. Some courses taken at a student's home institution may be approved to satisfy some area of emphasis requirements. Visiting students must take a minimum of nine credit hours in qualifying courses (related to the area of emphasis) while visiting at WVU Law, in addition to the required LL.M. courses. In addition to the coursework required, students will be required to complete all their LL.M. Degree requirements, including the research paper or field work requirement and the portfolio of work. Associate Dean Joshua Fershee is the College of Law advisor and contact person for the J.D./LL.M. program. 


C.  LL.M. - MASTER OF LAWS


  1. Energy and Sustainable Development Law
  2. Forensic Justice

C.1 Energy and Sustainable Development Law

WVU College of Law is committed to playing a prominent role in shaping the energy, environmental, and sustainable development policies of the future for the state, the nation, and the world.

Energy is the foundation of our nation’s future, both economically and environmentally. West Virginia is at the center of energy production for the country. There is no better place to learn about the intersecting laws and policies governing all of the country’s energy resources than at WVU College of Law.

Although many law schools provide opportunities to learn energy or environmental law, WVU College of Law is committed to providing students opportunities to learn the full range of energy, environmental, and sustainable development law through its Center for Energy and Sustainable Development Law and through its other resources in the area.

The College of Law provides a broad and deep offering of courses, experiential learning opportunities, and practical training for every part of the energy sector. Our broad spectrum of courses allows our students to prepare to be lawyers and leaders serving energy companies, investors, utilities, manufacturing companies, lawmakers, policymakers, regulators, land use professionals, and environmental organizations.

Program objectives

The College of Law’s objectives in establishing an LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law are as follows:

  • To educate the next generation of lawyers in the state and beyond who will work in and shape the field of energy and sustainable development;
  • To utilize WVU’s expertise and reputation in the areas of natural resources, energy, and sustainable development and further establish the College of Law as a leader in law and public policy in those fields; and
  • To build upon the WVU 2020 Strategic Plan for the Future, which emphasizes the unique role and expertise of West Virginia and the university in the areas of natural resources, energy, and sustainable development.

admission requirements

WVU Law’s LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law will be a source for a high-quality professional legal education and a home for thought leaders in the areas of energy and sustainable development.

Minimum admission requirements for the program are as follows:

  • A J.D. from an ABA-accredited school (or foreign equivalent, as determined by the College of Law in accordance with ABA guidelines).
  • A J.D. (or equivalent) grade point average of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or other demonstrated indicia of likelihood of success.
  • A demonstrated interest in or commitment to the fields of energy and/or sustainable development.

CURRICULUM

The College of Law intends that its graduates excel academically. Our goal is for our graduates to function on a high level as professionals in the field and to add to the national conversation on energy and sustainable development policy on a thoughtful and practical level.

This goal is reflected in our rigorous curriculum for the LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law.

Required Courses
LAW 630Energy Law3
LAW 764Administrative Law3
LAW 789Law of Environmental Protection3
LAW 670LLM Seminar3
LAW 671LL.M. Capstone (*)4
Electives10
Total Hours26
*

 Minimum 1 credit required, may be combined with another course to reach 4 credits total

Electives10
LAW 604Natural Resources3
LAW 612Agriculture & Food Law3
LAW 613International Environmental Law3
LAW 627Land Use/Sustainable Development Clinic 14-6
LAW 628Land Use/Sustainable Development Clinic 24-6
LAW 634Energy Reg, Markets and Environ3
LAW 635Land Use and Resilience Law3
LAW 644Energy Siting & Permitting3
LAW 645Water Law3
LAW 647Nuclear Law & Policy3
LAW 648Energy Business/Law & Strategy3
LAW 658Science & Technology of Energy2-3
LAW 659Administrative Energy Law and Practice2
LAW 660Law of Coal2-3
LAW 662Mine Safety & Health Law3
LAW 688ESeminar in Human Rights & the Environment2
LAW 688FSeminar in Hydraulic Fracturing2-3
LAW 689WSeminar:Issues in Energy Law2
LAW 766Coal/Oil and Gas3
Related Courses
LAW 633International Business Transactions3
LAW 689XSeminar: National Security Law2
LAW 719Income Taxation 13
LAW 729Business Organizations4
LAW 734Intellectual Property3
LAW 643Taxation of Business Entities4
LAW 768International Law3
LAW 771Labor Law3
LAW 774Local Government2
LAW 778Trade Regulation3
LAW 779Business Transactions Drafting4
LAW 784Securities3

Class Work.  One-year course of study requiring 26 credit hours, including a final paper or fieldwork project. Students will have the added benefit of seeking approval to include up to 6 credits in their course of study from relevant WVU graduate-level programs, such as course offerings in business, ecology, engineering, public policy, economics, and natural resources.

Energy Law Survey.  This introductory energy law course provides an overview of the law and regulatory policies that govern and affect the energy industry. The course includes a review of the various traditional and renewable energy sources, mineral rights, economic regulation of the energy industry, and climate change and environmental concerns.

Environmental Protection Law.  This survey course introduces students to energy, environment, and sustainability law and policy issues. Students will examine the development of environmental law from its common law tort roots through the birth of the “environmental movement” and the enactment of federal environmental regulatory laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Surface Coal Mining and Reclamation Act. The overarching goals of the course are to expose students to “real world” environmental issues they may face in practice and the principles, doctrine, and process lawyers use while representing clients in environmental and natural resource matters.

Administrative Law.  A basic understanding of administrative law is nearly essential for all attorneys. This is especially true for those practicing in the areas of energy, environmental, and sustainable development law. This course covers the creation and operation of administrative agencies, common procedural practices and requirements of administrative procedure acts, judicial control of administrative agencies, and constitutional issues related to the area.

LL.M. Seminar.  The program will require a 3-credit LL.M. Seminar that covers a wide range of energy and sustainable development law and policy and explores diverse advanced topics and perspectives. The seminar will feature guest speakers who will present their scholarship and other works. Guests will include, for example, WVU Law faculty, local and national scholars and practitioners, government officials, regulators, and other leaders in the fields. Students will be required to engage in rigorous preparation for each seminar discussion and will be expected to develop a writing project that will be presented at the end of the course.

LL.M. Capstone (Research Paper or Fieldwork Project).  The College of Law expects LL.M. graduates to bring their in-depth knowledge in the areas of energy and sustainable development into the world in a tangible way. The 4-credit Capstone (Research Paper or Fieldwork Project) requirement lays the groundwork for that expectation. For those students looking to focus on influencing energy and sustainable development policy, the option to write a research paper on a significant issue in law and energy or sustainable development policy would form the basis for further work in the field. The paper can be related to an existing course (e.g., a 3-credit course with an additional credit granted for additional required research) or a student-specific study/thesis option with the approval of the program director.

Those students intending to enter private practice or work in industry may prefer to experience real world problems with real world clients. Whether through existing experiential learning opportunities available through the College of Law or through specific projects developed through student interest or via significant industry contacts, a student will be able to see energy and sustainability law in actual practice. Each project will require approval of the program director before it is started and upon completion.

Specializations.  Given the nature of the degree, students will earn their LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law without further formal specialization. Beyond the course requirements, however, students will have the flexibility in elective courses to focus their studies more specifically on courses in energy law, land use planning, and environmental law, among other options.

Portfolio of Work.  All LL.M. students will be required to develop a portfolio of work, consisting of at least four written pieces that are representative of the student’s experiences in the course of the program. These pieces could include, but are not limited to, scholarly papers, industry white papers, significant legal motions, briefs or memoranda, substantial transactions documents, policy analyses, or draft legislation or regulations.

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

The graduation requirements for the LL.M. in Energy and Sustainable Development Law are as follows:

  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale).
  • No less than the equivalent of a "C" (2.0) in any class counted toward the degree.
  • Successful completion of the required 26 credits (including the LL.M. Seminar and the LL.M. Capstone).
  • Completion of the 3-credit LL.M. Seminar, which must be completed in residence at the College of Law's Morgantown campus unless otherwise approved by the program director.
  • Successful completion of the 4-credit-hour Capstone (writing or field-work project) requirement.
  • Development of a portfolio of work (consisting of at least four written pieces) that is representative of the student's experiences in the course of the program.

c.2 forensic justice


Recent developments have demonstrated that a solid grounding in the scientific method and forensic evidence is critical for any attorney, especially for those practicing criminal law.  These developments include more than 300 DNA-based exonerations that have taken place since the early 1990’s, the uncovering of numerous scandals in forensic laboratories across the country, and the recommendations put forth by the National Academy of Sciences in a 2009 report.

The WVU College of Law, in partnership with the WVU Department of Forensic and Investigative Science, is a pioneer in the criminal justice field by offering the country’s only graduate law degree program in Forensic Justice.

Many American law schools offer upper-level courses in areas such as expert testimony and forensic evidence, but LL.M. programs in law and forensic science remain virtually nonexistent.  Currently, no other ABA-approved U.S. law school offers such a degree.

Because WVU has long been a leader in the field of forensic sciences and is also home to the highly regarded Department of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, WVU Law is a natural location for the country’s first LL.M. in Forensic Justice.

The LL.M. curriculum makes use of the expertise present at the University and allow LL.M. candidates the opportunity to combine breadth-that is, exposure to a wide range of forensic methods- with depth- the opportunity to conduct original, independent research in a narrower area of interest.

program objectives

The Forensic Justice LL.M. is flexible enough to allow experienced practitioners to improve and expand their skills, allowing them to better serve their clients and communities, while also offering new attorneys an opportunity to develop skills that will make them more marketable in their chosen profession, whether that be, for example, as a state or federal prosecutor, a public defender, or an attorney in private practice focusing on criminal defense.

The objectives of the LL.M. in Forensic Justice are to:

  • Educate current and future West Virginia attorneys, and those of our region and nation, whose work will help shape the field of criminal law, particularly the areas of prosecution and criminal defense;
  • Build on WVU’s reputation as a leader in forensic and investigative sciences; and
  • Pioneer a much-needed area of advanced academic training.

admission requirements

Minimum admission requirements for the LL.M. in Forensic Justice are as follows:

  • A J.D. from an ABA (American Bar Association) accredited school (or foreign equivalent, as determined by WVU Law in accordance with ABA guidelines).
  • A grade point average of at least a 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or other demonstrated indicia of likelihood of success.
  • A demonstrated interest in or commitment to the fields of science, forensic evidence, and law.

Applicants may include newly graduated J.D. students, professionals (prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges) returning for study after years of practice, or qualified international students.

Curriculum

The program shall consist of a one-year course of study requiring 30 credit hours, which will be evenly split between courses offered by the COL and courses offered by the Department of Forensic and Investigative Sciences (“FIS”).  Candidates will also be required to complete a substantial piece of written work, final paper, or field-work project.  Students in the program may also have the option to include up to 4 credits in their course of study from relevant WVU graduate-level programs, such as statistics, biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, provided that these students meet the per-requisite course requirements.

Required Courses

Minimum GPA of 2.5 is required.
Minimum grade of C- is required.
FIS 480Forensic Quality Assurance2
FIS 501Foundations of Criminalistics3
FIS 592DImpression and Trace Evidence3
FIS 620Forensic Casework Practicum3
LAW 661Forensic and Expert Evidence3
LAW 670LLM Seminar4
LAW 671LL.M. Capstone4
LAW 688DSeminar in Science and the Law2
LAW 712Analytical Methods for Lawyers3
FIS 592CDirected Study (Biological and Chemical Evidence)3
Total Hours30

LL.M. Seminar. The program will require a 3-credit LL.M. Seminar that covers a wide range of topics relating to the role that forensic evidence plays in the criminal justice system, the strengths and weaknesses of various forensic disciplines and other relevant topics.  The seminar may feature guest speakers who will present their scholarship or will lecture on current issues in forensic science.  Students will be required to engage in rigorous preparation for each seminar discussion and will be expected to develop a writing project that will be presented at the end of the course.

LL.M. Capstone (Research paper or field-work project).  The College of Law intends its LL.M. graduates to bring their in-depth understanding of the areas of law and forensic science into their practice in a tangible way.  To that end, the 4-credit research paper or field-work project is meant to lay the groundwork for future professional work.  For students hoping to contribute to the growing body of legal scholarship focusing on the intersection (and sometimes tension) between law and forensics, the option to write a research paper on an important issue in the field might form the basis for a later journal article.  If the paper option is chosen, the paper can be related to an existing course (e.g. a 3-credit course with an additional credit granted for additional required research) or a student-created independent study option.  That is, in addition to other program requirements, students must engage in an intensive 4-credit research experience that is coordinated with the approval of the Program Director.

Alternatively, those students wishing to enter private practice or the public sector may wish to work on real world problems.  In this instance, the written work product might take the form of an appellate brief, a reply brief, a pre-trial motion relating to expert witness testimony, or other similar pleading.  Opportunities to complete such projects may be available through existing experiential learning placements available at the COL or through specific projects developed through student interest.  Each project will require approval of the Program Director before it is started and upon completion.

Specializations.  Given the nature of the degree, students will earn their LL.M. in Forensic Justice without further formal specialization.

Prerequisites.  It is expected that the majority of LL.M. candidates will already have taken both Evidence and Criminal Procedure as J.D. students.  In the case of practitioners, prerequisite will be will waived if not met.  Prerequisites may also be waived at the discretion of the Program Director after an individual consultation with the student.

Continuing WVU Students.  The College of Law anticipates that some of the students in the program may be recent graduates of, or visitors at, the WVU College of Law, and therefore may have already taken some of the classes offered by the program.  If such a student has already taken a significant number of the courses listed in the program curriculum as part of the J.D. course of study at the College of Law such that the student will have difficulty taking 30 credits of course work without repetition, then the program director may authorize such student to take other related courses that are not on the initial program curriculum listing.  In all events, however, a student shall be required to meet the 30-credit hour requirement.

International Programs.  The College of Law already offers a number of international programs for credit, including trips to Geneva, Mexico, and Brazil. The College of Law could approve participation in any of these international programs for the LL.M. credit, with approval of the program director, as long as there is a demonstrable link between participation in the international program and the student’s course of study.

Portfolio of Work.  All LL.M. students will be required to develop a portfolio of work, consisting of at least four written pieces that are representative of the student’s experiences in the course of the program.  These pieces may include, but are not limited to, scholarly articles, legal motions, briefs, or memoranda, policy analyses, or draft legislation.

Graduation Requirements

The graduation requirements for the LL.M. in Forensic Justice are as follows:

  • A minimum grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale) upon graduation
  • No less than the equivalent of a C (2.0) in any class counted toward the degree,
  • Successful completion of the required 30 credits (including the LL.M. Seminar and the writing or field-work project),
  • Completion of the 3-credit LL.M. Seminar, which must be completed in residence at the COL’s Morgantown campus unless otherwise approved by the Program Director,
  • Successful completion of the 4-credit hour writing or field-work project requirement, and,
  • Development of a portfolio of work (consisting of at least four written pieces) that is representative of the student’s experience in the course of the Program.