In our juris doctor program, you’ll combine a rigorous academic curriculum with professional training in critical lawyering skills. Low faculty-to-student ratios in both classrooms and clinics ensure a highly personalized educational experience. As a graduate of our JD program, you will possess substantive and procedural law and the ability to perform legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and communication in the legal context. You will also understand proper professional and ethical responsibilities and demonstrate the skills of collaboration, counseling, and negotiation required of a member of the legal profession.
- 6 Semesters
- 85 Credits
Our 85-credit BU Law juris doctor degree program is a full-time program requiring three academic years of study.
What to expect during your first year of law school.
During your first year, you’ll be placed into a section with other first-year students. Students in each section take all their classes together. You will also take at least one of your required first-year courses in a smaller section of students to create a close-knit community for first-years both inside and outside the classroom. All first-year students complete the yearlong Lawyering Program and generally take the following courses in their first year:
- Civil Procedure
Examines the structure and function of civil procedure and the requirements of due process of law
- Constitutional Law
Analyzes selected issues concerning judicial review, federalism, separation of powers and individual rights
Examines equitable legal remedies for enforcing contracts, determining what promises are enforceable and analyzing elements of assent
- Criminal Law
Explores the basic principles of substantive criminal law, including the justifications for punishment, the essential elements of offenses, mitigating and exculpating defenses and various forms of criminal liability
- Lawyering Lab
Provides an intensive introduction to transactional lawyering skills, including contract drafting, client counseling and negotiation
- Lawyering Skills
Provides training in legal research, legal writing, oral advocacy, client interviewing, and client counseling
- Property Law
Undertakes a conceptual analysis of basic property law
Evaluates the principles of civil recovery for injury, including strict liability, negligence and the intentional torts, with emphasis on the social, economic and moral underpinnings of the doctrines
Choose from more than 200 courses and seminars.
Choose from one of the widest selections of courses and seminars (over 200) available anywhere. We continually update our offerings to keep pace with today’s evolving legal landscape—from digital technology and globalization of trade and finance to advancements in medical and biological sciences.
You’ll learn the professional responsibilities of a lawyer and basic financial and management principles, hone your legal writing and research skills, and deepen your knowledge of specific areas of law and legal practice.
Curricular choices are not limited to the law school: you can earn up to 12 graduate-level credits at another BU college or professional school or pursue an interdisciplinary graduate certificate.
Experience opportunities outside the classroom.
Whether you plan to work in private practice or public service, our numerous clinics, externships and semester-in-practice placements will provide resume-building legal experience in courtrooms, government agencies, companies, and nonprofit organizations in major cities across the U.S. and around the world. If you are interested in international law, consider spending a semester or a year overseas in one of BU Law’s 21 foreign study programs in Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East.
By fulfilling course requirements of an optional concentration, you choose focus your studies on a specific legal field. Completion of a concentration will be noted on your official transcript.
- Health Law Concentration
- Intellectual Property & Information Law Concentration
- International Law Concentration
- Litigation and Dispute Resolution Concentration
- Public Interest Concentration
- Risk Management & Compliance Concentration
- Transactional Practice Concentration
Dual Degree Programs
Dual degree programs are available to students who wish to add depth or breadth to their knowledge and credentials. Students may choose from dual JD/LLM degrees offered by the law school, a variety of dual degree options offered in partnership with other schools and colleges at Boston University, or dual degree programs with one of several international partners.
Students in our JD program may pursue two optional certificates to enhance their BU Law education.
Certificate in Legal Research Skills for Practice
The Certificate in Legal Research Skills for Practice is a non-credit, skills-based program for current students offered by the Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries. To earn the certificate, students must complete at least six hour-long classes on various legal research topics taught by the legal information librarians during the spring semester. Contact the law libraries for more information.
Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
The Graduate Certificate in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is available to any student enrolled in a graduate program at BU. The requirements are designed to be easy to integrate into other coursework requirements, while allowing graduate students to develop the skills and expertise necessary to pursue research on topics related to gender and sexuality within their specialized field of study
Clinical & Experiential Education
Experiential education is a critical element of the law school experience, such that the ABA requires all graduates of accredited law schools to earn at least six experiential credits. At BU Law, you may satisfy your experiential requirements through a clinic, practicum, externship, or simulation course offered through Clinical & Experiential Programs. Choose from more than 20 different clinics, externships, and semester-in-practice placements—one of the widest selections of any top 50 law school. Some courses offered through the Transactional Law Program may also satisfy experiential requirements.
Although they cannot be applied to the six credits of experiential learning that are required in the JD program, students have access to other hands-on experience as well, such as participating in moot court or serving on the editorial board for one of our six law journals.
Transactional Law Program
Today, employers hiring law school graduates—particularly law firms—expect new hires to contribute high quality, cost effective services from day one. The principal goal of our Transactional Law Program is to give our students a basic foundation of transactional practice skills they will need as they enter legal practice. Develop skills in contract drafting and analysis, negotiation, client counseling, and deal making. Learn from seasoned transactional practitioners through intensive, hands-on training and practice. Acquire key practice skills that will help you stand out as you compete in the legal marketplace.
BU Program on Reproductive Justice
The BU Program on Reproductive Justice (BUPRJ) is a home to work on reproductive justice across BU, in the community, and beyond. Reproductive justice (RJ) is commonly defined to include the rights to have children, not to have children, to parent with dignity, and to live free from violence. Importantly, RJ extends far beyond abortion to include control over timing of pregnancies; healthy pregnancies, births, and infants; fertility; medical treatment that includes abortion within the standard of care; and access to all necessary medications. Law shapes these questions, making it a determinant of health, and BUPRJ will provide a space to pay close attention to these matters to address inequalities and promote health and justice.
With 20+ study abroad opportunities available across Europe, Asia, South America, and the Middle East, JD students interested in adding an international element to their legal education have a wealth of choices unavailable at most other law schools.