The curriculum at Villanova Law offers sound training for the practice of law. Courses are designed to teach not only the rules of law, but also how legal institutions operate. Students learn how lawyers analyze issues, express themselves and solve problems. The course of study consists of three full-time, consecutive years.
The First Year
You will acquire a thorough grounding in six foundational doctrinal courses, which are taught in one semester segments to allow you the ability to focus intensively on each subject:
- Civil Procedure
- Criminal Law
- Constitutional Law
You will also be immersed in a year-long Legal Analysis, Research, Writing & Communication course. This course is offered in small sections, where a professor will individually supervise the development of your legal analysis and writing skills. You will also learn legal research skills and strategy from our team of lawyer-librarians, who work in close collaboration with the legal analysis and writing faculty.
In addition, you will also take:
- An elective course in your spring semester (typical options include Introduction to Business and Economic Analysis, Public International Law, Regulatory State, Justice and Rights, and Criminal Procedure)
- A transactional practicum in either Contracts or Property—taught in smaller sections, you will apply Contract or Property legal theory and draft actual documents a client would need in a real-world situation
- A one-week module focused on Financial Literacy during January of your 1L year
- A year-long one credit Professional Development course that engages students in individualized and active career investigation and professional exploration
The Second and Third Years
In the second and third years, you will mostly shape your own course of study while taking several additional graduation requirements.
Upper level requirements include:
- Legal Writing III (Transactional or Litigation)
- Constitutional Law II
- Professional Responsibility
You are also required to take:
- Practical Writing course
- Research Paper Seminar (or Directed Research)
- One-week module focused on the Business Aspects of Law in January of your second year
- One credit of Professional Development during both your 2L and 3L years
- Six credits of experiential learning in a clinic and/or externship
The Law School supports a wide range of externship opportunities at government, profit and nonprofit organizations that provide the opportunity to learn in a real-world setting. In our award-winning clinics, you will have the opportunity to represent real clients in real cases working with full-time clinic faculty.
Additionally, many students choose to focus on one or more specialty areas, enrolling in courses that help strengthen their basis of knowledge and hone the skills necessary for practice. Focus Areas of Study provide students with a guide to specific practice areas so that they can tailor their elective choice to prepare them to practice in their chosen field.