Curriculum After the First Year

""The upper-class curriculum is less structured than the first year. There are only four required courses: Constitutional Rights, Legal Research, Ethics and Clinic. Students must also complete an advanced writing requirement. The balance of credit hours is filled with elective courses.

Required Courses

In the first semester of the second year, students are assigned to a section of Constitutional Rights. This course builds upon the concepts studied in the first-year Introduction to Constitutional Law. Constitutional Rights explores the building blocks of civil rights law, with particular emphasis upon the concepts of equal protection and due process. Students will also study litigation strategy and the decision-making processes of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Students are required to take the two credit Legal Research class during their second year.  It can be taken in Summer (after the first year), Fall, or Spring.  This two credit hour course builds on the legal research foundation acquired in first year writing classes. There is an emphasis on New Mexico and specialized practice resources.

Students are required to take Ethics during either the second or third year. Ethics covers the ABA Rules of Professional Responsibility, the New Mexico Rules of Professional Responsibility and the similarities and differences between them. The class also studies the Code of Judicial Conduct and major cases that discuss important ethical issues.

Students are required to take Clinic.

Elective Courses

Through their second- and third-year elective courses, students explore myriad substantive legal subjects in small-class settings. Classes are arranged topically to assist students in developing expertise in particular areas of law.

The upper-class curriculum is arranged by families, which are designed to group courses into concentrations. Many courses are in more than one family.

Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are offered for students seeking a higher level of specialization in Indian Law or Natural Resources Law. Students who complete specific requirements are awarded certificates in these two areas of expertise.

Writing Requirement

Students may fulfill the writing requirement by enrolling in a designated "writing requirement seminar," normally in the second semester of the second year, or the first semester of the third year. Limited exceptions will apply, but in any case, students must submit their final papers by April 1 of the third year.

Course Frequency

Each course listed in the families has a letter designation appended to the course name. The letter designation denotes how often a course is offered. The keys represent minimum course frequency, in other words, courses may be offered more frequently than indicated by the key. The keys are intended as a curriculum planning aid; they do not represent sequencing recommendation for students. The curriculum is always subject to faculty change.

Course Frequency Key

  • Course Frequency Key
  • A = offered every semester
  • B = generally offered once or twice every academic year
  • C = generally offered every two or three academic years
  • D = offered when student interest and faculty availability allow

Journals and Competitions

Academic journals and competitions are not part of the listed course families.