Mission & Learning Outcomes

Our Mission

Our mission is to serve as a preeminent site for the study of law, legal institutions, and legal culture; to educate our students effectively and comprehensively in legal principles and skills; and to advance justice and the public good.

As an institution, we are committed to:

  • advancing knowledge through research about law, legal institutions, and legal culture, bringing to bear insights from non-legal disciplines and reaching across national and cultural borders in recognition of rising global interdependence and the increasing need for cooperative responses to transnational problems and opportunities;
  • developing in students the substantive legal knowledge, analytic methodologies, practical skills, moral commitments, and temperament necessary to achieve excellence in their professional and civic endeavors;
  • working diligently for beneficial change in the law, legal institutions, and society;
  • finding ways to keep legal education affordable and accessible, so that students have an expansive opportunity to pursue professional studies in law and so that graduates are not unduly constrained by debt in their public service and career options; and
  • assisting students and graduates in developing their full professional potential, in light of changing opportunities and societal needs.

Learning Outcomes

The Law School has identified the learning outcomes of its J.D. program. According to these learning outcomes, a graduate of the J.D. program will have the capacity to:

Learning Outcome #1: Graduates will have acquired basic knowledge of American substantive and procedural law.

Performance Criteria: Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by:

  • Identifying, applying, and analyzing the foundational substantive rules of American public and private law, including the constitutional rules that shape the American legal system.
  • Identifying, applying, and analyzing the foundational procedural rules that govern adjudication and dispute resolution, with a focus on the procedural rules of the American judicial system.
  • Identifying, applying, and analyzing legal rules, policies, and practices in one or more advanced or specialized areas of American law.
  • Identifying and explaining how law is created and enforced by executive, legislative, and regulatory bodies.

Learning Outcome #2: Graduates will use legal reasoning and legal analysis effectively.

Performance Criteria: Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by:

  • Recognizing relevant legal issues when presented with factual descriptions of events or sequences of events.
  • Developing arguments and strategies to effectively address relevant legal issues.
  • Analyzing and synthesizing principles, doctrines, and arguments from a diverse body of legal materials, including statutes, regulations, judicial opinions, and transactional documents.
  • Critically assessing their own and others’ legal arguments and strategies.
  • Identifying and analyzing the practical and policy implications of current and proposed statutes, regulations, judicial rulings, legal arguments, and strategies.

Learning Outcome # 3: Graduates will demonstrate the practical legal skills required to competently participate in the legal profession.

Performance Criteria: Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by:

  • Gathering then synthesizing the facts underlying events or sequences of events.
  • Analyzing client concerns and translating them into responsive legal arguments and strategies.
  • Utilizing legal research tools to gather information that aids in the analysis of legal issues.
  • Communicating clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing, in a wide range of legal contexts to varied audiences.
  • Managing a complex workload in a way that is diligent, reliable, and timely.
  • Identifying and understanding the career and managerial skills needed to build a successful public or private law practice. 

Learning Outcome #4: Graduates will conduct themselves professionally and in keeping with the highest standards of civic virtue. 

Performance Criteria: Graduates will demonstrate achievement of this learning outcome by:

  • Identifying, applying, and analyzing the ethical rules governing legal practice, and agreeing to be bound by those rules.
  • Developing and exhibiting the skills of professional self-improvement.
  • Collaborating respectfully with others, including those with opposing interests.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of lawyers’ distinctive role in society and how participation in public service and pro bono representation fulfills their responsibility to contribute to society.
  • Exhibiting the requisite self-awareness and empathy to work respectfully with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Respectfully providing and receiving criticism.