Few areas of the legal system are more emotionally challenging than family law, especially when the fate of a child is at issue. We not only place an emphasis on developing a strong foundation in the law, but we also instill an appreciation for how real families function, and the new ways that family lawyers are expected to work with families in need. You’ll explore topics related to child development, same-sex marriage and other family dynamics that paint a vivid picture of your clients’ lives and the challenges they face.
The family law concentration uses an innovative, interprofessional approach that gives you an opportunity to collaborate with other professionals — such as social workers — to develop creative solutions to potentially volatile cases. Because litigation is rarely the most appropriate course of action for families, you’ll learn alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and other negotiation and collaborative approaches that promote the abilities of families to thrive and communicate peacefully, well after the legal case has ended.
Quinnipiac’s extensive clinic and externship courses let you go out in the field and serve family law clients while honing your skills. Our Family and Juvenile Law Society is a valuable resource for career development events and networking opportunities with lawyers in the field. And our nationally recognized Center on Dispute Resolution hosts a variety of symposia, professional workshops and special training sessions aimed at building sophisticated problem-solving skills that are particularly key in the practice of family law.
Curriculum and Requirements
Family Law Concentration
To be eligible for the Family Law Concentration, a student must take both LAWS 311 and LAWS 305 as two of the core electives. Credits for these courses do not count toward the 18-credit concentration requirement, but grades in these prerequisites do count toward the concentration GPA requirement.
To receive the certificate for this concentration, a student must earn 18 family law credits, divided as follows (not all courses are offered every year):
1. Course Work
Required Course Work
In addition to LAWS 311 and LAWS 305 (credits for which do not count toward the 18-credit concentration requirement) a student must take the following courses. Credits for these courses will count toward the 18-credit concentration requirement:
|LAWS 370||Family Law||3|
|Select one of the following courses:||2-3|
|Representation in Mediation|
|Introduction to Mediation|
|Alternative Dispute Resolution|
Choose at least two from the following courses or from other required courses listed above. (Not all of these are offered every year.)
|LAWS 307||Trusts and Estates||3|
|LAWS 371||Divorce and the Divorcing Family||2|
|LAWS 384||Juvenile Law||3|
|LAWS 385||Advanced Juvenile Law - Child Protection Practices||2|
|LAWS 387||Advanced Juvenile Law: Delinquency Proceedings||2|
|LAWS 388||Elder Law||2-3|
|LAWS 435||Advanced Family Law I - S||2|
|LAWS 438||Advanced Family Law II||2|
|LAWS 600||Law and Gender||2|
|Other courses as approved by the concentration director in consultation with the course instructor.|
The balance of the credits, if any, are to be earned from the following family law-related courses, or from other core courses listed above. (Not all of these are offered every year.)
|LAWS 114||Administrative Law||3|
|LAWS 205||Business Organizations||4|
|LAWS 292||Independent Research Project W||2|
|LAWS 293||Independent Research Project W||3|
|LAWS 313||Advanced Individual Income Tax||3|
|LAWS 314||Employee Benefits||2|
|LAWS 315||Trial Practice||2-3|
|LAWS 369||Real Estate Transactions||3|
|LAWS 374||Introduction to Mediation||2|
|LAWS 386||Domestic Violence: Law, Practice and Pol||2|
|LAWS 471||Education Law||2|
|LAWS 564||Poverty Law||2|
|LAWS 572||Immigrat'n & Natural'n Law||3|
|LAWS 599||Intro to Representing Clients||2|
|Substantial paper courses where the paper is devoted to a family or juvenile law topic approved by the concentration director.|
|LAWS 525||Moot Court I 1||1|
|LAWS 526||Moot Court II 1||1-2|
|LAWS 528||Moot Court III 1||1|
|Other courses or journal work as approved by the concentration director in consultation with the course instructor.|
Moot Court credits, if the student participates in the Family Law Moot Court Competition (1, 2, or 3)
2. Clinical Requirement
At least 3, but no more than 3, of the 18 family law credits must be earned in the Civil Justice Clinic and/or in a family and/or juvenile law-related externship placement. Credits for IRC do not count toward the clinical requirement. (A student may exceed 3 credits for the clinical course but may only count 3 credits toward the clinical requirement of this concentration.)
a. The concentration director will determine the family-law status of any given clinic or externship.
b. The clinical requirement may be waived if the student has substantial family or juvenile law work experience. The concentration director will make this determination.
c. If the clinical requirement is waived, the student must still earn 18 credits elsewhere within the concentration to receive the concentration.
3. Writing Requirement
A student must write a substantial paper – or a series of shorter writings that together comprise a substantial amount of written work – on a topic or topics related to family or juvenile law. (If a student writes a substantial paper, it may be used to satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement, provided that the guidelines are met as set forth in the Academic Regulations, section I.D.) The concentration director must approve the topic or topics for the written work used to satisfy this requirement. A paper written for a journal may qualify, if the concentration director approves the topic.
Students who achieve a GPA of 3.2 or better in the course work used for the concentration will receive the certificate for the concentration with honors.
A student may designate any course or paper as not counting toward the concentration, so long as it is not required for the concentration, and the student meets the concentration requirements with another course or paper.
The concentration director and the associate dean for academic affairs may waive any requirements for the concentration (other than the GPA requirement), if they both agree to do so.