Families are more diverse than ever, and the law is evolving to reflect their shifting needs. This concentration offers an understanding of family-related legal issues and how to best resolve sensitive family disputes.

Program Overview

Few areas of the legal system are more sensitive than family law. 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. 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 unique cases. Litigation is not always the most appropriate course of action. You’ll learn alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration.  

Quinnipiac’s 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 symposiums, professional workshops and special courses aimed at building sophisticated negotiating skills. 

Curriculum and Requirements

Concentration Prerequisites
To be eligible for the family law concentration, you must take both Evidence and Federal Income Tax as two of your core electives. Credits for these courses do not count toward the 18-credit concentration requirement, but grades in these prerequisites do count toward the GPA honors requirement.

Concentration Requirements

Course Work
To receive the certificate for this concentration, you must earn 18 family & juvenile law specialty credits, divided as follows:

Required Course Work
In addition to Evidence and Federal Income Tax (credits for which do not count toward the 18-credit requirement) you must take the following courses. Credits for these courses will count toward your 18-credit concentration requirement:

  • Family Law (2-3)
  • Juvenile Law (2-3)
  • One of the following: Negotiation, Mediation Seminar (with or without the field placement), or ADR (1-3)

Core Courses
At least one of the 18 credits from the following family and juvenile law courses or from other required courses listed above. (Note: not all of these are offered every year):

  • Advanced Family Law (2-3)
  • Advanced Juvenile Law (all types) (2-3)
  • Trusts & Estates (3)
  • Marital Property (2-3)
  • Elder Law (3)
  • Divorce & the Divorcing Family (2)

Other courses as approved by the concentration directors in consultation with the course instructor.

Remaining Credits
The balance of the credits, if any, are to be earned from the following family & juvenile law-related courses, or from other core courses listed above. (Note: not all of these are offered every year):

  • Administrative Law (3)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (2-3)
  • Bankruptcy (3-4)
  • Business Organizations (4)
  • Employee Benefits (2)
  • Education Law (2)
  • Introduction to Representing Clients (2)
  • Law & Psychiatry (2)
  • Mediation (Seminar and/or Externship) (1+2-5)
  • Mediation Advocacy (1-2)
  • Negotiation (2-3)
  • Real Estate Transactions (3-4)
  • Independent Research Project (2-3)
  • Substantial-paper courses where the paper is devoted to a family or juvenile law topic approved by the concentration director
  • Moot Court credits, if the student participates in the Family Law Moot Court Competition (1-3)
  • Other courses or journal work as approved by the concentration director in consultation with the course instructor

Clinical Requirement
At least 3, but no more than 3, of your 18 family/juvenile specialty credits must be earned in the Civil Clinic and/or in a family and/or juvenile law externship, or in the mediation externship. Credits for IRC do not count toward the clinical requirement. (A student may exceed three credits for their clinical course but may only count 3 toward the clinical requirement of this concentration.)

  • Determination of the family-law status of any given externship will be made by the concentration director.
  • Clinical requirement may be waived if the student has substantial family or juvenile law work experience. This determination will be made by the concentration director.
  • If the clinical requirement is waived, the student must still earn 18 credits elsewhere within the concentration in order to receive the concentration.

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 the student writes a substantial paper, the student may use that paper to satisfy the law school's advanced writing requirement, provided that the student meets the guidelines for the advanced writing requirement as set forth in the academic catalog). The topic or topics for the written work used to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the concentration director. A paper written for a journal may qualify if the topic is approved by the concentration director.

Honors
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.

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