The UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law provides a high quality legal education that equips students with the knowledge, skills, and ethical concepts to not only function as competent attorneys, public officials, business persons, and other professionals, but also to think critically about the efficacy of the law and legal institutions and to work for their improvement.
- First-Year Curriculum
- Upper-Level Required Courses
- 90 total credit hours
- 60 credit hours in residence (for students admitted in Fall 2013 or later)
- the Upper-Level Writing Requirement
- the Policy and Perspectives Requirement
- The Experiential Learning Requirement
Full-time students usually graduate in six semesters (three years). Part-time students usually graduate in eight semesters (four years). All students must complete degree requirements within seven years.
The Required Curriculum
These core classes provide the essentials for students in legal studies and cover foundational topics such as torts, contracts, criminal law, property, civil procedure, professionalism, legal research and writing. The required curriculum also grounds students in constitutional law, evidence, criminal procedure, lawyering skills and professional responsibility. All students are also required to satisfy an upper level writing requirement, a policy and perspectives requirement, and an experiential learning requirement; by doing so, students expand their understanding of the law and continue to improve their writing skills.
During the first year of the full-time program or first two years of the part-time program, students take required courses and participate in Structured Study Groups. At the end of the first year, students who complete the first-year curriculum are well prepared to tackle the demands of the upper-class curriculum.
Full-time division – During the first year, students take two semester-long courses: Criminal Law and Torts, and six year-long courses: Civil Procedure; Contracts; Property; Research, Writing and Analysis I (RWA I); Research, Writing and Analysis II (RWA II); and Professionalism and the Work of Lawyers.
Part-time division – During the first-year, students take two semester-long courses: Criminal Law and Torts, and four year-long courses: Contracts; Research Writing, and Analysis I (RWA I); Research, Writing and Analysis II (RWA II); and Professionalism and the Work of Lawyers. Part-time division students complete the remainder of the first-year curriculum by taking two year-long semester courses, Civil Procedure and Property, during their second year of law school.
Upper-Level Required Courses
In addition to the courses required in the first year, the UALR Bowen School of Law requires upper-division students to complete three additional core courses: Constitutional Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure Pre-Trial, and Legal Profession.
Through completion of the required Lawyering Skills I (offered in fall only) and Lawyering Skills II (offered in spring only) courses, students gain competency in pre-trial and trial skills including negotiation, client interviewing and counseling, alternative dispute resolution, legal drafting, preparation of witnesses, direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and introduction of evidence.
Students must complete one course that fulfills the Upper-Level Writing requirement (requires the completion of a major paper) and one course that fulfills the Policy and Perspective requirement (course that offers a perspective on American law from another legal system or discipline). Students also must take at least one three-credit course that satisfies the Experiential Learning Requirement. This includes classes in the Legal Clinic, Public Service Externships, and Judicial Practica.
After the first year of the full-time program or the second year of the part-time program, students have finished most of their required courses and can choose from a diverse offering of electives. Many students choose bar recommended courses to prepare for additional subjects tested on state bar examinations. Students may also take courses associated with a course concentration to prepare them for a particular kind of legal practice.
Students may choose to take public service externships as part of the Experiential Learning Requirement, where they earn academic credit for working at government agencies or nonprofit organizations. They may also choose from one of several legal clinics where they handle real cases under the supervision of a faculty member. Beginning in the Spring of 2016, the law school will also offer Judicial Practica, an experiential opportunity for part-time students to work remotely with judges, prosecutors, and public defenders. Students can also take advantage of other co-curricular activities including moot court and trial competition, law review, or independent study.
Concurrent Degree Programs
The UALR Bowen School of Law encourages students to take full advantage of one of our five concurrent-degree programs. Enrollment in a concurrent degree program allows a student to proceed in a structured way toward completion of both degrees in a shortened period of time. The practice of law has become increasingly complex, requiring lawyers to think in a more interdisciplinary way to remain competitive. Concurrent degree programs permit students to personalize their study of law by adding knowledge, skills, and analytical tools from other disciplines.
Ethics and professionalism are as important to the School of Law as are academic performance and the mastery of practical legal skills. The faculty and the administration strive to prepare the law students for their professional career through an education that embodies and promotes the highest ideals of the legal profession.
All incoming students receive the Academic Rules of the school, detailing course loads, course selection, academic dismissal, conduct of examinations, and related topics. Students also receive the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Behavior, which applies to all UALR students, and the Code of Academic Student Conduct, which covers academic misconduct such as cheating and plagiarism, among others, and the academic procedures for discipline at the School of Law.