When I became Dean at Alabama Law, a colleague gave me a small sign that still sits atop my desk, beside my computer keyboard. The sign reads, “…and this would be good for the students because…?” I keep it as a reminder that students are the reason that we in the legal academy do what we do. As a prospective law student, you are preparing to enter the legal profession at a time of enormous change, which presents both challenges and opportunities. More than ever before, you will need an education that is not just good, but truly excellent.
Alabama Law has long been an excellent place to study law, and the nation has taken notice. The reasons are obvious. We have a splendid faculty, who take seriously both teaching and scholarship. We offer a broad, deep, and stimulating curriculum. We are home to a rich and vigorous intellectual environment that draws scholars from around the globe.
We keep the cost of legal education within reach – which is why Alabama remains, year after year, one of the best values in the country for a quality legal education. We maintain an enviable student-to-faculty ratio. We are housed in a state of-the- art facility. The loyalty of our alumni is second to none. And our record of placing our graduates is exceptional.
At the heart of what makes Alabama a superb place to study are our students. Here, you will find an impressive, motivated, and diverse community of colleagues. You can see and hear their contributions, not only in classrooms and hallways, but in other venues across the nation.
I invite you to visit our campus, talk with an admissions representative, meet our students, and observe a class. See for yourself how Alabama Law produces outstanding attorneys – for the state, the nation, and the world.
Mark E. Brandon
Dean and Thomas E. McMillan Professor of Law
When you enroll at The University of Alabama School of Law, you will join a student body of almost 400 JD students that is talented, diverse, and academically strong. Your classmates will represent a wide range of geographic areas, undergraduate institutions, and majors. They will hold various skills, interests, and opinions. You will observe that the careers you and your classmates pursue after law school are as different as the students themselves. You will see Alabama Law open doors for you and your fellow students and prepare you to make meaningful contributions in your profession immediately after graduation and throughout your career.
Because of our size and low student-faculty ratio, you will develop close working relationships with your faculty. In the classroom, you will answer professors’ questions and engage in discussions. Your professors will encourage you to meet with them outside of class and at student- sponsored activities. Alabama Law does not graduate students who are merely faces in a crowd. In fact, not only will professors know your name, it is a good bet that some will learn the name of your hometown and favorite restaurant.
During law school, you will also form important and long-lasting relationships with your classmates. While this may start in your first-year courses, it continues outside the classroom in clubs and organizations. Each fall at “Get on Board Day,” you can learn about these organizations that promote personal interests, foster professional development, and help students enjoy their time in law school. Students can even establish new organizations each year, so the number of groups continues to grow.
Alabama Law faculty members are highly regarded and frequently cited experts. They hold and express a diverse range of opinions on the law, its purpose, and its function in society. You will find their writings published in leading law journals, treatises, and books. You will also hear them interviewed on television and radio programs and read their comments in leading news publications. This scholarship is central to our mission of excellence. It enriches the study of law and will help you become a better lawyer.
As a student, you will have access to our faculty. Here, every professor is a teacher. Our faculty members recognize that their most important role is shaping the next generation of leaders, and they make time to do so. In fact, several of our professors have received the University’s highest award for teaching. Professors also spend hours working with students outside of the classroom, on course work, on Law School programs, and on career opportunities.
Law students spend quite a bit of time at their school, so it wouldn’t be unusual for you to think of the Alabama Law Center as your home away from home for three years. Our building was designed with student service as the primary function. This includes state-of-the-art classrooms, collaborative clinical workrooms, an in- building café, and plentiful study spaces.
In the Law Center, you will also spend time in the Bounds Law Library. It offers an impressive collection of traditional and electronic research materials. You will find the library’s outstanding staff an invaluable resource to help you find and use the leading legal materials available.
As an Alabama Law student, you will have 24-hour access to the Law School, including its student lounge space, study rooms, library, and computer lab. When you want to collect your thoughts, you can step outside on our patio or walk across our spacious backyard. We also know that you will appreciate the safe and convenient law-student-only parking lot located right next to our building.
In your first year at Alabama Law, the faculty will make certain that you are taught the fundamentals necessary to practice law. It begins during Orientation, when you will take Introduction to the Study of Law. This is a course designed to ensure that you have a working knowledge of the courts and of different types of law before you commence your substantive courses.
As you start your first semester, you will take Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, and Torts. In the Spring semester, you will enroll in Constitutional Law, Contracts, Legislation and Regulation, and Property. These courses balance the history and development of law with the current state of the law in the United States.
In addition, you will take Legal Writing and Research during both semesters. These classes help our students locate, identify, and process information the way that lawyers do. Each semester ends with a written work product that will allow you to demonstrate your ability to analyze facts, interpret the law, and present arguments.
At Alabama Law, you will have classmates who will graduate and work at some of the largest firms or companies in the country. You will also have classmates who will become prosecutors or public defenders in small towns and counties around the nation. And you will have classmates who are doing everything else in between. We offer you a wide range of upper-level classes, with very few limitations, so that you can train for the career that is right for you.
If you decide that you want to focus on a type of law, you can do that. So whether you have an interest in corporate law and choose advanced courses like International Business Transactions or an interest in social justice and choose courses like Civil Rights Legislation, you will find the opportunity to learn at Alabama Law. And if you are not sure exactly what type of law you want to practice yet, that is okay, too. In fact, most of your classmates will take courses across a broad spectrum of areas.
If you are a student who wants to dig into a specific area of law, you may decide to complete one of our certificate programs. Through classroom, clinical, and service experiences, the Certificate in Public Interest Law prepares you for work in the public’s interest. If you are interested in public service and public policy, you have the opportunity to obtain a Certificate in Governmental Affairs. To earn this certificate, you must complete classwork and either a Federal Externship in Washington D.C. or an approved state government externship. The Certificate in International and Comparative Law will prepare you for legal practice with a multinational dimension. You will need to complete a study abroad program and coursework in comparative and international law fields.
In your second or third year, you may be selected to participate in one of four student- edited law journals published at Alabama Law. These journals — the Alabama Law Review, The Journal of the Legal Profession, the Law and Psychology Review, and the Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review — provide you the opportunity to perform thorough, scholarly research into a legal topic of your choosing. In addition, you will help edit and publish articles on important legal topics written by scholars and practitioners from across the country.
Every bar in the nation recognizes that the privilege of being an attorney requires service to the community. At Alabama Law, we believe the same. Our Public Interest Institute provides learning experiences, meaningful volunteer opportunities, and career counseling, while fostering a lifelong commitment to pro bono legal service. You will have the opportunity to help your community from your first day on campus.
After your first year, you may enroll in an international academic program. Alabama Law operates semester-long international exchange programs with Tel Aviv University- Buchmann Faculty of Law (Tel Aviv, Israel) and the University of the West of England (Bristol, United Kingdom). Our summer study abroad program takes students to the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. Coursework for the summer includes a Survey of Australian Law and a team-taught course with Australian students that focuses on a Comparative Law topic.
Your JD may not be the end of your professional education. If so, Alabama Law offers joint degree and dual enrollment programs leading to a JD and another graduate degree. This may be a second legal degree, such as an LLM in Taxation or an LLM Concentration in Business Transactions. Or it could be a combination of the JD with a graduate degree from another school on the University’s campus, such as a Master’s of Business Administration, a PhD in Economics, a Master’s or PhD in Political Science, a Master’s in Public Administration, a Master’s in Social Work, or a Master’s in Civil Engineering. In addition, you can count up to 6 pre-approved hours of graduate academic work from other colleges on campus toward your JD degree.
If you enroll in one of our legal clinics, you do not have to wait until graduation to start working on real-life legal problems. Under the guidance of clinical professors, you will provide direct legal services to clients. This may include helping entrepreneurs form corporations, drafting wills for elderly members of the community, representing criminal defendants in court, or helping to mediate ongoing legal disputes. Each year, our clinical students aid hundreds of individuals and organizations, providing thousands of hours of free legal assistance to the community. In fact, Alabama is one of the few law schools in the country that guarantees every student the opportunity to gain clinical experience before graduating.
The Law School’s Externship Program offers you experience in client advocacy, litigation, and the judicial process in a structured, supervised learning environment. Through the Externship Program, you will obtain course credit as you work under the direct supervision of attorneys and judges. Summer and academic- year externships are available in government and non-profit offices and in the chambers of state and federal judges and magistrates.
Alabama Law also operates a Federal Externship program, which provides you with the opportunity to work full-time in Washington, D.C., in legislative or executive branch placements, or in non-profit organizations. If you are interested in using your JD to work in government, this is a great way to get started. In addition, the Law School has a semester-in-practice externship program in Montgomery, Alabama. Students will have the opportunity to work full-time for a semester with a public interest law firm or a state government office.
You may participate in trial advocacy competitions during your second and third years. In trial advocacy, you will take on the role of attorney in a simulated trial setting. You will examine witnesses, offer and object to evidence, and give opening statements and closing arguments to jury panels. Each year, Alabama Law attends prestigious trial advocacy competitions nationwide, and students regularly receive awards for their advocacy skills.
Alabama Law students compete in national and international moot court tournaments across the country. In moot court competitions, you will take on the role of lawyer in a simulated appellate court, arguing a case before a panel of judges, while doing your best to answer their legal questions. If you compete in moot court at Alabama Law, you will join a long list of advocates who have found success at tournaments on a wide range of topics.
We know that law school is more than a three-year educational experience. It is also the starting point to your career. Of course, finding a job does not magically occur when you graduate. Some of the most important groundwork is laid prior to graduation, and our Career Services staff is here to help you navigate that process.
Our Career Services Office sponsors numerous workshops on writing résumés and cover letters, interviewing, networking, and developing job- seeking skills. The staff will also work with you on a one-on-one basis to help you identify and meet your employment goals. Our Career Services Office arranges interviews that occur on campus, at job fairs, in law firm offices, and by videoconference. Additionally, the Career Services Office aggressively markets the Law School and its students to employers throughout the country.
With a robust network of alumni across the nation and around the globe, a law degree from Alabama can take you anywhere you want to go. Our graduates are the proof of that. We have alumni in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. So whether you see yourself in Alabama or Michigan, in New York or California, or in any of the places in between, you can get there from here.
Serving as a law clerk to a federal judge is one of the most important and prestigious jobs for a student following graduation. Typically a one-year position, a federal judicial clerkship can provide a springboard to any number of greater opportunities in an attorney’s career. That is why we work so hard to see that you will have every advantage possible if you apply for these positions.
In addition to providing multiple programs about clerkships, our faculty members and career services staff will work individually with you to prepare you for the application and interview process. We are proud that our graduates have clerked for federal judges in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. We are also proud that annually Alabama Law is one of the top-ranked schools for percentage of graduates in federal clerkships.
While in law school, you will be focused on becoming a lawyer. But students still have social lives. Our student organizations will provide you plentiful social opportunities. You may enjoy the dances and tailgates sponsored by the Student Bar Association. At the annual Dorbin Auction, you can bid on – and maybe even win – a poker night, dance lesson, or home-cooked meal at the house of one of your professors. You might find yourself playing in a kickball tournament in the Law Center’s backyard or joining a group of classmates for a trivia night at a restaurant in town.
The University of Alabama, the state’s flagship university, has been dedicated to excellence in teaching, research, and service for nearly 200 years. With an idyllic quad surrounded by classic buildings, the campus is often listed among the most beautiful in the nation. Located in a dedicated space on the eastern edge of campus, the Law School remains a full part of the larger University. And though it contributes only a small number to UA’s almost 40,000 students, law students can enjoy participation in the wide-ranging University activities and organizations. From enjoying cultural activities offered by the theatre, music, dance, and art departments and cheering on the numerous Crimson Tide athletic teams to exercising at the student recreation center and volunteering at on-campus pre- school or retirement communities, it’s no surprise that The University of Alabama is an educational destination for students from across the nation and world.
Spend time in the Tuscaloosa community and you will find a city on the move. In fact, it is not uncommon to see Tuscaloosa on lists of best university communities and best places to live. Our downtown is consistently a destination for the best locally-owned-and-operated businesses, restaurants, and entertainment, and with the riverfront nearby, the opportunities for outdoor recreation are endless. That’s why the Downtown area tends to be at the top of the list of places our law students like to spend time.
Tuscaloosa, with a population of about 100,000 residents, is located along the Black Warrior River in western Alabama. Conveniently situated along the Interstate 20/59 corridor about an hour’s drive southwest of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa is within a few hours’ driving distance of Atlanta, Nashville, and New Orleans. And don’t forget—the sunny Gulf beaches of Alabama and Florida are close enough for you to enjoy on the weekends.
So whether you want to participate in a triathlon competition, eat some of the world’s best bar-b-que, watch a movie in a historic art-deco theatre, or see some of the best college football in the nation, Tuscaloosa is the place to be.
We invite you to see for yourself all that Alabama Law and Tuscaloosa have to offer. For more information, please contact the Office of Admissions at 205-348-5440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This catalog was published in September 2019. Reasonable care was made to present information that, at the time of preparation for printing, accurately described the course offerings, faculty information, policy regulations, and requirements of The University of Alabama School of Law. However, the Law School reserves the right to change the programs, courses, requirements, and regulations set forth in the catalog at any time without prior notice at the discretion of the administration and faculty.
The University of Alabama prohibits discrimination on the basis of genetic or family medical history information, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, age, disability, protected veteran status or any other legally protected basis in admission or access to, or treatment of employment in, its programs and services. The UA policy on non-discrimination can be found at: https://eop.ua.edu/law.html. The University’s Title IX Coordinator has been designated to handle inquiries regarding Title IX and gender-based discrimination, and she can be reached at 107 Burke Hall West, Box 870300, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0300, (205) 348-5496, email@example.com. The University Compliance Officer and Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs, has been designated to handle inquiries regarding all other forms of discrimination and can be reached at 107 Burke Hall West, Box 870300, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0300, (205) 348- 5855 (Voice), (205) 348-5573 (TDD), firstname.lastname@example.org.