J.D. Advocacy Emphasis Area Requirements

Emphasis in Advocacy

Admission Requirements

Selection of Students for Admission to the Emphasis in Advocacy

  • Deadline for admission to the Emphasis in Advocacy program: Students should apply not later than their fifth semester of law school.  Decisions as to whether a student will be admitted to the Emphasis in Advocacy will be made in the semester in which the student applies.
  • Procedure and Criteria for Selection:
    • The maximum number of students who will be permitted to enter the emphasis each year will be set by the director of advocacy taking into account the ability to provide adequate supervision and advising. 
    • The director of advocacy will select the students to be admitted to the program. Criteria to be considered may include previous general academic performance in law school, previous academic performance in courses seen as particularly relevant to advocacy, level of interest, and ability to identify an advisor willing to advise and supervise the student.
    • No student shall be admitted to the Advocacy program unless he or she has a grade-point average of 2.7 or above in all law school classes previously taken.
  • Part-time Students and Other Students with Unusual Schedules: The director of advocacy is authorized to make appropriate adjustments in the deadlines for part-time students or other students whose schedules do not substantially conform to the six semester paradigm.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students graduating from this program will:

  • Students will demonstrate mastery of core doctrinal knowledge within emphasis area.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of skills necessary for objective legal analysis.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of the skills necessary for effective legal research in the emphasis area.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of legal writing with particular emphasis on persuasive writing.
  • Students will demonstrate mastery of the duties of attorneys as members of the legal profession.
  • Students will demonstrate ability to work with people in a professional environment
  • Students will demonstrate competency in professional work habits
  • Students will demonstrate entry-level proficiency in lawyering skills essential to advocacy.

General Requirements

Minimum Total Hours Required

  1. A student must take a total of at least 26 hours in approved courses. Approved courses are those listed as "Required Courses," "Grouped Required Courses" and "Elective Courses".
  2. No more than three hours of required upper-level courses, (including those used by the student to satisfy the Jurisprudence requirement) may count toward the required 26 hours.
  3. A course (including Law 8746) used to satisfy the student's writing requirement (see below) may be counted toward the total hours requirement even if it is also used to satisfy the student's Research and Writing Requirement.

Writing Requirement

  1. Each student in the program must complete a written project, approved by an emphasis area supervisor, on a topic dealing directly with litigation.
  2. The written project must be of a scope and quality that would satisfy the law school's research and writing requirement for a J.D. degree.
  3. The written project may satisfy both the program's requirement and the J.D. requirement.

Practical Skills Component

All students in the program must take either Introduction to Appellate Advocacy or Trial Advocacy I and at least one of the following courses:

  • Advanced Legal Writing: Litigation Drafting
  • Appellate Advocacy - Ellison Moot Court
  • Appellate Advocacy - National Moot Court
  • Trial Advocacy II
  • Trial Advocacy III
  1. Mastery of Clinical Advocacy
  2. Lawyering Skills Competition: App. Ad. Team
  3. Lawyering Skills Competition: Client Counseling Team
  4. Lawyering Skills Competition: Int'l Comm. Arbitration
  5. Lawyering Skills Competition: Negotiation Team

Ethics Component

  1. Each student in the program must participate in at least one, substantial, non-credit workshop on ethical issues for litigators.
  2. Workshops will be organized by the advisors and conducted by faculty, practicing lawyers, or judges.

Research Component

  1. Each student in the program must participate in at least one, half-day, non-credit workshop on research materials and sources frequently consulted by litigators on issues directly related to the litigation process.
  2. Workshops will be organized by the program advisers and the librarians. They will be conducted by faculty, librarians, practicing lawyers or judges.

Supervising and Advising Component

  1. Each student in the program shall be assigned an advisor.
  2. Each student in the program shall meet with his or her advisor not less than twice a semester.

Curriculum Requirements

Distribution of Courses

1.  Required Courses: All students in the program must take each of the following courses:

LAW 8521Civil Procedure – Pleadings, Motions, and Related Matters3
LAW 8522Civil Procedure - Jurisdiction2
LAW 8532Lawyering Skills II2-3
LAW 8621Evidence3
LAW 8635Criminal Procedure I3

2.  Grouped Required Courses:

All students in the program must also satisfy the Core Course Requirement, the Advanced Course Requirement, and the Skills Requirement set forth below:

a. Core Course Requirement: All students in the program must take at least two of the following core courses:

LAW 8636Criminal Procedure II3
LAW 8702Conflict of Laws1-3
LAW 8706Class Actions and Multidistrict Litigation2-3
LAW 8711Remedies2-3
LAW 8764Administrative Law1-3
LAW 8765Federal Jurisdiction2-3
LAW 8822Post Conviction Remedies2-3

b. Advanced Course Requirement: All students in the program must take at least one of the following advanced courses:

LAW 8636AFederal Trial Practice2-3
LAW 8732Lawyers and Dispute Resolution2-3
LAW 8734Mediation2
LAW 8740MMissouri Civil Procedure2-3
LAW 8791Civil Rights2-3
LAW 8820Criminal Trial Techniques2
LAW 8850Applied Evidence1-3
LAW 8905Intellectual Property Litigation2

c. Skills Requirement: All students in the program must take either Law 8747 Introduction to Appellate Advocacy or Law 8700 Trial Advocacy I and at least one of the following courses:s:

LAW 8700Trial Advocacy I2
LAW 8703Trial Advocacy II2-3
LAW 8704ALawyering Skills Competition-Appellate1-2
LAW 8704CLawyering Skills Competition-Client Counseling Team1-2
LAW 8704NLawyer Skills Competition-Negotiation Team1-2
LAW 8705Trial Advocacy III2
LAW 8707CAdvanced Legal Writing: Litigation Drafting2-3
LAW 8747Introduction to Appellate Advocacy1
LAW 8775Appellate Advocacy National Moot Court Competition1-2
LAW 8903Fundamentals of Legal Investigations2

3. Electives: The following electives may also help satisfy the minimum total hours requirement:

a. Clinics and Externships

LAW 8637RU.S. Attorney's Office Law Internship3-6
LAW 8656Public Defender Trials Internship3-6
LAW 8656AMissouri Attorney General's Office Internship3-6
LAW 8656CJackson County Prosecutor Internship-Family Law Prosecution1-3
LAW 8656FFederal Public Defender Internship3-6
LAW 8656PJackson County Prosecutor Internship3-6
LAW 8662Federal Court Internship2-6
LAW 8662FFamily Court Internship2-6
LAW 8713Death Penalty Clinic1-2
LAW 8713PWrongful Convictions Clinic1-6
LAW 8746CCourt Internship3-6
LAW 8750CCity of Kansas City Municipal Internship1-6
LAW 8752SChild & Family Services Clinic1-6
LAW 8768RDepartment of Labor Internship3-6
LAW 8773REnvironmental Law Internship3-6
LAW 8790Legal Aid Internship3-6
LAW 8814EUnemployment Compensation Clinic - Appellate Practice2
LAW 8877Bankruptcy Court Internship2-6

b. Other Coursework

LAW 8609Ethical Issues In Family Law Representation1-2
LAW 8743Global Legal Systems1-3
LAW 8746RIndependent Study1-3
LAW 8764Administrative Law1-3
LAW 8813Employment Discrimination Law2
LAW 8858LConsumer Protection Lab1
(if approved by student's emphasis area adviser on the basis that the course of study or legal research relates directly to litigation)
LAW 8635SWrongful Convictions2-3
LAW 8635TWrongful Convictions II2-3
LAW 8712Problems And Issues In The Death Penalty1-2
LAW 8735Seminar In Famous Trials2-3
LAW 8745SUMKC All Journal Staff1-4
LAW 8746WIntroduction to Workers' Compenstation Law and Practice1-2
LAW 8881Seminar on the Supreme Court2-3
LAW 8913Mental Health Investigation 11-2

Any other course if, before beginning the course, the student obtains written approval from both the emphasis area adviser in consultation with the associate dean. Such approval shall not be granted unless the adviser can find that, in light of the student's other courses and the student's litigation-related goals, the course will advance the student's study of litigation to an extent equivalent to other litigation electives.

Courses may be added or deleted from the lists contained in sections 1 through 3 above with approval of the advocacy emphasis committee and the faculty. 

All emphasis students will be required to develop an electronic portfolio of self-selected documents and videos, and which will include a final skills assessment.  Students will present their portfolio before a panel of two or three people including faculty and members of the bar.

Important Note: Because the School is committed to keeping up with changes in the practice of law, the requirements for emphasis areas may change during the course of a student's enrollment at the School. The requirements at the time a student is granted admission into the emphasis area are the requirements that govern completion of the student's emphasis requirements. For possible revised requirements that will take effect with the next academic year, ask the emphasis area advisor for the most recent iteration of requirements.  A course not listed above can meet emphasis area requirements if approved by the emphasis area advisors, Professors Sean O’Brien, Mikah Thompson, Michaelle Tobin, Ryan Copus, and Steve Leben.

Graduation Requirements

For a student to be recognized as having graduated with an Emphasis in Litigation, the student must have fulfilled the following requirements:

  • The student must have satisfied all general and curriculum requirements set forth above.
  • The student must have achieved a grade-point average of at least 3.0 in the field. This grade-point average shall be computed considering all Required Courses, Grouped Required Courses, and Elective Courses in the emphasis taken by the student, including any that exceed the minimum hour requirements for the Emphasis in Litigation.