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Program Objectives

The purpose of the academic program at the University of Cincinnati College of Law is to provide its graduates with the opportunity to equip themselves for effective and creative participation in the roles lawyers play in our society. These roles include counselor, litigator, negotiator, drafter, advocate, and decision-maker in virtually all aspects of our society, public and private, civil and criminal. Lawyers' involvement in government at the local, state and federal levels in the executive, legislative, judicial, and administrative departments of government has been recognized repeatedly. Lawyers are also intimately involved in the multitude of affairs, including business and family, that constitutes our national life.

The College of Law recognizes that, in developing an academic program to enable its graduates to perform effectively as lawyers, it must provide them with a combination of substantive knowledge, ethical sensitivity, and analytical and practical skills that will enable them not only to function competently in the period immediately following admission to the bar, but also to grow and to adapt as the law and society develop, and the roles they play and the context in which they play them change over substantial periods of time. The College recognizes that to train lawyers to practice law only at one time, in one place, in a single context does not serve well either its graduates or the clients they represent.

Our academic program is designed to reflect the philosophy that, at its best, legal education should broaden rather than narrow the intellectual and moral horizons of its graduates. It recognizes that the legal profession is a public profession in which the lawyer must be conscious of the broader implications of the law and the part he or she plays in administering it, as well as what may often be the narrower concerns of a particular client. It is not enough, for example, for the student to learn that a particular act is a crime or a tort or both. It is just as important for the student to consider why the act has been classified as one or the other or both, the effect of the classifications, the problems created by them, the effectiveness of the sanctions that flow from the classifications, and the effect of possible changes in the classifications. Often these inquiries will take the student beyond narrow legal considerations into broader areas of public policy, public and personal morality, as well as into examining the problem from the viewpoint of other academic disciplines. Consistent with this philosophy, the College of Law has established joint degree programs with the College of Business Administration, the School of Planning, and the Center for Women's Studies and the School of Social Work, and gives credit toward the J.D. degree for certain courses in other departments of the University of Cincinnati as well as in other academic institutions.

In summary, the goal of the College of Law is to educate lawyers who are both skilled professionals and socially aware public persons who look upon law school as the first step in the life-long process of legal education.

Methods

The pedagogic methods of the College of Law are as diverse as the number of persons on its faculty. Techniques of instruction are invariably mixed, ranging from the traditional "Socratic Method," in which the role of the professor is to pose questions and the students learn primarily from each other's responses, to the problem method, lecture, small group discussion in seminars, writing projects supervised by faculty or by students, representation of actual clients in clinical programs, simulation, and placement in various offices performing legal work, among others. Most of the teaching methods emphasize the self-development of the student's own abilities and interests, with the faculty serving as facilitators, as well as sources of substantive and procedural knowledge and skills expertise. Primary responsibility must, however, rest on the initiative of the individual student. Development of this individual initiative is particularly important because the law student of today will be practicing law well into the next century. The practice of law has, in the past two decades, undergone dramatic changes, and there is every likelihood that the pace of change will be even greater in the next quarter century. Every lawyer will have to engage in a continuous process of self-education to remain competent as a lawyer. The skills of self-education developed in law school are the foundation of that process.