JD Program

Our Cincinnati Law JD program prepares you for an exciting and broad range of professional careers all over the world. Most Cincinnati Law school graduates find jobs as counselors, litigators, negotiators, drafters, advocates and decision-makers. Others work in business management, consulting, media, politics, teaching and other areas where having a law degree gives them a competitive advantage in their work.

With a Cincinnati Law JD degree, you will not only possess the skills necessary to practice law, you will also have the leadership and communications skills you need to be successful in all of your work endeavors.

1L—Your First Year

In your first year, you will build a foundation of legal knowledge as you learn the legal concepts essential to an understanding of our legal system. Working closely with your professors, you will develop the skills of reading and analyzing cases including how and why the courts develop common law through the use of precedent and how to interpret and apply statutes. Professors lead students in classroom discussions that help develop the skills of legal analysis and reasoning. These skills are essential not only to the lawyer but also to you as a law student.

Law students participating in class.

First-year students also develop oral and written skills crucial to academic and professional success. In the fall semester, students learn legal research and writing skills in small classes that provide frequent opportunities to practice and get personal feedback from their professors. In the spring semester, classes focus on advocating on behalf of clients in the courtroom. Students learn to write legal briefs and make arguments to a judge.

Each first year student has at least two courses in the first semester in a small section of approximately 20 students. These learning communities provide students the opportunity to be mentored by their small-section professors and form study groups that provide opportunities for students to help each other as they adapt to the study of law. In fact, many students form life-long friendships in their small sections.

Required First Year Courses


  • Civil Procedure I: 3 hrs
  • Contracts: 4 hrs
  • Constitutional Law I: 3 hrs
  • Lawyering I: Legal Research and Writing: 3 hrs
  • Torts: 4 hrs
  • Total: 17 Hours


  • Civil Procedure II: 3 hrs
  • Constitutional Law II: 3 hrs
  • Criminal Law: 3 hrs
  • Lawyering II: Advocacy: 3 hrs
  • Property: 4 hrs
  • Total: 16 Hours

Upper Level Experiences

Law professor lecturing in class.

After the first year, students take required classes that help them learn about interviewing and counseling clients, develop an ethical sensitivity, and hone their writing skills. Students also select from a rich array of elective courses in areas of study related to their professional interests. By engaging in these studies, students develop the breadth of knowledge to organize and classify their clients’ legal problems and the depth of knowledge to help their clients achieve their objectives.

Based on their interests and passions, students can prepare to practice in many areas of law including business, criminal, international, public interest and other areas of the law. The curriculum is divided into Professional Pathways to help students select their classes.

Students have many opportunities to learn the work of lawyers by working in their offices, courtrooms, businesses, and governmental and nonprofit organizations. These real-world experiences help students build professional skills and develop a professional identity. Through the Legal and Judicial Externship programs, students learn from both a classroom teacher and a field-placement supervisor. Through our many Clinics, students represent clients in various settings as they face criminal charges, form businesses, appeal trial court decisions, and recover from domestic violence, among others. With Cincinnati’s 10 Fortune 500 companies, 800 law firms, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the opportunities for experiential learning and post-graduate employment are always close by.

Students also hone their skills through participating in Journals and competition teams. With five Journals, students have a significant opportunity to develop their writing and editing skills while also acting as leaders of complex and influential organizations. Through the Moot Court and Trial Practice Competition Teams, students can practice their litigation skills while representing UC in intercollegiate competitions. Other learning opportunities in the upper level come from our Centers and Institutes, our Student OrganizationsVolunteering, and Fellowships.

Students receive expert guidance from our Center for Professional Development (CPD) as they build their professional identities. The CPD helps students explore and develop their interests through programs that help students find an attorney mentor, meet attorneys practicing in many areas of the law, visit offices where attorneys practice, and explore alternative careers. Through personal advising sessions each year of law school with a CPD advisor, students create a personal professional plan aimed at helping them identify and achieve their professional goals.

Areas of Study

Professional Pathways

At Cincinnati Law, we’ll make sure you are well-prepared to pass the bar. But more than that, we’ll help you prepare for, and then land, your dream job, thanks to our focus on paving Professional Pathways through our curricula.

Every year, we welcome a diverse group of students, students like you, who are focused on making their mark on the world. Their interests, like many of yours, span the public and private sectors, and our courses and experiential opportunities deliver.

Our Professional Pathways offer a glimpse into the depth, and breadth, of career-focused opportunities we’ll prepare you for. They also promise that you’ll have opportunities to explore ideas and career paths beyond your current dreams as you meet people who will both challenge and inspire you.

Gain real-world business experiences at Cincinnati Law’s clinics, externships, and fellowships. Whether you spend time in our popular Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic (ECDC) and work alongside innovators and disruptors or research corporate law topics, you’ll get the coursework and guidance you need to graduate with an impressive portfolio.

Learn on the job through judicial externships with the U.S. District Court, the Ohio Court of Common Pleas and other courts with criminal jurisdiction, or sign on for a stint with a prosecutor or defense organization. As a Cincinnati Law student, you can also participate in our Indigent Defense Clinic and the Domestic Violence and Protection Order Clinic.

You’ll also find our students embedded at the Ohio Innocence Project at Cincinnati Law, the Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry and various nonprofits focused on justice and reform.

With its expert faculty members, Cincinnati Law provides opportunities for hands-on learning about complex environmental legal issues in a region that’s home to an EPA office in a city with its own Green Plan.

Our clinics, externships and fellowships provide realistic and invaluable perspectives on what it’s like to be a practicing lawyer.

Gain expertise in health law at Cincinnati Law, thanks to our expert faculty as well as the broad range of top-quality healthcare facilities that surround us: a regional VA Medical Center, a top-ranked Children’s Hospital, one of country’s few Shriners’ Hospitals, to name just three. Learn about litigation and negligence, regulatory and public policy issues and the very business of healthcare institutions and enterprises.

Cincinnati Law is also home to the Glenn M. Weaver Institute of Law and Psychiatry, which provides opportunities for select students to gain experience with psychiatric issues as practiced in a legal setting.

Delve into the world of artistic and literary creation, advertising and marketing, and scientific invention when you study IP at Cincinnati Law. Our new clinic will support learning about trademarks and patents as well, and associated state laws about publicity rights and trade secrets.

Learn how globalization impacts legal practice, and policy, through coursework, fieldwork and specialized programs at Cincinnati Law. From commerce, corporations, telecommunications, trade, tax, investments, finance, intellectual property, product liability, the environment, crime, and human rights, we have the expertise to help you learn how to navigate a global legal practice or diplomatic career.

In addition, our groundbreaking Urban Morgan Institute continues to serve as a model for many other human rights programs with its emphasis on teaching, research and service.

Understand the intricacies of litigation, mediation, negotiation and dispute resolution through simulated and real-world experiences at Cincinnati Law.

From American Bar Association sponsored competitions to Trial Practice Team national and regional competitions, our students benefit from multiple opportunities to present in courtrooms.

Discover the legal policies and procedures on public interest topics like housing discrimination and child welfare as you work on real-world cases and for real-life causes around the world.