Curriculum

Gonzaga Law Curriculum

Graduation requires 90 course credits, plus 30 hours of public service work. Please consult the Academic Rules in our Student Handbook for more detailed information on our curriculum and graduation requirements.

With its focus on practical skills and legal theory, Gonzaga’s curriculum will prepare you for the day-to-day realities of a legal career.

Our approach emphasizes skills training and professionalism from the first semester of law school through the last, while also providing a solid grounding in legal theory and philosophy.

Please note: This page covers the curriculum for the traditional three-year program. Click here to see the curriculum for the Executive Two-Year J.D. Program.

Course Descriptions

The list below outlines the courses currently offered by Gonzaga University School of Law. These courses are subject to change, and the descriptions will be updated to reflect those changes as appropriate.

Download a PDF of the Course Content Descriptions

The traditional law school curriculum takes three years to complete.

First Two Terms

During Orientation and throughout the first year, you will learn how to study, read, and think in the ways necessary for success in law school, on the bar exam, and in legal practice. Students will receive introductory training in legal research techniques.

In the fall:

  • Civil Procedure
  • Criminal Law
  • Legal Research & Writing I
  • Torts 
  • ProFound

In the spring:

  • Constitutional Law I 
  • Contracts 
  • Legal Research & Writing II
  • Property
  • ProFound

The ProFound course coordinates with doctrinal courses and help to reinforce concepts taught in doctrinal courses by assisting you in evaluating your academic performance. The course will also provide students with the expectations for and tools to adhere to professionalism in their written and oral communications, networking and public presentations, and in the development of their values and identity as a lawyer.

In the first two Legal Research and Writing courses, you will learn to communicate with lawyerly precision and clarity while simultaneously honing your analytical and research skills.

For your 1L year, you will be automatically registered for your courses by the Registrar’s Office, and notified by email when registration has been completed. Sections are assigned randomly.

Third – Sixth Terms

After the first two terms, you will choose from a wide variety of classes that emphasize practical skills, theory, or a combination of both.

You will register for your own courses via Zagweb beginning with the summer (optional) or fall following your 1L year.

You are required to take the following courses in your third and fourth terms (fall and spring):

  • Constitutional Law II – 3 Credits
  • Evidence – 3 Credits
  • Professional Responsibility – 3 Credits

In your second or third year of Law School, you must complete the Upper Level Writing Requirement and the Experiential Learning Requirement.

Experiential Learning

You will be required to engage in experiential learning, serving real clients while working with practicing lawyers or judges.

You may complete this requirement in our legal clinic, in a designated simulation course, or in community placements through our externship program beginning in the summer following your 1L year.

Students in the traditional program must fulfill 6 credit hours of experiential learning to complete their degree, but may complete up to 15 total credits. Only 3 of the required 6 credits may be from simulation courses.

You must apply for each experience in which you would like to participate. Visit the Experiential Learning page for application information.

Legal Research & Writing (LRW)

LRW I

This three-credit course is the first in a series of required research and writing courses. Students will learn skills and techniques that will be essential to both law students and lawyers. The course enables students to develop strong legal writing, analytical, and research skills, while encouraging students to consider the importance of a thoughtful, self-reflective, and ethical approach to the practice of law. Through this course, students will be introduced to and required to practice legal analysis and organizational skills though objective writing projects. Students will also be introduced to and required to practice legal research through finding, reading, and interpreting judicial law, enacted law, and regulatory law.

LRW II

 This three-credit course the second in a series of required research and writing courses. It is designed to enhance and refine the research and writing skills students learned in LRW I. At the same time, students will be introduced to the arts and ideas of persuasion, or advocacy writing. The course emphasizes organizational skills and effective problem analysis. In LRW II, students take on the conscious role of an advocate for a client’s position. Throughout the semester, students will learn and apply skills to assignments where the ultimate goal is to persuade the legal reader, while developing a thoughtful, self-reflective, and ethical approach to the practice of law.