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Student Learning Outcomes

Adopted by the KU Law faculty August 21, 2016

Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

Students will ultimately be assessed on their knowledge of the legal system and legal doctrine. Students will graduate with a broad knowledge of foundational and other core areas of the law, specialized knowledge in areas of interest, and experience with advanced study.

Benchmarks

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ three years of study:

  1. Following the first year of study, students should possess a basic knowledge of the legal system and legal doctrine in foundational subjects.
  2. Following the second year of study, students should be familiar with administrative and regulatory systems, possess knowledge of several core areas of law not covered in the first year, including professional responsibility, and possess specialized knowledge in areas of interest.
  3. Following the third year of study, students should broaden their knowledge of core areas of law, expand their specialized knowledge in areas of interest, and engage in advanced study that builds on prior upper-level courses.

Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, professional skills, and written and oral communication in the legal context

Students will ultimately be assessed on the development of legal analysis, legal communication, and legal research. Students will graduate with the ability to analyze complex problems, find and deploy a variety of legal authorities, and communicate effectively in a variety of settings.

Benchmarks

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ three years of study:

  1. Following the first year of study, students should be able to research and analyze legal problems and communicate this analysis effectively in common oral and written formats, as well as have a brief introduction to representational and problem-solving skills
  2. Following the second year of study, students will develop skills emphasizing statutory and regulatory law, develop analytical, research, and communication skills to the advanced level appropriate for a major project, and develop some representational and problem-solving skills to an intermediate level.
  3. Following the third year of study, students must use some of their representational and problem-solving skills at an advanced level in a setting requiring the student to integrate knowledge, skills, and values.

Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system

Students will ultimately be assessed on their ability to demonstrate a commitment to professionalism, ethical behavior, service, and, as appropriate, leadership.

Benchmarks

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ three years of study:

  1. Following the first year of study, students will have gained an appreciation of the demands of professionalism and ethical norms, as well as beginning to develop professional and ethical responsibilities as reflected in their own behavior in the law school.
  2. Following the second year of study, students will have continued to develop their professionalism, learned the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and developed a sensitivity to ethical issues.  Students should also recognize service obligations and opportunities for service and leadership.
  3. Following the third year of study, students will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and ethical behavior in simulated or clinical practice settings, and recognize service obligations and opportunities for service and leadership.

Learning Outcomes for Certificate Programs

Advocacy Skills Certificate

(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law concerning advocacy skills:

To obtain the Certificate, students ultimately are assessed on their knowledge of, and practical skills in, all aspects of litigation and in alternative forms of dispute resolution. Students graduate with a broad knowledge of planning lawsuits, client counseling, pretrial practices and procedures, trial advocacy, and post-trial matters.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ second and or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should possess basic knowledge of the civil and criminal adjudicatory systems from the pre-lawsuit counseling stage to post-resolution enforcement.
  2.  Students should become familiar with various contexts in which civil and criminal litigation occurs from the state courts to the federal courts to administrative courts to  alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
  3.  Students should expand their specialized knowledge of these systems in courses such as Complex Litigation, Criminal Practice in Kansas, Jurisdiction, Administrative Law, and Federal Courts.

(b) Civil litigation and advocacy analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, professional skills, and written and oral communication in the civil litigation context:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on the development of legal analysis, legal communication, and legal research as relevant to litigation. Students will graduate with the ability to analyze complex problems, find and deploy a variety of authorities from the sources of civil and criminal law. They are able to communicate effectively in a variety of fora from the trial court to the appellate court to a mediation.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should be able to engage in legal analysis and communication of their research outcomes related to client representation in a civil and/or criminal dispute orally and in writing to a diverse audience, and to solve real-world problems that occur in litigation settings.
  2.  Students develop legal analysis skills with respect to statutes, case law, administrative agency regulations, and analytical, research, and communication skills to the advanced level appropriate for a major project in courses such as Complex Litigation, Jurisdiction, Criminal Procedure, Administrative Law, and Federal Courts, and develop some representational and problem-solving skills to an intermediate level.  Indeed, many of these courses are taught in a brief-writing and oral argument format, which enhances this skill development.
  3.  Students develop trial and alternative dispute resolution practical skills in the required Trial Advocacy course and Alternative Dispute Resolution course, both of which are simulation classes.  Students further develop live-client lawyering skills in required clinical and/or field-placement settings such as the Legal Aid Clinic and the Project for Innocence Clinic.  Additional experiential and simulation courses, such the Deposition Skills Workshop and Criminal Prosecution Field Placement Program, deepen students’ advocacy skills development.

(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system, which includes:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on their ability to demonstrate a commitment to professionalism, ethical behavior, service, and, as appropriate, leadership. To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist during the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students gain an appreciation for ethical issues in civil litigation in Professional Responsibility, mandatory inclusion of meaningful ethical and cultural competency trainings in the clinical and field placement programs and other relevant disciplines and codes of conduct.
  2.  Students recognize service obligations and opportunities for service and leadership in poor and marginalized communities on in all of our clinical settings and many of our field placement postings, which explicitly limit representation to clients below designated income thresholds.
  3.  Students will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and ethical behavior, and cultural competency, through their written work and practical experiences.

Business and Commercial Law Certificate

Students who earn a Certificate in Business and Commercial Law will have received a solid grounding in the substantive law of business organizations, as well as advanced exposure to a variety of more specialized areas of business or commercial law. In addition, they will have received valuable instruction in ethics, professionalism, and skills, such as problem-solving, counseling, negotiation, and document drafting, in various capstone courses, which build on prerequisite courses and integrate knowledge, skills, and values. Upon graduation, students who earn a Certificate in Business and Commercial Law will be familiar with many of the transactions that business and commercial attorneys encounter in practice, and they will possess the knowledge and skills necessary to begin their careers.

Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Law Certificate

The Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources Law Certificate charts a course of study that supports students to develop deep knowledge and competencies in the area of law and policy affecting use and protection of the environment. This Certificate program seeks to bridge the divisions between environmental law, energy law, and natural resources law, helping students to understand the interrelationship among these areas of law and how they affect regulated clients and our shared environment.

(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law concerning use and protection of the environment:

To obtain this Certificate, students are assessed on their knowledge of federal Environmental Law and Administrative Law, which comprise the Certificate’s core requirements, and related areas of specialized study, from Energy Law to Public Lands. The core courses ensure that all Certificate students graduate with a common critical foundation while allowing students the flexibility to achieve specialized knowledge through a focused or more varied selection of courses within the Certificate’s purview.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ second and or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should possess a basic knowledge of federal Environmental Law and Administrative Law.
  2.  Students should gain experience in a field placement with the Environmental Protection Agency, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, or a local environmental or natural resources law public interest group, and/or through in-depth research culminating in a paper on an environmental, energy, or natural resources law topic through the Legislative Field Placement Program, Public Policy Practicum, Kansas Law Review, Kansas Journal on Law & Public Policy, or a supervised independent research project.
  3.  Students should expand their knowledge through specialized study of the Certificate’s elective courses, which address critical areas of law relevant to use and protection of the environment, such as Biodiversity Law, Climate Change Law & Policy, Energy Law, Native American Natural Resources, Oil and Gas, Public Lands, and/or Water Law. Students may extend this knowledge through one course further afield but nonetheless highly pertinent to the Certificate’s focus, such as Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and the Law.

(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, professional skills, and written and oral communication in the environmental, energy, and natural resources law context:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on the development of legal analysis, legal communication, and legal research as applied in the environmental, energy, and natural resources law context. Students will graduate with the ability to analyze complex problems and find and deploy relevant sources of law, including federal environmental statutes, the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register, federal administrative orders and agency guidance documents, and judicial opinions. Students should be able to communicate effectively in a variety of settings and to various audiences.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1. Students should be able to demonstrate the ability to interpret proposed and final administrative rules, statutes, agency guidance, and judicial opinions, as well as the ability to synthesize their interpretations with relevant new or existing law.
  1. Students should be able to engage in legal analysis and communicate their research and conclusions at an advanced level, with professionalism, orally and in writing, to multiple, diverse audiences.
  1. Students should have the skills and depth of understanding of the field to help avoid and resolve problems that arise among regulated entities, governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private parties in connection to environmental, energy, and natural resource issues.
  1. Students should develop representational and problem-solving skills through analysis of stakeholder positions and interests, identifying strengths and weaknesses of a client’s position in context, and study of the lawyer’s role in a variety of environmental, energy, and natural resources law settings.

(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system, which includes:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on their ability to demonstrate a commitment to professionalism, ethical behavior, service, and, as appropriate, leadership. To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist during the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students will understand the concept of environmental justice on multiple scales, from the local to the global, and recognize opportunities in law and policy to advance environmental justice for poor and marginalized communities. 
  2.  Students gain an appreciation for ethical issues in environmental law, policy, and practice, including ethical issues that may confront counsel for a regulated entity, a government attorney evaluating a permit application, or a public interest lawyer representing a disadvantaged community.
  3.  Students will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and ethical behavior, and cultural competency, through their written work and practical experiences.

International Trade and Finance Certificate

(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law concerning International Trade and Finance and related fields:

To obtain the Certificate, students ultimately are assessed on their knowledge of the International Legal System and International Legal Doctrines. Students graduate with a broad knowledge of foundational and other core areas of the International Law, specialized knowledge in International Trade and Finance, and experience with advanced study, particularly through courses such as International Trade Law, Advanced International Trade Law, and International Commerce and Investment.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ second and or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should possess a basic knowledge of the International Legal System and International Legal Doctrine.
  2.  Students should be familiar with the Economic and Financial aspects of International Law, develop familiarity with an important sector in International Business, such as Banking, Energy, or Intellectual Property, and possess specialized knowledge in a Comparative Law area, such as Chinese, Civil, European, and/or Islamic Law.
  3.  Students should expand their specialized knowledge in International Trade and Finance, through study in courses such as the aforementioned ones.

(b) International legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, professional skills, and written and oral communication in the international and comparative legal context:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on the development of legal analysis, legal communication, and legal research as relevant to International Law, particularly International Trade and Finance. Students will graduate with the ability to analyze complex problems, find and deploy a variety of authorities from the sources of International Law, including treaties and other cross-border agreements, and judgments from international tribunals. They are able to communicate effectively in a variety of cross-cultural settings.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should be able to engage in International Legal analysis and communication of their research outcomes, orally and in writing, to a diverse, multi-national audience, and to solve real-world problems that occur in common international business settings.
  2.  Students develop interpretation skills with respect to treaties, implementing statutes and regulations, and international decisions, and analytical, research, and communication skills to the advanced level appropriate for a major project in International Trade and Finance, and develop some representational and problem-solving skills to an intermediate level.
  3.  Students use some of their representational and problem-solving skills at an advanced level in a setting, including an oral and/or written presentation, requiring the student to synthesize knowledge, skills, and values that are connected with different constituencies and cultures in the international arena.

(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system, which includes:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on their ability to demonstrate a commitment to professionalism, ethical behavior, service, and, as appropriate, leadership. To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist during the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students gain an appreciation for ethical issues in International legal practice, including through familiarity with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other relevant disciplines and codes of conduct.
  2.  Students recognize service obligations and opportunities for service and leadership through poor and marginalized communities that are not fully integrated into the international trading and financial system, and/or that suffer adjustment costs associated with globalization.
  3.  Students will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and ethical behavior, and cultural competency, through their written work and practical experiences.

Media, Law and Technology Certificate

The Media, Law and Technology Certificate program is centered on the First Amendment guarantee of the freedom to speak and publish.  Candidates for the Certificate examine ways in which constitutional protection for the free flow of information and ideas may sustain and invigorate democracy. 

In the Certificate program, students have an opportunity to gain advanced knowledge of laws that relate to censorship, libel, access to government meetings and records, pre-trial publicity, copyright and other forms of intellectual property, privacy rights, electronic data breaches, security of online communications, and media-related liability insurance. 

Students are to gain skill in analyzing First Amendment issues that arise from communications ab out the judicial system, the legislative process, public agencies, and private enterprises.  At the same time, students gain practical insight into the process of litigating First Amendment issues.

The program also focuses on administrative laws and regulations that affect operations of diverse types of communications media, ranging from newspapers and broadcast outlets to Web sites and mobile phones.  Attention is given, for example, to the regulatory powers of the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies.

Students examine forms of legal protection, not only for news, but also for other kinds of media content, including opinion, advertising and entertainment.  Students consider ways to reduce liability risks associated with traditional news reporting and editorializing, along with such other endeavors as blogging, marketing, advertising on behalf of political candidates, movie-making, and producing popular music and video games.  

Candidates for the Certificate also are expected to understand the relationship between legal ethics and freedom of expression.  For example, the program includes consideration of ethical constraints on extra-judicial comments by prosecutors and defense attorneys in high-profile criminal cases.

(a) Knowledge of substantive and procedural law related to freedom of expression through traditional and digital media

By meeting Certificate requirements, students are expected to demonstrate knowledge of the First Amendment and related laws and public policy. They also are expected to develop demonstrable skill in applying First Amendment law to disputes about allegedly harmful exercise of expressive freedom. 

 In Certificate courses generally, students are to acquire substantial knowledge of First Amendment rights.  As stated in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 482 (1965), “the right of freedom of speech and press includes not only the right to utter or to print, but the right to distribute, the right to receive, the right to read  and freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, and freedom to teach....”  (Citations omitted.)  In Griswold, the U.S. Supreme Court also found that the First Amendment “has a penumbra where privacy is protected.”  (Id., at 483)  In addition, the Court has recognized other First Amendments rights, including those of anonymous speakers, as in McIntyre v. Ohio, 514 U.S. 334(1995), and of audiences that are unwilling to hear an offensive speaker, as in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978).

  1.  Through such Certificate courses as Media and the First Amendment, Digital Privacy Rights in an Open Society, Intellectual Property, and Copyright Law and Digital Works, students are to enhance their ability to spot legal issues related to freedom of speech and press.  They are to gain skill in recognizing and assessing the liability risks of those who communicate through diverse media.
  2.  Students are to understand the relationship between law and advancements of communications technology.  A particular concern is how to construe statutes and interpret case law that originally applied to analog media but may now be extended to digital media.
  3.  Students are to learn the scope of governmental authority to curtail freedom of expression to protect national security and domestic order.  They also are to understand legal limitations on the private sector’s use of privacy-invasive technologies to monitor consumers and make unaccountable use of personally identifiable data.
  4.  Students are to advance their understanding of procedures that apply in media cases.  Examples include procedures for defending a media client under an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute, seeking documents under the federal Freedom of Information Act, and taking action under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to demand a take-down of an allegedly infringing work from a Web site.

(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, professional skills, and written and oral communication in the context of the First Amendment

Candidates for the Certificate are to develop and demonstrate abilities to gather facts, frame issues, apply principles and communicate effectively in areas of law that pertain to media and expressive freedom.

  1.  Students are expected to analyze complex issues related to media and the First Amendment and find and cite authoritative legal sources relevant to resolution of those issues.  
  2.  Students are to learn how to interpret and apply First Amendment case law, statutes and regulations that affect media enterprises.
  3.  Problem-solving skills of students are to include the ability to balance competing First Amendment interests, such as when a speaker claims a right to express a message to an audience that is unwilling to hear that message, as in FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, cited above.
  4.  Students advance practical skills in field placements and writing and experiential courses.  They also are expected to take advantage of opportunities to participate in such programs and activities as the law school’s annual Media and the Law Seminar.

(c) Professional responsibilities to clients and the legal system

Through their participation in the Certificate program, students are expected to manifest a commitment to professionalism and ethical conduct.

  1.  In Certificate courses, students are to demonstrate an appreciation for legal ethics as they apply to lawyers who represent media clients, as well as the canons of ethics that apply to the judges who preside over media cases.
  2.  Students are to show that they understand the roles of a lawyer who practices law related to the First Amendment.  As set forth in the preamble to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Responsibility, the lawyer’s roles include acting as an advisor, advocate, negotiator and evaluator.
  3.  With reference to the preamble to the ABA Model Rules, students are to understand how a lawyer with an interest First Amendment rights should serve as a public citizen, “furthering the public's understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system because legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority.”

Tax Law Certificate

Students who earn a Tax Certificate will have developed an in-depth understanding of the substantive law relating to individual and business enterprise taxation. Students will also be exposed to a variety of specialized areas of tax law including tax-exempt organizations and pension and employee benefit plans. By working with a complex area of the law, students will be given an opportunity to improve their statutory construction and analysis skills and, at the same time, be tested on their ability to read voluminous regulations and understand how those regulations and other agency pronouncements fit within the larger body of administrative law. In addition, student will be exposed to instruction in problem-solving, counseling, and negotiation. A student who completes the Tax Certificate will be prepared to enter with confidence a tax or business-related practice area and have the skills and knowledge to continue building expertise and to operate within an area of the law that is constantly evolving through the issuance of statutory amendments, judicial decisions, and regulatory revisions.

Tribal Lawyer Certificate

Effectively representing Indian nations and tribes requires an understanding of the laws, history and policies that affect them. For more than 200 years, the United States has pursued conflicting policies for dealing with the indigenous peoples located within its borders. As a result, there exists an extremely complicated body of federal, state and tribal law that affects every aspect of indigenous life.

The complexity of "Indian law," and the lack of specific programs designed to educate graduates as to the unique legal and cultural needs of Indian people, has created a situation in which lawyers representing Indian tribes place too great an emphasis on state law and federal law when dealing with Indian nations. As a result, these lawyers may unconsciously be contributing to the weakening of unique tribal legal and governance traditions by recommending the adoption of tribal laws and policies founded upon the Anglo-American legal and political traditions rather than the unique traditions of their tribal clients.

The certificate program is designed to ensure that law students aspiring to a career representing Indian nations have the skills necessary to appreciate and strengthen the unique nature of indigenous tribal legal systems. Students may satisfy the certificate requirements by taking courses such as Sovereignty and Self-Determination, Federal Indian Law, Native American Natural Resources, and the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic, combined with several law courses in the area of economic development, taxation, federal courts and natural resources.

(a) Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law concerning tribes and American Indians:

To obtain the Certificate, students ultimately are assessed on their knowledge of Indian law, which includes both Federal Indian Law and Tribal Law. Students graduate with a broad knowledge of foundational and other core areas of Indian law, specialized knowledge in Federal Indian Law, and experience with advanced study, particularly through courses such as Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and Indigenous Nations and Economic Development in Indian Country.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout students’ second and or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should possess a basic knowledge of federal Indian law following completion of the survey course.
  2.  Students should be familiar with tribal law (i.e. the laws of individual tribes) through completion of advanced elective courses, such as Sovereignty, Self-Determination, and Indigenous Nations, Native American Natural Resources, Indian Gaming, and/or Economic Development in Indian country.
  3.  Students should expand their specialized knowledge of Indian law, through study in courses that include significant units on Indian law – such as Water Law or Oil and Gas Law.
  4.  Students should also gain experience working directly with tribes and Indian law through either the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic or an approved field placement.

(b) Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, professional skills, and written and oral communication in the Indian law context:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on the development of legal analysis, legal communication, and legal research as relevant to Indian law. Students will graduate with the ability to analyze complex problems, find and deploy a variety of authorities from the sources of Indian law, including treaties and judgements from tribal courts. They are able to communicate effectively in a variety of cross-cultural settings.

To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist throughout the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students should be able to engage in legal analysis and communication of their research outcomes related to Indian law and the representation of tribes, orally and in writing, to a diverse audience, and to solve real-world problems that occur in common tribal and federal settings.
  2.  Students develop interpretation skills with respect to treaties, administrative agency regulations, and tribal court rulings, and analytical, research, and communication skills to the advanced level appropriate for a major project in Indian law, and develop some representational and problem-solving skills to an intermediate level.
  3.  Given students are required to either participate in the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic or an approved field placement related to Indian law, students use some of their representational and problem-solving skills at an advanced level.

(c) Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system, which includes:

To earn the Certificate, students are assessed on their ability to demonstrate a commitment to professionalism, ethical behavior, service, and, as appropriate, leadership. To accomplish this overall goal, several benchmarks exist during the second and/or third year of study in pursuit of the Certificate:

  1.  Students gain an appreciation for ethical issues in Indian law practice, including ethical issues typically confronting tribes and conflicts of interest inherent in the federal government’s trust relationship with federally recognized tribes.
  2.  Students recognize service obligations and opportunities for service and leadership through experiential learning in either the Tribal Judicial Support Clinic or an approved field placement. 
  3.  Students will demonstrate a high level of professionalism and ethical behavior, and cultural competency, through their written work and practical experiences.
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Questions?

Elizabeth Kronk Warner
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Professor of Law
785-864-1139
elizabeth.kronk@ku.edu

Vicki Palmer
Registrar
785-864-9211
vpalmer@ku.edu

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