Thirty years after the founding of the university, the Duquesne University School Law (Duquesne Law) became the school’s first professional school. Since 1911, Duquesne Law has been educating lawyers and has served a vital role in the Allegheny County legal community. The law school has remained situated in close proximity to the county’s courthouse and is still the only evening, part-time law program that serves Western Pennsylvania. Today, the law school offers a full-time and part-time day curriculum to complement its original evening program. Duquesne Law is situated in two historic halls that rest on the bluffs overlooking the city of Pittsburgh.
Duquesne Law’s Juris Doctor program can be earned through a full-time program or a part-time program in day or evening classes. All three programs require 90 hours of academic coursework. The first-year curriculum of the full-time program includes 32 hours of required courses comprised mainly of five of the six foundational courses of the American legal education: civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, properties, and torts. First-year students also begin their skill-based instruction with courses in legal research, legal writing, and an optional legal skills course. Students who fail to achieve a mandatory G.P.A. in the fall semester are required to take an additional course to identify strategies for legal success. In their second year, full-time students take courses in constitutional law, criminal procedure, corporations, and evidence.
Part-time students–in either the day or evening program–complete the same first-year program over the course of two years with several additional courses: constitutional law, criminal procedure, and a course in advanced legal reasoning for students who have still not achieved a minimum G.P.A.
Prior to graduation, all students must complete a course in professional responsibility and sales as well as satisfy the requirements for an upper-level writing assignment and experiential learning. Duquesne Law suggests a number of courses for students to ensure they are prepared to succeed on most bar exams as well as in their professional careers but the majority of a student’s courses are elective in nature. Duquesne Law also provides students with four possible academic concentrations: business, general practice, government, and litigation.
Duquesne Law offers an additional graduate program for international lawyers who earned their law degree in an international school. The Master of Laws (LL.M) program introduces students to the foundation of the American legal system through a year of residential coursework. International students who wish to practice in the U.S. may follow a bar preparation track or, in the alternative, choose a general LL.M program that meets their academic and professional goals. Students have the option of attending a summer “bridge” program that helps foreign students transition to the educational system in the United States.
Juris Doctor students at Duquesne Law may also pursue a second professional degree concurrently with their legal studies. The joint degree program grounds students in an interdisciplinary approach to the practice of law. Students spend time studying each discipline while also sharing credit hours between the two programs. This approach allows students to complete both programs in less time than pursuing them separately. Joint degree programs including pairing the J.D. with an M.B.A., a Master of Science in Environmental Science, a Master of Arts in Healthcare Ethics, a Master of Arts in Philosophy, or a Master of Divinity in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Duquesne Law also offers students several opportunities to study abroad in Ireland, continental Europe, or China. The study abroad program introduces students to key concepts of comparative and international law while also exposing them to the international legal community. As the legal practice globalizes, study abroad programs prepare students to succeed in the global legal market.
Career and Career Placement
Over 90% of all graduates of Duquesne Law secure full-time, long term employment within 10 months of graduation. Almost all employed students (97%) find careers that either requires a law license or prefer a Juris Doctor degree. Duquesne students opt for an impressive range of careers. In 2019, over 18% of students secured judicial clerkships in the state or local courts, reiterating Duquesne Law’s important role in the Allegheny court system. Another 18% of graduates opted for careers in small law firms with 1 to 10 attorneys. Law firm work, of all sizes, accounted for just over half of all graduates. Students also opted frequently opted for careers in business (13%) or in government offices (also 13%). Over 90% of all graduates remain in Pennsylvania to begin their professional careers.
The Career Services Office (CSO) at Duquesne Law aims to work individually with each student to plan their career pathway. This approach allows for a personally tailored approach depending on each students’ needs and aspirations. The CSO offers skill-building programs and networking events throughout the year that empower students to connect with the larger legal community as they work towards their professional careers. The CSO administers a robust on-campus interview program, organizes casual networking lunches around the region, and provides students with an opportunity for mentorship by a practicing attorney.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Duquesne Law school is located steps away from the Pittsburgh county courthouse and its clinical program has been an integral part of the legal community for decades. Students serve the legal community while building critical legal skills. The clinic includes eight different practice areas that cover a broad range of the legal profession. Students work under the supervision of practicing faculty experts while engaging with and advocating for clients in the Allegheny County region.
Students also learn through external field placement where student earn classroom credits while working in a variety of legal offices. The externship program offers students summer and semester long opportunities in more than a dozen legal offices throughout the region. Much like the clinical program, students in an externship learn by actually practicing law.
Although Duquesne Law requires residential coursework for its degree programs, the law school does offer flexible day and evening part-time programs to allow students with additional responsibilities outside of their academic studies to complete their degree.
Duquesne Law offers its student a wealth of unique opportunities that create the law school’s unique and inviting character. First-year students enjoy the school’s unique orientation which includes a cruise along Pittsburgh’s three rivers. Each year, students and faculty gather for the annual Barrister’s Ball and compete in a 5k road race. The school’s many student organizations bring together students who share diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. Duquesne Law also offers unique wellness programs including therapets, music therapy, and stress management workshops.
Duquesne overlooks the historic and culturally rich city of Pittsburgh. The law school is located minutes from the downtown and cultural districts, right at the confluence of the cities three rivers. Housing is available in the residential neighborhoods around the law school as are an abundance of restaurants and bars. While at Duquesne, students enjoy a welcoming campus and a city full of life from Steelers football games to the many forests that surround the city.