Founded at the turn of the 20th century, the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center (LSU Law) is named for the school’s former dean. Aside from serving as dean for almost forty years, Paul M. Herbert also served as a judge a the Nuremberg War trials after World War II. Since the state of Louisiana is a civil law state (the only one in the nation), LSU Law has academic programs that cover both traditional English common law and the civil code (sometimes referred to as Napoleonic Code). LSU Law is also the only law school in the United States to confer a Diploma in Comparative Law that recognizes that a student is educated in the civil law that governs Louisiana (and most European nations). The law school has produced six governors of the state of Louisiana as well as a dozen U.S. Congressman and countless Louisiana judges and justices.
LSU requires Juris Doctor candidates to complete 94 hours of coursework prior to graduation. Students who wish to simultaneously obtain a Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law (D.C.L.) degree must complete 15 of the 94 hours in selected courses related to the D.C.L. program. The first-year curriculum–for all students–blends traditional courses with civil law courses. Students take four of the traditional common law core courses: civil procedure, contracts, criminal law and procedure, and torts. For their civil law curriculum, students take obligations, civil law property, and legal traditions. Students also take two semester focused on legal research and writing.
Students are free to pursue their own academic path during their second and third years. The only required courses are: constitutional law, evidence, a course covering the legal profession, and trial advocacy. Student may opt to obtain a certification in Energy Law and Policy. The certification requires students to complete four core courses plus 18 hours of electives on the subject matter. The certification recognizes students for demonstrating a mastery of the practice area.
By default, students are opted into the D.C.L. program and must notify the school if they do not want to work towards the additional degree.
Along with their one-of-a-kind joint J.D./D.C.L. program, LSU Law offers a number of additional programs directed at both graduate and undergraduate students. For students who have earned their Juris Doctor degree or its international equivalent, LUS Law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree program focused on comparative law. This program requires two full-time semesters of residential coursework. Students study both the foundations of American common law and the unique system of civil law that governs Louisiana. The program prepares students to practice in Louisiana or, if desired, sit for the New York bar exam.
Juris Doctor students may also pursue a dual degree while while at LSU Law. Students have the option of earning their J.D. along with another professional degree from five other graduate schools at LSU. Joint Degree all require admission to both programs separately. Once admitted, however, students share their time between both programs after completing the first-year legal curriculum. This approach reduces the total time necessary to complete both degrees. Joint degree also bolster a student’s professional career options. Joint Degrees including combining the J.D. with an Master of Business Administration, a Master of Finance, or a Master of Public Administration.
Career and Career Placement
Recent statistics from the graduating classes of LSU Law indicate that within 10 months of graduation over 90% of all graduates are employed in long term, professional positions. Of those employed, over 95% are employed in programs that either require a law license (88%) or prefer a Juris Doctor degree (7%). Small and mid-sized law firms accounted for over 40% of graduates first career choices. Overall, law firm work was the most common choice for all graduates. Just under 15% of graduates opted for positions in government offices or in the public interest sector while 10% chose roles in the business sector. Over 12% of all graduates were awarded judicial clerkships in the state or federal courts. Lousiana was the most popular choice for students to begin their careers with Texas as the second most popular destination.
LSU Law Career Services Center (CSC) partners with students and alumni throughout their professional careers ensuring their continued success. The staff of four professionals offers students a range of services with a primary goal of enabling them to work towards their career goals. This philosophy is born out of the school’s experience where almost 30% of all students find their first job through self-initiating as opposed to 22% who secure jobs through the on-campus interview program. LSU Law also leverages its extensive alumni base to help students network towards their goals. Over 30% of all students secure their first job through referrals.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
At LSU Law, students learn the practice of law through the school’s clinical program, external field placements, and simulation courses. In conjunction, these programs teach students to apply their classroom lessons to the actual practice of law. The clinical experience allows students work in one of five practice areas as they work with real clients on a variety of legal issues. The clinics are open to both second and third year students with the exception of the criminal prosecution clinic which is open only to third year students. Students in clinics work alongside faculty experts who oversee students work as they master various practical skills.
Set in the capital of Louisiana, LSU Law offers students a wide variety of external field placements where students spend a semester working a legal offices. Field placement occur every semester–including the summer–and range from government and judicial offices to public interest positions. By working alongside practicing attorneys, students learn both valuable skills but also build their professional network.
LSU Law’s simulation courses teach students practical skills in the classroom. Students work on complex legal problems such as child custody mediations or contract negotiation while under the close supervision of faculty members. These simulations mimic the real-world legal practice with the safety of a classroom environment.
With a student body comprised of mostly women and 20% minority students, LSU Law is a diverse and vibrant campus. The law school affords a number of co-curricular opportunities for students to build personal and professional relationships through student organizations, student-run journals, and the robust moot court program. Situated on the main campus, students are within walking distance of the university’s 43,000 square foot exercise facility. The university provides all students a wide range of wellness programs including mental health services. The law school is also walking distance of abundant, affordable housing options.
Life in Baton Rouge blends the traditions of Louisiana culture with a progressive city full of entertainment and nightlife. Law students are active supporters of the LSU Tiger sports team especially the storied football program. The Mississippi river runs through the center of town providing a picturesque river walk and riverboat casinos. Nearby New Orleans offers students access to the birthplace of Jazz and countless historic areas. All around Cajun and Creole culture flow through the region in the cuisine, music, and nightlife.