The Loyola University New Orleans Law School (Loyola Law) is one of 14 law schools founded by the Jesuit Order and the third named for Saint Ignatius Loyola, the order’s founder. The law school was founded in 1914 as the first professional school at the recently formed Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Like other Louisiana law schools, Loyola Law offers both a curriculum covering English common law as well as civil law (commonly referred to as the Napoleonic Code). The law school moved from its original home to its current location in the city’s historic Audobon district, home of the New Orleans famous zoo. In 2007, the law school completed a substantial renovation that upgraded facilities and added a new building that expanded classes and library space. Loyola Law has played a critical role in the Louisiana legal community. The law school has graduated five future justices of the Louisiana Supreme Court, one attorney general of the state, as well as the former Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu.
Loyola Law’s Juris Doctor program may be completed either through a full or part-time curriculum. Both tracks require the same 90 academic hours for completion. The first-year curriculum accounts for one-third of the required hours. Students can opt for either a program focused on civil law for students who intend to practice in Louisiana or in common law for students who intend to practice in other states. The civil law program requires substantive work in civil law property, conventional obligations, successions, sales and leases, and Louisiana donations and trusts. The common law program requires a foundation in contracts, common law property, and trusts and estates. All students–regardless of the track–are required to take foundational courses in civil procedure, torts, criminal law, constitutional law, evidence, and business organizations.
The part-time program may be completed in either day or evening classes. Part-time students finish the first-year program over the course of eight semesters. After completion of the first-year curriculum, students have the option of completing their program with either general electives, civil law electives, or common law electives. All students must complete a course focused on building the practical skills of legal research and writing. Additionally, all students complete at least six hours of experiential learning and complete a major, upper-level writing assignment.
The law school also offers eight formal legal certifications that prescribe certain coursework for students to master in order to practice in certain areas. Of note, Loyola Law offers a certificate in Civil Law which is critical for success in practicing in Louisiana’s unique civil law court system.
Along with its Juris Doctor degree, Loyola Law offers several additional graduate programs targeted at both lawyers and non-attorneys. For students who have already earned their law degree, Loyola Law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) focused on either common or civil law. This LL.M is primarily targeted at American students who wish to enrich their understanding of the law. For students who have not studied civil law, this program offers students the opportunity to gain exposure to the unique system of laws governing Louisiana. The program requires 24 hours of residential coursework.
Internationally educated law students may earn an LL.M degree designed specifically to introduce foreign attorneys to the principles of the American legal system. The LL.M program is notably small allowing for all students to receive attention and instruction as they master the core concepts of the American legal system. The program also requires 24 hours of residential coursework.
Non-attorneys may also earn one of two Master programs offered by Loyola Law to help introduce non-attorneys the principles of the legal system. Loyola Law offers a Master of Environmental Law and a Master of Health Law & Administration. Both of these professions are intertwined with complex legal issues. In this Master’s program, students learn the foundation of the legal system as well as subject matter specific coursework to help them excel in their professional careers.
Juris Doctor candidates at Loyola Law also have the opportunity to earn a second degree concurrently with their J.D. Students may earn an LL.M or a degree from another professional school through a combined four years of study. This approach allows students to share course credits between their program allowing them to complete both programs in less time than pursuing them separately. Aside from the LL.M, students have the option of combining their law degree with a Master of Public Administration, a Master of Business Administration, or a Master of Urban and Regional Planning. The dual degree program not only saves students time and money but also introduces them to an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the law.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment outcomes, over 85% of graduates from Loyola Law find long-term, full-time employment within 10 months of graduation. Just over half of graduates opt for work in traditional law firms with small law firms of 1 to 10 attorneys being the most popular choice (26% of all employed graduates). Another quarter of graduates opt for positions in either government offices or the public interest sector. Over 10% of graduate secured judicial clerkships in either the federal or state courts. As expected, most graduates of Loyola Law (75%) remain in Louisiana to begin their professional careers.
Loyola Law’s Career Development Office (CDO) engages with students beginning with their first semester on campus. The goal of the CDO is to help students achieve their career goals while expanding their employment opportunities. This includes working with students on their professional profile, helping students build their professional networks, facilitating mock interviews, and connecting students with a variety of potential employers through the on-campus interview program. Loyola Law encourages students to explore a variety of career options through its summer public interest grant program as well as a post-graduate fellowship program. This commitment to serving the public reflects the school’s Jesuit heritage whose mission includes serving those in need.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
All students at Loyola Law receive skill instruction as part of their normal course of study. This instruction is centered on the foundational skills of practical lawyering: client interviewing, negotiation, cultural competence and interpersonal skills, and office management and professionalism. To learn these skills, Loyola Law brings practicing attorneys and judges onto campus to provide students with an incomparable practical education. Loyola Law also allows students to focus their skill-based learning in a specific practice area: civil law, criminal law, maritime law, and social justice. This specification further prepares students to succeed in their practice area.
Students also learn through participation in Loyola Law’s clinical program or an externship. The clinical program has been recognized as a national leader in experiential learning. In a given year, almost 100 students work on over 200 cases through the clinical program. These cases span a broad range of practice area including criminal, civil, and transaction work.
The externship program offers students the opportunity spend a semester working an external legal office. Students earn up to 3 credit hours while working alongside practicing attorneys in a variety of offices in the region. Loyola Law offers externships in over 100 legal offices, providing students with an opportunity to gain practical experience in nearly ever field.
Loyola Law is steeped in the Jesuit tradition that believes that all academic learning needs to occur in the context of complete human development. To fulfill this mission, Loyola Law offers a range of health, wellness, and safety programs to support students, manage their stress, and ensure the development of the entire student. Loyola Law students support a wide variety of organizations most of which participate in the school’s rich history of pro bono and community service. Students have access to the school’s counseling and health services. As a Catholic School, law students participate fully in the spiritual life of the school.
There is no other city in the United States like New Orleans. A city born of many cultures make the perfect setting to study the complex, culturally diverse law of Louisiana. Students find housing through the immediate neighborhood as well as easy access to some of the city’s best sights including the Audobon Park and Zoo. In walking distance of the law school, students will find some of the cities famed eateries. The city’s French Quarter is only a trolley ride away.