Founded in 1992, the Quinnipiac University School of Law (Quinnipiac Law) is one of only four law schools in the state of Connecticut as well as the newest. Less than 30 years old, Quinnipiac Law created a legal education founded on innovation that touches on the school’s curriculum and even its architecture. The law center spans three floors and was built for collaborative learning with digital classrooms and student-centered spaces that allow for teamwork. The class sizes are small with most classes graduating less than 90 students and the school emphasizes small group learning. The Quinnipiac Law center is also home to a mock courtroom that has often been used by the Connecticut Supreme Court to hear oral arguments.
The Juris Doctor program at Quinnipiac Law requires 86 credit hours that may be earned through either a traditional three-year program or a part-time program. The first-year program contains 30 hours of required courses that blend the traditional core academic courses–civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts–with a two-semester course introducing students to the skills necessary to succeed as a lawyer. The rest of the students’ coursework is a combination of core electives, general electives, and experiential coursework. The core electives are six different core courses that cover many of the fundamental subjects of law of which students must complete at least four courses.
The part-time program at Quinnipiac Law generally takes four years for completion and leverages flexible summer programs to allow students to balance their education with a job or familial responsibilities. The traditional first-year program takes three semesters of roughly 10 hours. Part-time students complete the same core and general electives.
All J.D. candidates have the option to earn an optional concentration in one of eight different practice areas. These concentrations function similarly to undergraduate majors. Students are required to take a slate of classes that prepare them for a particular practice area. Further, Quinnipiac offers students the opportunity to earn a certification in health care law. The rigorous curriculum certifies that a student is ready to practice in the complex field of health care law. A total of 18 hours of coursework are required to earn the certificate.
Quinnipiac Law offers several additional programs. For students who have already earned their law degree (or its foreign equivalent), the law school offers a Master of Laws focused on health care compliance. To earn their LL.M, students complete 24 hours of coursework of which 75% is concentrated on health care compliance. Students may also opt to take six hours in non-health law courses in order to meet their academic and professional goals.
Juris Doctor candidates may also earn another professional degree from one of three other graduate schools at Quinnipiac University. This joint degree program pairs the J.D. curriculum with a Master’s degree in either business administration, environmental law, or social work. A joint degree prepares graduates to practice in the increasingly interdisciplinary field of law. Students are also able to share some course credits between programs thereby reducing the total time necessary to complete both programs.
In conjunction with Quinnipiac University, undergraduate students have the unique opportunity to earn both their undergraduate and law degrees in a total of six years. The program uses undergraduate students’ fourth year to begin the first-year law school curriculum. This “3+3” program accelerates the education process for motivated students allowing them to begin their professional careers as soon as possible.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment outcomes, over 90% of all graduates of Quinnipiac Law secure long-term, full-time employment within 10 months of graduation. Almost 45% of employed graduates opted for law firm positions with small law firms being–by a substantial margin–the most common choice for law firm work. Over 20% of students opted for work in government offices while just under 20% chose careers in the business sector. Another 15% of graduates secured judicial clerkships in the state and local court systems.
The Quinnipiac Law Career Development Office (CDO) works with every student through a mixture of one-on-one counseling, programs, and workshops to help each student build a professional network and accomplish their career goals. The CDO’s counseling services cover a wide range of support including resume review and interview preparation. The CDO maintains a dedicated resource center where students can learn professional skills and search for employment opportunities. The CDO also manages the on-campus and off-campus interviews as well as numerous networking events where students can build relationships with alumni and potential employers.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Quinnipiac Law embeds experiential learning into the curriculum from the very first year of study with a two-semester course covering legal skills. Throughout the education process, academic courses are always taught with an eye towards putting the theory of law into practice. All students take skill-based courses throughout their program. These courses lead to the capstone courses of experiential learning: the clincal and externship programs.
The law school offers upper-level students the opportunity to work with real clients as part of the clinical program. Under the tutelage of professors and practitioners, students learn to represent clients in real-world cases in over 20 practice areas. Students can work on criminal prosecution or defense as well as civil justice, tax issues, and a unique (and vital) veterans law clinic. The clinics not only provide students with an incomparable experience but also serve the New Haven community with much needed affordable legal representation.
Much like the clinical program, the externship program places students in external legal offices to learn by doing. The law school offers 16 different externship courses that allow students to learn in the classroom and in their field placement. Students work alongside practicing attorneys as they master the skills of lawyering and build their professional resumes.
The campus of Quinnipiac Law school is designed to build a community. Students enjoy a campus that encourages them to interact in common spaces and work together to solve academic problems. The law school offers a diverse and active student organization program as well as three student-run legal journals. The law school has also built a national reputation for its trial and dispute resolution teams that compete nationally.
Located in North Haven, Connecticut on the main campus of the University, law students enjoy the amenities of the university in one the country’s most famed collegiate regions. Situated halfway between the mega-cities of Boston and New York, students enjoy quick access to big city life from the affordable town of North Haven. Nearby New Haven–the home of Yale–offers additional housing options that are generally affordable in the area. In all, law students at Quinnipiac School of Law learn and live in a great part of America.