As the first law school in the state of Louisiana and one of the oldest in the country, the Tulane Law School (Tulane Law) is one of the only comparative law schools in the country since Louisiana’s legal structure is a mixture of traditional English common law and French/Napoleonic civil law. Studying at Tulane Law gives students a notable advantage in taking the Louisiana State bar exam. Tulane Law has leading programs in a variety of concentrations most notably in environmental. maritime, sports law. In its over 160 year history, Tulane Law has educated nine governors of the State of Louisiana including the legendary Huey Long.
The first-year curriculum at Tulane Law presents students with several required courses as well as an option to focus on either civil or common law courses. All students are required to take core courses in civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal procedure, and torts. All students also take a two-semester course on the fundamentals of legal writing, research, and analysis. In their second semester, however, students can either opt to take either two courses in traditional English common law (contracts and property) or focus on civil law courses (civil law property and obligations). During later semesters, students can opt to cover the other track if desired.
Upper-level students are only required to complete a course in professional responsibility as well as satisfy Tulane Law’s writing requirement and complete experiential education credits. Tulane Law also offers students six concentrations that provide suggested coursework to prepare students for a particular field of law. Of note are Tulane Law’s programs in environmental law and maritime law. Louisiana’s fragile coastline and off-shore drilling industries drive these concentrations as the state demands lawyers with backgrounds in these fields.
Beyond its Juris Doctor degree program, Tulane Law offers three other advanced degrees. The law school offers five unique Master of Law (LL.M) programs for a variety of professionals. For international students or those who need a grounding in Louisiana’s unique legal system, Tulane Law has a general LL.M or one focused on American law. For students who would wish to advance their studies in a particular field, Tulane Law offers LL.M degrees concentrated in admiralty law, environment and energy law, and international comparative law. All LL.M programs require a year of residential coursework, at least 24 hours of credit hours, and a major writing assignment.
Students who have earned an LL.M degree at Tulane Law or another accredited American law school may continue their academic studies in Tulane Law’s Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree program. The S.J.D. program requires a semester of coursework under the supervision of a faculty adviser followed by up to 3.5 years of research and writing. Candidates for the S.J.D. must complete a research project on a subject of legal importance.
Tulane Law also offers non-attorney professionals–such as human resource professionals–a Master of Jurisprudence program which provides graduates a solid grounding in the legal topics central to their profession.
Career and Career Placement
Based on statistics from the most recent graduating classes of Tulane Law, over 90% of graduates are employed or pursuing additional education within 10 months of graduation. Of those, almost 85% begin careers that either require a law license or prefer a Juris Doctor degree. Tulane Law graduates pursued careers across the legal spectrum. The single most popular career path was traditional law firm work in a large (500+ attorney) law firm. However, large percentages of students also chose small law firms (12%), careers in the business sector (14%), and careers in government or public interest offices (17%). Notably, Tulane Law’s 2019 graduating class had over 17 students who received judicial clerkships in the federal courts. Only one-third of graduates remained in Louisiana with a substantial number of students starting their careers in Texas or New York.
Tulane Law staffs a Career Development Office (CDO) with seven professionals including six career counselors who specialize and various practice areas. The primary purpose of the CDO is to assist both students and alumni in achieving their career goals both when they graduate as well as when their career changes over the years. The Tulane Law CDO organizes interviews through the greater New Orleans area as well as throughout the United States. Throughout the school year, the CDO provides educational programming to introduce students to various aspects of the legal field. Students also benefit from one-on-one counseling and mock interviews with the staff.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Tulane Law has one of the few dedicated offices for experiential learning. Three faculty members oversee a broad array of experiential learning opportunities for students. Students have the opportunity to participate in one of the law school’s seven legal clinics that cover a number of socially driven practices such as civil rights, criminal defense, and immigration law. Students can a full year of practical experience while also servicing the community of New Orleans (and beyond).
Other Tulane Law students opt to gain experience through an externship in a government office in the local legal community. Some externships (such as judicial or public interest) are year-long commitments while others–including an externship at a corporate law firm–require only a semester commitment. Externships not only teach practical skills, they also provide students with a glimpse of the daily life of various practicing lawyers.
The experiential learning office also provides coursework in the form of law labs and simulations which walk students through real-world legal problems to learn the skills required to solve them.
Tulane Law’s degree programs all require residential coursework.
With a campus set in the heart of one of America’s most vibrant cities, Tulane Law is a rich, diverse, and international experience. The law school offers students a number of services that intend to balance life outside the classroom. Services include counseling, health and wellness programs, and academic support. The law school hosts a number of student-run organizations including the moot court program–one of the largest and oldest in the country. Comprised of four different competition teams, the moot court program also hosts its own competition each year during the Mardi Gras season.
New Orleans is a city filled with music and culture. Law students live the surrounding community which is just a short distance from the esteemed Audubon Park. The southside of campus borders on St. Charles Avenue which carries students into the heart of the French Quarter. The law school is surrounded by local cuisine which celebrates the rich, diverse character of the city.