As one of only two law schools in the state of Maryland, the University of Baltimore School of Law (Baltimore Law) has played a crucial role in the state’s legal community since first opening its door in 1925. When it was founded, the law school was part of the private University of Baltimore that was founded to serve Baltimore’s diverse and working-class citizens. Fifty years later, the University including the law school became a public institution as part of the University of Maryland system. Today, the law school is located in a stunning 12-story building located in the heart of Baltimore. In the law schools nearly 100-year history, the school has produced an impressive list of alumni that include one U.S. Vice President (Spiro Agnew), two governors and two lieutenant governors of the state of Maryland, and multiple Maryland judges and state legislators.
The Juris Doctor program at Baltimore Law requires 87 hours of coursework for completion of the degree. The curriculum has 12 required courses (accounting for nearly half of all coursework) including the six core courses of the traditional American legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. Along with these core courses, students are also required to take substantive courses in evidence, professional responsibility, the law in context, as well as a course covering the underlying reasoning behind legal rules and decisions. Students are also required to take several skill-based courses that build foundational skills in students including advocacy, legal research, and legal writing. On top of the required curriculum, Baltimore Law recommends that students take a number of additional “foundational” courses that ensure that students are not only ready to practice law but also are prepared to pass the bar exam. The remainder of the curriculum is elective courses designed to meet a student’s academic and professional goals.
Prior to graduation, all students must satisfy the law school’s requirement for experiential education as well as complete a major writing project. To direct students in their upper-level course selection, Baltimore Law offers both academic concentrations that suggest coursework to help students master the foundational subject matter as well as practice tracks that suggest skill-based programs to help students build the skills to master a practice track. Students are encouraged to combine the necessary academic and skills work to be able to graduate as a “practice-ready” attorney. Baltimore Law offers 19 different practice tracks to complement their nine academic concentrations.
For students who have already earned their Juris Doctor, Baltimore Law offers several additional programs that build upon their initial law degree. Baltimore offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) program that offers two areas of concentrations. For students who earned their law degree from an international law school, the LL.M at Baltimore Law is focused on the American legal system, introducing students to the core principles and skills of practicing law in the United States. Baltimore Law also offers an LL.M focused on taxation. Students study the fundamentals of taxation and have the opportunity to specialize in an area within the field.
Baltimore Law also offers two certification programs targeted to students who have previously completed their Juris Doctor degree. Lawyers can earn a certificate in either family law or in estate planning. The family law certificate is the first of its kind in the nation and provides students with a solid understanding of the practice area through the law school’s Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts. Similarly, the certificate in estate planning provides attorneys with additional academic and practical skills to effectively counsel clients on issues of estate planning.
Baltimore Law also offers Juris Doctor candidates two earn a second degree as part of a joint curriculum. Students have the option of earning an LL.M in taxation in conjunction with their law degree or a professional degree from one of four other graduate schools. In conjunction with the business school, students can earn either a Master of Business Administration or a Master of Public Administration concurrently with their J.D. Students also have the option of earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Dispute and Conflict Resolution, or Public Policy. Juris Doctor candidates complete their first year of study before then working on the remainder of their law degree along with courses from their joint degree. This approach allows students to share courses between both programs which saves time and money.
Career and Career Services
Within 10 months of graduation, over 86% of all graduates of Baltimore Law are employed in long term, full-time careers based on the most recent employment outcome data. Graduates at Baltimore Law are critical to the local court system as noted by the fact that over 40% of all graduates secured clerkships in the local or state court system. Only 22% of graduates pursued careers in traditional law firms with most opting for work in small law firms with 1 to 10 attorneys. Careers in government offices or in the public interest sector account for another fifth of graduates while careers in the business sector accounted for just under 15% of graduates. Almost 85% of all graduates remain in the state of Maryland to begin their careers–once again reiterating the importance of the law school to the local legal community.
Baltimore Law’s Career Development Office (CDO) offers all students an impressive range of career related services starting with a staff of experienced advisors who counsel students on a range of professional services. The CDO’s advisors work individually with students to understand and develop their career goals, improve their interview skills, and dress their resumes and cover letters. All year, the CDO provides programming that shares critical information to students on various aspects of the hiring process, alternative careers, and networking. Aside from a robust job database, the CDO brings employers on campus as part of the on-campus interview process but also to connect with students in informal ways. The CDO also works with students to place them in external field placements as part of their experiential education. These externships provide students with a tremendous opportunity to expand their professional development.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
With a broad array of centers and a robust clinical program, Baltimore Law offers its students the opportunity to not only study the law but to actually practice it. All students are required to take at least one clinical course or an externship to satisfy the law school’s experiential learning requirement. Students may take an additional clinical/externship course or choose to take a practice-based simulation course.
Every year, almost 200 Baltimore Law students work with real clients as part of the school’s clinical program. Students practice as licensed student attorneys under the supervision of practicing attorneys and faculty members. Students work in a variety of practice areas ranging from representing wrongfully convicted inmates to community legal issues as they serve the indigent population of Baltimore with vital legal services. The clinical program is considered one of the best in the country and affords students an incomparable opportunity to learn practical skills while they apply their classroom knowledge to the actual practice of law.
Baltimore Law’s externship program functions similarly to the clinical program by providing students the opportunity to work in live legal offices in the surrounding region. The externship program also allows for additional diversity in terms of the practice areas offered to students. Students have the option of working in corporate legal office, judicial chambers, and public interest offices. Aside from building practical skills, students also develop their professional networks.
Experiential learning is built into the curriculum at Baltimore Law. During their final semesters, students may also opt for an advanced practicum course where they work with other students to solve real-world problems in a simulated legal environment. This courses allow students to work through more advanced legal problems as they are guided by faculty experts.
Set in one of the nation’s busiest cities, the campus of Baltimore Law is active and engaged. The law school supports a wide range of co-curricular activities that help students build relationships, sharpen their views, express their identities, and enhance their quality of life. The school’s hosts a wide array of student organizations that bring together students with shared background or personal interests. Student groups also serve the local community through a variety of pro bono efforts. Students also run the school’s two publications and participate on their interscholastic competition teams.
Baltimore Law plays a critical law in the city where it resides. The campus is located in the Mount Vernon section of downtown just a few minutes from Baltimore’s inner harbor and walking distance to one of the cities busiest areas. Surrounding the school is abundant, midtown housing at affordable prices. Law students enjoy a city full of life: professional sports, the national aquarium, a number of museums, and quick access to the nation’s capital. Life at Baltimore Law provides students the opportunity to connect with a town in the midst of a revitalization.