The beginnings of the University of New Hampshire School of Law (New Hampshire Law) are traced back to the Franklin Pierce Law Center, established in 1973 as the first and only law school in the state of New Hampshire. In 2010, the University of New Hampshire formally incorporated the Franklin Pierce Law Center and for the past decade has been affiliated with the university. For almost three decades, New Hampshire Law has built a reputation for its outstanding program in intellectual property law. The program is widely considered one of the best in the country. The school of law has produced a number of state and federal representatives as well as distinguished members of the New Hampshire and federal court systems.
The traditional first-year curriculum at New Hampshire reflects its commitment to innovation as well as its focus on intellectual property. Students take five of the six core courses of traditional legal education: civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, property, and torts. Students do not take criminal law in their first year. Instead, students take two additional substantive courses–a course in sales and an introduction to intellectual property law. Students also take practical courses covering the legal profession as well as legal research and writing.
During the second year, students are required to take three additional substantive courses: administrative law, criminal law, and professional responsibility. Students must also satisfy the requirements for experiential learning as well as an upper-level writing assignment. After completion of the course requirements, students can design their own academic paths or follow one of the school’s seven concentrations area including its intellectual property program that offers a concentration in either patent law or trademark and copyright law.
Upper-class student also have the option of working towards one of New Hamphire law’s five certification programs that certify a student’s mastery of the fundamentals of certain practice areas.
The New Hampshire School of Law also offers one of the only hybrid Juris Doctor programs in the country that allows students to obtain a J.D. through a mixture of residential and online learning modules. Students spend planned periods of residency during each fall and spring term but complete the bulk of their coursework remotely. The hybrid J.D. is accredited by the American Bar Association and does qualify students to sit for the state bar exam in New Hampshire (although it may not in some jurisdictions).
International students who have already obtained a law degree from a foreign law school may also apply for advance standing, which allows them to complete the Juris Doctor program in less credit hours.
The New Hampshire School of Law offers two additional graduate degrees along with its Juris Doctor degree. For students who have already earned a J.D., the school of law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) in three concentration areas: intellectual property, international crime, and commerce and technology. The LL.M program is designed to be completed in one year of coursework (totaling 24 credit hours) or part-time within five years of starting the program. The LL.M programs also offer the option of completing some of the coursework online allowing tremendous flexibility for practicing attorneys.
For non-attorneys, New Hampshire Law offers three Master’s degree programs focused on the same concentrations as its LL.M degrees. The intent is to provide professionals without a Juris Doctor degree the opportunity to understand the law’s impact on highly litigious professions. The Master’s degree programs require 30 to 32 hours of coursework for completion.
Juris Doctor candidates also the opportunity to earn a dual degree by pairing another professional degree–an M.B.A or a Master’s degree in Public Policy or Social Work–with their J.D. Students take classes concurrently allowing them to complete both programs in less time than pursuing them separately.
Career and Career Placement
The small student body at New Hampshire Law has some of the highest career placement statistics in the country. Over 97% of all graduates are employed within 10 months of graduation. The vast majority (80%) of graduates are employed in careers that require a law license. Small law firms of 1 to 10 attorneys (typical of intellectual property firms) were the most common career choice for graduates. Graduates also frequently opted for careers in the business industry (10%) or government and public interest jobs (12%). Only 50% of graduates remained in New Hampshire to begin their careers. Massachusetts and New York were the next most common destinations.
With graduating class around 60 students a team of professionals, the New Hampshire Law Career Services Team (CST) offers one of the best student to staff ratios in the country. Students gravitate to New Hampshire Law due to its reputation for placing students in careers especially related to intellectual property. All students take a class in their first semester introducing them to the legal profession and being working with the CST to create an individualized career plan. Staff works with students to prepare them for interviews and dress resumes.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Students at New Hampshire Law learn practical skills through the law schools five in-house legal clinics or through legal residencies in regional law offices. The law school’s legal clinics afford students the opportunity to put their academic lessons into practical use while working with real clients. The school maintains three designated centers including the Franklin Pierce Center for Intellectual Property that represents and protects the intellectual property of start-up businesses.
Students at New Hampshire law have sought legal residences in legal offices around the country in a variety of practice areas. Students have spent a semester practicing law with the Dallas Cowboys as well as the Federal Trade Commission. These legal residencies allow students to become immersed in legal practice for a semester in order to build skills and further their professional careers.
As previously described, New Hampshire Law has one of the most robust distance education programs in the country including one of the only ABA accredited online Juris Doctor programs.
Students at New Hampshire law enjoy a range of students services that stress health and wellness. The law school offers students health insurance, housing assistance, and counseling services. Housing assistance uses a third-party to help students find affordable housing in the area. For a law school with less than 200 total students, the school still maintains an diverse range of unique student organizations that range from groups interested in cryptocurrency to playing pond hockey.
Concord, New Hampshire is a idyllic New England town set at the foot of the state’s majestic White Mountains and a short drive from the coastline. Downtown Concord is an eclectic mix of dining, shopping, and entertainment. As well, students are a short drive from the Boston area or a longer trip away from New York City. The region is home to many outdoor recreation opportunities from skiing in the winter to hiking in the spring.