Few areas of the legal system are more emotionally challenging than family law, especially when the fate of a child is at issue. We not only place an emphasis on developing a strong foundation in the law, but we also instill an appreciation for how real families function, and the new ways that family lawyers are expected to work with families in need. You’ll explore topics related to child development, same-sex marriage and other family dynamics that paint a vivid picture of your clients’ lives and the challenges they face.
The family law concentration uses an innovative, interprofessional approach that gives you an opportunity to collaborate with other professionals — such as social workers — to develop creative solutions to potentially volatile cases. Because litigation is rarely the most appropriate course of action for families, you’ll learn alternative methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and other negotiation and collaborative approaches that promote the abilities of families to thrive and communicate peacefully, well after the legal case has ended.
Quinnipiac’s extensive clinic and externship courses let you go out in the field and serve family law clients while honing your skills. Our Family and Juvenile Law Society is a valuable resource for career development events and networking opportunities with lawyers in the field. And our nationally recognized Center on Dispute Resolution hosts a variety of symposia, professional workshops and special training sessions aimed at building sophisticated problem-solving skills that are particularly key in the practice of family law.
Curriculum and Requirements
To be eligible for the Family Law concentration, you must take both Evidence and Federal Income Tax as two of your core electives. Credits for these courses do not count toward the 18-credit concentration requirement, but grades in these prerequisites do count toward the GPA honors requirement.
To receive the certificate for this concentration, you must earn 18 family law credits, as follows:
Required Course Work
In addition to Evidence and Federal Income Tax (credits for which do not count toward the 18-credit requirement) you must take the following courses. Credits for these courses will count toward your 18-credit concentration requirement:
- Family Law (2-3 credits)
- One of the following dispute resolution courses: Negotiation, Mediation, Representation in Mediation, or ADR (1-3 credits)
- Clinical Requirement (3 credits)
At least two of the following family and juvenile law core courses, or from other required courses listed above. (Note: not all of these courses are offered every year.)
- Advanced Family Law I and/or II (2-3 credits)
- Advanced Juvenile Law (Child Protection or Delinquency) (2-3 credits)
- Divorce & the Divorcing Family (2 credits)
- Domestic Violence (2 credits)
- Elder Law (2-3 credits)
- Juvenile Law (2-3 credits)
- Law and Gender (2 credits)
- Trusts & Estates (3 credits)
- Other courses as approved by the concentration director
The balance of the credits, if any, are to be earned from the following courses, or from other core courses listed above. (Note: not all of these courses are offered every year.)
- Administrative Law (3 credits)
- Advanced Individual Income Tax (3 credits)
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (2-3 credits)
- Bankruptcy (3-4 credits)
- Bioethics (3 credits)
- Business Organizations (4 credits)
- Employee Benefits (2 credits)
- Education Law (2 credits)
- Immigration (2-3 credits)
- Introduction to Representing Clients (2 credits)
- Introdcution to Mediation
- Law and Psychiatry (2 credits)
- Negotiation (2-3 credits)
- Poverty Law (2 credits)
- Representation in Mediation (1-2 credits)
- Real Estate Transactions (3-4 credits)
- Therapeutic Jurisprudence (2 credits)
- Trial Practice (2-3 credits)
- Independent Research Project, family law-related topic (1-3 credits)
- Moot Court credits, if the student participates in the Family Law Moot Court Competition (1-3 credits)
- Other courses or journal work as approved by the concentration director in consultation with the course instructor
- Additional clinical credits, in a family law-related placement
Three of your 18 credits must be earned in the Civil Justice Clinic or in a family law-related externship, including the judicial or mediation externship. Credits for IRC do not count toward the clinical requirement. (A student may exceed 3 credits for their clinical course but may only count 3 toward the clinical requirement of this concentration.)
- Determination of the family law status of any given externship will be made by the concentration director.
- Clinical requirement may be waived if the student has substantial family law work experience. This determination will be made by the concentration director.
- If the clinical requirement is waived, the student must still earn 18 credits elsewhere within the concentration to receive the certificate.
A student must write a substantial paper — or a series of shorter writings that together comprise a substantial amount of written work — on a topic or topics related to family law. (If the student writes a substantial paper, the student may use that paper to satisfy the law school's advanced writing requirement, provided that the student meets the guidelines for the advanced writing requirement as set forth in the academic catalog.) The topic or topics for the written work used to satisfy this requirement must be approved by the concentration director. A paper written for a journal may qualify if the topic is approved by the concentration director.
Students who achieve a GPA of 3.2 or better in the course work used for the concentration will receive the certificate for the concentration with honors.
A student may designate any course or paper as not counting toward the concentration, so long as it is not required for the concentration, and the student meets the concentration requirements with another course or paper.
The concentration director and the associate dean for academic affairs may waive any requirements for the concentration (other than the GPA requirement), if they both agree to do so.