Juris Doctor Curriculum

First Year: 20 semester credit hours

Introduction to Law (Law 512)

 An overview of the American legal system, including an examination of the Biblical and historical foundations of the common law and the common law subjects to be studied in the first year. Students are introduced to important legal terminology, basic legal analysis, concepts of counseling, as well as the proper application of Biblical principles to the practice of law. 

Credit hours: 1

Course professor: Robert J. Barth

Contracts (Law 522)

A study of civilly enforceable agreements, including the common law development of contract principles. Specific topics include formation elements, such as offer, acceptance, and consideration; performance of contracts and the related subjects of conditions, discharges, and breach; damages and remedies; third-party beneficiaries, assignments and delegations; and statutory changes to the common law of contracts. 

Credit hours: 6

Course professor: Robert J. Barth

Criminal Law (Law 532)

An examination of the common law doctrines and development of criminal law, with a thorough overview of modern crimes and punishments. The principles of actus reus, mens rea, and causation are discussed, along with the specific elements of each crime. 

Credit hours: 4

Course professor: Bob Whalen

Torts (Law 542)

A study of private or civil wrongs and injuries and the civil liability which results from such wrongs and injuries. General topics include theories of tort liability, intentional torts to persons and property, negligence, strict liability, and the more specific areas of products liability, nuisance, misrepresentation, defamation, invasion of privacy, and torts in business. 

Credit hours: 6

Course professor: Robert G. Caprera

Legal Research & Writing I (Law 552)

An introduction to the fundamental sources and techniques of legal research, including use of the law library and its various resources. The course also presents an in-depth study of legal writing with the goal that students develop their analytical writing skills. This course focuses on essay writing, case analysis, logic, and the legal memorandum, and legal philosophy and reasoning. 

Credit hours: 3

Course professor: Emily A. Jackson

Second Year: 22 semester credit hours

First Semester

Civil Procedure (Law 651)

A study of how rights and remedies are addressed through a civil lawsuit, including a survey of the goals and strategies of litigation. The course analyzes the development of a civil action from pretrial to the entry of judgment, including pleadings, motions, joinder of parties, discovery, process, and practice. Examination is also given to the appellate process and to the organization and jurisdiction of federal and state courts. 

Credit hours: 5

Lecturing professor: Jordan W. Lorence

Course professor: Pete Sauer

Property (Law 661)

An introduction to private property, both real and personal. Topics of study include personal property, donative transfers, future interests and estates in land, landlord/tenant law, freehold and non-freehold estates, easements and covenants, land improvements, conveyances and transfers of interest, and adverse possession. Attention is also given to the practical aspects of real property law, such as real estate contracts, deeds and mortgages, liens on property, legal descriptions, the recording system, and title insurance.  

Credit hours: 5

Course professor: Robert G. Caprera

Second Semester

Principles of the Common Law (Law 611)

An examination of the Biblical principles which provided the basis of English common law and their application to modern American jurisprudence. Students will study the development of these principles and analyze current legal issues from the perspective of Biblical principles. The limits of governmental authority, unalienable rights, and the scope of individual liberty are also studied. 

Credit hours: 4

Course professor: Robert J. Barth

Legal Research & Writing II (Law 652) 

A continuation of the subject matter developed in Legal Research & Writing I. This course focuses on objective writing and computer-aided research skills. 

Credit hours: 2

Course professor: Tracy W. Banks

Constitutional Law (Law 681)

 A study of the basic concepts of constitutional law, with particular emphasis on the United States Constitution and governmental design. The course examines the separation of powers between branches of the federal government and between federal and state governments, federal commerce and fiscal power (including taxation and the Commerce Clause), judicial review, international affairs, procedural and substantive due process, state police power, equal protection, civil rights, and First Amendment liberties. 

Credit hours: 6

Course professor: John A. Eidsmoe

Third Year: 21 – 26 semester credit hours

First Semester

Criminal Procedure (Law 731)

An analysis of the administration and enforcement of criminal law from pre-arrest to appellate review by state and federal courts. The course discusses the constitutional rights of the accused and the guidelines for law enforcement agents, including arrest, search and seizure, due process, right to jury, police interrogation, and confessions. Criminal trial practice, proceedings, and techniques are also explored. 

Credit hours: 4.

Course professor: John A. Eidsmoe

Evidence (Law 751)

A study of the law regarding admission or exclusion of testimonial and documentary evidence in civil and criminal cases. Specific topics include sufficiency and relevancy of evidence, order of proof, notice, hearsay, presumptions, privilege, competency, and impeachment of witnesses. 

Credit hours: 5 

Course professor: Robert G. Caprera

Legal Research & Writing III (Law 752) 

Building on the concepts presented in Legal Research & Writing I and II, the third year centers around persuasive writing, including trial and appellate briefs. An additional one hour of credit may be earned if a student chooses to take the Appellate Advocacy elective in the second semester of the third year. Credit hours: 2. Course professor: 

Credit hours: 2

Course professor: Emily A. Jackson.

Second Semester

Business Organizations (Law 701)

An examination of the formation, control, property, structure, and dissolution of business organizations, including the rights and duties of officers and shareholders, and state and federal rules regarding close and public corporations. The course further examines the principles of agency and partnership, including the rights, duties, and liabilities of persons so related. 

Credit hours: 6

Course professor: TBA

Wills and Trusts (Law 762)

A study of the basic principles of intestate succession and testamentary instruments, including the construction, interpretation, revocation, administration, and execution of wills. The course also examines the creation and termination of trusts, as well as the fiduciary administration of both estates and trusts. 

Credit hours: 4

Course professor:  Jonathan Huber.

Appellate Advocacy (Law 753)

This course is required after completion of Legal Research and Writing III. Students receive instruction in techniques of oral advocacy before an appellate court. Each student is required to participate in appellate moot courts to be held concurrently with a first-year orientation conference. 

Credit hours: 2

Course professor: Peter Fear

Fourth Year: 22 – 26 semester credit hours

First Semester

Uniform Commercial Code (Law 821)

A survey and analysis of commercial transactions as these relate to the Uniform Commercial Code. Although the UCC is covered in first-year Contracts, this course offers a more detailed study of the subject. 

Credit hours: 6

Course professor: David J. Siegrist

Professional Responsibility (Law 892) 

A study of the authority and duties of an attorney in his role as an advocate, mediator, and counselor. Responsibility to God, government, the courts and bar, clients, and society in general are examined, as well as the relationship of the ABA Code of Professional Responsibility and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct to legal ethics and responsibility. Specific topics include attorney/client relationships, fee arrangements, competency, and conflicts of interest. 

Credit hours: 4

Course professor: John A. Eidsmoe

Second Semester

Senior Seminar Paper (Law 852)

The fourth year requires the completion of an independent research paper of 30–50 pages, excluding footnotes, under the supervision of a faculty member. In this paper, students are expected to demonstrate excellent research and writing skills as well as legal and Biblical analyses. 

Credit hours: 3

Course professor: Faculty

Community Property (Law 861)

A study of the law in California and other community property jurisdictions as applied to real and personal property owned by a husband and wife.

Credit hours: 2

Course professor: Jonathan Huber

Conflict Reconciliation and Restoration 
(Law 893)

In this course you will understand practical steps to reconcile relationships for those who are willing to do so. You will also learn how to encourage people to be willing to reconcile by examining what God wants to do in their life in the mist of the conflict. This knowledge will undoubtedly assist you as an attorney in your role as a counselor and mediator for two reasons. First, you will be free in your personal life to do the right thing and second, you will be able to help others gain the same freedom and joy as they follow your counsel to live consistently according to God’s Word. You will also gain insight into God’s ways and be equipped to make wise strategy decisions as you represent clients. 

Credit hours: 3

Course professor: Sean Gallagher

Electives

Electives are available in the third and fourth years only, and the electives offered will depend on student interest and faculty availability.

Creditors’ Rights/ Bankruptcy (Law 921) 

A study of federal bankruptcy law and the law of debtors and creditors under the state law. Specific topics include the property of the estate, the automatic stay, exemptions, discharge, preferences, and reorganization. Such topics as judgment liens, executions, attachments, garnishments, and fraudulent transfers are covered in the non-bankruptcy portion of the course.

Credit hours: 4

Course professor: Peter L. Fear

Remedies (Law 941)

 A study of the nature and scope of judicial remedies, including damages, restitution, specific performance, injunction, and declaratory relief. 

Credit hours: 3

Course professor: Robert J. Barth

Dispute Resolution (Law 952)

Dispute Resolution develops students’ negotiation, arbitration, and mediation skills through simulated exercises. Strategies and methods are examined and practiced. Credit hours: 4. Course professor: Douglas McElvy.

Legal Externship (Law 955). A student may earn up to 4 hours of academic credit for practical experience gained by working as an intern for a judge, public prosecutor or defender, legal aid clinic staff attorney, corporate counsel or a private practitioner. Students interested in obtaining credit for externship experience must submit a written proposal with information requested by the College and obtain approval prior to beginning the externship. See Section 5(4).

Academic credit for an externship will be awarded on a pass/fail basis based upon the nature of the work done and the documented time spent working. No academic credit will be given for externships involving little or no legal research and practical skill development. 

Credit hours: 1–4

Course professor: Robert J. Barth

 Trial Advocacy (Law 951)

Trial Advocacy develops students’ courtroom skills through simulated civil and criminal cases. Specific areas studied and practiced include pretrial preparation, jury selection, opening and closing statements, direct and cross-examination, exhibits, and objections.  The culmination is a required final mock trial before a jury of their peers held concurrently with a first-year orientation conference.

Credit hours: 4

Course professor: Douglas McElvy

Family Law and Principles of Marital Reconciliation (Law 961)

An overview of the law regulating legal relationships among family members, specifically those between parents and children and between husband and wife. The Biblical foundations of the family and of marriage will be examined, as well as the law related to marriage, separation, divorce, annulment, property in and after a marriage, child custody, and illegitimacy. Parental rights and the family jurisdiction as ordained by God will receive special attention. 

Credit hours: 4

Course professor: Larry Higgins

Immigration Law (Law 982)

Every year, substantial numbers of people from other countries come to the United States of America, where they face complex immigration issues. This study of U.S. immigration law will equip students to identify and address these issues. This course emphasizes practical application of the laws, according to current procedures of the federal agencies responsible for execution of the laws. Subjects include visa requirements and procedures, asylum and other statuses, citizenship, and defenses to removal (deportation). Students gain a practical understanding of the law, with the ability to serve immigrants (their families and employers) in resolving immigration concerns. 

Credit hours: 3

Course professor: William H. Humble III

Practical Skills Courses

In addition to distance-learning courses, Oak Brook offers practical skills courses, some of which incorporate intensive on-site modulars designed to allow students to hone oral advocacy skills under the guidance of faculty who possess expertise in trial and appellate practice.

Legal Writing

The ability to research, analyze, and communicate information through writing is absolutely vital to academic and professional success. Oak Brook’s legal writing courses are intensely practical, stressing the skills necessary for in-depth research on every level, as well as the mechanics of writing, argumentation, and communication. Students are taught to apply these skills in a wide variety of legal documents, from pleadings and motions, to interrogatories, memorandums, briefs, contracts, estate planning documents, and more.

Trial and Appellate Advocacy

The “art” of oral argumentation truly is an art form, one which demands intensive training and requires not only finely attuned critical thinking and reasoning, but also mastery of communication techniques and court room procedure. Oak Brook College offers a course in both trial and appellate advocacy, with intensive on-site modular training to facilitate honing these critical skills. Each on-site seminar corresponds with Oak Brook College’s annual conference, giving students the opportunity to learn from and network with graduates who are actively practicing as trial and appellate attorneys.

Appellate advocacy is required for students in their third year of studies. This course aims to equip students in the full range of appellate advocacy presentation and technique. Students utilize their own appellate briefs from Legal Writing 3 as the foundation for their oral arguments, and spend the time prior to the modular exploring preparation for oral advocacy, approaches to advocacy, persuasive techniques and styles of presentation, and appellate procedure. They then convene at the annual OBCL Conference for a multi-day intensive modular, which includes advanced instruction, extensive practice with one-on-one feedback and training, and a final moot court presentation before a panel of judges.

Trial advocacy is offered during each student’s fourth year and is an equally intense course which explores the ins and outs of trial practice and procedure. Students are provided with case files which provide the necessary factual information from which to prepare for trial, along with a wide range of instructional material. 

Through the use of case files, written material, and recorded lectures, students will delve into each aspect of trial practice and procedure, from jury selection and voir dire, to witness preparation and rules of evidence. The practical skills aspects of trial, including communication techniques, presentation, direct and cross examination and opening and closing statements are thoroughly practiced. Each student is required to submit video recordings of their practice rounds for feedback prior to the on-site modular. Once at the conference, students partake in advanced lectures from faculty who possess expertise in trial practice and procedure, and engage in practice rounds both as defense and prosecuting attorneys to gain a thorough and practical knowledge of trial preparation. The culmination is a final mock trial presentation before a jury of their peers.

Dispute Resolution

Students who elect to take Dispute Resolution will gain a thorough, working knowledge of arbitration, mediation, and dispute resolution. Coursework will focus on understanding the theories of law surrounding dispute resolution as well as the process of and techniques for negotiation. Emphasis is placed on identifying, understanding, and working within the dynamics presented by different negotiation styles, as well as acquiring a strong grasp of the strategies which can be used to reach a resolution. In addition to the theoretical and legal elements, students will delve into verbal and nonverbal communication, human behavior, and the role that culture, gender, and other social features may play in any proceeding.

As students work through the legal and practical elements of dispute resolution, each aspect will also be examined from a Biblical perspective, considering the impact Scriptural truth has on one’s philosophy, and practice of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

Students are not required to meet on site for this elective, but will engage with the professor and classmates through written assignments and online communication.

“We have an alumni association that goes above and beyond in developing people professionally and giving students and graduates opportunities to develop in their practice of law.”

Joel B.

Juris Doctor Program

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