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Cornell Law School: JD

Juris Doctor Degree

Cornell Law offers a highly-rated national law curriculum leading to the three-year J.D. degree. The curriculum reflects a broad range of ideas current in American legal education.

Cornell Law is a premier institution for International Law. Students can combine their J.D. degree with other International Law Programs:

  • J.D. with Berger International Legal Studies Specialization
  • J.D./ LL.M. in International and Comparative Law

J.D. Degree Program - Curriculum

First year courses consist of ten required courses.

  • Civil Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Lawyering
  • Torts
  • Civil Procedure
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law
  • Property

In their second and third years, all courses are elective, although some courses must be taken in ethics and advanced legal writing.

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J.D. Degree Program - Optional Concentrations

Optional concentrations are offered in four areas:

  • Advocacy
  • Public law
  • Business law and regulation
  • General practice

J.D. Degree Program - Academic Requirements

Students must satisfactorily complete 84 semester credit hours. Read more (pdf).

Students may take up to 12 credit hours of courses related to legal training outside the Law School, subject to the approval of the faculty advisor.

J.D. Degree - Berger International Legal Studies Specialization

This program prepares students for international private practice, business that is international in scope, or government service. A slightly heavier load is required than for the J.D. (five credits more, 89 credits instead of 84 credits), as well as additional coursework in public international law, comparative law, and in conflicts of law. When filling out our J.D. application, please indicate your interest in this program. Read more about this program.

Berger International Legal Studies Program activities:

The Berger Program sponsors a series of lectures, luncheon talks and colloquia by prominent practitioners, government officials, scholars and foreign visitors in the international field, to which members of the program are invited.

The Cornell International Law Society also sponsors activities regarding international law.

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J.D. Degree / LL.M. Degree in International and Comparative Law

Cornell Law offers an opportunity to its students to earn both a J.D. degree and an LL.M. degree in three years, including one session at the Cornell Law School-Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law in Paris. Read more about the program and the Summer Institute.

Students may apply for admission to the J.D./LL.M. program upon initial application to the Law School or after matriculation.

The J.D./LL.M program requires 20 upperclass credits in international and comparative law, in addition to the 84 credits required for the J.D. degree.

The 20 required credits must include:

  • Three specifically-designated courses — Public International Law; Comparative Law and Conflict of Laws
  • Participation in the Paris Program (at least 4 credits)

The 20 required credits may include:

  • A thesis option, which requires satisfactory completion of a five credit thesis
  • Up to four of the twelve language class credits available to all J.D. students
  • Courses that are taken--in accordance with the law school’s rules and regulations and if related to international, comparative, or foreign law--in other divisions of Cornell University, including its area studies programs (East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Institute for African Development, Latin American Studies and the Institute for European Studies)
  • Approved courses that are taken by participants in the law school’s Semester Abroad Program, in which J.D./LL.M. students may earn up to sixteen credits for study at an approved foreign law school or faculty

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