The required and elective courses at UNT Dallas College of Law include traditional law school subjects – Contracts, Torts, Wills and Trusts, etc. – but the overall design of the curriculum is based on the core educational goal of the UNT Dallas College of Law: providing an education aimed at excellence in developing practice-related competencies. Thus, our curriculum is mapped to practice-related competencies, drawing on the best insights of legal educators as well as on continuing input from legal practitioners.
What are Practice-Related Competencies?
By “practice-related competencies,” we mean the knowledge, skills, abilities, and qualities that law school graduates should have to be successful in practicing law. The term includes the knowledge and skills that most people associate with law school–knowledge of law, legal analysis and oral advocacy. But practice-related competencies include additional qualities and abilities important to success as a lawyer.
Practice-related competencies that will guide our curriculum include:
- Substantive Knowledge of Law
- Legal Analysis and Reasoning
- Conflict Management and Problem Solving
- Written and Oral Communication
- Management and Working with Others
- Understanding and Using Information
- Values and Ethics
- Understanding the Practice of Law
Mapping the Most Effective Curriculum
“Mapping” means that individual courses and the curriculum as a whole will be designed in a way that links to the full range of practice-related competencies. Of course, any law school class in any law school is linked to some practice-related competencies. Torts, Property, Contracts, Evidence, Employment Law, Family Law, and hundreds of other courses are linked to knowledge of substantive law and critical thinking. Many other courses, including Legal Research and Writing, Trial Advocacy and Negotiation, focus on competencies such as written and oral communication, understanding and using information, and other skills.
Our curricular mapping will have several important benefits for students. Mapping allows us to weave, throughout the courses that make up the upper-level curriculum, key competencies such as writing, drafting, oral communication, project management, and problem solving. Mapping also allows us to design and align courses to reduce overlap and increase the value of each class.