University of New Hampshire

School of Law

JD Curriculum – Electives: Government Service and Public Interest

UNH Law’s curriculum offers a broad range of courses that lay the foundation for careers both in government service as well as in a variety of social-justice practice areas: criminal law, civil rights and civil liberties, intellectual property in the public interest, indigent legal services, and international human rights, to name just a few. In selecting particular courses from among the many options, students should talk with their faculty advisors, professors, and other legal professionals about how best to achieve their specific educational and career objectives. The information included below is intended to simply set the stage for those important conversations.

At the outset, it is important to remember that a well-balanced schedule advances a variety of goals. For example, it is necessary to take certain courses to prepare for the bar examination, while other courses are useful to prepare for specific types of legal employment. It is also appropriate for students to take courses simply because they are intrigued by the subject matter or want to learn more about a particular topic. A well-rounded schedule will include courses that address each of these various objectives.

Read about how The Warren B. Rudman Center for Justice, Leadership and Public Policy provides UNH Law students with legal residencies, summer fellowships, and many other opportunities to explore careers in government service and public interest law.

First Year

In the first year at UNH Law, many students interested in public policy & social justice enroll in Fundamentals of Law Practice as their spring-semester elective. Because the course exposes students to a wide range of practical skills that are relevant in almost any area of public interest law practice, it lays a solid foundation for more advanced coursework in the second and third years. Alternatively, first-year students interested in intellectual property in the public interest often enroll in Fundamentals of Intellectual Property, which provides a solid introduction to the principles of intellectual property law.

Second and Third Years

In the second and third years at UNH Law, students have many more choices to make. In addition to taking required courses in Criminal Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Administrative Process, and Upper-Level Writing, students must assure that they have adequate command of the major bar-examination subjects. Accordingly, courses in Evidence, Business Associations, and Wills, Trusts, & Estates are important components of any well-balanced class schedule. Other courses, such as Personal Income Taxation and Remedies, are relevant to almost all practice areas and should be seriously considered as well.

Second- and third-year students interested in government service or public interest careers often supplement these core subjects by focusing their remaining coursework on specific practice areas. Some of the most popular areas of concentration in the field of government service and public interest are listed below. For each, we have listed four to six of the most important courses in the UNH Law curriculum for students interested in preparing for jobs in that area. Additionally, for all practice areas, we strongly recommend that third-year students consider doing an externship within their field of interest.

Many of the courses listed below have prerequisite subjects that must be taken first, so students should begin the planning process at the start of their second year to assure that there is sufficient time to take all desired classes in the proper sequence.

Fiscal Responsibility and the Law

The law school offers a certificate program in Fiscal Responsibility and the Law, which embraces an interdisciplinary approach to training future lawyers in federal budgeting, spending and policy making through course work and practical skills training.  This training will produce lawyers with the skills and training to make thoughtful and effective decisions on public sector issues, and will create a generation of leaders and lawyers adequately equipped to solve the ongoing budget and fiscal crisis facing this nation. Students who are not enrolled in the certificate program are eligible to take the relevant course work, which includes:

  • How Does Congress Really Work: Federal Legislation, Budget and Appropriations Law
  • Administrative Process
  • Personal Income Taxation
  • Interdisciplinary Fiscal Responsibility Capstone
  • Approved Graduate Course or Externship Credit

Criminal Law

  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Procedure II
  • Expert Witness & Scientific Evidence
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Criminal Practice Clinic

Indigent Legal Services

  • Family Law
  • Children & the Law
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Consumer Law & Bankruptcy
  • Criminal Practice Clinic
  • Immigration Clinic
  • Agency Rule Writing, Enforcement and Policy Analysis Clinic

Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Federal Courts
  • First Amendment
  • Trial Advocacy

Public Interest in Private Practice

  • Law Practice Management
  • Employment Law
  • Family Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Consumer Law & Bankruptcy
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Consumer and Commercial Law Clinic
  • International Technology Transfer Institute Clinic (ITTI)

Intellectual Property in the Public Interest

  • U.S. Patent Law
  • U.S. Copyright Law
  • U.S. Trademark Law
  • Nonprofit Technology Transfer and/or Managing Knowledge Assets in the University
  • IP Management and/or Licensing
  • World Trade & IP Law & Institutions

International Human Rights

  • Public International Law
  • International Human Rights
  • International Criminal Law & Justice
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Immigration Clinic
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