Course Advising

Students in classroomThe School of Law offers a broad array of elective courses, in addition to its required curriculum. The School of Law also provides opportunities for obtaining a certificate, acknowledging in-depth study in the areas of American Indian Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law or Natural Resources Conflict Resolution. The following provides an overview of our curriculum opportunities.

Registration is done through  Cyberbear.  The dates for registration for upcoming semesters will be announced via email and the website, with 2Ls registering one day before 1Ls. 

Make sure your pin number is working before pre-registration. Also, please keep your mailing address current on Cyberbear.

Refer to the academic calendar for other important dates.

Required Courses

The first year curriculum focuses on foundational legal concepts and consists of required classes. It combines theory and practice. For example, students may learn the elements of negligence in Torts and then apply those elements in a summary judgment brief in Legal Writing. Our Law Firm Program supports this integration of theory and practice by placing 1L students in small groups for simulations and legal research instruction.

Similar to the 1L required curriculum, the 2L required curriculum also combines both theory and practice by leading students through practical exercises in which they apply their doctrinal knowledge. For example, students learn the Rules of Evidence in Evidence class and apply those rules in Pretrial Litigation class.

Starting in the fall semester of the second year, students may select additional courses from a selection of elective offerings.

During the third year of law school, students move from skills simulation to the representation of clients as part of our clinic program. Students generally tailor the remainder of their third year courses according to their interests by choosing from our elective offerings.

First-Year Required Courses

Fall Semester (15 credits)

Spring Semester (15 credits)

  • Civil Procedure (4 credits)
  • Contracts (4 credits)
  • Criminal Law (3 credits)
  • Lawyering Fundamentals:
    • Legal Analysis (2 credits)
    • Research  (2 credits)
  • Civil Procedure (4 credits)
  • Constitutional Law (4 credits)
  • Lawyering Fundamentals:
    • Legal Writing (3 credits)
  • Property (4 credits)
  • Torts (4 credits)

Second-Year Required Courses

Fall Semester (6 credits) Spring Semester (6 credits)
  • Evidence (3 credits)
  • Business Transactions (3 credits)
  • Professional Responsibility (3 credits)
  • Pretrial Litigation  (3 credits)

Third-Year Required Courses

Clinic (4 credits) - May also be completed during the summer immediately prior to 3L year. 

Advanced Writing Requirement

Students must satisfy the Advanced Writing Requirement by the time of graduation. Students may complete the Advanced Writing Requirement on a topic of their choice. The classes eligible for satisfaction of the Advanced Writing Requirement are listed on the Fall and Spring Class schedules, and are subject to change from year to year. Students may also satisfy the requirement through either Law Review or through an Independent Study as provided in the Student Handbook. In all cases, each written and oral component of the Advanced Writing Requirement must be satisfied as set forth in the Student Handbook.

Oral Advocacy Requirement

Students can satisfy the Oral Advocacy Requirement in specially designated upper-division simulations or co-curriculars in which oral argument before a tribunal is a substantial share of total assessment. These include Appellate Advocacy, NALSA Moot Court, National Environmental Moot Court, National Moot Court, National Trial Competition, and Trial Practice. The faculty may approve additional courses to meet this requirement.

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Bar Exam Subjects

Bar exams are state specific. Many states use the tests prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners including the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), the Multistate Bar Exam (MBE), the Multistate Essay Exam (MEE), and the Multistate Performance Test (MPT). In 2013, Montana adopted the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE), also prepared by the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The National Conference of Bar Examiners explains that the UBE “is composed of the MEE, MPT, and MBE and results in a portable score that can be transferred to other UBE jurisdictions. The UBE is administered and graded by user jurisdictions.” Important Note: Just as bar exams are State specific, bar admission requirements are specific to each jurisdiction. You can find information regarding each jurisdiction’s bar admission requirements, including its investigation into your character and fitness for the practice of law, on the National Conference of Bar Examiners’ website, www.ncbex.org. The website may point you toward the jurisdiction’s own website for more specific information.

The following required and elective course offerings cover subjects generally tested on bar examinations:

  • Business Organizations (listed as Business Associations in the MBE and MEE)
  • Civil Procedure
  • Conflicts of Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Contracts
  • Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure
  • Evidence
  • Family Law
  • Real Property
  • Torts
  • Trusts and Estates (Decendent's Estates; Trusts and Future Interests)
  • Secured Transactions (Art. 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code)

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Elective Courses

After completing the first year of law school, students begin taking elective courses. Some elective courses are offered only in alternate years as indicated below. Please note that an elective course may not be offered in a particular year if the instructor who teaches the course is not available or if a sufficient number of students do not register for the course. Notice of a course cancellation will be provided as soon as feasible.

  • Advanced Skills Competition
  • Advanced Intellectual Property
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Bankruptcy
  • Bar Prep Course
  • Business Organizations
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Consumer Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Corporate Tax
  • Economic Development in Indian Country
  • Employment Law
  • Environmental Law Research
  • Federal Courts
  • Foundations of Mediation
  • Independent Study
  • International Environmental Law
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Law and Literature
  • Law Practice
  • Montana Constitutional Law
  • MT Law Review II
  • MT Law Review IV
  • Negotiations
  • Partnership Tax
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Products Liability
  • Public Land and Resources Law Review II
  • Public Land and Resources Law Review IV
  • Race and Racism
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Remedies
  • Renewable Energy and Climate Change Law
  • Supreme Court Seminar
  • Tax Exempt Organizations
  • Tax of Property Transactions
  • Administrative Law
  • ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)
  • Agricultural Law
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Art & Cultural Property
  • Criminal Procedure:
  • Adjudicative
  • Domestic Violence
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Federal Tax
  • Gender & the Law
  • Independent Study
  • Insurance Law
  • Intro to Intellectual
  • Property
  • Lawyers' Values
  • Legislation: Law & Politics
  • Montana Law Review I
  • Montana Law Review II
  • MT Criminal Justice & Reform (MJI Seminar)
  • Natural Resources & Energy Development
  • Natural Resources Conflict Resolution
  • Public Lands & Resources Law
  • Public Lands Law Review
  • Secured Transactions
  • Tax Practice & Procedure
  • Water Law
  • White Collar Crime
  • Advanced Con Law
  • Advanced Intellectual Property
  • Advanced Legal Research for Academic Writing
  • American Indian Natural Resources Law
  • Animal Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Organizations
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigative
  • Federal Courts
  • Federal Habeas Corpus
  • Independent Study
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Land Use & Environment
  • Law & Literature
  • Montana Constitutional Law
  • Montana Law Review
  • Negotiations
  • Partnership Tax
  • Preparing for the Bar Exam
  • Products Liability
  • Public Land Law Review
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Taxation of Estates and Gifts
  • Tribal Courts/ Tribal Law
  • Wildlife Law
  • Administrative Law
  • ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution)
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Art & Cultural Property
  • Consumer Law
  • Criminal Procedure—Adjudicative
  • Domestic Violence
  • Estate Planning
  • Family Law
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Federal Tax
  • Insurance Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Lawyers’ Values
  • Legislation: Law & Politics
  • MT Criminal Justice & Reform (MJI Seminar)
  • Montana Law Review I
  • Montana Law Review III
  • Natural Resource Conflict Resolution
  • Oil & Gas
  • Public Land & Resource Law
  • Public Lands Law Review I
  • Public Lands Law Review III
  • Remedies
  • Secured Transactions
  • Tax Policy
  • Water Law
  • White Collar Crime
  • Advanced Legal Research for Academic Writing
  • Agricultural Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Corporate Tax
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigative
  • Economic Development in Indian Country
  • Family Law
  • Independent Study
  • Intellectual Property
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Law & Literature
  • Law Practice Management
  • Montana Constitutional Law
  • Montana Law Review II
  • Montana Law Review IV
  • Natural Resource & Energy Law
  • Negotiations
  • Partnership Tax
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Preparing for the Bar Exam
  • Products Liability
  • Public Land Law Review II
  • Public Land Law Review IV
  • Race, Racism & American Law
  • Renewable Energy
  • Taxation of Property Transactions
  • Client Counseling Team
  • Pace Environmental Moot Court
  • Jessup Moot Court
  • NALSA Moot Court
  • Trial Team
  • Advanced Skills Competition (2nd year team)
  • Tribal Courts/ Tribal Law
  • UCC Article 2 Sales and Leases
  • Water Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Criminal Procedure - Adjudicative
  • Employment Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Healthcare Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Land Use Planning and the Environment
  • Legislation: Law and Politics
  • Natural Resource Conflict Resolution
  • Oil & Gas
  • Public Lands and Resources Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Secured Transactions
  • Tax Practice and Procedure
  • White Collar Crime
  • Advanced Constitutional Law
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Agricultural Law
  • Animal Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Consumer Protection
  • Corporate Tax
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigative
  • Family Law
  • Federal Habeas Corpus Case Study
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Environmental Law
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Law & Literature
  • Law Practice
  • Montana Constitutional Law
  • Native American Natural Resource
  • Natural Resource & Energy Law
  • Negotiations
  • Partnership Tax
  • Products Liability
  • Property Tax
  • State & Local Government
  • Tribal Courts/ Tribal Law
  • UCC 2 & 3
  • Administrative Law
  • Advanced Problems in Federal Indian Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Art and Cultural Property Law
  • Criminal Procedure – Adjudication
  • Employment Law
  • Estate Planning: Wills and Trusts
  • Federal Courts
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Healthcare Law and Regulation
  • Insurance Law
  • Lawyers' Values
  • Legislation, Law, and Politics
  • Natural Resources Conflict Resolution
  • Oil and Gas
  • Public Land and Resources Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Remedies
  • Renewable Energy Law
  • Tax Policy Seminar
  • UCC Article 9 - Secured Transactions
  • Water Law
  • White Collar Crime
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Advanced Mediation
  • Advanced Problems in Federal Indian Law
  • Agricultural Law
  • Bankruptcy
  • Child Advocacy
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Consumer Protection
  • Corporate Tax
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigation
  • Economic Development in Indian Country
  • E-Discovery
  • Estate and Gift Tax
  • Family Law
  • First Amendment Seminar
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Intro to Intellectual Property Law
  • Land Use and Environment
  • Law and Literature
  • Law Practice Management
  • Montana Constitutational Law
  • Natural Resources and Energy Law
  • Negotiations
  • Partnership Tax
  • Philosophy of Law
  • Products Liability
  • State and Local Government
  • Taxation of Property and Transactions
  • Tribal Courts / Tribal Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Alternative Disputre Resolution
  • American Indian Natural Resources
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Conflicts of Laws
  • Consumer Protection
  • Contracts I
  • Criminal Procedure - Adjudication (formerly Advanced Crim Pro)
  • Domestice Violence
  • Environmental Crime
  • Estate Planning: Wills and Trusts
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Lawyer's Values
  • Legislative and Political Process
  • Natural Resource Conflict Resolution
  • Oil and Gas
  • Public International Law
  • Public Lands and Resource Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Remedies
  • Renewable Energy
  • Secured Transactions
  • Tax Practice and Procedure
  • Water Law
  • Wildlife Law

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Independent Study

Law students may undertake one independent study project during either the second or third year with a faculty advisor and approval of the Curriculum Committee. The project may not be used as a substitute for course content available to the student in the law school curriculum or eligible cross-listed courses. The normal credit for independent study, including study associated with satisfaction of the advanced writing requirement, is one credit. Work that substantially exceeds this amount, and is equivalent to a two-credit course, may earn a maximum of two credits. Additional information is available in the Student Handbook. Independent Study forms are available online on the UMSL Student Information Moodle page.

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Non-Law Graduate Courses

A law student may, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee of the Law School, take up to six graduate-level credits in other departments of the University for law credit. To gain approval, the proposed non-law class must have a substantial relationship to law or legal problems, and must match the student’s professional interests or needs in a way that existing Law School courses cannot. Proposals must be submitted by the last class day of the semester previous to the semester in which the non-law course is offered. Non-Law Course Request forms are available online on the UMSL Student Information Moodle page.

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Joint Degree Programs

To enroll in one of the joint degree programs, the law student must be accepted to both schools. Prior to enrollment in the program, the student must meet with either the Associate Dean or the Associate Dean of Students to complete the enrollment form. We offer the following joint degree programs:

  • JD/Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • JD/Master of Science in Environmental Studies (MS)
  • JD/Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • JD/Master of Social Work (MSW)

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Certificate Programs

In order to register for a certificate program, the student must meet with either the Associate Dean or the Associate Dean of Students no later than the beginning of the student’s 2L year to complete the appropriate registration form. We offer the following certificate programs.

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Areas of Interest

Our curriculum offers courses across a range of interests generally aligned with the major practice areas in the Rocky Mountain West. If you have an interest in an area of law, you might consider a series of related courses. The following lists certain practice areas of law and provides suggestions for courses important to each area. Faculty advisors are also available to help you select courses that match your interests. Importantly, regardless of your particular area of interest, all of our courses aim to help you succeed in your career beyond law school.

All courses are subject to change based on enrollment, staffing, scheduling and curricular planning.

Course Advisors: Professors Pippa Browde, Jonathon Byington, Elaine Gagliardi, Sam Panarella, Cathay Smith, Sally Weaver

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Agricultural Law
  • Federal Tax
  • Intellectual Property
  • Secured Transactions
  • Advanced Intellectual Property
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Organizations
  • Consumer Law
  • Corporate Property Tax
  • Employment Law
  • Race, Social Justice and IP
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Tax Estates and Gifts
  • Tax-Exempt Organizations
  • Tax Property Transactions

Clinics: DNRC, MDOT, RMEF, UM Legal Counsel (tech transfer, entrepreneurship), USDA

Course Advisors: Professors Pippa Browde, Larry Howell, Anthony Johnstone, Hillary Wandler

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Family Law
  • Insurance
  • Supteme Court
  • Tax Practice and Procedure
  • Tribal Law
  • Advocacy
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Consumer Law
  • Federal Courts
  • Negotiations
  • Products Liability
  • Remedies
  • Trial Practice

Clinics: ASUM, ACLU, City Attorney, County Attorney, Judicial Clinic, Mediation Clinic, USDOJ

Course Advisors: Professors Jordan Gross and Andrew King-Ries

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Criminal Procedure: Adjudicative
  • Domestic Violence
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Montana Constitutional Law
  • White-Collar Crime
  • Advanced Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigative
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Federal Habeas Corpus

Clinics: Appellate Defender, City Attorney, County Attorney, Holistic Defense, Federal Defenders, Innocence Project, Judicial Clinic, Public Defender, USDOJ

Course Advisors: Professors Anthony Johnstone and Hillary Wandler

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Agricultural Law
  • Domestic Violence
  • Estate Planning
  • Federal Tax
  • Family Law
  • Insurance
  • Bankruptcy
  • Consumer Law
  • Employment Law
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Tax Estates and Gifts
  • Remedies

Clinics: ASUM, Child Support, MLSA, UM Legal Counsel

Course Advisors: Professors Pippa Browde and Anthony Johnstone

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Administrative Law
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Criminal Procedure: Adjudicative
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Montana Constitutional Law
  • Tax Policy
  • Advanced Constitutional Law
  • Consumer Law
  • Civil Rights Litigation
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigative
  • Land Use

Clinics: ACLU, City Attorney, Consumer Protection, County Attorney, Innocence Project, Judicial Clinic, UM Legal Counsel, USDOJ

Course Advisors: Professors Monte Mills and Kekek Stark

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Art and Cultural Property
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Tribal Courts/Tribal Law
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Tribal Law
  • Adv
  • Advanced Problems in Federal Indian Law
  • American Indian Natural Resources Law
  • Economic Development in Indian Country
  • Federal Courts
  • Summer Indian Law Program

Clinics: Margery Hunter Brown Indian Law Clinic

Course Advisors: Professors Michelle Bryan and Sandra Zellmer

Fall Semester Spring Semester
  • Administrative Law
  • Intro to Environmental Law
  • Public Lands
  • Natural Resources and Energy
  • National Resource Conflict Resolution
  • Oil and Gas
  • Wildlife Law
  • American Indian National Reservation
  • Environmental Practice and Justice
  • International Environmental Law
  • Land Use
  • Renewable Energy and Climate Change
  • Water Law

Clinics: DNRC, Land Use & Natural Resources, RMEF, USDA