Family Law Certificate Program


DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM

The Howard University School of Law (HUSL) offers a Family Law Certificate to qualified students.

 

I. PURPOSES AND GOALS

The Family Law Certificate is offered to HUSL students to assist them in developing an interest and expertise in Family Law. The Family Law Certificate Program includes a rigorous academic study of a broad array of Family Law issues; legal research and writing opportunities, including an in-depth research and analysis of a contemporary Family Law problem; and commitment to family-law related pro bono legal and community services.

Experiential learning is emphasized in courses, as well as in internship and externship placements. The Family Law Certificate that successful candidates receive demonstrates a dedication to the specialty of Family Law.

 

II. CERTIFICATE CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS

As explained in the following sections in greater detail, to obtain the Family Law Certificate, each candidate must:

Be a graduating third-year student or a student who completed the requirements for the joint JD/MBA programs;

Complete at least 21 credits of approved courses including the Family Law survey course;

Complete a Legal Writing III paper on a Family Law issue;

Complete at least one semester or summer placement in an Internship or Externship that is Family Law related or focused;

Complete at least fifteen hours of Community Service related to families and/or communities;

Attend a minimum number of Family Law Certificate Program and/or Family Law related events each academic year, as determined by the Family Law Certificate Program Director (“Program Director”).

and,

Complete all other Howard University School of Law requirements for the Juris Doctor degree or the joint JD/MBA degrees.

 

III. PROGRAM ENROLLMENT REQUIREMENTS

To enroll in the Family Law Certificate Program, a candidate must:

Be a student at HUSL in good academic standing;

Complete the Certificate Program Enrollment Form and submit it to the Program Director; and,

Meet with the Program Director to review Certificate Program requirements.

After the Program Director advises interested students about qualifications and eligibility requirements, the student solely is responsible for ensuring that the student has complied with all requirements in a timely manner.

All forms mentioned in this description are posted on the TWEN site. All Family Law Certificate candidates should register for the TWEN site to receive up-to-date information.

 

IV. COURSE, ACTIVITY, AND GRADE REQUIREMENTS

A. General Curricular Requirements

Each Family Law Certificate candidate must satisfy all of the following requirements:

Complete at least twenty-one (21) credit hours of approved Family Law and related courses (courses in which a significant amount of class time is devoted to discussion of family law issues). This is a minimum credit requirement. To demonstrate a genuine interest in Family Law and to receive a thorough indoctrination in this subject area, candidates are urged to enroll in as many Family Law courses as possible. In addition, for Bar preparation, candidates are advised to select as many Bar courses from the list of approved courses as possible.

Complete at least one approved seminar that requires writing a substantive paper (one that satisfies HUSL’s Legal Writing III requirements) on a Family Law topic.  Candidates may write their paper on a traditional Family Law topic, but are also encouraged to write interdisciplinary papers on Family Law issues that may arise in a variety of disciplines. Candidates may use the Note or Comment that they write for a law review or law journal at HUSL to satisfy this requirement.

Complete a legal internship or externship to gain practical experience in Family Law and for resume enhancement. A qualified externship or internship will last for at least one semester during an academic term or at least eight weeks during the summer and involve substantial assignments in Family Law. Externships and internships must comply with all other requirements set forth in the HUSL Student Handbook. Suggested externship and internship opportunities will be available to candidates. Candidates are strongly encouraged but not required to receive course credit for the externship or internship.


B. Approved Courses

The following list of approved courses is not exhaustive. It contains Family Law and approved related courses that are offered on a regular basis. The list of courses will evolve as new courses are offered at HUSL, faculty and administrative changes occur, and student needs change.

1. Required Course for the Program:

Credit Hours

Family Law (a Bar course)

3

2. Additional Approved Bar Courses:

Agency, Partnership and Unincorporated

Business Associations

CD: Business Organizations      

3


3

Constitutional Law II

3

Corporations

3

Estate and Gift Taxation

3

Federal Income Taxation

3

Real Property

4

Wills, Trusts, and Estates

4

3. Approved Seminar Courses:

Adoption Law

3

Child, Parent and State

3

Domestic Violence

3

Gender and the Law

3

Genetics and the Law

3

Independent Study (for 3Ls only)

2

Law and Aging

3

4. Approved Experiential Courses:
 

Child Welfare/Family Justice Clinic

8

Criminal Justice Clinic

6

Family Law Practice

3

Moot Court that provides course credit (only if a Family Law topic or case file is used)

2

Externship[1]

(Family Law-related or focused placements only)

3

5. Other Approved Courses:

Alternative Dispute Resolution

3

Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights and Remedies

3

Education Law

3

Estate Planning

3

Health Law

3

Immigration Law

3

International Human Rights

3

Select Mini Courses

1

6. Additional Course Offerings:

The Family Law Certificate Program is self-contained. Ample electives that candidates may select for completion of the requirements within a three-year period are offered. As the HUSL curriculum develops, additional courses may be approved for satisfaction of the requirements. Any additional courses or consortium courses (those offered at pre-approved law schools) must be pre-approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Program Director.


[1] General Externship, Advanced Externship, or Judicial Externship.
 

V. COMMUNITY SERVICE REQUIREMENT

Candidates must complete a total of fifteen (15) hours of community service during their three years of study at HUSL. Candidates may choose any community service project that supports families or communities. Service in the legal field is preferred but not required. For these purposes, documented community service will be construed broadly.

This service may be performed in the Washington metropolitan area or anywhere in the United States or in an approved study abroad program.

 

VI. PARTICIPATION IN PROGRAM AND FAMILY-LAW RELATED EVENTS

Candidates must participate in a minimum number of Family Law Certificate Program and/or Family-Law related events each academic year, as determined by the Program Director. The minimum number of events is 2 (two) per academic year(s) in which the student is enrolled in the Family Law Certificate Program. Events are offered as part of the Family Law Certificate Program. Further, students are encouraged to attend other family-law related events (e.g., workshops, panels, legal trainings) outside of HUSL that could also count towards the minimum participation requirement. Students who are uncertain about whether an event will satisfy the minimum participation requirement should meet and discuss with the Program Director prior to participating.

 

VII. GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

Candidates must submit the Family Law Certificate Program Application to the Program Director to report that they have fulfilled all requirements. To ensure that they will qualify for a Family Law Certificate upon graduation, third-year candidates should meet with the Program Director at least once as early as possible during the semester that precedes their intended semester of graduation. The following items must accompany the Certificate Application:

  1. A Family Law Certificate Program checklist (found on TWEN);
  2. A certified transcript; 
  3. The Legal Writing III paper that satisfies HUSL and Family Law Certificate Program requirements; 
  4. A Completed Externship/Internship Report Form that is signed by the supervising judge or attorney or the School of Law’s Director of Experiential Learning; 
  5. A Community Service Report Form that is signed by the supervisor; and, 
  6. A Family Law Certificate Program Exit Survey.

Preliminary approval of a Family Law Program Certificate application will be made when the candidate submits the completed packet of graduation documents to the Program Director by the posted deadline. The Program Director will review the documents and preliminarily certify the candidate for a Family Law Certificate. Final approval must be made by the Records Office and the HUSL Faculty.

 

VIII. PROFICIENCY EXAMINATIONS

are not required for this Family Law Certificate Program.

 

IX. OTHER EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND PRACTICAL TRAINING

Trainings are typically offered throughout the year. Legal and interdisciplinary projects and educational lectures are offered on campus and off campus. Candidates are encouraged to attend as many of the programs and lectures as possible.

 

X. GENERAL ACADEMIC POLICIES

A. Enrollment in Required Courses at HUSL. Unless a candidate transfers from another law school, the candidate must take all required courses at HUSL. Transfer students (students who transfer from another accredited law school to HUSL) who provide documented proof of satisfactory completion of comparable listed courses may apply for a Family Law Certificate if they meet all other qualifications. Such students are encouraged to seek advice from the Program Director regarding their eligibility as soon as possible after enrollment.

B. Identifying Approved Courses. Students who are uncertain about whether a course (including seminars) will be approved should meet with the Program Director prior to enrolling in the course.

C. Grades. Candidates must earn a grade of at least an 80 in the Family Law survey course and at least a 75 in all other courses that are used to meet Family Law Certificate Program requirements.

D. Time for Completion of Requirements. Certificate requirements must be completed before the candidate is graduated from HUSL. At its regular faculty meeting for certifying that HUSL students are qualified for graduation with input from the Records Office and the Program Director, the HUSL faculty will certify that each candidate qualifies for a Family Law Certificate.


CERTIFICATE PROGRAM CONTACT INFORMATION:

Professor Mariela Olivares
Program Director

Howard Family Law Certificate Program
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 806-8057
E-mail: molivares@law.howard.edu

Donations may be made electronically (click on Gift Designation and Choose Family Law Certificate Program)
or by mail addressed to the Program Director at the above address.