Programs, Institutes and Centers

Programs, Institutes and Centers

ADR Certificate Program

ADR Certificate Program

Civil Rights Moot Court and Appellate Advocacy Program

Beginning with Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston, the Howard University School of Law has been at the forefront of shaping the startegy of Civil Rights advocates and has provided a space for attorneys to practice civil rights arguments before presenting them at the Supreme Court. In the past few years, Howard University School of Law has mooted the attorneys arguing some of the most important civil rights cases of our generation, including cases related to affirmative action, the death penalty, same sex marriage, fair housing, and transgender rights. The Civil Rights Moot Court and Appellate Advocacy Program.

The Civil RIghts Moot Institute increases diversity of the Supreme Court and appellate bars by providing hands on experience in appellate advocacy to some of Howard's most talented law students.

Howard's Civil Rights Moot Institute brings together some of the leading minds in Civil Rights Advocacy and appellate practice.

The Civil Rights Moot Institute gives students unique and invaluable exposure to Supreme Court practice, demonstrating to them the discipline, passon and rigor demanded to prepare and win a Supreme Court Case. 

Attorneys who have mooted at Howard have reported that the experience helped them to be focused, thoughtful, and ready to handle an array of questions during arguments at the Supreme Court.


Fair Housing/Fair Lending/ADA
• Texas Dep't of Hous. & Cmty. Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. (2015)
• Jesinoski v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. (2015)
• Bank of Am. Corp. v. City of Miami, Fla. (2017)
• Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP (2019)
• Acheson Hotels v. Laufer (2023)

LGBTQ+ Rights 
• Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
• Whitaker By Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1 Bd. of Educ. (7th Cir.) (2017)
• Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018)
• Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC (2019)

Death Penalty
• Buck v. Davis (2017) 
• Office of the Federal Public D, et al. v. William Barr, et all (DC Cir) (2020)
• McKinney v. Arizona (2019)

• Callwood v. Phenix City (11th Cir) (2016)
• Smart v. City of Wichita (10th Cir) (2019)
• Roxanne Torres v. Janice Madrid and Richard Williamson (2020)
• Thompson v. Clark (2021)

Civil Rights/Affirmative Action/First Amendment/Title VII
• Fisher v. Univ. of Texas at Austin (2016)
• Taggart v. Lorenzen (2019)
• Federal Communications Commission v. Prometheus Radio Project (2020)
• Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2021)​
• Mitchell v. Kirchmeier (8th Cir) (2021)
• Concepcion v United States (2021)
• Russell v. Jones (5th Cir) (2021)
• O'Connor-Ratcliff v. Garnier (2023)
• Wilkinson v. Garland (2023)
• Gonzalez v. Trevino (2024)

Education Rights Center

Howard Intellectual Property Program (HIPP) - Howard IP Program

The Howard IP Program (HIPP) gives life in the area of intellectual property law and administration to the Howard University School of Law mission of advancing social justice in the United States and the global community. HIPP seeks to include and empower historically and currently marginalized groups with aim of achieving full participation of members of those groups in the social, economic, and cultural benefits involving the development, dissemination, and enjoyment of the fruits of intellectual property.

The Howard IP Program sponsors programs that bring together students, scholars, IP practitioners, regulators, and judges to address social justice issues in intellectual property. HIPP also engages in public advocacy on social justice aspects of IP issues. Within the law school, HIPP includes the IP curriculum, student organizations centered on IP generally, on sports and entertainment law, and on IP issues in the fashion industry, and various forums designed to facilitate contact between current IP law students and alumni and other practitioners.


HIPP Contact

Professor Lateef Mtima

Room 304, Houston Hall

Contact Us

IP Resources

United States Patent and Trademark Office

United States Copyright Office

World Intellectual Property Organization

Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Family Law Certificate Program

Contact Information

Howard Family Law Certificate Program
Howard University School of Law
2900 Van Ness Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: (202) 806-8003



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



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.



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”).


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



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.



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)


2. Additional Approved Bar Courses:

Agency, Partnership and Unincorporated

Business Associations

CD: Business Organizations      



Constitutional Law II




Estate and Gift Taxation


Federal Income Taxation


Real Property


Wills, Trusts, and Estates


3. Approved Seminar Courses:

Adoption Law


Child, Parent and State


Domestic Violence


Gender and the Law


Genetics and the Law


Independent Study (for 3Ls only)


Law and Aging


4. Approved Experiential Courses:

Child Welfare/Family Justice Clinic


Criminal Justice Clinic


Family Law Practice


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



(Family Law-related or focused placements only)


5. Other Approved Courses:

Alternative Dispute Resolution


Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights and Remedies


Education Law


Estate Planning


Health Law


Immigration Law


International Human Rights


Select Mini Courses




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.


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.



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.



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.



are not required for this Family Law Certificate Program.



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.



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.


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) 806-8003

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.

Legal Writing Program

Our Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing Program (LRRW) is one of the school’s greatest academic strengths. Students report that they are well prepared for their research, writing and oral communication responsibilities in a variety of legislative, judicial, and practice settings. In addition, the program has developed a national reputation among LRRW teaching professionals as one of the best in the country. One key to the success of the program is having high-quality, full-time LRRW faculty members. Another key is having a total of six credits over three semesters allocated to the program. The most important key to the success of the program continues to be the effort that our students put into it.

Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing

The centerpiece of the law school’s legal writing program is Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing I (LRRW), a four-credit, year-long course taught during the first year. LRRW I introduces students to the fundamentals of legal reasoning, to the basic sources and processes of legal research, and to some basic forms of legal writing, including objective memoranda of law, client opinion letters, and trial court motion practice briefs. The reasoning skills taught include rule-based or syllogistic reasoning, analogical reasoning, case analysis, factual analysis, synthesizing and distinguishing cases, the use of policy in the law, and principles of statutory construction. The full range of legal research skills is introduced, including both hard-copy research skills and computer- assisted legal research skills in primary and secondary materials. Students are also taught oral advocacy skills.

Legal Writing II

The second legal writing course, Legal Writing II (LRRW II), is a two-credit, semester-long course taken either in the fall or spring of the second year. LRRW II focuses on appellate advocacy and serves to reinforce the skills learned in the LRRW I course.

Legal Writing III, Scholarly Writing Requirement

A scholarly writing requirement is integral to the third part of the LRRW Program. While LRRW and LRRW II focus primarily on practice-oriented aspects of legal reasoning, research, and writing, the LRRW III requirement focuses on scholarly legal writing. LRRW III is not a particular course. Instead, it is a significant scholarly writing assignment supervised by a full-time faculty member. Each student enrolled in LRRW III is required to complete in-depth research in a specialized area wherein the issues involved are fully analyzed, and in which supportable conclusions are articulated.

Students also benefit from Scholarly Writing Workshops held in the spring and fall semesters. The goal of the Scholarly Writing Workshops is to provide a blueprint for students who are working on their LRRW III papers and scholarly articles, and to encourage students to participate in the myriad of writing competitions available. Through the workshops, students learn how to 1) choose a topic, 2) do a preemption check, 3) outline their article/paper, 4) conduct research, 5) write the article or paper, and 6) use the correct legal citation form.

The Legal Writing Center

Howard University School of Law’s newest component to the Legal Reasoning, Research, and Writing Program

Additional assistance is available for students to improve their writing and research skills through the Legal Writing Center. The Center’s key purpose is to identify and fix structural and grammatical problems in student papers and research projects. The Legal Writing Center offers one-on-one conferences and tutorial assistance and group writing conferences to all Howard law students at any stage of the writing process.

Conveniently located in the Law Library, the Legal Writing Center is supported by the legal writing professors and staffed by Dean’s Fellows and peer tutors who keep flexible hours to meet student demand.

Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center

Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center

Civil rights, human rights, racial justice law, and advocacy

World Food Law Institute

The World Food Law Institute fosters the analysis and understanding of international agricultural and food law, regulations and policy. The Institute uses a multidisciplinary approach to promote food security and social development in the agricultural and agribusiness sectors, especially for the millions of persons living and working in rural areas around the world.

The Institute chooses a theme each year and conducts three principal activities: The World Food Law Symposium and Round Tables; the World Food Law Distinguished Lecture and the World Food Law Fellowship.