University of Colorado Law School
Lolita Buckner Inniss, Dean
Boulder, CO 80309-0552
Welcome to Colorado Law. We are an engaged, diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff and alumni who help one another succeed. Our selective admissions process keeps our student body small, enabling our faculty, staff, alumni and professional network to invest deeply in each student’s success. Because we take our responsibility to educate and train future lawyers very seriously, our curriculum, research centers, and experiential learning opportunities are designed to prepare students for success in today’s changing legal environment.
Our students have extraordinary credentials and life experiences. In addition to being intelligent, congenial, hard-working and entrepreneurial, our students are engaged with the community. A plethora of active student organizations, rich externship opportunities and a robust Public Service Pledge Program enable our students to foster Colorado Law’s tradition of service.
Our faculty are leaders in their fields and are committed to helping Colorado Law students develop the legal knowledge, critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills necessary for professional success. A deliberately low student-to-faculty ratio of 6.4 to 1 enables meaningful engagement between faculty and students, giving students abundant opportunities to develop deep substantive expertise and long-lasting professional relationships.
Our staff is devoted to helping students and alumni succeed. From the moment our students commit to attending Colorado Law and throughout their professional careers, we provide unwavering personal and professional support. Our admissions office welcomes students to the Colorado Law community, and our student affairs office provides support for students as they develop their professional identity and skills. Our career development office helps students secure and retain rewarding employment. Those unsure about their field of interest can rely on our wealth of career exploration opportunities and resources.
Our alumni represent Colorado Law in a variety of professional settings and fields across Colorado and nationwide. They thrive in a variety of professional domains: national law firms, regional law firms, government organizations (both at the federal and state levels), business organizations (often utilizing their legal skills in business roles), and public interest organizations. Not only do our alumni thrive professionally, but they also enthusiastically work with current Colorado Law students in a number of key ways that foster students’ career success.
We are educating students for success. Our relevant and challenging curriculum prepares students to thrive in a variety of sectors and settings. Our three research centers enable students to develop unique connections and insights in today’s most important fields, including:
- Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law and Policy—the Getches Wilkinson Center.
- Technology and Entrepreneurship/Business—the Silicon Flatirons Center.
- Public Law/Public Service—the White Center.
In addition, our Schaden Experiential Learning Program and Clinical Program (with nine clinics representing a range of practice areas) allow students to develop and hone their legal skills through extensive real-world experiences while in school.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know us better.
About Colorado Law
The University of Colorado Law School, established in 1892, has a long and proud history as a top public law school. The first students of color entered in 1898. The school became a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools, organized in 1901. The first woman graduated in 1908. And the school has been on the American Bar Association's list of accredited law schools since its first publication in 1923.
Today, Colorado Law, housed in the beautiful new "green" Wolf Law Building with one of the largest law libraries in the country, is also one of the most technologically advanced law schools in the country. Most importantly, it provides one of the best comprehensive legal educations in the nation, featuring:
- A favorable faculty-student ratio (6.4:1) that produces class sizes that encourage discussion
- 60 highly published resident faculty dedicated to interacting with students inside and outside the classroom
- First-year students who are placed in small sections for more class participation opportunities and to build relationships with classmates and professors
- Full-time, three-year Juris Doctor (JD) degree, one-year Master of Laws (LLM) degree, one-year Master of Studies in Law (MSL) degree, eight dual degrees, six certificates, three centers and three journals
- An Experiential Learning Program that integrates lawyering activities, including nine legal clinics, externships, public service pledge and trial and moot court competitions
- Comprehensive program to prepare students for a wide range of careers; many graduates obtain judicial clerkships
Law School Vision
With our roots in Colorado and a global outlook, we are a supportive and diverse community of scholars and students in a place that inspires vigorous pursuit of ideas, critical analysis and civic engagement in order to advance the rule of law in an open, sustainable society.
To be an outstanding public law school that: provides students with a state-of-the-art legal education and prepares them to serve wisely and with professionalism; advances the development of knowledge through scholarship, testing of new ideas, and challenges to the status quo; and serves as a vehicle and catalyst for meaningful public service, all of which deliver high value to our students and have positive impacts—both locally and globally—on the legal profession and society.
Wolf Law Building
The five-story Wolf Law Building was completed in 2006 and was only possible through the financing of alumni, friends, law firms and 61 percent by students.
- Top "green" certification, from construction to operation, including 88 percent renewable energy and electricity, 40 percent water use reduction and 59 percent regionally manufactured materials
- Technologically advanced wireless networking, video conferencing, videotaping capabilities for distance learning and digital kiosks
- All classrooms have electrical outlets for each student and complete audio-visual equipment (LCD projectors, DVD, VHS, cable) with built-in touch-screen control systems
- Student commons with café and patio, study and interview rooms, individual lockers and mailboxes, law bookstore and courtyard with barbeque
- Suites and offices for centers, clinics, student organizations, journals and all faculty offices
- A 250-seat main courtroom with judge's chambers, 30-seat teaching courtroom with jury box and witness stand and a mock trial practice room for competition and clinic training
The three-story William A. Wise Law Library is housed in the Wolf Law Building.
- Most comprehensive law library in the 12-state Rocky Mountain region, one of the largest in the country, serving as a selective federal government depository
- Six computer stations, five group study rooms, 12 study pods, and 445 seats
- Access in print or online to 540,000 volumes
Students who choose the University of Colorado Law School generally seek the very best all-around legal education combined with a great location, a supportive community, top specialties, interdisciplinary study, dedicated faculty, a public service tradition and so much more. Colorado Law is distinguished by the extraordinary quality of its students. As a competitively selective school, its students rank in the top tier, represent a rich blend of geographic and ethnic backgrounds and bring experiences of leadership, career achievement and community service. Although competitiveness among students with such elite qualifications is typical at many law schools, CU Law students have a proud history of putting collegiality first.
Commitment to Diversity
Colorado Law is proud to have been one of the earliest law schools in the nation to graduate lawyers of color. The first students of color entered the University of Colorado Law School in 1898 and the first woman graduated in 1908. Colorado Law's commitment to diversity is evident throughout the Law School. We seek students with not only the academic credentials to excel in a rigorous legal education program, but also a desire to join a diverse community of future lawyers committed to the service of others. Student organizations offer support and networking opportunities.
From the student's first day, Colorado Law invests in her or his academic success. Through the Rothgerber Academic Assistance Program, upper-division law students tutor first-year students in their courses, except Legal Writing. The program is open to all first-year students, and more than 50 percent of the class participates in this free opportunity.
Members of the legal profession are held to the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct, and Law School faculty and students are expected to maintain the same level of professional competence and integrity in their work. The Colorado Law School Honor Code, subscribed to by all students, is a system of rules administered by student officers and demands the highest ethical conduct.
Legal Research and Writing
Colorado Law's Legal Research and Writing Program ensures that its graduates are proficient in legal research, analysis and writing, and capable of adapting these skills to varying contexts. All first-year Legal Writing courses are taught by resident legal writing faculty, and legal research and research strategy is guided by professional librarian instructors. Upper-division courses are designated as writing classes and students spend a seminar preparing a substantial paper requiring significant legal research and writing.
Colorado Law is home to three nationally respected student-led law journals. These journals provide legal research, writing, editorial and publishing experience to competitively chosen second- and third-year law students, with a select number of third-year students serving as prestigious Editorial Board members. Subscribers include government agencies, judicial courts, law school and government libraries, judges, attorneys, faculty and alumni.
- University of Colorado Law Review (founded in 1928)
- Colorado Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Review
- Journal on Telecommunications & High Technology Law
Colorado Law's student organizations reflect the diverse interests and concerns of its active student body. Students increase their knowledge in specific areas, gain leadership experience and work closely with fellow students, faculty, alumni and legal professionals with similar passions. The Student Bar Association serves as the school's student government, represents the interests of law students generally, allocates funding to other organizations and administers the school's honor code with the Honor Council.
- American Bar Association, Law Student Division
- American Civil Liberties Union
- American Constitution Society
- Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
- Black Law Students Association
- Business and Tax Law Association
- Cannabis Law League
- Christian Legal Society
- Colorado Law After School Support
- Colorado Law Outdoor Club
- Colorado Law Student Parents Group
- Criminal Prosecution Society
- Doman Society of International Law
- Environmental Law Society
- Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
- Food Law Society
- Health Law Society
- Immigration Law and Policy Society
- Intellectual Property Association
- Jewish Law Students Association
- Juvenile and Family Law Club
- Latino Law Students Association
- Legal Alternative Dispute Resolution Club
- Military Law Society
- National Lawyers Guild
- Native American Law Students Association
- Public Interest Students Association
- Silicon Flations Students Group
- Society for Work, Employment, and Labor Law at CU
- Spanish Speaking Law Students Association
- Sports and Entertainment Law Student Association
- Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
- Student Bar Association
- Women's Law Caucus
Colorado Law prepares students for a wide variety of careers. The Office of Career Development offers students and alumni individualized career counseling and professional development advice to help them identify and achieve their career goals. The office has career counselors with JDs who have many years of experience in a wide range of law practice areas. It maintains state-of-the-art career development and job search resources and helps students prepare for and pursue job opportunities during and after law school.
Services and Programs
- Career Counseling: Each first-year student meets with a career counselor who helps with résumés and job search action plans.
- Employer Outreach: Counselors conduct extensive employer outreach in- and out-of-state.
- Career Fairs/Symposia: The office organizes employer networking opportunities on and off campus.
- On-Campus Interviews: Each year approximately 100 employers come on campus to interview students for summer clerkships, internships and associate attorney positions with law firms and government agencies.
- Résumé Collections: Résumés from interested students are sent to in- and out-of-state employers.
- Brown Bag Speaker Series: Practicing attorneys from the local and national legal community are regularly invited to speak to students during weekly lunch-hour informational sessions about what it's like to work in a variety of legal areas.
- Job Postings: Through a secure web-based system, students and alumni can review current job listings and an online resources library.
- Mock Interviews: Counselors set up appointments with students for practice interviews with the counselors or with volunteer attorneys. Students receive tips and feedback to help them improve.
- Referrals: Counselors help students connect with alumni and other legal professionals as resources for information about a field or practice area of law in Colorado or any other part of the country or world.
- Mentoring and Community Involvement: The office regularly helps students get involved in the legal community by referring them to mentor programs (including the Student Alumni Mentoring Program), bar associations, Inns of Court and other law-related organizations.
Colorado Law helps students pursue numerous job opportunities and helps connect them to valuable part-time and permanent legal positions, including:
- Externships are for students working unpaid in the legal community for academic credit, under the supervision of a field and faculty supervisor.
- Honors programs are prestigious programs for students and graduates to work within federal government agencies.
- Judicial clerkships are prestigious paid positions for new graduates working for judges in federal, state and appellate trial courts.
- Summer law clerks are paid part-time or full-time for first- or second-year students in law firms and other organizations.
- Fellowships provide funding for law students and graduates to work with public service organizations or academic programs.
Employment During Law School
The study of law is demanding and requires the highest level of concentration. Most students devote 50–70 hours a week to class time and study. Students may be employed for no more than 20 hours per week when enrolled in more than 12 credit hours, in accordance with ABA Rule 304(f).
Experiential education encompasses lawyering activities in which students receive experience outside the classroom—clinics, externships, appellate and trial competitions and voluntary public service work. Colorado Law's Experiential Learning Program gives greater coherence to our entire curriculum and builds linkages with faculty involved in experiential education and those involved in traditional classroom teaching.
Colorado Law's Clinical Education Program started in 1948 and now serves almost 900 clients each year. Clinics are courses that provide practical learning experiences for our students, much-needed assistance to those less fortunate in our community and invaluable service to the public good. By handling actual cases, students make the transition from legal theory to legal practice, enabling them to take classroom knowledge and turn it into real-world understanding. Under the supervision of expert clinical faculty, student practitioners take primary responsibility for understanding the goals of their clients, and working to represent those clients' interests persuasively and competently. Clinics are available to all interested students.
- American Indian Law Clinic
- Civil Practice Clinic
- Criminal Defense Clinic
- Criminal/Immigration Defense Clinic
- Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
- Juvenile and Family Law Clinic
- Natural Resources and Environmental Law Clinic
- Technology Law and Policy Clinic
- Sustainable Community Development Clinic
Public Service Pledge Program
Colorado Law is a public institution with a public spirit. The faculty and the students have a passion for and deep appreciation of a lawyer's civic responsibilities to serve the underprivileged and the community. Students who complete a voluntary pledge of at least 50 hours of law-related public service work, not for credit or other compensation, receive recognition on their transcripts. Such service provides students with valuable skills and values, such as legal research and writing, client interviewing and legal argument development. Students can perform pro bono work for any government agency engaged in legal work (administrative agencies, public defenders, district attorney offices and judiciary), nonprofits that provide legal services, public interest law firms or private firms on pro bono projects.
Trial Advocacy and Moot Court
Appellate advocacy, mock trials and moot court competitions help to develop skills in appellate brief writing and oral argument, and gain valuable trial practice experience. Colorado Law teams have consistently been extremely competitive and participate in and host more and more competitions each year. Coaching and support come from an experienced group of faculty, fellow students, alumni who recently competed and judges and lawyers in the community. Students may earn academic credit for their participation. Examples of recent competitions are:
- Constance Baker Motley National Moot Court Competition
- Emory Civil Rights and Liberties Competition
- Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court
- Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition
- Jim R. Carrigan Trial Advocacy Competition
- Mardi Gras National Moot Court Competition
- National Moot Court Competition
- National Moot Court Competition in Child Welfare and Adoption Law
- National Student Trial Advocacy Competition
- National Telecommunications Moot Court Competition
- The National Trial Competition
- Native American Law Students Association Moot Court Competition
- Pace National Environmental Law Moot Court Competition
- Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition:
- The Rothgerber Moot Court Competition
- Saul Lefkowitz National Moot Court Competition
Students may gain academic credit for performing substantive legal work with government agencies, public institutions and not-for-profit organizations. Students develop professional lawyering skills, gain insight into various aspects of the legal system and profession and cultivate a sense of professional responsibility. While uncompensated, students receive credit hours (1 credit hour per 50 hours of work) toward their degrees.
Widely recognized for its intellectual diversity and originality, the faculty at Colorado Law encompasses an array of prominent legal scholars. The faculty’s record of scholarly publication is both extensive and frequently cited. Together with the faculty’s commitment to public service, this work has positioned the faculty of Colorado Law to exert important and constructive influences on legal and public policy debates at the local, national, and international levels.
Colorado Law's three research centers have earned national prominence for their research, publications and leading conferences that debate legal and policy issues, foster practical solutions and innovative ideas, facilitate networking and produce scholarship. Students are an integral part of the centers. Students may work as volunteers, externs or research assistants on research projects, reports, newsletters and events. In addition, students will have unique access to national and local policymakers, researchers, scientists, entrepreneurs and legal practitioners in many areas of the law.
Byron R. White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law
Named in honor of the retired Supreme Court Justice and CU alumnus, the Byron White Center for the Study of American Constitutional Law was founded in 1990 to enhance the study and teaching of Constitutional law and stimulate public debate and understanding of our Constitutional system. Each year, the center gathers politicians, academics and practitioners for the Ira C. Rothgerber, Jr. Conference. Recent topics have included home rule, reapportioning Colorado, state initiatives, academic freedom and conscience and the free exercise of religion. The center is the cornerstone of Colorado Law's public service commitment.
Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment
The Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment is the 21st century name of the Natural Resources Law Center (NRLC) and crown jewel of Colorado Law's dedication to natural resources, energy, and the environment. The center is dedicated to serving the people of the American West, the nation and the world through creative, interdisciplinary research, bold, inclusive teaching and innovative problem solving in order to further true sustainability for our lands, waters and environment. The Getches-Wilkinson Center is building on the successful legacies not only of the NRLC, but also of other existing programs in natural resources, energy and the environment at Colorado Law.
The Getches-Wilkinson Center regularly hosts an array of conferences and distinguished speakers, including the Annual Martz Summer Conference, the Energy Innovation Speaker Series and various seminars for practitioners and the interested public. Students are invited to join these events and visit some of the center's ongoing projects, such as the longstanding work to improve western water management, to develop and deploy best management practices for oil and gas production and to develop practical strategies and solutions to provide appropriate sustainable energy technologies.
Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship
The Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship is Colorado Law's influential foundation that supports and enables entrepreneurship in the technology community. The center is nationally recognized as a telecommunications law powerhouse. It hosts leading technology policy conferences with legal, technical, regulatory and business experts to elevate the debate around technology policy issues, facilitate networking and develop "human capital" in the Colorado technology community. Students assist on major research projects including the Software Regulation Clearing House and help organize 15–20 events a year on topics such as digital broadband migration, entrepreneurial law and startups, new technology, business plan competition, private equity, software patents and regulatory law and economics.