Colorado Law's three-year, full-time Juris Doctor (JD) degree provides a strong, well-rounded legal education with a rich mixture of theory, policy, doctrinal analysis and professional skills. Students have broad flexibility to meet their individual interests and needs.

Areas of Academic Strength

Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources Law

Ranked consistently among the very best in the country, environmental and natural resources law has been a key focus of the Colorado Law curriculum for more than half a century, and is one of the strongest and deepest programs of its kind.

Technology and Intellectual Property Law

Colorado Law has developed one of the nation's most comprehensive legal programs oriented around information technology. Technology lawyers address interesting policy challenges and novel legal issues, and rank among the most satisfied within the legal profession. Colorado Law is the right place at the right time for those interested in exploring the frontiers of entrepreneurial law, technology policy and intellectual property.

Entrepreneurial and Business Law

Colorado Law provides a robust curriculum in business law, tailored for aspiring deal lawyers in Boulder, Denver and beyond. Boulder has a vibrant entrepreneurial community with many start-up and emerging companies. We place students in small law firms that serve small business and emerging companies, as well as in larger law firms who serve traditional larger corporate clients. In recent years, we have placed students in interesting and fulfilling in-house positions.

American Indian Law

At Colorado Law, we believe that American Indians deserve the very best lawyers and that we have an obligation to train them. Our American Indian Law Program faculty, including the nation's top scholars and practitioners in the field, offers a full slate of introductory and advanced classes in the field to prepare students for all aspects of Indian law practice, and we now have dozens of successful alumni practicing Indian law in tribal government, federal agencies and at law firms. Colorado Law graduates are equally prepared to work on impact litigation, economic development, policy advocacy, individual legal services and tribal governance in Indian law. Our American Indian Law Program also appeals to many students with broader practice interests in natural resources, public lands, property, museum and art law, technology, entrepreneurship, family law and beyond. Indeed, because American Indian law raises questions regarding the rule of law and legal pluralism, the contours of sovereignty and governance, cross-cultural representation and minority rights and interdisciplinary study and practice, it offers important intellectual development opportunities for all Colorado Law students.

Juvenile and Family Law

Juvenile and family law covers a broad range of practice areas, such as marriage, divorce, custody, visitation, family support, child abuse and neglect, delinquency, adoption, estate planning, education law and elder law. The Juvenile and Family Law Program (JFLP) provides students with opportunities to acquire specialized knowledge in this field, develop a network of, and foster collaboration between, students, academics, and practitioners and engage in interdisciplinary work in the study and practice of the field. The Program includes specialized courses, research projects, externships and clinical opportunities.


First Year

First-year courses lay the foundation and all JD candidates take these courses to learn to "think like a lawyer." Common law courses taught in the Socratic Method allow students to develop legal reasoning and critical thinking skills.

Fall Semester

  • Civil Procedure (LAWS 5303): Rules governing pleading, joinder of parties, discovery, jurisdiction of courts, right to jury trial, appeals and res judicata and collateral estoppel, with emphasis on the Federal and State Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Contracts (LAWS 5121): Contract liability, offer and acceptance, consideration, frauds statute, contract remedies, the parol evidence rule, contract performance, conditions, changed circumstances.
  • Legal Writing I (LAWS 5226): Legal analysis and document preparation, objective legal analysis techniques, legal rule synthesis, authority use to explain rules and rule application to case facts.
  • Legislation and Regulation (LAWS 5205): Statutory interpretation, architecture of the administrative state and interpretation and review of regulation.
  • Torts (LAWS 5425): Nonconsensual allocation of losses for civil wrongs, focusing on negligence and strict liability.

Spring Semester

  • Legal Writing II (LAWS 5223) : Appellate brief and document preparation, oral arguments before a three-judge mock court, techniques of persuading a court to accept a client's view of the law and facts, professional judgments within ethical boundaries and lawyer credibility.
  • Constitutional Law (LAWS 6005): Constitutional structure, including judicial review, federalism, separation of powers and constitutional rights of due process and equal protection.
  • Criminal Law (LAWS 5503): Statutory and common law of crimes and defenses, the procedures by which the law makes judgments as to criminality of conduct, constitutional limits.
  • Property (LAWS 5624): Personal property, estates and interests in land, landlord–tenant, basic land conveyancing and private land use controls.

Second and Third Years

The elective program in the second and third years builds upon the foundation laid in the first-year curriculum. Students must take Evidence (LAWS 6353) and Legal Ethics Professionalism (LAWS 6103) courses and a seminar (labeled as a LAWS 8000-level course).

Experiential Learning

Students who start law school in the fall 2016 semester or later also have to complete six credit hours of experiential courses. Experiential courses are simulation courses, law clinics and externships. At least two of these credits must be obtained in courses with regularly scheduled class sessions as specified in Miscellaneous Rule 36(A). Externships do not qualify as courses with regularly scheduled class sessions, and Law School Rules generally cap credits that may be earned in externships at 4 credits. The registrar's office will post which courses in a given semester meet the definition of simulation courses before registration begins for that semester. 

No student shall receive more than 14 credit hours toward the JD degree from co-curricular activities such as journals, moot court and trial competitions; Independent Legal Research; courtroom observation courses; externships; or coursework completed in another department, school or college of the university or at another institution of higher learning.

Students must complete eighty-nine (89) total credit hours with a numerical GPA of at least 2.0 and all other requirements as laid out in the Law School Rules to receive the Juris Doctor.

Elective Courses

  • Accounting Issues for Lawyers
  • Agency, Partnership and the LLC
  • Antitrust
  • Bankruptcy
  • Business Planning
  • Business Transactions
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporations
  • Deals
  • Deals Lab: Advanced Venture Capital
  • Law Practice Management
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Reorganizations
  • Secured Transactions
  • Securities Regulation
  • Venture Capital and Private Equity
  • Capital Punishment in America
  • Criminal Procedure: Investigative Phase
  • Criminal Procedure: Adjudicative Process
  • Post Conviction Criminal Procedure
  • White Collar Crime
Family, Gender and Health
  • Domestic Violence
  • Family Law
  • Gender, Law, and Public Policy
  • Health Law I: Finance, Administration and Organization of Health Care
  • Health Law II: Medical Malpractice Litigation
  • Juvenile Justice
  • Parent, Child and State
  • Sexuality and the Law
Government and Public Interest
  • Administrative Law
  • Education Law
  • Election Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Employment Law
  • Federal Courts
  • First Amendment
  • Labor Law
  • Legislation
  • Local Government
  • Race and American Law
Intellectual Property, Technology and Telecommunications
  • Computer Crimes
  • Copyright
  • Introduction to Intellectual Property Law
  • IP Counseling
  • IP and Technology Contracting
  • Patent Law
  • Patent Litigation
  • Privacy and Security in the Digital Age
  • Telecommunications Law and Policy
  • Trademark and Unfair Competition
  • Conflict of Laws
  • Law and Development
  • Immigration and Citizenship Law
  • International Business Transactions
  • International Dispute Resolution
  • International Environmental Law
  • International Human Rights
  • International Law
  • International Trade Law
  • Refugee and Asylum Law
Jurisprudence and Perspective
  • Class and Law
  • Critical Theory Colloquium
  • Economic Analysis of Law
  • Gender and Law
  • Jurisprudence
  • Advanced Appellate Advocacy
  • Advanced Evidence
  • Complex Civil Litigation
  • Federal Litigation: Everything but the Trial
  • Motions Advocacy
  • Trial Advocacy
Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law
  • American Indian Law I
  • American Indian Law II
  • Climate Change Law and Policy
  • Energy Insecurity and Sustainable Law
  • Energy Law and Regulation
  • Environmental Law
  • Foundations of Natural Resources Law and Policy
  • Mining and Energy Law
  • Oil and Gas
  • Public Land Law
  • Toxic and Hazardous Waste
  • Water Law
  • Wildlife and the Law
  • American Indian Law Clinic
  • Civil Practice Clinic
  • Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Criminal and Immigration Defense Clinic
  • Entrepreneurial Law Clinic
  • Extern Program
  • Juvenile and Family Law Clinic
  • Natural Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Clinic
  • Sustainable Community Development Clinic
  • Technology Law and Policy Clinic
  • Advanced Trial Advocacy
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Advocacy Competition
  • Arbitration
  • Legal Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Motions Advocacy
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Trial Competition
  • Advanced Real Estate Transactions
  • Construction Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Land Use Planning
  • Real Estate Planning
  • Real Estate Transactions
  • Wills and Trusts
Research and Writing
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Advanced Legal Writing
  • Colorado Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Review
  • Colorado Technology Law Journal
  • Law Review
  • Judicial Opinion Writing
  • Civil Tax Controversies
  • Corporate Taxation
  • Estate and Gift Tax  Planning
  • Federal Estate and Gift Tax
  • Federal Tax Politics
  • Income Taxation
  • International Taxation
  • Partnership Tax
  • Seminar: Tax, Law Economics and Policy
  • Tax Policy
  • Seminar: Advanced American Indian Law
  • Seminar:Advanced Criminal Procedure
  • Seminar:Advanced Natural Resources Law
  • Seminar: Speech, Religion, and Equality: Constitutional Values in Tension
  • Seminar: Class and Law
  • Seminar: Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Seminar: Computers and the Law
  • Seminar: Constitutional Theory
  • Seminar: Consumer Empowerment
  • Seminar: Counseling Families in Business
  • Seminar: Gender Law
  • Seminar: Information Privacy
  • Seminar: Jurisprudence
  • Seminar: Law and Economics of Utility Regulation
  • Seminar: Law and Literature
  • Seminar: Oil and International Relations
  • Seminar: Tax Policy
  • Seminar: Theory of Punishment

Note: Not all courses are offered each semester. This is a composite list.

Dual Degree Programs

Colorado Law students take advantage of an array of rich opportunities for interdisciplinary study through other CU schools and colleges, in addition to the University of Alberta. Students apply separately to and are admitted by the two schools under their respective admissions requirements.

The schools work in cooperation to select courses for the programs that allow students to earn the dual degrees in less time than it takes to earn each degree separately. Only credit hours earned after law school enrollment count toward the JD degree, and the first year of the JD curriculum must be taken exclusively at Colorado Law. 

For additional information, see the Dual Degrees and Certificates page on the Colorado Law website.

Dual Degrees with CU Boulder Programs

Dual Degrees with Other CU Programs

  • Juris Doctor/Doctor of Medicine (JD/MD) with CU Denver's School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration (JD/MPA) with CU Denver's School of Public Affairs
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Urban and Regional Planning (JD/MURP) with CU Denver's College of Architecture and Planning

Dual Degrees with Other Universities

  • Juris Doctor/Bachelor of Laws (JD/LLB) with the University of Alberta Faculty of Law, Canada. This program is currently on hold and not accepting applications.

Learning Outcomes

Colorado Law’s mission is 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. 

As this mission statement makes clear, we believe that excellence in legal education requires a commitment to a plurality of purposes. To achieve some of those purposes, Colorado Law has identified the following learning outcomes for its students:

  • Knowledge and understanding of legal theory and doctrine.
  • Related substantive knowledge, including societal context.
  • Legal analysis.
  • Legal research skills.
  • Oral and written communication.
  • Professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system.
  • Other professional skills.