Ave Maria School of Law requires 90 credit hours for graduation, including a core curriculum of 74 credit hours (6 of which are elective experiential credits). A cumulative grade point average of 2.0 is required for continued enrollment and graduation. Students begin their first year with a one credit week long course, Legal Skills Enrichment and Case Analysis (CASE), which introduces them to the fundamental principles of legal analysis that they will employ throughout their legal careers. In addition, during their first year, students take two-semester courses in Contracts, Torts, Civil Procedure, Property, and Research, Writing, and Advocacy. They also take a one semester course in the Moral Foundations of the Law as well as a one-semester course in Criminal Law.
Research, Writing, and Advocacy addresses a range of lawyering skills, including legal analysis, legal research, counseling, and effective written and oral advocacy. In Moral Foundations of the Law, students consider how humanity’s desire to order society forms the basis of legal systems.
In the second and third years, students explore the foundations of democracy, the philosophies that ground law, and the interaction between ethics and law in Jurisprudence, Professional Responsibility, and Law, Ethics, and Public Policy.
Along with required courses such as Business Organizations, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Commercial Law, and Wills, Trusts, and Estates, a range of electives provides an opportunity for second- and third-year students to pursue interests and develop expertise. In addition, Ave Maria law students will hone their practice skills through six experiential credits, which are taken from an array of clinics, externships, simulation, and skills-focused courses such as Alternative Dispute Resolution, Appellate Practice, and Trial Advocacy. Students also continue to hone their writing skills through additional instruction in Research, Writing, and Advocacy and are also given instruction designed to maximize student success on the bar examination through courses such as Advanced Legal Analysis-Multistate, Florida Legal Practice, and Advanced Essay Writing.