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Doctor of Jurisprudence

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We admit for fall, spring and summer terms. Please read our admission page for application requirements and deadlines.

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Monterey College of Law is accredited by the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California to offer the Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) degree.  The J.D is a three-to-four year (90 unit) traditional U.S. graduate law degree program designed for individuals who wish to be licensed as a California attorney.

Additional Note: All J.D. matriculates are also enrolled in the concurrent J.D./M.L.S program by default.  This gives each student the opportunity to finish with two degrees in four years. Several of the M.L.S requirements are fufilled with the J.D. curriculum.  The only additional course is the Gibson Appellate Advocacy writing course and its writing requirement. Students may optout of this opportunity after the first day of class.

Jurisprudence An orientation course for entering law students. It is designed to give new students an overview of the law school, the historical and philosophical foundation of our system of law, and the methodology for the study of law. (This course is required for conditionally admitted students and optional for all other incoming students).

Contracts This class covers enforceable agreements including requirements for the formation of a contract; problems of interpretation, consideration and its equivalent, damages for breach, the statute of frauds, illegality, and rights and liabilities of third parties arising from the contract itself or from assignment of contractual rights or delegation of duties.

Criminal Law & Procedure Topics include substantive criminal law and elements of criminal responsibility, law of crimes against persons, property, and habitation, the theory of criminal responsibility, parties, and defenses to crimes. Also covered are the procedures for indictments, arrest, bail, trial sentencing, and appeals.

Torts The historical development and nature of non-contractual civil law which allocates the economic burden of various injuries. A study of the principles of liability for physical harm under theories of negligence, intentional torts, and strict liability, including the law governing defamation, invasion of privacy, and other relational harms.

Legal Writing An introductory course designed to improve analytical and written communication skills. Students work on simple legal problems, learning how to identify and analyze legal issues and express their legal reasoning. Assignments include exercises in case briefing, exam writing, and drafting legal memoranda.

Legal Research A class to familiarize students with the basic foundations of legal research. Assignments include researching problems in the law library and researching and writing office memoranda, opinion letters, and other documents. A survey of CALR tools including CD-Rom, Internet and on-line resources for legal and public records research is included.

Legal Skills This class addresses key skills needed for law school, the bar exam, and the practice of law.  Students review keys facts, rule synthesis, analogies and comparisons, analysis and essay writing.

Professional Responsibility An examination of the lawyer’s obligation to the client, and the public. The class examines the professional rules contained in the American Bar Association Model Code and the Rules of Professional Conduct, attorney-client privilege, conflicts of interest, advertising, and legal malpractice.

Advanced Legal Writing Students develop their persuasive writing skills through writing assignments involving motions, points and authorities, and declarations. This advanced class enables students to demonstrate their legal analysis and ability to advocate a position.

Civil Procedure This course covers the rules of preparing and bringing a civil case to trial. The concepts of formation of a claim (pleadings), pretrial preparation (discovery) and the law and cases governing personal and subject matter jurisdiction and venue are introduced along with summary judgment, interpleader, and res judicata.

Evidence Both the Federal Rules of Evidence and California Statutes are used to explore the concepts of relevance, hearsay, witness competency, privileges, presumptions, burdens of proof, and judicial notice.

Real Property The historical development and current application of real property law, including the nature of estates, landlord/tenant rights and obligations, life estates, rules against perpetuities, vesting, restraints on alienation, easements, servitudes, nuisances, lateral support, regulation of land use, transfer of interest in land, financing of real estate, and other traditional aspects

Appellate Writing(Summer) In this course, students will continue perfecting their persuasive legal writing skills.  Legal analysis is emphasized at this stage of the student’s education.  Advocacy skills are sharpened through the use of the full range of legal writing techniques.

Advisory Clinic This course is part of the Clinical Studies Program and allows students to staff the Small Claims Advisory Clinic. Students learn to listen and interview, obtain a broad overview of small claims procedures, and give legal advice to actual clients in a weekly pro bono clinic setting.

Business Organizations This course covers law related to the formation and operation of California corporations. Detailed consideration is given to exemption provisions of the Securities Act of 1933; the proxy, anti-fraud and insider trading provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; and pertinent SEC regulations. Also covered in the course is an in-depth examination of the Uniform Partnership Act, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, and the formation, operation, dissolution, and termination of
partnerships.

Community Property The nature of property interests of married California residents including identifying and tracing community and separate property, management and control of marital property, and liability for debts. Basic rules and procedures in the context of dissolution of marriage, annulment or legal separation are viewed and property rights of non-marital partners are covered.

Constitutional Law A study of the United States Constitution with an emphasis on the theory and practice of judicial interpretation and review. Topics include the separation of federal powers, the relation of the federal government to the states and specific government powers (tax, treaty, war, and commercial). The course also covers limitations placed on the exercise of governmental power, emphasizing the Bill of Rights, due process, and equal protection clauses.

Moot Court The Heisler Moot Court Competition gives students an opportunity to study and write about constitutional issues. Starting with drafting an appellate brief, the semester culminates in a series of hearings, where local judges hear the students’ oral arguments on each side of a current civil liberties issue. The public is invited to witness the final round of arguments by four students in front of an appellate panel of judges.

Remedies A general survey of equity including the adequacy of legal remedies, injunctions, specific performance, declaratory relief and the jurisdiction and powers of courts of equity. The course also covers the measure of damages in contracts, torts and property, and enforcement of money judgments.

Wills and Trusts A study of California law regarding the succession of property, wills, and trusts.

  • Administrative Law This course covers the political and legal nature of the administrative process; legislative and executive control of administrative discretion; judicial review, its role, scope and basis; due process as to substance and process as to substance and procedure; standing and related issues; role of the Administrative Law Judge, including ex parte issues; conduct of a hearing; and access to private and public information.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution – Mediation Certification (ADR) ADR is a required course that may be taken during any semester that the course is offered. The course provides an introduction to negotiation, mediation, and arbitration skills including the development of negotiation strategy and techniques. The course includes simulation exercises featuring bilateral and multilateral negotiation and mediation exercises.  Students will be introduced to basic forms of international dispute resolution and cross-cultural, language, and gender dynamics in conflict resolution. Course may serve as qualifying prerequisite for participation in mediation clinic coordinated with the court-directed mediation program of the Monterey County Superior Court.
  • Civil Litigation Topics include drafting pleadings, law and motion proceedings, pretrial investigation, discovery, trial preparation, and participation in the trial and post-trial motions. Students work on projects in all areas of civil trial practice in a seminar setting.
  • Clinical Studies Program All students must complete at least one clinical study program in addition to the Small Claims Clinic. The requirement may be met through participation in one of the law school's sponsored advisory clinics, or may be completed through legal and judicial internships available to second, third, and fourth-year students upon approval by Director of Clinical Studies. Students also may apply for credit for an Independent Study arranged with local lawyers or legal agencies. Students are required to spend 60 hours of lawyer-like and law-related work to earn one unit of academic credit for internships and independent studies. All internships must be pre-approved by the Director of Clinical Studies. Forms and policies are available on this website.
  • Criminal Litigation A series of lectures and student presentations covering the prosecution and defense of criminal cases in the California court system. Students participate as attorneys, witnesses, and court personnel in the arraignment, preliminary hearing, trial, and sentencing hearing using the facts of an actual criminal case.
  • Employment Law The legal aspects of relationships between employers and employees, emphasizing California law. An overview of “at-will” employment agreements, employment discrimination laws ( including sexual harassment), public policy and “whistleblower” claims, employment-related torts (including privacy rights), plus an overview of wage and hour, health and safety, and workers' compensation laws.
  • Environmental Law This course explores diverse topics in environmental law and policy.   It surveys different approaches to environmental protection and examines major U.S. environmental laws including National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  The course also compares the California Environmental Quality Act with its federal counterpart, the National Environmental Policy Act.  Guest speakers provide students with a wide range of experiences and backgrounds to provide balanced discussions.
  • Family Law Topics covered in this course are marriage and family, parent and child, termination of parental rights; adoption, marital breakdown, jurisdiction, judicial documents, domestic violence, custody; visitation, child and spousal support and settlement agreements.
  • Immigration Law Issues addressed in this course are immigration and the Constitution, federal immigration powers, immigration categories, procedures, exclusion grounds, admission procedures, deportation, and non-immigrants.
  • Intellectual Property A survey of the laws in the field of intellectual property. This course covers issues of defining, obtaining, maintaining and enforcing patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and copyrights in the United States and internationally.
  • International Law Topics include the sources of international law, international jurisdiction, the law of treaties, international liability (of states), regulation of the use of force, peaceful settlement of disputes, and the application of international law principles to current international events.
  • Land Use Planning The course covers California and Federal statutes, regulations and relevant case law governing the judicial and administrative bodies that deal with zoning and land development problems. Special emphasis is placed on representing clients in local forums.
  • Legal Analysis This practical course focuses on learning to write in a clear, effective, and concise manner. Students are required to complete written assignments which assist them to gain sharper reasoning skills and improved techniques for legal analysis.
  • Water Law The development of water law in California, as well as riparian, appropriative, and hybrid water rights developed in western states. Issues such as groundwater, public water rights, various water institutions in California, regional water sources and water quality will also be taught.
  • Workers' Compensation This course covers the concepts, nomenclature, and forms used in practice before the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, its administrative agencies, and the California Appellate Courts.

The law school may add or delete from the additional course offerings each year based on enrollment, student preferences, and faculty availability. Most of the non-required courses are offered during the summer semester.