The LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center is unique among U.S. university-affiliated law schools in its bijural curriculum and its perspective on integrating the study of common law and civil law. Its designation as a Law Center, rather than Law School, derives from the centralization on its campus of Juris Doctor and optional Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law, and post-J.D. programs, foreign and graduate programs, a Center of Civil Law Studies, and the housing of the Louisiana Law Institute and the Louisiana Judicial College, among other initiatives. From its initial founding in 1906, the Law Center has offered its students a legal education recognized for its high standards of academic excellence, an outstanding teaching and research faculty, integrated programs in Louisiana civil law, in Anglo-American common, statute, and federal law, and, through a fusion of these programs with international and comparative law, an overall program that truly merits designation as a global law curriculum.
The Law Center Building, adjoining and interconnecting with the old Law Building, provides classroom areas, seminar rooms, discussion rooms, and meeting areas; library offices and facilities, including open stack areas on all four floors and carrels for student research; a practice court room; offices for student activities, including the Board of Advocates, Public Interest Law Society and The Civilian; and administrative and faculty offices.
The old Law Building houses the offices of the LSU Law Clinic, Center of Civil Law Studies, the Louisiana Law Institute, Louisiana Judicial College, and Center of Continuing Professional Development; and offices for student activities, including the Louisiana Law Review, the Journal of Energy Law and Resources, and the Student Bar Association. In addition, the building contains an auditorium for use by guest lecturers and visiting experts, the Tucker Law Collection, and several floors of library stack areas.
Mission and Educational Objectives
The mission of the Law Center is to educate a well-qualified and diverse group of people to become highly competent and ethical lawyers, to serve the common good through private practice, public service, law reform, and commerce, and to advance knowledge in law through scholarship and research.
The educational objectives of the Law Center are as follows:
- To educate a well-qualified and diverse student body drawn from a rich cross-section of backgrounds, talents, experiences and perspectives from around the state, the nation, and other jurisdictions, including those that share our civilian heritage.
- To prepare students to be practice-ready and competitive for placement in the public and private sectors through an innovative and rigorous curriculum.
- To enrich the quality of the intellectual community and the experiences of the student body.
- To support and assist in the professional endeavors of our alumni.
- To serve the members of the legal profession of the state, the nation, and the global community.
- To provide scholarly support for the continued improvement of the law and to facilitate the exchange of ideas among legal scholars.
- To promote the use of Louisiana’s legal contributions as reasoned models for consideration by other jurisdictions and to develop the Law Center as a bridge between the civil law and the common law.
- To embrace the responsibilities of a public law school to the varied segments and regions of the State
A Comprehensive Legal Research Facility — Law Library
The LSU Law Library is one of the largest academic law libraries in the United States and contains an expansive collection of legal materials in both digital and print formats. The library houses over 850,000 volume equivalents, which include more than 440,000 bound volumes and over 2.3 million items in micro format. The collection includes statutes and reports of federal and state jurisdictions in the United States, as well as collections of law journals, encyclopedias, and treatises. The library also holds substantial collections of foreign, comparative, and international law, including materials from Europe, Latin America, and the countries of the British Commonwealth. Online access is available to more than 100 bibliographic and legal information databases, including Bloomberg Law, Lexis Nexis, Westlaw, and HeinOnline. The library is a selective depository for both U.S. government and Louisiana state documents, as well as a depository for over 109,000 records and briefs of the Louisiana Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal. Additional library resources include a reading room, group study rooms, study carrels, and the electronic classroom. A staff of ten professional librarians develop and organize the collection, provide access to the library’s materials and resources, support faculty teaching and scholarship, and instruct students in the use of legal research sources and methods.
Experiential Learning at the LSU Law Center
One of the important educational goals of the LSU Law Center is to prepare students to be ready to practice law upon graduation. Accordingly, there are a number of experiential courses at the Law Center that provide students with the opportunity to earn credit while gaining real legal experience that prepares them for practice. These experiential courses are designed as clinics, field placements and simulation courses and are listed under “Courses of Instruction” in this catalog.
Clinic courses offer students the opportunity to practice law and represent indigent clients in the community, prosecute cases in the criminal courts, or act as mediators in real legal disputes. The Law Clinic is analogous to a residency in medical school where, under close faculty supervision, students practice law by representing real clients with important legal issues or serve as mediators in real cases of controversy. Students practice in local courts, before administrative agencies and other venues. The Law Clinic is a self-contained legal services office located in the Law Center. Third-year students are certified to practice law pursuant to Louisiana Supreme Court Rule XX, and second-year students assist Law Center faculty in representing actual clients. Clinic offerings include the Immigration Clinic, the Juvenile Defense Clinic, the Civil Mediation Clinic, the Parole and Reentry Clinic, and the Prosecution Clinic. An Appellate Clinic is offered when the Louisiana Supreme Court appoints the Law Clinic to represent an indigent appellant.
In addition to the Law Clinic, there are field placement courses, including the Judicial Field Placement, in which students are judicial “law clerks” in state and federal courts; the Governmental Field Placement, in which students work in state and local government agencies; and the Public Interest/Nonprofit Field Placement, in which students work with attorneys in local agencies serving marginalized populations and the legal interests of the poor. The Law Center’s location in the state capitol of Baton Rouge offers tremendous advantages to placing students with state and local governmental agencies and courts where students can experience the real practice of law through a structured academic setting. The Law Center also offers students the opportunity to participate in a field placement during the summer session following the first and second years of law school. Summer Field Placement students can participate in an online class and work in law offices or judicial chambers anywhere in the world. Many choose opportunities in their hometown or a location where they ultimately would like to establish their legal career.
In addition to clinics and field placement courses, the Law Center offers a wide range of simulation courses in which students learn essential lawyering and practice skills through simulation and forensic exercises in a small classroom setting. Students can take simulations courses in their second and third years.
Students are encouraged to take experiential courses in all three categories of offerings because each offers students different opportunities. Also, the lawyering skills learned in any of the clinics, field placements, or simulation courses are transferable to all areas of legal practice.
George and Jean Pugh Institute for Justice
The George and Jean Pugh Institute for Justice is a research and public service unit of the Paul M. Hebert Law Center, designed to provide encouragement and funding for research and other activities which enhance and improve the administration of the criminal and civil justice systems in the State of Louisiana. The Center also supports activities that highlight the importance of individual and civil rights in the American constitutional system. For example, in 2017-2018, the Center concentrated its efforts on police community relations and on an exploration of the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment; in 2018-2019, it co-sponsored, with the Louisiana Law Review, a symposium on criminal justice reform in general as well as the influence that legal pedagogy can have on the reform of the criminal justice system; and in the 2019-2020 academic year, it co-sponsored with the Law Review a symposium on the American jury entitled, “We The Jury: Conversations on the American Jury’s Past, Present, and Future.”
Professor George Pugh, during his over 40 years as an active member of the law school faculty, was heavily involved in law reform efforts. As a professor and mentor to countless students, Professor Pugh sought to instill in them the ideals of due process and ethical practice. Moreover, his contribution to the law of evidence, in particular was immense. As a member of the Louisiana Code of Evidence, Professor Pugh worked to improve the administration of justice by recommending legislative changes that were designed to enhance the efficacy and fairness of the substantive and procedural laws of Louisiana.
Center of Civil Law Studies
The Center of Civil Law Studies was established in 1965 to promote and encourage the scientific study of the modern civil law system, its history, structure, and principles. Its purpose is to facilitate a better understanding and further development of the private law of the State of Louisiana and other civil law jurisdictions through theoretical and practical activities of all kinds, including publications, translations, the sponsorship of faculty and student exchanges, visiting scholars, and the presentation of specialized programs, seminars, and lectures. The Center of Civil Law Studies encourages legal education by sponsoring foreign students who wish to avail themselves of the opportunity of studying a mixed legal system. Such programs take advantage of Louisiana’s natural position as an education center for international studies.
The Center of Civil Law Studies publishes the Journal of Civil Law Studies, an online, peer-reviewed, and student-edited periodical, focusing on the civil law in Louisiana and in the world, and its relationship with other legal systems.
The Center of Civil Law Studies conducts translation projects to promote the civil law and its legal terminology in the English language and to make the Louisiana civil law accessible in French and in Spanish. Translation projects are supported by a three-year Partner University Fund grant, “Training Multilingual Jurists,” in cooperation with the University of Nantes (France).
John P. Laborde Energy Law Center
In August 2012, the LSU Law Center, with the approval of the LSU Board of Supervisors and the Louisiana Board of Regents, created an academic center for comprehensive instruction and research in energy law. The LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center, the first such center in Louisiana, prepares lawyers to address the full range of 21st century issues in the complex energy sector and to assume leadership roles in industry, government, nonprofits, and the academy. The Energy Law Center’s regular activities include: coordinating the Graduate Certificate in Energy Law & Policy, which provides LSU Law students the opportunity to demonstrate their focus on energy and environmental law and policy; hosting the annual Liskow & Lewis Visiting Professorship in Energy Law and a related yearly speaker series; facilitating student experiential learning opportunities by taking field trips to energy production and related facilities and interacting with regulatory or other personnel regarding energy and environmental law related issues; hosting a yearly symposium in conjunction with the Journal of Energy Law and Resources; and helping connecting LSU Law students with internship opportunities related to energy law. John P. Laborde (‘49), a well-known New Orleans civic leader and a leader in Louisiana’s energy sector, made an historic gift to the Law Center to endow the program and to ensure its continuation for years to come.
Center of Continuing Professional Development
The LSU Law Center’s commitment to providing legal education is not limited to its students. The Center of Continuing Professional Development (“CCPD”) is committed to the mission of providing continuing legal education as a public service with the primary goal of enhancing the competence of attorneys licensed to practice law in Louisiana. The CCPD sponsors continuing legal education seminars featuring members of the Law Center’s outstanding faculty and leading practitioners speaking on legal developments in the areas of their expertise. Course materials provided to participants emphasize the CCPD’s dedication to the tradition of academic excellence at the Law Center. The seminars are held at the Law Center and various locations around the state. In addition to providing a valuable service to the Bar, the CCPD’s programs serve as a valuable interface with the legal community, especially with Law Center alumni.
The Office of Alumni Relations is committed to cultivating and strengthening relationships with graduates and friends of the LSU Law Center. The alumni staff is charged with overseeing all alumni activities and development.
The staff provides leadership and support for programs such as class reunions, various regional alumni events, distinguished alumnus presentations, and alumni giving programs. The alumni office also provides regular publications and newsletters to acknowledge notable achievements of Law Center alumni and to provide information on the activities and developments at the Law Center. The office strives to connect alumni with each other and their alma mater.
These activities complement the development efforts of the Law Center. Private gifts provide valuable resources for continued growth and improvement of the Law Center’s programs and facilities. Opportunities for giving include Law Dean’s Council, Annual Fund, class gift, and reunion gift programs, among others. The office also coordinates donations given to establish endowed scholarships, professorships, and academic chairs, as well as other gifts that support the programs and initiatives of the Law Center.
The LSU Community
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College originated in grants of land made by the U.S. government beginning in 1806. In 1853, the Louisiana General Assembly established the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy near Pineville, Louisiana. The institution opened January 2, 1860, with General William Tecumseh Sherman as superintendent. Because of the Civil War, the school closed June 30, 1861, and reopened on April 1, 1862, with Col. William Linfield as acting superintendent. He was succeeded in 1863 by Professor William A. Seay. Because of the invasion of the Red River Valley by the Federal Army, the institution was closed again on April 23, 1863.
The Seminary reopened October 2, 1865, with Col. David F. Boyd as superintendent. It was destroyed by fire on October 15, 1869, and reopened on November 1, 1869, in Baton Rouge, where it has remained. In 1870, the name of the institution was changed to Louisiana State University.
Today, LSU holds a prominent position in American higher education and is committed to meeting the challenge of pursuing intellectual development for its students, expanding the bounds of knowledge through research, and creating economic opportunities for Louisiana. Enriched by Louisiana’s natural and cultural distinctiveness, the community of learning at Louisiana’s national flagship university prepares students to meet the environmental, social, economic, scientific, creative, and educational challenges that confront us locally and globally in the 21st century.
- LSU’s instructional programs include 225 undergraduate degrees, graduate/professional degrees, and graduate certificates.
- The student body consists of more than 30,000 students from 49 states and almost 100 foreign countries.
- Since its first commencement in 1869, LSU has awarded more than 277,000 degrees.
As the flagship institution of the state, the vision of Louisiana State University is to be a leading research-extensive university, challenging undergraduate and graduate students to achieve the highest levels of intellectual and personal development. Designated as a land-, sea-, and space-grant institution, the mission of Louisiana State University is the generation, preservation, dissemination, and application of knowledge and cultivation of the arts. In implementing its mission, LSU is committed to:
- offer a broad array of undergraduate degree programs and extensive graduate research opportunities designed to attract and educate highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students;
- employ faculty who are excellent teacher-scholars, nationally competitive in research and creative activities, and who contribute to a world-class knowledge base that is transferable to educational, professional, cultural, and economic enterprises;
- use its extensive resources to solve economic, environmental, and social challenges.
A Centralized Location
Studying law at LSU offers the advantages of living in a university town, a major industrial city, a thriving port and the state’s capital. Located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, with its metropolitan-area population of more than 800,000, combines the sophistication of its diverse culture and amenities with the convenience of a mid-sized, dynamic Southern city.
As Louisiana’s capital, Baton Rouge also affords the Law Center’s students varied opportunities for involvement in the state’s executive, judicial and administrative life. It is a city of great restaurants, a vibrant mix of three universities and colleges, and a distinctive blending of Louisiana’s Acadian, New Orleans, Mississippi Delta, Coastal Wetlands and West Louisiana cultures.
Year-round festivals, museum exhibits, ballet and theater productions are only a few of the many activities/events available. Eating is a favorite pastime of Louisianans, so students can sample Cajun cuisine at the many Baton Rouge restaurants or savor New Orleans-style seafood gumbo or crawfish etouffeé in area establishments. The LSU Lakes and other nearby parks and recreational areas, both large and small, provide opportunities to spend time outside all year long.