Louisiana lawyers must be familiar with the civil law background of the Louisiana legal system. The Law Center, therefore, devotes a large portion of its curriculum to the principles, doctrine, and jurisprudence of the civil law. If graduates intend to practice in Louisiana or other civil law jurisdictions, they must obtain special training in the civilian techniques of interpretation and the application of codified law to modern business and commerce. But even, the Louisiana practitioner must be equally familiar with the Anglo-American common law that prevails in most of the states and courts, and which has profoundly influenced certain parts of the Louisiana law. The Center, therefore, offers a number of basic common law courses of the type needed in legal practice in other North American jurisdictions, as well as a substantial curriculum in the field of public law and taxation.
The treatment of both civil and common law offers a unique opportunity for constant comparison of the two systems with a resulting increase in breadth of comprehension.
All LSU law students must complete the requirements for the traditional Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree by earning a total of 94 credit hours. Students may also earn the optional Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law (D.C.L.) degree by completing some fifteen credit hours as part of the 94 credit hour program. These courses may be selected from a list of designated D.C.L. courses.
In the first year, Contracts, Torts, Federal Civil Procedure, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, and Legal Writing and Research are required, as well as Obligations, Civil Law Property, and Legal Traditions, a study of the traditions and methodologies of the civil law and common law systems. These first-year courses must be completed at the LSU Law Center unless a student is admitted as a transfer student after the first year. After the first year, students have freedom to explore a wide variety of upper-level courses in a sequence that suits their professional interests that must include at least six credit hours of experiential learning courses. Students who chose to earn the D.C.L. must select 15 credit hours of course work from a grouping of designated course with a global, comparative, or civil law focus. Students make their decision to pursue the D.C.L. during their second or third year. Students who do not wish to pursue the degree may file a notice of intent with the Law Registrar. Should a student who opted out of earning the D.C.L. subsequently decide to complete the requirements for the D.C.L., the student may notify the Law Registrar of the change prior to graduation.