The College of Law’s J.D. program is comprehensive with a broad-based curriculum offering opportunities to concentrate in sustainable energy and resource law, Native American law, health law, and immigration law. Students also have opportunities to develop the professional skills needed for transitioning into the practice of law through various clinical programs offered through the Boesche Legal Clinic, the Legal Externship Program, and the many career-building programs offered by the Professional Development Office. The Tulsa Law Review and the Energy Law Journal provide students with opportunities to publish articles demonstrating their legal reasoning and writing skills.
The College of Law offers students opportunities for small class sizes, one-on-one interactions with professors, and individualized career counseling. Professors and students enjoy newly-renovated facilities that include state-of-the-art electronic classroom technology. Academic life is enriched by the College of Law’s many lectures, conferences, and programs which are open to the entire Tulsa community.
Concurrent Enrollment in the College of Law and the Graduate School
Students may enrich their learning by pursuing another graduate degree from The University of Tulsa while pursuing the J.D. degree. The College of Law will count nine credit hours of the other graduate degree program toward the J.D. degree; up to nine credit hours of Law courses will count toward the other graduate degree, provided that graduate program is willing to double count hours.
A J.D. student can apply to the other graduate program at any time, but would generally apply during the student’s second semester of law school. Admission to the J.D. program does not guarantee admission to the other graduate program; the student must meet all admission requirements of the other graduate program.
The J.D. student should consult with advisors from the College of Law and the other graduate degree program to determine which courses can double count. J.D. program tuition and scholarship will apply toward both degree programs until the student completes the J.D. degree. If the student completes the J.D. degree prior to completing the other graduate degree, the student should consult with the graduate degree program advisor and the Graduate School with regard to tuition cost for completing the graduate degree as well as any available financial aid.
Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC)
The Mabee Legal Information Center (MLIC) holds more than 430,000 volumes and features a solid general legal collection as well as specialized collections in energy and environmental law and Native American law. All MLIC users have access to a vast number of law-related electronic resources, including LEXIS and WESTLAW. In addition, the MLIC houses two student journal offices, the Board of Advocates, and the Public Interest Board. The Utsey Family Native American Law Center is a beautiful and inviting reading room featuring Native American rare and primary resources and artwork representing all the Oklahoma tribes.
Boesche Legal Clinic
The Boesche Legal Clinic, through the Immigrant Rights Project, the Public Defender Clinic, and the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic, operates as a law firm. Students gain experience interviewing and counseling clients, negotiating with attorneys, planning cases, conducting factual investigations, drafting documents, examining and preparing witnesses, working with federal, state, and local government agencies, and providing written and oral advocacy and community education workshops.
In the Immigrant Rights Project, students represent non-citizens in immigration matters, and work collaboratively with other community organizations and leaders in larger advocacy projects. Clients include persons seeking relief based on victimization such as domestic violence, human trafficking and targeted persecution in their home countries. Students may also provide consultation, Know Your Rights information and representation for non-citizens subject to removal and immigration detention. Students have traveled numerous times to the southern border of the United States to provide volunteer legal services to persons fleeing brutality in their home countries who are detained or forced to remain in refugee camps in Mexico. A team of lawyers and students recently won a rare victory in a case tried in the tent courts on the border.
In the Public Defender Clinic, students will work on Project Commutation, a program developed by the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office in collaboration with Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, the TU College of Law, and various treatment providers and social service organizations throughout Oklahoma. Students work to commute the sentences of individuals incarcerated for former felonies that are now classified as misdemeanors. Students will interview incarcerated individuals, prepare cases for hearing in front of the Pardon and Parole Board and ultimately advocate for clients at those hearings. To date, Project Commutation has helped over 140 individuals secure release from prison, with hundreds more in the process. In January 2020 alone, the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board recommended relief for 76 individuals assisted by Project Commutation.
In the Terry West Civil Legal Clinic, students engage with access to justice issues that marginalized populations face. For example, students represent clients in civil litigation while also conducting know your rights trainings around legal rights and processes. Students have also developed advocacy projects linked to the experiences of their clients in the legal system. Students learn essential lawyering skills, including written and oral advocacy, client interviewing and counseling, strategic thinking, public interest lawyering, and community lawyering/advocacy. Cases may involve eviction proceedings, cost docket representations, or other civil needs.
Price and Turpen Courtroom
The Price and Turpen Courtroom, designed for the future of legal instruction, includes a state-of-the art sound system, broadcast and recording capabilities, videoconferencing technology, and wireless network access. The room is a working courtroom and the venue for several Oklahoma civil and criminal cases each year.
The externship program offers 2L and 3L students the opportunity to earn academic credit while gaining practical client experience in the field. Students work in a legal setting under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney or judge while also taking a contemporaneous academic course which provides the opportunity for reflection and additional substantive knowledge. Externships provide students the opportunity to move from thinking like a lawyer in the classroom to thinking like a lawyer in a practice setting through work on real cases and legal issues. Opportunities exist in a broad range of civil and criminal litigation as well as transactional law. Placements include courts, law firms, government agencies, non-profit organizations and corporate legal departments. Full semester out-of-state placements are available during the summers and/or the last semester of the 3L year.
Sustainable Energy and Resources Law Program
The Sustainable Energy and Resources Law (SERL) Program has three principal objectives: 1) offer comprehensive training in the fields of energy, environmental, and natural resources law; 2) produce nationally and internationally recognized scholarship and research that contributes to the public policy debate; and 3) facilitate communication among the many individuals, companies, organizations, and public bodies interested in energy, environmental and natural resources, with the expectation that such communication will lead to more enlightened national and international laws and policies.
SERL accomplishes its objectives through an advanced curriculum; the scholarship and public presentations of the SERL faculty and members of the SERL Board of Visitors; publication of the Energy Law Journal in conjunction with the Energy Bar Association; publication of the Environment, Energy, and Resources Law: The Year in Review in conjunction with the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; and student-centered co-curricular activities in conjunction with the student-led Resources, Energy, and Environmental Law Society (REELS). SERL’s curricular offerings include a concentration in Sustainable Energy and Resources Law. SERL’s co-curricular activities include opportunities to work and network with members of its partner organizations, including the Energy Bar Association; the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; REELS; and the SERL Board of Visitors, composed of leading energy, environmental and natural resources professionals.
Associate Clinical Professors
Caroline Guerra Wolf