The curriculum is comprehensive, demanding and intensive. It offers a distinctive program unavailable elsewhere in Asia.
The law program is a full three-year program including six traditional semesters and three summer sessions. The satisfactory completion of 83 hours is required for the Juris Doctor degree, earned normally over a three full-year program.
The satisfactory completion of 83 credits is required for the Juris Doctor, earned normally over a three full-year program including six semesters, and required summer sessions. The program requires full time residence study for the three year uninterrupted period. Exceptions are only by faculty approval based on a written request setting forth the reasons for the exception. In any event, all requirements must be met within a five-year period, and no waiver is available from this requirement except in the case of required military service. The five year completion requirement is consistent with the requirements of the American Bar Association’s accreditation standards.
As there are 14 weeks per semester, 1 credit at the law school amounts to 14 hours of classroom instruction. All graduates of the Law School will receive at least 1,162 hours of (83 credits X 14 hours) of classroom instruction.
Included in these 83 credits is one summer session or equivalent period of time serving as an intern or in a similar approved capacity with an advocacy group, public interest law firm, relief agency or other approved options. The law school will develop options that meet this requirement, but students may submit proposals for faculty approval of other options that meet the expectations of the faculty for the enrichment, service and educational expectations for such internships.
The curriculum is distinctive in its comprehensive coverage. The core curriculum currently includes the following key elements:
- - Basic coverage of substantive U.S. law typically included in bar exams, including: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal
Procedure, Property, Torts, Evidence, Commercial Transactions, Corporations, and Professional Responsibility.
- - Courses in international law including: International Business Transactions, Public International Law, and Comparative Law.
- - Introduction to Korean Law is included for Korean nationals who did not major in law at the undergraduate level.
- - Skills courses in Legal Writing/Research, Advanced Legal Writing and Advocacy, and Negotiation.
- - Perspectives courses in Christianity and Law and Jurisprudence.
- - Special coverage of core and elective courses in IP-IT, international business, and human rights.
Because of the scope of coverage, and the size of the student body, the curriculum is highly structured. A substantial part of the curriculum is required, though there are provisions for students to concentrate in areas of special interest. Given the nature of the student body and the University, special emphases are anticipated in technology, intellectual property, international public law, and international commercial practice.
The Core Curriculum includes those courses required of all students for graduation. The philosophy and focus of the Handong International Law School (HILS) mandates a comprehensive curriculum covering foundational legal philosophy, coverage of major areas of law typically included in U.S. bar exams, significant coverage of international and comparative law, a rich multi-disciplinary approach, and essential legal skills. The precise scope of that core may be adjusted from time to time by the faculty. Core courses are taken during the first, second, and third years of regular full-time study (66 credits/69 credits). All second year students are required to take part in the HILS Moot Court Competition held during the spring semester. In the second and third years, the curriculum consists of elective courses from which students may choose to complete the 105 credit hours.
Electives courses are offered in all the major areas: Perspectives, U.S. Law, International and Comparative Law, Korean Law, and Skills. Some of these courses tend to be small group seminars. Special attention is given to electives in the areas of U.S. law, international law, Asian legal institutions and legal development, and intellectual property and technology issues.
Special Curricular Components
In addition to traditional courses, the curriculum currently contains a number of distinctive elements including the following:
- - An Initial 5 Day Course in Foundations for the Study of Law: An intensive program of lectures, discussions and materials designed to introduce first year students to key legal concepts and principles in Western Law.
- - Experiential Requirement: One summer or its equivalent must be spent in an approved internship or clerkship with a law firm, public advocacy group, charitable organization, mission agency, or similar approved group that exposes students to contemporary issues and need, and preferably in an international context.