Juris Doctor (J.D.) Degree
At the University of Idaho College of Law, the Juris Doctor degree is a three-year program in which you work closely with faculty experts from a variety of backgrounds and with many decades of experience. In thinking about studying law close to home, students have the option to complete all three years in either Moscow or Boise.
About University of Idaho’s J.D. Program
The University of Idaho established the College of Law in 1909 and has maintained American Bar Association (ABA) accreditation since 1925. For more than a century, the College of Law has prepared students to become state and national leaders in law, business, and public service. Whether you want a legal career in private practice, the judiciary, government, business, education, or public interest, our academic programs equip you for success anywhere in the world.
Today, our Juris Doctor degree is one of the most affordable in the nation. Our approach for launching your career rests on two principles: providing an adaptable legal education and emphasizing the practical skills needed to secure a full-time legal position.
The J.D. Curriculum at a Glance
The J.D. curriculum is traditionally a three-year full-time program consisting of 90 semester hours, including an externship, along with a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono service. U of I uses a case method approach, following real-world decisions made by appellate courts and combining this structure with readings that offer greater insight into the judicial and legislative process.
Within this framework, students learn through classroom discussions, advanced readings, trial practice, simulations, problem-solving exercises, and hands-on learning. We invite you to become deeply engaged in your own education—to analyze, reflect, critique, and create—from day one.
Throughout the course of the program, students develop comprehensive legal expertise, high-level reasoning, and critical-thinking skills and exemplary written and verbal communication skills. You will gain a profound understanding of the lawyer’s ethical responsibilities as a representative of clients, an officer of the legal system, and as a public citizen with a special responsibility for upholding the highest standard of justice.
The J.D. curriculum further includes a professionalism education program that covers cultural competencies, appropriate professional behavior, law practice management, bias, and thought processes.
Over the years, the College of Law has gained a reputation for our Environmental Law program, as well as our courses in Business and Entrepreneurship Law and Intellectual Property. To specialize in one of these fields, J.D. students have the option to select one of three emphasis areas after completing their first year:
Because running a business comes with many legal hurdles, students selecting this emphasis learn to organize various business structures, negotiate transactions, and guard intellectual property and receive faculty mentorship along the way. After taking a set of core courses, Business Law and Entrepreneurship students concentrate the rest of their coursework on one of three tracks: Commercial Law, Enterprise Organization, or Intellectual Property and Technology Law.
A completely unique program offered at the University of Idaho, Native American Law focuses on the relationships and overlap among Tribal Law, Federal Indian Law, and State Law. Courses thoroughly cover Native American law, natural resource laws, and Tribal Nation Economics & Law.
Idaho is intertwined with its natural resources, both in terms of the beauty of the landscape and how they’re linked to the local economy. This emphasis examines where law, science, and society intersect and involves collaborating with U of I’s well-known natural resource, environmental, and agriculture programs.
Hands-On Experience That Serves Our Community
Experiential learning is at the heart of our J.D. program. Beyond learning from real-world cases, students build their experience for a career in law through multiple hands-on opportunities:
- Clinics: Through nine legal clinics split between Moscow and Boise, J.D. students provide high-quality legal services to underrepresented members of the community. Clinics assist under-resourced plaintiffs in family law, consumer protection, immigration, mediation, bankruptcy, tax law, and legal issues pertaining to startups and small businesses.
- Pro Bono Program: Reflecting the College of Law’s commitment to public service and social justice, J.D. students assist attorneys with their cases in legal service organizations, government agencies, private firms, nonprofits, and legislative offices.
- Externships: JD students work for select public agencies, nonprofits, and federal judges for credit, observing the organization and professional interactions and getting involved in legal research.
- Semester in Practice: This opportunity open to third-year students provides even more hands-on training to develop practical skills in a professional setting, including nonprofits, public agencies, and corporate legal counsel.
Dual J.D. Law Degrees
Some law students aspire to a career in business or want a greater understanding of environmental law before embarking on a career in natural resources. The College of Law’s concurrent degrees offer the opportunity to earn two professional graduate-level credentials, opening up additional career opportunities in the process:
- J.D./M.ACCT. (Master of Accountancy)
- J.D./M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration)
- J.D./M.S. in Accountancy, Taxation
- J.D./M.S. in Environmental Science
- J.D./M.S./Ph.D. in Water Resources (Law, Management and Policy)
- J.D./M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration)
JD Program Requirements
Individuals interested in applying to the College of Law’s J.D. program must:
- have a completed bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university;
- register with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) Credential Assembly Service (CAS);
- take the LSAT and submit their score; and
- prepare for an interview.
Learn More About the University of Idaho’s J.D. Degree
If you’ve envisioned yourself practicing law for the betterment of your community, work toward your goal with a J.D. degree from the University of Idaho. For questions about the program itself or application requirements, contact the College of Law by email, or request additional information today.
Our teaching form involves the case method supplemented by selected readings into the nature of judicial and legislative processes, simulated exercises and problem solving.
The College of Law offers four areas of emphasis from expert faculty with decades of experience who provide hands-on field work and clinical skills.