Our JD program lets you design your own path with both traditional and unique course offerings. At Wake Forest University School of Law, we want you to explore areas of the law that matter to you. Our faculty ensure your education is taught at the highest level in classes that are intentionally small and foster a collegial learning environment.

First-Year Curriculum

Build legal foundations in small classes that demand more of you. We pair a traditional first-year course schedule with our Professional Development course. Professional Development links legal theory to legal practice and helps you discover your individual strengths and interests.

Second- and Third-Year Curriculum

You’ll design your own path with a faculty mentor who will help you craft your upper-level course plan to support your career goals. Whether you’re in the classroom or engaged in a hands-on learning experience, you can immerse yourself in traditional courses of study or more nuanced areas of the law.

Learn More About the JD Degree Requirements »

Experiential Learning

Practice What You Learn

Let experience shape your education from the very beginning. Pro bono work is an instrumental part of your first-year experience. Our legal clinics provide you with a number of options to put legal theory into action. And with our multiple externship opportunities, you’ll be able to spend summers and even semesters gaining practical experience from employers while earning school credit.

Clinics and Externships

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Appellate Advocacy Clinic

Handle an appeal from start to finish. You’ll serve low-income clients in civil and criminal appeals in a variety of appellate courts, including the Fourth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit.

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Child Advocacy Clinic

Represent children and their families. You’ll help youth in high-conflict custody cases, civil domestic violence actions, and education-based disputes.

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Community Law and Business Clinic

Work with nonprofits, start-up businesses, and artists. You’ll gain knowledge of transactional practices in a complex legal and regulatory environment.

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Elder Law Clinic

Assist aging clients and their families with advanced directives, wills, guardianship, fraud, and other legal matters. You’ll develop your interviewing skills, oral advocacy, and medical knowledge while gaining practical experience in elder law.

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Innocence and Justice Clinic

Work on death penalty cases at the trial level. You’ll learn more about the causes of wrongful convictions while applying this knowledge to real investigations that can prove a client’s innocence.

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Micro-Trade Clinic

Explore issues of development and trade while studying abroad in Nicaragua. You’ll assist micro-trade enterprises in Central America that export products to the U.S. all while learning more about the culture of Nicaragua.

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Veterans Legal Clinic

Advocate for North Carolina military personnel. You’ll help active-duty service members, reservists, veterans, and non-affiliated veterans.

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Geneva Externship Program

Intern for government or nonprofit organizations in Geneva, Switzerland. You’ll focus on international agencies while gaining practical experience in a legal and regulatory environment outside the U.S.

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Litigation Externship Clinic

Appear in district courts and present arguments on behalf of clients during a semester-long dual placement in civil and criminal law. You’ll be placed with supervising attorneys in both the public and private sector in a wide range of practice areas.

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D.C. Externships

Spend summers and even a semester gaining practical experience in Washington, D.C. You’ll have the opportunity to work in firms, corporate settings, for-profit and nonprofit organizations, agencies, and courts, all while residing in the nation’s capital.

Pro Bono

The Pro Bono Project helps our students partner with attorneys in nonprofit organizations, private practices, and legal services organizations. As developing citizen lawyers, you’ll grow your legal knowledge with practical experiences in the community beginning in your first year.

Court Proceedings

Witness appellate and business court proceedings only steps away from the classroom. Wake Forest School of Law hosts federal and state courts of appeals and even shares a home with a North Carolina Business Court, which hears corporate and commercial law disputes. With multiple opportunities throughout the year, you’ll be encouraged to enrich your curriculum by attending court and discussing it in the classroom.

Law Journals

Write Like a Scholar

You’ll have the opportunity to write and publish scholarly articles and journals that are devoted to numerous areas of law. Your experiences with a Wake Forest law journal will help you write like a scholar and stand out to future employers.

Academic Engagement

Start with Success

Learning in law school is not like learning in most college programs. Many very good students are initially surprised by:

  • The type and amount of reading required
  • The structure of classroom instruction
  • The likelihood that a single exam will determine the grade for the entire semester

Our Academic Engagement Program (AEP) helps first-year students achieve their academic potential. All first-year law students are encouraged to attend general workshops which include writing effective exam answers, class material outlining strategies, and practice exam sessions. In addition, AEP provides small group instruction sessions, structured study groups led by second- and third-year law students, and individual academic mentors.