University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs

The University of Missouri—Kansas City (UMKC) School of Law is the urban law school of the University of Missouri System, located on a beautifully landscaped campus in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City. Founded in 1895, the school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. With its proximity to a state line, UMKC offers its students the opportunity to collaborate with the legal community in two major metropolitan areas of Missouri and Kansas, home to 150 federal agencies; federal, state, and local judicial systems; and a vibrant legal community. Students, faculty, and alumni actively lead and participate in professional activities with area bar associations, lawyers, and law firms, as well as government agencies and the judiciary.

As an early leader in practical training, its mission is “to prepare students to practice law with the competencies needed to integrate academic theory and practical skills to become expert problem-solvers and trusted advisors who serve their clients and their communities in the interests of justice, to provide expertise to benefit our many constituencies through scholarship and engagement, and to increase access to justice through research and service to our community.”

UMKC School of Law prides itself in preparing graduates who are truly ready to practice law. Our graduates hold important positions in legal arenas across the country, distinguishing themselves in private practice, government service, and corporate roles. We are one of only seven law schools to have educated both a president of the United States and a justice of the US Supreme Court. Many other UMKC alumni currently serve in politics and as judges at the federal, state, and local levels.

Its facilities include two modern, state-of-the-art courtrooms (one with an innovative viewing theater) and faculty suites with student offices and carrels to encourage faculty-student interaction. Our extensive library collection meets the research and information needs of students and the greater legal community.

Learn more about UMKC

Curriculum and Special Programs

The curriculum is designed to integrate theory with practical skills. Courses are taught in a variety of formats. Many of the substantive courses include problem solving, simulations, service learning, and the development of skills components essential to the practice of law. The first-year JD program offers a two-semester intensive Lawyering Skills course. The upper-level program includes a combination of required courses, as well as a broad selection of elective courses, including those in emerging areas such as legal technology and health law.

First-year course enrollment is typically 50–60 students, and first-year legal research and writing classes are generally 20–25 students. Among the over 150 upper-division courses offered, over 75 percent have an enrollment of fewer than 25 students, and 93 percent have an enrollment of fewer than 50 students.

UMKC offers both a spring start and a summer start program designed to provide students with a flexible scheduling option that will permit an earlier graduation or a more relaxed pace for the program, depending on how students schedule the remainder of their education.

Areas of Emphasis

Students seeking more focused study can pursue one of our six emphasis areas:

  • Business and Entrepreneurial Law
  • Child and Family Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International, Comparative, and Foreign Law
  • Litigation
  • Urban, Land Use, and Environmental Law

These emphases build on our long-standing tradition of excellence in these areas and prepare students to enter the job market with specialized knowledge and skills.

Practical Skills Training

UMKC offers a broad program of practical training to provide students with the skills that employers seek and solo- and small-firm practices require. Our program prepares students for the realities of practice today and into the future.

Simulation Courses

Students enhance their skills development through courses that include opportunities to practice advocacy, business planning, negotiation of mergers and acquisitions, investigation, mediation, and drafting in a simulated context.


Professors at UMKC are committed to training “trial-ready” advocates for the courtroom, board room, appellate courts, and beyond. Students develop advanced skills in trial and appellate advocacy through sequenced upper-level courses and through participation in domestic and international competitions. Students compete in mock trial tournaments all over the country from Chicago to Puerto Rico to San Francisco. In the past several years, UMKC has advanced to the semifinals in each competition in which they participated.

Students also participate in client counseling and negotiation competitions as well as a variety of transactional meets. UMKC teams frequently win regional and national honors in these competitions.

Lab Classes

Students can learn skills in labs associated with doctrinal courses. Examples include the Transactional Lawyering Skills Lab and Consumer Protection Lab.


Clinics and Field Placement

Students work under the supervision of faculty and field supervisors in settings such as state and federal prosecutor’s and defender’s offices, courts, government agencies, legal aid, and local sports teams.

More than 200 spaces are available in our in-house clinics and externship courses, representing children and families, low-income taxpayers, budding entrepreneurs, people denied unemployment compensation, and the wrongfully convicted. Additional opportunities for hands-on experiences are available through our Pro Bono Honors Program.

Solo and Small Firm Practice

Our graduates are prepared for any kind of practice, but many want to practice in solo and small firms. Our program, which includes innovative coursework and an incubator for new lawyers, is at the forefront of educating entrepreneurial lawyers. Developed with assistance from the Missouri Bar and the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Solo Practitioner/Small Firms committee, the incubator offers affordable office space, an office assistant, experienced mentor attorneys on site, and guidance in managing a legal practice.


UMKC offers its students an opportunity to participate on two nationally prominent law journals:

  • UMKC Law Review
  • Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

The Law Review is a scholarly legal publication that is managed, edited, and produced by UMKC students.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has chosen the school to assume editorial responsibility for its twice-yearly publication, the Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. A faculty member edits the journal with student editorial assistance.

Dual-Degree Programs

Our JD/MBA and JD/MPA programs are offered in collaboration with the Henry E. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration. These programs allow students to earn a JD degree and a Master of Business Administration or Master of Public Administration degree on an accelerated basis through cross-acceptance of credit hours. Applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of each school.

Our JD/LLM and combined-degree programs allow qualified JD students to apply, with approval, up to 12 credit hours of UMKC tax or estate planning courses toward an LLM on an accelerated basis, generally requiring only one additional semester (or two summer sessions) beyond those required for the JD program.

Student Life

International Study-Abroad Programs

UMKC offers a summer study-abroad program in Ireland where students can earn up to six credit hours. Students travel to Dingle, Dublin, and Wales where you will learn how the 27 European Union Member States legal systems accommodate EU laws within their own national systems.

We also offer two-week study abroad programs in Mexico and The Netherlands. In Mexico the study-abroad experience combines field experience learning about family law in Mexico with cultural and immersion opportunities. The trip to the Netherlands is part of a 1-credit course on International Criminal Tribunals. It includes trips to a variety of significant institutions. 

Student Activities

UMKC benefits from an active Student Bar Association, which represents students and plays an important role in establishing school policy. Three national legal fraternities have chapters at the law school, as do the following associations: Black Law Students, Latinx Law Students, Asian Pacific Islander Law Students, and Women Law Students. LGBT students and nontraditional law students are also represented in Outlaws and Older Wiser Law Students (OWLS). Additional student organizations, such as the ACLU, Animal Law Society, Health Law Society, Public Interest Law Association, and the Midwest Innocence Project Student Organization, provide our students with a variety of ways to get involved at the school and in the community.

Academic Support

The skill sets that make students successful in their undergraduate career may not directly translate to law school without some effort. Most UMKC Law courses are taught in the Socratic Method, where professors and students interact in a question and answer format to expose the takeaway rule of law from a given case. This encourages students to be active participants in class, rather than passive observers such as in a lecture-based class.

Law school exams are very different from undergraduate exams. In law school, your class grade is often solely determined by your performance on the final. Most exams are comprised of given fact patterns with essay responses, though some also include multiple choice sections.

The Law School offers a number of programs, which set our students up with the skills and strategies needed to succeed in their classes and careers.

Career Placement and Bar Passage

Our Professional and Career Development Center has been successful in assisting our students in exploring and defining career options. In conjunction with lawyers from the community, it provides advice and assistance in résumé preparation and interviewing skills. Participants in the school’s Judicial Clerkship Initiative have enjoyed a high placement rate with state and federal judges.

Our program also provides excellent preparation for taking the bar exam, and our students have enjoyed much success in several states, including Missouri, Kansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Georgia. Graduates have access to our special bar preparation course, which is one of the finest in the nation and boasts a pass rate of 96 percent on the Missouri Bar Exam for active participants.

Learn more about career placement at UMKC

Tuition and Aid

At UMKC, we are committed to providing students a quality legal education at an affordable price. All non-Missouri resident applicants receive a non-resident tuition scholarships, which serve to make the tuition a student pays equivalent to in-state tuition. In addition, all admitted students are considered for our merit-based scholarships. Financial assistance is also available in the form of federal loans and research assistantships.

Learn more about tuition & aid at UMKC

Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

Substantial weight is given to each applicant’s LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, although UMKC Law and its faculty also consider other factors in shaping an entering class. These factors, consistent with the University’s values of diversity, inclusiveness, and respect, include:

  • Advanced or specialized educational achievement demonstrating the potential for academic excellence in the study of law
  • Contributions to the cultural diversity of the School of Law
  • A history of overcoming challenges and barriers based on societal discrimination or economic disadvantage
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities
  • A significant and sustained commitment to public or community service
  • Other accomplishments or qualities that indicate the applicant will contribute to the School of Law’s academic and service missions.

UMKC School of Law admission practices reflect our belief that you are not merely a number. Through a holistic application review process, the Admissions Committee not only values your undergraduate course of study, academic performance, and LSAT score, but also carefully considers your whole application, including your personal statement and letters of recommendation.

Moreover, we are one of only a few law schools in the country that offers interviews as part of the admission process in order to meet the “you” behind the numbers. Qualified candidates are invited for an admission interview, and the Admissions Committee personally interviews applicants before an offer of admission is made. We encourage in-person interviews to allow applicants to visit the school, sit in on a class, and get a tour of the building from one of our student emissaries. The personal interview process provides the opportunity for applicants to learn more about our law school and to decide for themselves if UMKC is the right fit. We are happy to conduct interviews by phone or Skype as well.

UMKC’s desire to interview applicants before admitting them says a lot about how we treat our students. Every member of the faculty, administration, and staff believes in our goal of making the law school a genuine community with real, personal connections to every student.

The UMKC School of Law restricts the number of students admitted each year in order to maintain a favorable faculty-student ratio and to provide the best possible legal education for each student enrolled. Because many more people apply to the School of Law than there are seats available, admission is competitive.

Learn more about admission at UMKC

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Missouri-Kansas City:

3.22 to 3.75

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Missouri-Kansas City:

152 to 158

25-75% UGPA Range at Missouri-Kansas City:

3.22 to 3.75

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Missouri-Kansas City:

152 to 158

25-75% UGPA Range at Missouri-Kansas City:

3.22 to 3.75

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Missouri-Kansas City:

152 to 158

Contact Information

500 E. 52nd Street,
Kansas City, MO 64110,
United States
Phone: 816.235.1651