University of North Dakota School of Law

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

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

Founded in 1899, the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Law offers a high-quality legal education at an affordable price in an intimate environment that values our approximately 250 students as individuals. The School of Law has been a member of the AALS since 1910 and has been continually accredited by the ABA since 1923. UND Law is part of a nationally recognized doctoral research university of approximately 15,000 students, located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. A community of nearly 60,000, Grand Forks is in the heart of the Red River Valley on the North Dakota/Minnesota border. It offers a small-town feel with all the opportunities of an urban area and has a large legal community, including county, state, and federal trial courts.

Library and Physical Facilities

A $14.4 million building renovation and addition project was completed in the fall of 2015. The project included a 16,000-square-foot, three-story addition to the law facility, as well as a nearly full renovation of the existing law building and law library. The new addition features a new high-tech teaching courtroom, a case-study classroom, a mediation room, additional multipurpose meeting/seminar rooms and additional areas designated for student study and meeting space. The Thormodsgard Law Library has been renovated to reflect service, not shelving, and features designated space for cocurricular activities, including student-edited journals, moot court, and the Student Bar Association. The entire project reflects the character of the law school—serving students and the curriculum. Internet service can be accessed through building-wide wireless connectivity. Each year, the ceremonial VandeWalle Courtroom is used by the North Dakota Supreme Court; tribal, federal, and district courts; guest lecturers; and student trial and appellate arguments.

Curriculum

The School of Law offers a solid core curriculum designed to develop and refine our students’ skills in critical analysis and effective communication, instilling in them an appreciation of the values and responsibilities that accompany the profession of law. Our curricular mission is to produce well-rounded legal professionals with the necessary practice-ready skill set to serve as effective, innovative, and ethical leaders. It covers a period of three full academic years, which includes a prescribed curriculum for our first-year students.

Special Programs

The size of the student body is ideally suited for close professional contact with faculty, the visiting courts, legal professionals, and alumni. Our students are active in the governance of the school.

UND Law offers three certificate programs. The Certificate in Aviation Law capitalizes on the strengths of the nationally recognized Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, and provides an exceptional opportunity to study in an atmosphere featuring a world-class aviation program. The Certificate in American Indian and Tribal Law, in consultation with area tribes and Indian leaders, established the region’s first Northern Plains Indian Law Center. The center is a clearinghouse for American Indian legal materials and provides a forum for discussing and resolving legal issues confronting Indian tribes, the states, and the federal government. It also supports tribal advocacy training programs. Among the center’s programs are the Tribal Judicial Institute, the Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy, the Native American Law Project, and the Tribal Environmental Law Project. The Certificate in Energy, Environment and Natural Resources enables students to gain a solid foundation to practice in the areas of energy production, economic use of natural resources, and preservation. Completion of the certificate provides a fundamental understanding of the relevant law and emerging issues impacting North Dakota, the region, and the nation along with the companies in the industry.

UND offers joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration degrees in collaboration with the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, as well as a Juris Doctor/Master of Public Health specialization in collaboration with UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

The “practice-ready” approach to the legal education at UND Law is supported by many experiential learning opportunities. The UND Law Externship/Field Placement program provides students an opportunity to gain academic credit for participating in an off-campus work experience in a legal setting. Field placements are filled by UND Law students in public offices in North Dakota and across the country, nonprofit organizations, US attorneys’ offices, US district courts, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Eleven students participate in our North Dakota Legislative Internship Program. During each North Dakota legislative session, our students spend a semester in Bismarck, North Dakota working fulltime at the North Dakota State Capitol with the experienced attorneys at the North Dakota Legislative Council and the North Dakota attorney general’s office.

The UND School of Law Family Law Clinical Practicum begin in the spring of 2021. The practicum allows students the opportunity to develop their legal writing and advocacy skills while gaining real-world experience with clients in a faculty-supported setting. The program grounds itself in development of practical skills necessary to move family law cases from initial client interview to judgement with student attorneys conducting client and witness interviews, making court appearances, managing the client’s file, preparing written documents, organizing discovery, and applying the rules of civil procedure while explaining the legal process to the client.

UND Law has partnered with the Minnesota Innocence Project to bring the project to North Dakota. Students gain valuable experience while working on cases of people wrongfully convicted of crimes. Students have other experiential learning opportunities through simulations courses, student skills competitions, and summer scholarships and grants.

The school has an extensive Trial Advocacy Program in which students learn trial skills in a simulated advocacy setting under the close supervision of experienced trial lawyers. In addition, students participate in the internal Carrigan Cup trial competition as well as the external Trial Team.

UND Law is one of approximately 80 law schools in the United States that have a chapter of the national legal honorary society, the Order of the Coif.

Admission

The School of Law has no specific undergraduate course prerequisites and agrees with the observations made in the Statement on Prelaw Preparation. The school admits students only in August and only for full-time study. Paper applications are available upon request. The policy of the faculty of the School of Law is to admit those applicants who, in the determination of the faculty, will be able to satisfactorily complete the law school program. The admission committee utilizes the following criteria to achieve this goal:

  1. LSAT score
  2. undergraduate GPA
  3. past performance in an academic environment
  4. past performance in activities that would tend to predict the applicant’s ability to successfully complete the law school program
  5. other evidence relevant to predicted success and prospective professional responsibility

The total number of students admitted is, of course, limited by considerations involving space and faculty course load.

The law school does not have a nonresident quota; however, preference is given to residents.

Students who have begun the study of law in other accredited law schools may be admitted with advanced standing provided they have fulfilled the requirements for admission to the UND School of Law. Ordinarily, no transfer credit will be allowed for more than two semesters of work completed elsewhere, nor will transfer credit be given for any courses in which an unsatisfactory or failing grade has been received. Moreover, admission may be conditioned upon meeting such additional requirements as the faculty may prescribe. No student who is ineligible to continue as a student at his or her present law school will be admitted as a transfer student with advanced standing.

Student Activities

Our students participate in a variety of activities and organizations that build their leadership and professional skills while serving our community. A sampling of the organizations includes the Environmental Law Society, Law Women’s Caucus, Native American Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Public Interest Law Students Association, Student Trial Lawyers Association, and Student Bar Association. The North Dakota Law Review provides research and writing opportunities, and students participate in local, regional, and national moot court activities, with the North Dakota Supreme Court judging the in-house competition final argument each fall. The School of Law has chapters of the Order of the Coif, Order of the Barristers, and legal fraternities. A popular fall activity designed to bring UND’s two professional schools together is the Malpractice Bowl, pitting law students against UND medical school students in an annual flag football game.

Expenses and Financial Aid

With a high-quality program and affordable tuition, UND School of Law is consistently recognized as a best value law school. Tuition and fees per semester for students averaging 15 credit hours in 2021–2022 were $8,120 for in-state residents, $11,752 for contiguous states, and $15,383 for nonresidents. The semester fees include student activity, professional, and university fees. The student activity and university fees cover payment for health services, the university center, campus publications, and drama and athletic events. Fees are subject to change without notice. Loan funds for all qualified students are available through the university Student Financial Aid Office.

Housing

The university has a comprehensive housing system with options, including family housing, student apartment housing, and traditional residence halls for single students. For more detailed information, visit the housing website.

Career Services

The Career Services office assists students and alumni in the development of a personal career plan and provides guidance throughout the process. The office coordinates and sponsors a professional success program that features speakers and workshops on a variety of topics, including legal and alternative opportunities, job-search strategies, work-life balance, debt management, interviewing, and writing effective résumés and cover letters. The office also manages an online job board and coordinates the on-campus interview program, featuring public and private employers and state and federal judges.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at North Dakota:

2.99 to 3.59

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at North Dakota:

145 to 151

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at North Dakota:

2.99 to 3.59

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at North Dakota:

145 to 151

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at North Dakota:

2.99 to 3.59

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at North Dakota:

145 to 151

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

215 Centennial Drive, Stop 9003,
Grand Forks, ND 58202,
United States