1. General Information
The University of Texas at Austin is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur GA 30033-4097, telephone number (404) 697-4501) to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.
The School of Law is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and is approved by the American Bar Association.
The mission of the University is to achieve excellence in the interrelated areas of undergraduate education, graduate education, research, and public service. The University provides superior and comprehensive educational opportunities at the baccalaureate through doctoral and special professional educational levels. The University contributes to the advancement of society through research, creative activity, scholarly inquiry, and the development of new knowledge. The University preserves and promotes the arts, benefits the state economy, serves the citizens through public programs, and provides other public service.
The primary function of a law school is to educate students for the learned profession of law. Consequently, it is the first aim of the administration to provide full-time legal educators as inspiring classroom teachers who are capable of training students in the process of legal analysis, clear and persuasive oral and written advocacy, and thoughtful participation in law reform and the formation of public policy. The School of Law is also concerned with two other functions: the advancement of knowledge about the law as a social institution and about the way the rule of law may most effectively serve social ends--a research function; and keeping the busy judge and practitioner abreast of new developments--a continuing legal education function. The research and continuing legal education functions, in turn, enrich the training and education of current students.
With an enrollment of about fifteen hundred students, the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin is one of the nation's largest law schools with day students only. The students are predominantly Texas residents; nonresident admission has been limited by the state Legislature to 20 percent of each entering class. The academic credentials of enrolled nonresidents are about the same as those of residents, but nonresident tuition is higher. The school is a national school in that the training received and the courses offered provide the necessary legal education for practice in any part of the United States where the legal heritage is the common law system of England. Hundreds of out-of-state law firms, corporations, and agencies actively recruit the school's graduates each year. There are more than nineteen thousand living alumni of the School of Law.
The University of Texas at Austin is committed to an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. In accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, citizenship, and veteran status. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is also prohibited pursuant to University policy.
Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) and disability (Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990). The University has designated the following persons as Coordinators to monitor compliance with these statutes and to resolve complaints of discrimination based on gender or disability.
The School of Law, then the Department of Law, opened along with the Department of Literature, Science, and Arts in 1883. The two departments occupied one building until the session of 1908-1909, when the Law Building was completed. This building served the needs of the School of Law until the completion in 1953 of Townes Hall, named for Judge John Charles Townes, dean of the school from 1907 through 1923. The enrollment, about six hundred in 1953, increased each year thereafter, necessitating additions to Townes Hall in 1964 and 1980. The 1980 addition is named Jesse H. Jones Hall in honor of the Houston philanthropist. These two connected buildings house the Joseph D. Jamail Center for Legal Research and classrooms, offices, and support facilities for the faculty, staff, and students of the School of Law. The John B. Connally Center for the Administration of Justice, completed in 2000, houses a working courtroom and some of the finest facilities in the country for clinical education and advocacy skills training.
The Joseph D. Jamail Center for Legal Research houses the Tarlton Law Library and other research facilities at the School of Law. The center supports the research and academic needs of the faculty and students, as well as the research needs of the University community and the public. Members of the public, including attorneys, may purchase a courtesy borrower card that allows them to use circulating materials outside the library. Students, faculty members, and staff members at participating university libraries in Texas have access to the law library's resources through the TexShare library resource sharing program.
With more than a 950,000 volumes, the Tarlton library is one of the largest academic law libraries in the country. In addition to a comprehensive collection of primary and secondary legal materials, the library has a broad interdisciplinary collection in the social sciences and humanities. Special collections include extensive foreign and international legal resources, more than 915,000 microform items in the media collection, the papers of former Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark of Texas, and a collection of recent winners of the American Bar Association's Silver Gavel Award. The library has been a selective depository for United States government documents since 1965 and a full depository for the European Union since 1963, and a selective depository for Canadian government publications since 2000.
In addition to printed matter, the library offers law students access to LEXIS and WESTLAW, the major on-line legal research services, and a variety of other legal and nonlegal electronic databases and information services. The library's Computer Learning Center provides a network of about eighty-two IBM-compatible personal computers for word processing and research. The library also maintains a Web site at http://www.law.utexas.edu/. Through this site, students, faculty members, the University community, the public, and alumni are linked to a wide range of Internet legal resources.
As a member of the Research Libraries Group, the library participates in the ShaRes Program, a consortium facilitating resource sharing among member libraries, and contributes cataloging data to the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN), a national computer system for shared cataloging. Through this network, the library has immediate access to the collections of other major research libraries throughout the country. The library also contributes information on its holdings to the Online Computer Library Center's WorldCat, the world's largest bibliographic database. The library's on-line catalog, TALLONS, provides immediate access to much of the library's own collection. Off-site access to the catalog is available on-line. TALLONS can be used in conjunction with UT Library Online, which provides entry to the physical and on-line collections of the University's General Libraries.
Contributing to the Tarlton library's ambiance is the Elton M. Hyder Jr. and Martha Rowan Hyder Collection, consisting of nearly four thousand prints, paintings, manuscript documents, pieces of furniture, quilts, rugs, and other materials. It illustrates the history of law and creates a unique and culturally enriching study and work environment for library users and staff members.
Because legal research can be technically demanding, members of the library's public services staff provide individual and classroom instruction in the use of the library's materials.
Students in the School of Law also have access to the resources of the University's General Libraries and Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center; these and the Tarlton Law Library constitute one of the largest academic libraries in the United States. Located across the street from the law school are the Center for American History, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, and the Edie and Lew Wasserman Public Affairs Library. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is also located on the University campus. The Texas State Library, the State Law Library, and the Legislative Reference Library, all located in the state capitol complex, are open to law students.
The breadth and depth of the curriculum is conveyed by the list of courses given in chapter 5. The following areas of the curriculum are of particular importance.
The School of Law is a nationally recognized and award-winning center of training in advocacy. The school's physical facilities for the teaching of advocacy and dispute resolution include the John B. Connally Center for the Administration of Justice, which houses a large, fully functional courtroom-with judicial chambers, jury deliberation rooms, and attorney conference rooms-and a number of teaching courtrooms.
The program focuses on all aspects of advocacy and helps students develop a core set of skills that will help them to be persuasive advocates to any audience. A variety of courses are offered that combine basic theory and techniques, client and case management skills, practical interdisciplinary experiences, and the philosophy behind the art of persuasion. Several courses also include sessions for students to practice advocacy skills and try cases before jury and judge.
The advocacy program houses a dedicated adjunct faculty made up of talented and experienced attorneys and judges. The classes are designed so that students have the opportunity to work in small groups with these instructors. The individualized instruction combined with both traditional and innovative advocacy theories provide students with a varied and well-rounded education in advocacy.
Often considered to have the best constitutional law faculty in the United States, the School of Law presents unparalleled opportunities for work on the range of issues that fall under constitutional law: the structure of government and the federal system, individual rights and liberties, and constitutional interpretation. Faculty members approach these issues from traditional doctrinal perspectives as well as from the perspectives of political science, philosophy, and history. Even lawyers who do not practice constitutional law will find that a knowledge of constitutional doctrine is valuable, because it is the most visible--and often the most controversial--area of the law, one which lawyers are often called upon to explain to their peers outside the profession.
People trained in corporate law and securities help to create, finance, operate, and regulate the business enterprises that account for the bulk of the world's economic activity. They bring corporations and partnerships into being, and help structure the stock and bond offerings, swaps and other derivitives, mergers, and other bond and securities transactions. Whether they are transactional lawyers, litigators, or regulators, they play central roles in the world of corporate and international finance in corporate boardrooms. They do this work within constraints primarily arising from market forces, varying notions of social responsibility, state corporate law, and federal securities regulation.
The School of Law offers excellent opportunities for students interested in the transactional, litigation, and regulatory aspects of this field. Few institutions can offer a similar combination of courses, faculty, and extracurricular activities.
The increasing number and complexity of international, federal, state, and local environmental laws afford legal practitioners challenging career opportunities. Practice in environmental law exposes an attorney to several legal disciplines, including contract, tort, property, constitutional, and administrative law. In addition, an environmental lawyer can fill an important role in helping to bridge the gap between technological and scientific advancements and complex political considerations. The School of Law offers exceptional opportunities for students interested in environmental law through its courses, journals, and extracurricular activities.
The School of Law provides an environment especially suited to the study of intellectual property law. A wide variety of courses in patent, copyright, and trademark law and entertainment and high-tech practice are offered; these core courses are supplemented by advanced offerings taught both by faculty members and by leading intellectual property practitioners from throughout the state. The curriculum in intellectual property is enhanced by strong extracurricular programs and by a high level of interest in the field outside the law school, both at the University and in Austin's legal, business, and artistic communities. The intellectual property law program has been ranked among the best in the nation for several years.
Today's lawyer in the public or the private sector must be prepared for a world in which national borders are becoming less significant and in which knowledge of United States law alone will not suffice. The School of Law offers one of the country's broadest ranges of faculty members, courses, and library resources in international and comparative law and has developed an international reputation for excellence in this field. Faculty members conduct research and teach in areas ranging from international trade and investment to human rights and immigration. Students express their interests through participation in an international law journal, symposia, exchange programs, and other activities. Graduates have gone on to practice for law firms, corporations, and international organizations.
An integral part of the law school's mission is to equip students to think analytically and critically about the intellectual and moral issues that underlie the law and the legal system. Debates in the political arena about the proper role of judges in interpreting the Constitution typically presuppose answers to classic jurisprudential questions; decisions about the proper scope of regulatory schemes often depend on philosophical views about social justice and equality; arguments among judges and legal academics about statutory interpretation often engage theoretical issues about the nature of language and meaning. For students contemplating a career in law teaching, issues in jurisprudence, philosophy, and social/political theory are an increasingly important part of academic preparation. But for all students, law school can provide an opportunity for sustained reflection on perennial ethical and political questions--questions that are vital to the student because of the power lawyers have to answer them in practice.
Traditionally, courses in labor law have been concerned with the federal law governing the relationship between labor, represented by a union, and management. Recent decades have seen the rise of the new field of employment law, spurred by the development of a broad array of statutory and common-law constraints on the workplace and the individual employment contract. The combined field of labor and employment law has become an increasingly rich and diverse area of legal practice. The field also affords a window on many of the most important legal developments of the late twentieth century: the tension among market forces, individual rights, and legal regulation; the expansion of the antidiscrimination mandate and the challenge of diversity; the explosion of litigation and the development of alternative modes of dispute resolution; the decline of unions and collective bargaining and the rise of alternative forms of employee involvement and representation. The law school faculty has one of the strongest labor and employment contingents in the nation.
A special strength of the law school is the curriculum in tax law, which is consistently ranked among the nation's top programs. The curriculum is designed to give students a thorough grounding in the policy and theory that underlie tax law, so that they will be prepared to deal with the rapid changes in details that inevitably occur in this field.
Tax law affects virtually everyone and will remain an important economic consideration for most clients for at least the next generation.
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23 January 2004. Registrar's Web Team
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