University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law #umkc #school #of #law


University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law


The University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law (UMKC) takes pride in being the urban public law school with the small liberal arts feel. UMKC serves and collaborates with the legal communities in two major metropolitan areas of the states of Missouri and Kansas. 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.

UMKC law school graduates hold important positions in legal arenas across the country, distinguishing themselves in private practice, government service, academia, and corporate roles. UMKC is one of only six law schools to have educated both a president of the United States and a US Supreme Court justice. Many other UMKC alumni currently serve as judges at the federal, state, and local levels.

UMKC School of Law is committed to providing a high-quality legal education in a professional and supportive environment, concentrating always on the foundations of good lawyering: respect for people, knowledge, ideas, and justice. UMKC is one of the most student-friendly law schools in the country, with outstanding student-faculty interaction and alumni providing mentoring to our students through the UMKC Inns of Court program.

Founded in 1895, the school is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).


Our faculty are outstanding scholars and excellent teachers who use their extensive practice experience to bring the curriculum to life. For example, Professors Tony Luppino and Bob Downs teach a Business Organizations Lab along with their doctrinal course that allows students to practice the skills they are learning. And, under the guidance of seasoned trial lawyer Rafe Foreman, Douglas Stripp Dean’s Distinguished Professor and Director of Advocacy, students learn to see advocacy in action by strategizing, developing, and trying cases both for competition and actual practice. Our faculty are nationally recognized in their areas of expertise. For example, Professor Doug Linder’s Famous Trials website receives seven to nine million hits per month, and Professor Bill Black speaks nationally and internationally on the financial crisis and the causes of (and potential cures for) the economic collapse. The faculty do this impressive work while taking time to know and interact with students on a regular basis.

Library and Physical Facilities

Office suites shared by faculty and students are designed to foster the exchange of ideas and to promote collegiality between faculty and students. The school has over 121,000 square feet of usable space, which includes our recently renovated Thompson Courtroom with viewing theater, the new Stoup Courtroom, and the new Tom and Vina Hyde Collaborative Instructional and Technology Library, ensuring that students learn in a technologically advanced environment.

The Leon E. Bloch Law Library combines the traditions of print media with emerging electronic media in preparing the lawyer for the future and supporting the legal community.


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 yearlong intensive Introduction to Law and Lawyering Processes course. The upper-level program includes a combination of required courses, as well as a broad selection of elective courses.

All first-year sections have 60 or fewer students, and first-year legal research and writing classes have no more than 24 students each. Among the 114 upper-division courses offered each year, 84 have an enrollment of fewer than 25 students, and 19 more have an enrollment of between 25 and 49 students. A law school strategies program that includes supervised, structured study groups, a lecture series, and weekly workshops is open to all students. Additional opportunities include a weeklong summer program, which is available on a limited basis.

While the school’s innovative Solo and Small Firm Initiative prepares students for general practice, those seeking more focused study can pursue one of our five emphasis areas: Litigation; Business and Entrepreneurial Law; Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law; International, Comparative, and Foreign Law; and Law in Service to Children and Families. 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.

A part-time day program is available for those students with family or career responsibilities who are unable to enroll on a full-time basis. Full-time students may graduate in two and one-half years by attending two summer sessions.

JD/MBA and JD/MPA Programs

The School of Law has established dual-degree programs with the Henry W. Bloch School of Business and Public Administration. The program allows 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 some credit hours. Applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of each school.

JD/LLM and Combined-Degree Programs

The School of Law has adopted combined-degree programs that 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 that required for the JD degree.

Student Activities

The law school’s location in a metropolitan area provides many opportunities for students to engage in real-life representation of clients in clinical programs. More than 50 percent of our students take advantage of internships and clinics that include UMKC’s Child and Family Services Clinic, Tax Clinic, Entrepreneurial Legal Services Clinic, and the Innocence Project Clinic. The school also offers a number of field placements. Students may also participate in our Pro Bono/Public Service Program designed to instill a sense of civic responsibility and meet the needs of those with limited means in the community.

Students obtain advanced skills development in trial and appellate advocacy through sequenced upper-level courses and competition participation. Students also participate in client counseling and negotiation competitions. UMKC teams frequently win regional and national honors in these competitions. UMKC has the best record of any law school in the country in advancing its teams to the national finals of the Negotiation Competition.

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 school, as do Black Law Students, Hispanic Law Students, Jewish Law Students, Asian Pacific Islander Law Students, Women Law Students, and Nontraditional Law Students. Additional student organizations specialize in many areas of interest, with over 30 total student groups. Students also have the opportunity to participate in study-abroad programs that visit China, Ireland, and Oxford, England. The school provides many opportunities for development of personal relationships that will last throughout one’s career.


The School of Law restricts the number of students admitted each year to achieve a favorable faculty-to-student ratio, providing the best possible legal education for each student enrolled. Because many more people apply to the law school than there are seats available, admission is highly competitive. While substantial weight is given to the LSAT score and undergraduate GPA, the law school and its faculty believe that using factors in addition to the LSAT and GPA contribute to an intellectually stimulating and diverse environment. These factors include racial, ethnic, cultural, gender, age, or other forms of diversity; triumphs over challenges and barriers based on societal discrimination or economic disadvantage; outstanding leadership qualities; serious and sustained commitment to significant public or community service; advanced or specialized educational achievements; accomplishments or qualities indicative of potential for contributing to scholarly and creative initiatives; and potential to provide high-quality legal services to clients.

Students may be admitted with a bachelor’s degree from an approved institution, or in appropriate cases, with 90 hours of acceptable academic work. Arrangements can be made to meet with students and faculty, visit a class, or tour the school.

Career Services

The Office of Career Services assists law students in exploring and defining career options. It also provides advice and assistance in résumé preparation and interviewing skills. The office sponsors a series of programs to introduce students to a variety of career opportunities. Participants in the school’s Judicial Clerkship Initiative have enjoyed a high placement rate in pursuing clerkships with state and federal judges.

Applicant Profile

University of Missouri—Kansas City School of Law

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