Family Law Certificate Program
In May 2010, the Howard University Board of Trustees approved the Howard University School of Law’s (HUSL) proposal for offering a Family Law Certificate to qualified students.
This certificate is the first certificate that has been offered at HUSL. Professor Cynthia R. Mabry drafted the initial proposal and received thoughtful suggestions and feedback from Professor Laurence C. Nolan, Associate Dean Okianer Christian Dark, HUSL’s Academic Programs Committee, Associate Provost Joseph Reidy and HUSL students.
HUSL faculty unanimously approved the proposal in May 2009. University administrators approved the proposal in early May 2010.
Professor Mabry is the current Faculty Advisor of the Family Law Certificate Program.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 806-8067.
Howard Family Law Certificate Newsletters
On May 8, 2010, the first HUSL graduates who qualified for the certificate were: Jelani Freeman, Sasha Buchanan, Natasha Hodge, Rachel Yau, and Michelle Rose.
To learn more about the Family Law Certificate program requirements and to download an application, please scroll down to the bottom of this page.
Howard University School of Law Family Law Certificate Program
The Howard University School of Law offers a Family Law Certificate (Certificate) to qualified students.
I. Purpose and Goal
The Certificate is offered to HFLS members to acknowledge the legal education, work, community service and law school activities that they have engaged in during their tenure at the Howard University School of Law (HUSL) as well as to acknowledge that they have a demonstrated interest in the specialty of Family Law. When they receive the Certificate, award recipients will be able to place the award on their resume. Their active involvement in the HFLS as well as their academic accomplishments in taking several Family Law and Family-Law related courses and acquiring legal experience will help them to obtain employment in this practice area.
To obtain a Certificate, each candidate must:
Be an active member of the Family Law Society;
Be a current member (have paid membership dues unless a hardship waiver has been granted);
Be a graduating third year student; and,
Complete all other Howard University School of Law’s requirements for the Juris Doctorate degree.
III. Course, Activity, and Grade Requirements
A. General Curricular Requirements
Each certificate candidate must satisfy all of the following requirements:
- Complete at least eighteen (18) credit hours of Family Law and Family Law-related courses (courses in which a significant amount of class time is devoted to discussion of family law issues such as property ownership) that appear on the list of approved courses below in addition to the required course of Family Law. Candidates strongly are advised to select as many bar courses from the list of approved courses as possible.
- Complete at least one approved Family Law seminar that requires writing a substantive paper (one that satisfies Legal Writing III requirements) on a Family Law topic. Approved seminars are listed below. A certificate candidate must submit a copy of the paper that will be considered for satisfaction of this requirement with the certificate application. Candidates may use the same paper to satisfy HUSL’s Legal Writing III requirement and the certificate requirement.
- Complete a total of fifteen (15) hours of community service during the candidate’s three years of study at HUSL. Students must complete one legal internship or externship to fulfill a substantial part of this entire requirement to gain practical knowledge of Family Law and for resume enhancement.
- Earn a minimum grade of 80 or above in the Family Law survey course.
B. Approved Courses
1. Required Course: Credit Hours Family Law (a bar course) 3 (minimum grade of 80 required) 2. Additional Bar Courses: Agency, Partnership and Unincorporated Business Associations 3 Constitutional Law II 3 Corporations 3 Estate and Gift Tax 3 Federal Income Taxation I 3 Real Property 3 Wills, Trusts and Estates 3 3. Seminar Courses: Adoption Law (a bar course) 3 Children and the Law 3 Gender and the Law 3 Genetics and the Law 3 Independent Study
(for 3Ls only)
2 Law and Aging 3 Marshall Brennan Seminar 3 (partial credit awarded) 4. Skills Courses:
(Applicable only when a family law problem or case file is used)
Criminal Justice Clinic 6 (partial credit awarded) National Moot Court 2 Pretrial Litigation Practice 3 Trial Advocacy 2 Externship 3 5. Other Approved Courses: Alternative Dispute Resolution (theory) 3 Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights and Remedies 3 Education Law 3 Estate Planning 3 Health Law 3 Immigration Law 3 International Human Rights 3 6. Externships and Internships:
(family-law focus; Family Law is a prerequisite) Judicial Internship (with a family court judge, juvenile judge or magistrate; Family Law is a prerequisite)
To qualify, an externship or internship must last for at least one semester during an academic term or at least eight weeks during the summer. Externships and internships must comply with all other requirements set forth in the Howard University School of Law Student Affairs Guide.
For certificate purposes, the candidate is not required to receive credit for the externship or internship. However, the candidate’s satisfactory completion of the externship or internship requirements must be documented with a letter from a supervising attorney or judge.
HUSL students must take all required courses at HUSL. As the HUSL curriculum develops, additional courses may be approved for satisfaction of certificate requirements. Any additional courses or consortium courses (those offered at pre-approved law schools) must be pre-approved by the Associate Dean of Student Affairs and the HFLS faculty advisor.
When the HFLS faculty advisor receives a completed application for a certificate, the (Records Office) personnel to obtain certification that the candidate has completed requisite courses and, where applicable, the Records Office will certify that the candidate has met the grade requirement.
7. Additional Course Offerings
The certificate program as described herein is self-contained. Ample electives which candidates may select for completion of certificate requirements already are offered. The only potentially anticipated change in the proposed program at this time is that if relevant courses are added to the curriculum, students may enroll in those courses and receive credit for successful completion of those added courses. Periodically, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the faculty advisor will confer to ensure that the program is functioning properly.
Candidates must complete a total of fifteen (15) hours of community service during their three years of study at HUSL. For consideration, the community service must be in support of families. Service in the legal field, such as participation in the Alternative Spring Break program, is preferred but not required. Satisfactory completion of a legal externship or judicial internship with a family court judge will satisfy this requirement. Lists of volunteer opportunities, local family courts, and family law attorneys will be posted on the HFLS TWEN site. For these purposes, documented community service will be construed broadly. For example, a candidate may volunteer at a soup kitchen that serves families or organize a toy drive for children in a local community.
V. Admission requirements:
A. Eligibility Requirements
Be an active member of the Howard Family Law Society (HFLS);
Be a current member (have paid membership dues unless a hardship waiver has been granted);
Be a graduating third year student at HUSL who is in good academic standing; and,
Complete all other HUSL requirements for the Juris Doctor degree.
Transfer students (students who transfer from other accredited law schools to HUSL) who provide documented proof of satisfactory completion of comparable listed courses may apply for a certificate if they meet all certificate qualifications. Such students are encouraged to seek advisement from the faculty advisor regarding eligibility for the certificate as soon as possible after enrollment in a course of study at HUSL.
B. Application Process
The Family Law Certificate Program Application will be posted on the HFLS TWEN site. Interested students must meet with the faculty advisor at least once and as early as possible for advisement, to discuss certificate requirements and to ensure that the student will qualify for a certificate. Upon completion of certificate requirements, the candidate must download the application and complete it.
The following items:
1) a certified transcript from the Office of Student Affairs’ Records Office,
2) an appropriate seminar paper, and
3) a letter of completion for an externship or internship must be presented with the application. After the candidate receives the Registrar’s verification, the candidate shall submit the application to the HFLS faculty advisor for final approval.
After the faculty advisor advises interested students about qualifications and eligibility requirements, the student solely is responsible for ensuring that he or she has complied with all certificate requirements in a timely manner.
VI. Proficiency examinations will not be required.
VII. Enrollment in courses at other University departments. Although interdisciplinary projects and educational lectures are planned and encouraged, this program will not require students to enroll in courses in other departments of the University.
VIII. Academic Policies
A. Grades: The certificate candidate must earn a grade of at least 80 (B) in the Family Law course and at least 75 (C+) in all other approved courses.
B. Time for Completion of Requirements: Satisfaction of the certificate requirements must occur during the candidate’s three years of study at HUSL. At its regular faculty meeting for certifying that students are qualified for graduation, the faculty will certify that the certificate candidates qualify for certificates. Qualifications shall include satisfaction of all certificate requirements and passing grades for all courses except for the grade of at least 80 that is required in Family Law.
updated: April 12, 2013