Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law is nationally recognized for trial advocacy and quality instruction. Our curriculum trains students to practice in all areas of law, including corporate law, trial advocacy, health law, environmental law and public interest law.

There are three components to the law school that combine to create its successful academic environment:

  • Collegial, scholarly interaction between its faculty and students
  • Lawyering and Legal Reasoning (LLR), a comprehensive, cutting-edge writing course that gives first-year students hands-on experience in skills necessary to be practice-ready on their first day
  • Our proximity to downtown Birmingham, one of the legal hubs of the Southeast, offers students an environment rich with opportunities for externships and extracurricular activities that enhance the classroom experience.

Curriculum

First-year Classes

During your first year at Cumberland School of Law, you will examine fundamental legal concepts applicable to all areas of practice— with an emphasis on legal analysis, legal writing, research and lawyering skills. (See Required First-year Classes)

Second- and Third-year Classes

Second- and third-year students typically take 15–16 hours each fall and spring semester. Course selection offers more flexibility, allowing for selection of elective courses in specialized areas. (See Required Second-year Classes)

Areas of Specialization

  • Business and Commercial Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Civil Rights Law
  • Criminal Defense and Prosecution
  • Environmental Law
  • Family Law 
  • Health Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • International Law
  • Municipal Law
  • Skills Development
  • Sports Law
  • Taxation
  • Trusts and Estates

View Curriculum

Externships

Corporate

Legal offices, banking, construction, health, real estate and patent offices participate in this program.

Government

Placements include government agencies such as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Internal Revenue Service, National Labor Relations Board or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Judicial

Many judges and magistrates in the Northern District of Alabama participate in this program.

Litigation

Students may be placed in the district attorney’s office, public defender’s office, Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of Metro Birmingham.

Public Interest

Organizations such as Coalition Against Violence, Birmingham Volunteer Lawyer Program and the YWCA Domestic Violence Clinic participate in this program.

*The Office of Clinical Education also works with students to set up externships outside of the Birmingham area to help them network and broaden their experience in their field of interest. Previous places of participation have included the United Nations, The Hague; Department of Justice, Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Section, Washington, D.C.; FBI, etc.

Graduation Requirements

Each candidate for the Juris Doctor must:

  • Complete ninety (90) credit hours of acceptable coursework with a passing grade in each course and cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or higher (at least 65 of which must be earned in regular law school classes).
    • Complete and earn a passing grade in all required courses, which include:
      • All first-year courses (Civil Procedure I&II, Contracts I&II, Criminal Law, Evidence, Lawyering & Legal Reasoning I&II, Real Property, and Torts);
      • Business Organizations; Constitutional Law Iⅈ Criminal Procedure; Professional Responsibilities; Secured Transactions; and Wills, Trusts & Estates.
    • Complete and earn a passing grade in six (6) credit hours of courses designated as “experiential learning” courses.
    • Complete and earn a passing grade in a course or seminar designated as satisfying the upper level writing requirement.
  • Be of good moral character, according to the standards of personal and professional integrity traditionally associated with the profession of law.
  • Receive the favorable recommendation of the faculty for the degree.
  • Pay all financial obligations due to Samford University.

For details regarding required courses and their sequence, time limits for completing the degree, grades, and courses that satisfy experiential learning and upper level writing requirements, please consult the Cumberland School of Law Student Handbook and Faculty Policies on Academic Standards.

Our Alumni

With more than 9,000 accomplished alumni in 48 states and abroad, Cumberland School of Law has produced a long list of distinguished graduates, including two United States Supreme Court justices, several governors, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and numerous federal, state and local judges.

Cumberland School of Law was recently ranked by The National Law Journal as a “Top 50 Go-To Law School” based on the percentage of 2011 graduates who took jobs at the nation’s largest law firms. This honor reflects highly on the reputation of Cumberland School of Law lawyers across the nation and the strong relationship between our alumni and the law school.

Cumberland alumni practice law, serve as judges and elected representatives, prosecute crimes as district and U.S. attorneys, teach and perform research, etc. Alumni have achieved great accomplishments such as working as director of the White House Office of Management and Budgeting, working with DiamlerChrysler AG or receiving the state of Florida Pro Bonon award.  Five of the last six presidents of the Alabama State Bar are Cumberland School of Law graduates.