Purpose of Individualized Programs of Concentrated Studies
- Develop skills, values, and doctrines relevant to a particular concentration
- Sequence courses to maximize benefit to the student
- Recognize student achievement in a concentrated area of study
- IPCS must be developed by the student in cooperation with a faculty member qualified in the concentration.
- To complete a program, 15 credit hours must be taken in at least five upper level courses and approved by a faculty member as relevant to the concentration.
- IPCS must be declared before a student begins his or her third year of study.
Common IPCSs & The Faculty Advisors
While the IPCS allows you to create a distinct program of study to meet your needs, there are several IPCS that professors routinely sponsor:
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) teach students both substantive law and valuable skills not taught in other classes. The skills taught permeate all aspects of being a lawyer – from counseling clients, planning a course of action for your client, assessing cases, negotiating, mediating, and arbitrating. ADR classes also help students learn new theories for making decisions and counseling clients. This IPCS should be attractive to future employers as the skills learned in these classes are applicable in both legal and non-legal situations.
Constitutional law forms the foundation for our legal system, and this IPCS gives you a well-rounded, yet in-depth, background in how courts, legislatures, and administrative agencies interpret and apply constitutional principles. The courses suggested include general areas such as Administrative Law, Constitutional Law II (focusing on individual civil liberties protected by the First Amendment), Federal Courts, and Criminal Procedure, as well as courses on more specific topics such as National Security Law, Capital Punishment, and Sex-Based Discrimination. The common theme is that the courses substantively interact with constitutional principles on a regular basis to provide understanding of the ways in which the Constitution is involved in every day legal issues.
The IPCS in Criminal Law enables students to engage in an in-depth examination of the criminal justice system, which may help them pursue a career as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, or judge. In addition to a first-year Criminal Law course, which all law students must take, two core courses, Criminal Procedure and Evidence, emphasize the procedural aspects of the system, including how the accused are arrested, indicted, and tried before a jury. Students may take the Criminal Clinic course as part of the Lancaster County Attorney’s Office, one of the few prosecutorial clinics in the country. Other substantive courses students may take include Capital Punishment, Criminal Adjudication, Criminal Sanctions Seminar, Human Rights and International Criminal Law, Juvenile Law, and Mental Health Law.
Entertainment & Media Law
Entertainment law addresses a complex interaction of various substantive law subjects focused around the entertainment industry. Although the Entertainment Law course provides the required basics of the area, a concentration allows for more in-depth exploration of additional topics, such as Antitrust Law, Sports Law, Copyright, and Unfair Competition. This IPCS helps students apply principles from these courses to the unique legal problems that arise in the entertainment and media industries.
The IPCS in Environmental Law provides a solid grounding in the basic doctrinal concepts utilized by environmental lawyers. Students typically take core courses in Administrative Law, Environmental Law, and Natural Resources Law, which lay the foundation for more specialized courses, such as Land Use Planning, Agricultural Environmental Law, and Water Law Planning and Policy. With the constant national debate surrounding energy use, global warming, and alternative fuels, this concentration will signal to employers that you have the necessary knowledge to make a difference in the legal landscape as it relates to the environment.
Family Law is at the center of one of the most heated controversies of today: whether and how relationships should be regulated by the law. Students interested in how the law impacts intimate relationships should consider a concentration in Family Law. The core course, Family Law, covers law applicable to marriage and divorce; gender and sexuality; reproduction; and family law-related constitutional doctrine. The practice of Family Law is as diverse as families themselves, so students are encouraged to take a broad range of courses such as Juvenile Law and Immigration Law.
Human Resource Law
Human Resources Law focuses on the laws that govern employers with respect to the workplace and the retirement, health care, and other tax-incentivized benefits that employers provide to their employees. The primary emphasis of Human Resources Law is on counseling employers regarding compliance with federal and state laws and the alternative or early resolution of disputes so as to prevent expensive litigation and noncompliance penalties by governmental entities.
International Human Rights Law
International human rights law is assuming growing importance in today’s world, in which outrages upon human dignity are rampant and individuals are increasingly claiming violations of fundamental rights guaranteed in international law. It is helpful for U.S. lawyers, whatever their field of specialty, to have some knowledge of this body of law and to incorporate it in their legal arguments and practices. The International Human Rights Law IPCS is designed for students who are interested in this field and seek a career related to human rights law, criminal law, or international law. Students must take a core course that incorporates study of international human rights law, such as International Human Rights Law Seminar. They may also choose from a range of additional elective courses, including certain courses taught outside the Law College at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as part of the graduate specialization offered by the University’s Forsythe Family Program on Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs.
International Law has become an essential area for all lawyers to study, because international law issues can impact every part of the modern legal practice, from negotiating international business agreements to resolving Hague Convention issues in child custody and divorce cases. The International Law and the Transnational and International Criminal Law courses are highly recommended, and a number of other suggested courses are provided, including an American Foreign Affairs Law and Policy Seminar, Arms Control: Problems of Law and Technology, National Security Law, and Export Control Law. Whether you are planning a law practice focusing on international issues, a career involving international policy concerns, or even a job representing local clients, the International Law Concentration will help give you the necessary background knowledge to be successful.
Labor & Employment Law
Employers and employees are everywhere. During your career, you will likely have to deal with the law affecting the employment relationship. Specialties in labor and employment law can be particularly rewarding and will keep you busy in both economic boom times and recessions. The IPCS in Labor and Employment Law requires core courses of Employment Law and Employment Discrimination. Other courses available include Labor Law, Employee Benefits Law, and Arbitration.
Psychology & Law
Courts and policy makers perform a number of functions, such as competency determinations, civil commitment, eyewitness procedures, jury instructions, and child welfare assessments, that would benefit from the application and integration of various forms of psychological and related social science research. The Law-Psychology Program at UNL, founded in 1974, is the nation’s oldest, making Nebraska Law uniquely situated to offer an IPCS in Psychology & Law. The core course, Law & Behavioral Science, introduces students to the key issues at the interface of the two disciplines and the methods used to address those issues. Other recommended courses include: Mental Health Law, Topics in Psychology and Law (e.g., Eyewitness Testimony, Juries, Legal Decision Making, Psychology of Family Law; may be taken twice on different topics), Empirical Legal Studies, Capital Punishment, and Psycholegal Research. Additional elective courses taught in the Psychology department are also an option. A concentration in Psychology & Law will be useful for lawyers in practically any area of practice, but it is likely to be especially relevant for those contemplating a career in criminal prosecution or defense, family law, mediation, litigation, or mental health law.
Real Estate Law
The IPCS in Real Estate Law allows you to explore the numerous ways the law affects the buying, selling, and use of real property. The lawyer who aspires to practice in the real estate field needs a broad background in many different areas of substantive law that often intersect with real estate. The core course, Real Estate Transactions, examines the typical provisions found in the legal documents that govern the transfer and financing of real estate and related legal issues, with an emphasis on transactional drafting. Other courses available in the concentration include Land Use Planning, Construction Law, and Environmental Law, which provide a broad-based look at the various constraints on uses for real property.
Space, Cyber, & Telecommunications
Space industries are a $250 billion/year global market and growing rapidly. The telecommunications industry is a $1.4 trillion/year global market with continued strong growth anticipated. Both industries, as well as the cyber world, are global with the United States being the single largest actor. The space, cyber, and telecommunications industries share an overlapping legal regime to an extent and increasingly share concerns over common problems, including space traffic management and security and risk management of space assets. Moreover, knowledge of the regulatory regime impacting the internet and other cyber issues has become necessary in order to work with technology clients. In today’s world and in the future, a concentration in space, cyber, and telecommunications law will best equip lawyers in each of those fields to serve client needs – whether those clients be government or private sector entities.