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Family Law Certificate

The Family Law Certificate is available for students who have a serious interest in the area of family law. The Certificate is an acknowledgment by the Faculty that the student has successfully completed a focused course of study addressing family law issues.

Course Requirements

Required Course

Family Law (LW 728 - 3 hours).

Optional Courses

Twelve (12) hours selected from any of the following courses:

  • Adoption (LW 887 - 2 hours)
  • Child Advocacy Training (LW 913 - 1-2 Hrs.)
  • Children in the Law (LW 885 - 2-3 hours)
  • Clinic: Litigation (Family Law, Juvenile Law) (LW 756 - 4-5 hours)
  • Collaborative Law (LW 931 - 1-2 Hours)
  • Comparative Family Law (LW 852 - 2 hours)
  • Decedents' Estates and Trusts (LW 915 - 3-4 hours)
  • Directed Research (LW 763 - 1-2 hours)
  • Divorce Practice (LW 716 - 2 hours)
  • Domestic Violence (LW 890 - 1-3 hours)
  • Elder Law (LW 932 - 2-3 hours)
  • Family Law Seminar (LW 754 - 2 hours)
  • Financial Issues in Divorce (LW 888 - 2 hours)
  • Gender, Sexuality, and the Law (LW 934 - 3 hours)
  • Human Trafficking Law (LW 775 - 2 hours)
  • Immigration Law (LW 815 - 3 hours)
  • Juvenile Offender (LW 886 - 2 hours)

The following course, if taken prior to Fall 2009, will meet the Optional Courses component for the Family Law Certificate:

  • Domestic Violence Seminar (LW 890 - 1-2 hours)

Writing Requirement

Complete a pre-approved upper level writing requirement (or equivalent writing project) on a Family Law topic. The upper level writing requirement may be satisfied by the Family Law Seminar, Directed Research, or an alternative writing opportunity approved in advance by the student's certificate advisor. The student must receive a grade of "B" or better on any graded paper.

Service Requirement

  1. Complete 12 hours of pro bono activities for children and family, either as a CASA, Horizon's Program, guardian ad litem, volunteer at Legal Services, the Battered Women's Task Force, or in some other capacity serving children and families.
  2. Participate regularly in activities of the Children and Family Law Student Society.

Lawyering Experience Requirement

Students earning a Family Law Certificate must complete a lawyering experience consisting of either the Clinic Internship (Family Law, Juvenile Law) or an externship that involves a lawyering experience in a family law or juvenile law placement. Family Law Certificate administrators, working together with the externship coordinator, will determine whether an externship meets the necessary criteria.

General Requirements

Any student interested in pursuing a Certificate in Family Law must first meet with a faculty member administering the certificate (Professor Linda Elrod) to declare their interest and plan their course of study prior to completing 40 hours. The faculty member and student will complete the "Meeting Summary" (27 KB PDF). This faculty member will also serve as the student's Certificate advisor and will approve any waivers or alternative courses allowed or required by the program.

The student must complete 90 hours of total law school credit and achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in courses used to satisfy the Certificate requirements.

Note: Students who declared their intent to pursue a Certificate prior to June 1, 2021, and who obtained a minimum grade point average of 3.5 for courses used to satisfy their Certificate requirements, will be awarded the Certificate in Family Law (with distinction).

Learning Outcomes

  • Students demonstrate an above average proficiency in a minimum of five specific family law topic areas in addition to the basic family law class.
  • Students demonstrate the ability to research and present scholarship with proper citations and documentation on issues relating to children and families.
  • Students advocate for families and children by participation in pro bono activities that support children and families in need through becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate for a child, participating in food and clothing drives, building houses for habitat, or other volunteer activities.
  • Students demonstrate an ability to interview clients, give advice, draft appropriate documents, and appear in court on behalf of a child or parent through clinic or externships.
  • Students learn to research and understand the role of other disciplines, such as psychology, medicine, social work, and the like in handling legal issues relating to children and families.

Approved by the faculty: May 2005
Effective: January 2006
Updated: November 18, 2022.

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Faculty Members
Photograph: Linda Elrod.

Linda Henry Elrod
Richard S. Righter Distinguished Professor of Law Professor

Courses offered within the law school curriculum are subject to change at any time.

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Certificates of Concentration

Students at Washburn University School of Law may distinguish themselves in the job market by earning a Certificate of Concentration. The areas of concentration can be completed within the traditional 90 credit hours required for graduation. While students do not declare majors because law school provides a broad foundational education, earning a certificate at Washburn Law allows students to formalize an area of specialization within the traditional law school curriculum.

Certificates may be earned in the following areas: