The freedom of speech, press, and assembly, the right to vote, the freedom from involuntary servitude, and the right to equality in public places are among the most basic human dignities afforded Americans by our constitution. Temple's comprehensive civil rights curriculum addresses complex constitutional law issues at the forefront of both legal discourse and social conversation. The faculty's scholarly expertise in subjects such as free exercise of religion, equality of race, gender and sexual orientation, and freedom of speech is informed by their participation as attorneys in civil rights cases and their activism in community organizations. Temple's civil rights law curriculum draws critical current issues and controversies into a range of courses unparalleled for their scope and depth of subject matter.
Perhaps the most commonly appreciated area of law, criminal law involves prosecution by the government for an act that has been classified as a crime. Temple's criminal law curriculum provides students with a unique under-standing of the balance between government and individuals in violation of public law. Because the primary setting of a criminal law practice is the courtroom, criminal law attorneys must be skilled trial advocates. Temple students who intend to practice criminal law have the benefit of a renowned trial advocacy curriculum and several litigation clinicals.
Temple's criminal law faculty have served on state and national law enforcement commissions, in the offices of federal and state prosecutors and public defenders, and as court-appointed counsel to criminal defendants. Acknowledging the importance of this area of study, Temple requires that students take Criminal Law I and strongly encourages students to take Criminal Procedure I, regardless of their chosen specialty.
Since the first celebration of Earth Day in 1970, environmental issues have been the focus of public attention and legal debate, both in the U.S. and abroad. Temple's environmental law curriculum combines rigorous coursework, advanced writing seminars, and clinical and extracurricular opportunities to allow students to master the statutory basis of current environmental law and to think creatively about legal responses to environmental challenges.
To support the environmental law curriculum, the Law School offers a clinical with the Delaware Riverkeeper, an organization that seeks to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local clean water acts. Temple students can also participate in both the Temple Journal of Science, Technology, and Environmental Law and the Environmental Law Society, which sponsors student-led discussions and a speaker series, bringing attorneys and advocates to campus for presentations and discussions on a variety of issues.
Family law explores the legal regulation of the most basic unit of our society. Temple offers family law courses that consider the manner in which state and federal governments shape policies that affect families, as well as legal issues involved in the creation and dissolution of marriage, such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. But, the study of family law is much more than the study of state laws governing divorce, custody, and support. Indeed the modern practice of family law requires mastery of real estate, tax and business law, as well as domestic relations. Family law practitioners also need to hone their litigation, mediation, and counseling skills. Temple provides a family law curriculum that combines rigorous classroom study, writing seminars, and practical clinical experiences.
The complexities of American health care and the ongoing debate about the future of health care in our country have increasingly commanded national attention. Temple's health care law curriculum explores how the legal profession's role in the health care industry has become increasingly pervasive as crucial ethical and philosophical decisions, such as who should get health care or be able to refuse it, are often turned over to lawyers to resolve.
Health care regulation and financing can also be an important part of a business lawyer's transactional practice. And, the regulation of health care quality through the tort system can be an important part of a litigation practice. Temple Law School prepares students to meet the challenges of this dynamic field and to practice in the wide range of substantive areas that comprise health care law.
Jurisprudence is the study of legal history and the philosophy behind law, how laws change through time, and how society influences the creation of new laws. The study of jurisprudence provides lawyers with a measure of professional literacy by introducing students to the historical development of legal scholarship. It also deepens students' practical ability to use law in concrete situations in the same way that studying a computer operating system would improve one's practical ability to use specific software.
Temple's jurisprudence curriculum allows students to explore law theoretically as well as practically and encourages students to sharpen their critical and analytical skills so that they will become thoughtful practicing attorneys and active law reformers. Jurisprudence courses afford the opportunity to evaluate and criticize our legal system, to consider the relationship between law and justice, and to reflect upon alternative schemes of legal regulation. Students come away with an understanding of the fundamental and unavoidable role that value choices play in the resolution of legal disputes.