Summer Start Program
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Summer Start Program: Jump Start to the First Year!

Law school is unlike any other learning experience. Drake makes the transition easier by offering its optional Summer Start Program to incoming first-year students. The program provides a unique opportunity for first-year law students to develop their law school skills one course at a time before full-time study in the fall. Participants have the flexibility to enroll in an upper level class during the spring semester of their first year and graduate a semester early if they elect to take courses in additional summers.

2015 Summer Start Program Course List


Summer Start Program Orientation: June 8 - 12, 2015

Studying the Law (0 credit): June 10 - 12

This course helps incoming students develop core analytical, reading and writing skills necessary for success in law school.  Students will learn how to brief a case, identify rules from court cases, apply rules to new fact situations, and communicate this application on law school exams.  

The Elements of Law (2 credits): June 15 - June 26

This course explores the legal process, focusing on the interrelationships between the various legal institutions and sources of law. Students examine the process of common law decision making, the operation of precedent and the construction of statues. Readings include the topics of law and economics, critical legal studies and comparative analysis.

Professor Keith Miller, Ellis and Nelle Levitt distinguished professor of law, received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his Masters of Laws degree from the University of Michigan. His areas of expertise include torts, product's liability, gaming law and worker's compensation.

Constitutional Controversies (1 credit): June 29 - July 7

This class will introduce students to the fundamental principles of the Constitution by focusing on one or two of the most controversial topics in the news related to constitutional law. This could include freedom of religion, affirmative action, hate speech, different concepts of justice, whether the constitution’s meaning can change over time, and other subjects. It will also provide key background on historical events relevant to the constitution’s interpretation, such as the Civil War and the constitutional amendments that followed (the Reconstruction Amendments), the significance of cases like Brown v. Board of Education, and the powerful role of the U.S. Supreme Court in American history. Further, the class will briefly discuss constitutional developments across the globe that are of interest in the U.S.

Professor Mark Kende, James Madison Chair in Constitutional Law and Director of the Drake Constitutional Law Center, received his B.A. from Yale University and his J.D. from the University of Chicago.  Professor Kende is an internationally prominent scholar on comparative constitutional law and U.S. constitutional law. 


Criminal Law (3 credits): July 8 - August 3

This required, first-year course covers the substantive law of crimes and criminal responsibility, emphasizing criminal law theory and its application, against a background of procedural and enforcement problems.

Professor David McCord received his B.A. from Illinois Wesleyan and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.  His areas of expertise include criminal law, criminal procedure, and the death penalty.  Before coming to Drake, Professor McCord worked as a criminal prosecutor in Arizona.

More Information

Drake Law's Summer Start Program is open to all entering first-year law students, and counts toward the 90 credit hours needed for graduation.  If you wish to enroll in the summer, simply indicate the "summer start term" when paying your seat deposit or contact the Drake Law School Office of Admission and Financial Aid at 515-271-2782 or e-mail:

Last Modified: 12/2/2014 10:50:00 AM by Kara Blanchard