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.

2014 Summer Start Program Course List


Summer Start Program Orientation: June 2

Information about the Summer Start Program Orientation will be posted soon.

Introduction to Legal Writing (0 credit): June 2- June 4

This course provides an introduction to the analytical and writing skills necessary for the practice of law.

Professor Lisa Reel Schmidt
 received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Southwest Missouri State University and her J.D., order of the coif, from Drake Law School where she was a member of the Drake Law Review.  Reel Schmidt teaches in the areas of legal writing, appellate advocacy, contract drafting, civil litigation, ethics and professional responsibility, and social security disability.

The Elements of Law (2 credits): June 5 - June 19

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, the Ellis and Nelle Levitt distinguished professor of law, received his BA and J.D. degrees from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his Masters of Laws degree from the University of Michigan. He teaches in the areas of torts, products liability and constitutional law. In addition to being a contributing author to The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, he is author of numerous journal articles in the torts and products liability fields.

Civil Procedure - Process of Litigation (3 credits): June 20 - July 18

This required, first-year course focuses on the phases of a civil lawsuit, including pleading by the parties; joinder of parties and claims; discovery and preparation for trial; devicesw for resolving disputes without trial; burdens of proof; instructions; verdicts; and post-trial motions. Students completing this course in the summer will later enroll in an upper-level course (chosen from a select list) during the spring semester.

Professor Anthony Gaughan received his B.A. from the University of Minnesota (1993), M.A. from Louisiana State University - Baton Rouge (1996), Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison (2002), and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (2005). His areas of expertise include Civil Procedure, Election Law, Federal Courts and Jurisdiction, Laws of War, US-Canada Comparative Law, National Security Law, Legal and Constitutional History, and Sports Law. He has published a book and numerous articles, and served as an officer in the U.S. Navy (winning a Defense Meritorious Service Medal for service in Iraq). He worked as an attorney in Wisconsin before joining the faculty at Drake.

Constitutional Controversies (1 credit): July 21-28

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 Miguel Schor received his B.A. (1985), J.D. (1988), and Master in Latin American Studies (2005) from Tulane University. His areas of expertise include Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutionalism, and Latin American Studies. He has published numerous articles constitutional imagination and exceptionalism.


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, 2507 University Ave., Des Moines, IA 50311; 1-800-44-DRAKE, x2782. Locally and outside the United States, call 515-271-2782. E-mail:

Last Modified: 4/28/2014 10:03:00 AM by Ann Van Hemert