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General and Small Practice

Many students decide to seek exposure to a wide range of doctrinal and legal skills areas allowing them to enjoy a successful general practice in a firm, partnership, or sole practitioner environment. Students who select this path may decide to start their own firm, share administrative expenses with other lawyers, or join a small practice and often represent individuals or small businesses. The College of Law offers a broad range of courses that will prepare a student to handle many of the more common and frequent legal problems that clients present to attorneys. Of course, some lawyers also start their own practice to specialize in a particular aspect of the law, often after obtaining practice experience.

Due to the demands in a general practice setting, it is important for students to take both basic doctrinal and skills courses that will prepare them for the immediate practice of law. Students may elect to take classes that address general litigation skills, estate planning and tax, criminal law, family law, employment issues, and basic commercial matters. Because they are prerequisites for other courses in this area, Evidence, Federal Income Tax, and Wills, Trusts, and Future Interests would be helpful to take in the second year of study.


Criminal Law

  • Criminal Procedure I
  • Criminal Procedure II

Business & Commercial Law

  • Agency, Partnerships & Unincorporated Business Associations
  • Bankruptcy
  • Corporations I
  • Debtor and Creditor Law
  • Secured Transactions

Employment and Labor Law

  • Disability Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Employment Law

Estate Planning

  • Estate and Gift Tax
  • Estate Planning
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Federal Income Tax: Practice One
  • Wills Trusts and Future Interests

Family Law

  • Family Law
  • Family Law: Practice One

Litigation and ADR

  • Evidence
  • Negotiations
  • Remedies
  • Trial Practice

Sample Student Schedule

Linked here is one sample of a student schedule of a fictitious student who is interested in the General and Small Practice pathway. This is designed to give some idea of the many ways courses can be woven into a curriculum designed to build your knowledge in areas of the law useful in general practice, prepare you to take a bar exam, and help you acquire professional skills. You can create many wonderful schedules that include these courses. This one is merely a sample that, frankly, should only be used to spur your ideas about the best curriculum for you. You may also want to discuss your scheduling choices with professors, practitioners, upper-level students and Dean Oliver. Please remember that you must ensure that your schedule will meet all the requirements for graduation. Also remember that the classes listed in these sample schedules may not be offered in the particular semester shown here while you are in law school and that the number of credits may vary from year to year.

Sally Johnson – Student interested in starting her own legal practice

Other Student Learning Opportunities

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Centers and Institutes


Other Student Activities

Student Organizations — sampling

* See complete list of student organizations.


See listings in Areas of Study for each specific area of the law

UC Alumni Careers

College of Law graduates interested in pursing a career in a small or general practice setting have started their own solo practices, founded law firms, or joined existing small firms.

James Tate '09.It has been less than three years since James Tate '09 took a position at Helmer, Martins, Rice & Popham, but his experience thus far at the seven-lawyer firm has been "incredible."(Read More)

Ellen Eardley '03. UC Law’s joint degree program served as a powerful recruitment tool for Ellen Eardley ’03. A native of southern Illinois, she was drawn to the program so that she could focus on the intersection of women’s studies and the law. (Read more)

Barbara Howard ’89. Howard began her legal career with the Cincinnati firm of Beckman, Lavercombe, Fox & Wiel (now Beckman, Weil, Shepardson) and started her own firm, Barbara J. Howard Co., L.P.A., in 1996. With Howard as the principal, the firm currently has one associate. The firm provides a wide range of services in all areas of family law including divorce, dissolution, custody, paternity, related juvenile law issues and post-decree matters. Howard herself has practiced in the area of family law her entire legal career, and her hard work has earned her a well-deserved reputation as a premier expert in the area. In addition to being a skilled litigator, she is trained in Collaborative Law and is a member of the Cincinnati Academy of Collaborative Professionals (CACP). Howard became President of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) on July 1, 2009 and was the College of Law’s Harris Distinguished Visitor on September 8, 2009. (Read more)

Alvarene Owens '76. On the 90th anniversary of women receiving the right to vote, former Ohio First Lady Francis Strickland and the Governor’s Office for Women's Initiative and Outreach honored inductees to the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame. One of the inductees for 2010 was UC Law graduate Alvarene N. Owens ’76. (Read more)

Mary Rust '87. As a finance major at Miami University, Mary Rust took the LSAT, knowing she might pursue a law degree at some point. After graduating from Miami in 1984, knowing her test scores would remain good for five years, Rust took a job with a bank in Detroit. In about a month's time, however, Rust realized she did not want to be a loan officer. So she placed a call to the College of Law, hoping there might be an opening in the Class of 1987. (Read More)

Other Resources