Family Law.

Family Law Concentration

The Concentration in Family Law exposes students to the breadth of this area of law while affording opportunities for in-depth engagement with topics of particular interest. Qualification for the Family Law Concentration is based on successful completion of (A) three core doctrinal courses, (B) an experiential learning component, and (C) a substantial writing project.

On this page:


To apply for a Concentration or Curricular Program, please submit an online application.

Requirements for students who matriculated in or after Fall 2018

To qualify for the Family Law Concentration, students must complete:

(A) three core courses;

(B) an experiential learning component; and

(C) a writing requirement.

See below for details.

(A) The Concentration’s three core courses are:

  1. Family Law;
  2. A course on alternative dispute resolution (e.g., ADR; ADR for Family Lawyers; Mediation; Mediation Clinic); and
  3. At least one of the following
    • Children & the Law
    • Child Welfare Law/Child Abuse & Neglect
    • Domestic Violence Law
    • Estate Planning
    • Gratuitous Transfers
    • NY Family Law Practice (also taught as “NY Matrimonial Family Practice”)
    • Wills, Trusts, and Estates

(B) The Concentration’s experiential learning component entails successful completion of a clinic, practicum, externship, or summer internship substantially related to family law.

- Representative clinics include the Access to Justice Hybrid Clinic (Erie County Family Court Help Desk), the Family Violence & Women’s Rights Clinic, and the Mediation Clinic.

- Representative externships include positions in the Attorneys for Children Unit at Legal Aid of Buffalo, the Center for Elder Law and Justice, the Children’s Legal Center, Erie County Family Court, Erie County Surrogate’s Court, the Family Unit of Neighborhood Legal Services, and New York Supreme Court’s expedited matrimonial division.

- An internship may count toward the Concentration if a student submits to the Concentration Director(s) a memorandum detailing the internship’s content, its relationship to family law, and the amount of time spent on matters related to family law.

(C) The Concentration’s writing requirement may be satisfied by completing a paper for any seminar,* regardless of subject matter, so long as the paper relates directly to family law. Alternatively, this requirement may be satisfied by completing an independent study project that culminates in a paper relating directly to family law.

In order to qualify for this Concentration, a paper’s substantiality and relevance to family law are to be determined solely by the Director(s) of the Family Law Concentration. Students interested in the Family Law Concentration are strongly encouraged to consult with the Concentration Director(s) when choosing a paper topic.

* Seminars that typically furnish excellent opportunities to write on a subject related to family law include:

  • Advanced Topics Law & Society Research
  • Child Abuse & Neglect
  • Criminal Law Colloquium
  • Gender, Sexuality, & Law
  • Law & Procreation
  • Religion & Law
  • Reproductive Rights & Reproductive Justice
  • Twentieth-Century American Legal History

Requirements for students who matriculated before Fall 2018

Students who matriculated before Fall 2018 may receive a Certificate in Family Law if they satisfy EITHER the requirements above OR the Concentration's "old" requirements:

1. Three core doctrinal courses: (1) Family Law; (2) Domestic Violence Law; and (3) Children & the Law or Child Welfare Law.

2. A substantial writing project on a topic related directly to family law. (See "writing requirement" above.)

3. 9 additional credits of coursework related to Family Law. Students seeking a Certificate in Family Law may inquire at any time with the Concentration's Directors about a course's satisfaction of this requirement. Otherwise the Directors will make this determination in Spring 2020 upon review of transcripts for any student who has taken the three core doctrinal courses.