JLT2 Edited

Justice and Legal Thought

Analyzing the role of law to advance social justice

Introduction

Law has almost always been talked about in relation to justice. Countless examples throughout history show, however, that law not only can be a catalyst for social change—but sometimes an obstacle to it as well.

Justice and Legal Thought (JLT) examines the connections between law and social justice, challenging students to ask: “What is the right thing to do?” Along the way, students study how people collectively seek to do the right thing through social action. Using critical thinking, legal analysis and persuasive communication, students:

  • Explore the interactions between social movements and legal doctrine;
  • Interrogate social movements as they struggle from the margins to the mainstream of society; and
  • Consider the means by which we can create a more just and robustly democratic society.

Students, who are taught by faculty in the government, philosophy and history departments as well as law faculty from University of Maryland (UMD) Carey School of Law, will gain research experience and develop important skills in argumentation and problem solving.

JLT welcomes students of all majors who believe strongly in the possibilities of creating change.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • What is law? What is justice?
  • To what extent does law advance or impede justice?
  • How do substantive law, procedural law, constitutional law and international law interact to promote or compromise justice?
  • What can students do to advance justice?

My JLT courses on philosophy, social justice and theory taught me the historical and modern context of the criminal justice system. My education from my majors would not have been nearly as colorful and complex if I had not taken JLT courses in complement.

Hope Goodman
Hope Goodman '18

Other Learning Opportunities

UMD's location near Annapolis, Baltimore and Washington, DC, provides unique opportunities for students to investigate justice as it pertains to real-world situations. Students:

  • Take field trips to the Supreme Court of the United States, Georgetown Law Center, Carey School of Law and the Holocaust Museum;
  • Participate in mock trials, debates and StarPower, a simulation about the use and abuse of power; and
  • Enjoy access to special events and lectures and networking opportunities with law school faculty through JLT’s close relationship with the MLaw Programs, UMD’s undergraduate law programming.

Students further engage in service-learning experiences and law-related internships of their choice for the practicum requirement. Past JLT students have interned for:

  • Members of Congress and the Maryland General Assembly;
  • The U.S. Department of State;
  • The Office of the Public Defender;
  • The Pretrial Services Agency of the District of Columbia;
  • The Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault; and
  • The Prince George's County Police Department.

Curriculum Overview

Over the two-year program experience (four semesters), students will complete a 3-credit supporting course that will count toward their JLT Scholars citation. In most cases, this will also fulfill General Education requirements. Note that your Scholars courses—colloquium, practicum and supporting course—will generally be in addition to any courses you take to satisfy major requirements.

The following table represents a typical two-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the JLT Citation Checklist.

SEMESTER COURSES CREDITS
Freshman Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Justice and the Law 3 credits
Academic Writing 3 credits
2–3 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 6–9 credits
Freshman Spring Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
Law in a Just Society 3 credits
3–4 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 9–12 credits
Sophomore Fall Scholars Colloquium 1 credit
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course) 12–15 credits
Sophomore Spring Scholars Practicum 2–3 credits
4–5 courses toward degree and major requirements (including possible supporting course if not already completed) 12–15 credits

Residence Hall

Cumberland Hall

Office Address

1121 Cumberland Hall

Office Phone

301-405-3225

Faculty

Portrait of Robert Koulish

Robert Koulish

Program Director, Justice and Legal Thought
Portrait of Erica Smith

Erica Smith

Associate Director, Justice and Legal Thought
Portrait of Judith Aaron

Judith Aaron

Graduate Assistant, Justice and Legal Thought
Portrait of Victoria Worley

Victoria Worley

Graduate Assistant, Justice and Legal Thought

Social Media Etc.


Justice and Legal Thought News

  • 10 Scholars Alums to Serve as Spring Commencement Senior Marshals

    A significant number of Scholars alumni will be serving as Senior Marshals at the University of Maryland commencement this Friday, May 21, 2021. Senior Marshals are graduating seniors who display the highest levels of scholarship, service, extracurricular activity and personal growth.

  • Despite Being Virtual, Scholars Showcases Promote Personal Interaction

    For most University of Maryland (UMD) students, the end of the spring semester heralds the start of finals. But for sophomores in College Park Scholars, for the past 24 years, this time of year has signified Academic Showcase.

  • Scholars Recognizes 2019 Citation, Founders Circle Award Winners

    In 2017, College Park Scholars welcomed more than 800 freshmen to what would become its 24th citation class, the Scholars Class of 2019. All who successfully completed the requirements of their Scholars program received their official Scholars citation. But there were some that went above and beyond the expectations, leaving a lasting impact on the community.

  • Scholars Alums Honored at 2018 Citation Awards

    More than a thousand College Park Scholars arrived on campus in fall 2016, the largest freshman class in Scholars history. This citation class went on to make an impact across the community, including raising a record-setting $19,315 for charities in the Scholars Cup competition. On Friday, Sept. 24, College Park Scholars celebrated this class with our annual Citation Awards Ceremony.

  • What Scholars Did on Their Summer Break

    It’s a perennial back-to-school query from teachers: What did you do on your summer vacation? When we asked some of our Scholars students and alumni, they had a lot to tell us… and not surprisingly, they made the most of their summer break. Now that students have settled in on campus and the semester is a few weeks in, we highlight some of our impressive Scholars accomplishments from over the summer.

  • Alum From Inaugural Class of Justice and Legal Thought Headed to Berkeley Law

    When Hope Goodman was considering where to attend college four years ago, she was enticed by the opportunity to be in the inaugural class of Justice and Legal Thought (JLT) Scholars at the University of Maryland. “The opportunity to take part in a brand-new program and provide constructive feedback for the classes that follow was incredibly enticing,” Goodman says, “because I knew that I could get involved on campus in a meaningful way immediately.”

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