Executive Director: Professor Michael J. Kelly
Program Office: Law School

Program Mission and Objectives

The Government Organization and Leadership (GOAL) program is designed as a joint-degree program to prepare Creighton law students to assume leadership positions as attorneys working for government entities. Students in the program acquire valuable information and skills useful across the full array of government activity. While the program focuses primarily on the roles of lawyers within the federal government, GOAL graduates emerge from the program well equipped to succeed in state and local government as well. The program is both theoretical and practical: students develop a sophisticated construct of the role of lawyers in government and apply their learning during an intensive full-time externship in a federal governmental office. GOAL offers students:

  • A legal/organizational framework for understanding the role of government counsel;
  • A set of core competencies to understand and effectively participate as lawyers in leadership and organizational roles in government;
  • An enhanced capacity for working as government lawyers in federal agencies;
  • Practical skills and techniques in strategic planning, problem solving, collaboration, decision making, and consensus building;
  • A detailed understanding of government standards of ethical conduct and ethical principles arising from core values of our society and the Jesuit tradition; and
  • Tools to enhance performance and achieve desirable outcomes in career pursuits.
  • Graduate in 3 years with a joint JD/MS degree.


GOL 660. Local Government Law. 3 credits. (See LAW 306)

This course examines the basics of Local Government Law: (1) the configurations and powers of the various types of local governments (e.g. cities, counties, and special districts); (2) the allocation of power between states and their local governments; (3) sources of revenue for and debt limitations that apply to local governments; and (4) interlocal cooperation and regional governments. The course also considers how these law basics affect current issues in metropolitan “megaregions.” The course also develops skills of particular relevance to local governmental and political decision making: statutory interpretation, analyzing the dynamics and context of local government proceedings, and tracing the connection between applicable legal doctrine and current public policy issues.

GOL 670. Government Organization and Research. 1 credit.

Students are oriented to the organizational structure of federal entities and the organization of the federal government. They are trained in government documents research; emphasizing agency records and legislation. GOL 670 meets as part of the last half of the Advanced Legal Research [LAW 313] course. Credit hours awarded for this course do not count as credit toward the JD degree.

GOL 680. Leadership: Theories, Models, Behavior. 3 credits.

The course looks at a variety of theories and approaches to leadership and examines topics such as skills, styles, and ethics of organizational leadership. It also looks at situational and psychodynamic approaches and the role of transformational leadership and considers leadership ethics. Emphasis is placed on organizational culture in various dimensions and on managing organizational cultural change. Students are expected to engage in and present case studies on organizational leadership. This course requirement must be satisfied prior to the externship semester in Washington, D.C.

GOL 690. Workshop: Emerging Perspectives on Governance. 2 credits. FA

This workshop emphasizes complex systems concepts in governance. Students develop skills in areas such as network mapping, power dynamics, and bridging. This course may be offered in successive spring semesters, allowing GOAL students to engage in these discussions both before and after their externship experiences. The paper completed for this course satisfies the major paper requirement for the MS degree. Credit hours awarded for this course do not count as credit toward the JD degree.

GOL 710. Counsel Roles and Leadership in Government Agencies. 3 credits.

The course will provide a comprehensive look at the major functions of government lawyers. Heavy emphasis is placed upon exploring the question of "who is the client?" and upon developing knowledge and skills in working with other managerial stakeholders within agencies and with external stakeholders such as OMB, Congress, other agencies. The course will be offered on a 2-week intensive basis just prior to commencement of the externship; part of the course will be aimed at preparing the student to get the most out of the externship.

GOL 720. Ethics in Government. 2 credits.

This course offers a detailed introduction to the Office of Government Ethics, designated agency ethics officials (DAEO), and the Standards of Ethical Conduct. Students will also look at broader ethical concepts as well as comparing formal government ethics with other ethical systems, including the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The course will run during the externship time period and will meet one evening each week.

GOL 730. Externship Program. 11 credits. (see LAW 370)

This program is a full time government externship spanning approximately 3 months, providing an opportunity for intensive study of government legal processes and counsel office operations. Externships will be aimed at developing skills through in-depth work on a variety of assignments. Each week, students will meet together with a member of the law faculty (some weeks in person, others, on-line) to discuss issues and experiences; students will also be invited to a variety of presentations and activities involving government lawyers. Students are expected to work closely and cooperatively with administrators of the GOAL program to secure externships. Failure to do so will reduce placement opportunities. With guidance and advice from GOAL administrators, students should secure housing in advance of the semester.

GOL 740. Immigration Law. 3 credits. (See LAW 370)

This course explores the history of United States immigration legislation from the Alien and Sedition Acts to the present, with emphasis on the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952 and the 1965 and 1976 Amendments. Coverage includes immigrant and nonimmigrant visas including visas based on employment, refuses and political asylum; excludable classes; entry procedure; deportable classes; the deportation process; and naturalization.

GOL 750. Native American Law. 3 credits.

The subject matter of this class centers on discovering the range, depth and complexity of law and policy both emanating from and directly affecting American Indian tribes. Treaties concluded between tribes and the U.S. government during America's westward expansion and the attendant assumption of fiduciary responsibility by Congress form the basis on which subsequent laws and policies are examined. Issues to be studied include tribal court structure, federalism questions, gaming and hunting rights and exemptions, and the implementation of major statutes under U.S. Code Title 25 such as the Indian Child Welfare Act and the 1990 Native American Graves & Repatriation Act.