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First Year Courses

As a First Year student, you will be taught by our gifted faculty. Many faculty members hold academic chairs at the Law School and are the authors on the leading law casebooks in the subjects they teach.

As a first year law student, all classes are required. Every first year student takes 16 credits each semester as listed below:

First-Year Courses – Fall

  • Civil Procedure (3 credits)
  • Constitutional Law (4 credits)
  • Contracts (3 credits)
  • Lawyering (2 credits)
  • Torts (4 credits)

First-Year Courses – Spring

  • Civil Procedure (3 credits)
  • Contracts (3 credits)
  • Criminal Law (4 credits)
  • Lawyering (2 credits)
  • Property (4 credits)

First-Year Course Descriptions

Civil Procedure
Full Year. 6 credits.

An introduction to civil litigation, from commencement of an action through disposition on appeal, studied in the context of the federal procedural system. Also, a detailed consideration of federalism and ascertainment of applicable law; jurisdiction, process, and venue; and former adjudication.

Constitutional Law
Fall. 4 credits.

A study of basic American constitutional law, including judicial review, some structural aspects of the Constitution as developed particularly in light of the passage of the Civil War amendments, and certain of its rights provisions.

Contracts
Full year. 6 credits.

An introduction to the nature, functions, and processes of exchange, contract, and contract law. The course focuses on the predominant rules and principles governing contract and related obligation, including the substantive reasons underlying the rules and principles.

Criminal Law
Spring. 4 credits.

An introductory study of the criminal law, including theories of punishment, analysis of the elements of criminal liability and available defenses, and consideration of specific crimes as defined by statute and the common law.

Lawyering
Full year. 4 credits.

Lawyering is a full-year course designed to introduce first-year students to lawyering skills, with primary emphasis on legal writing, analysis, and research. In the context of a law office, students create some of the essential legal writings that lawyers produce. For example, students prepare predictive memoranda for their boss, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of their client's case and attempting to develop winning arguments. Students determine and investigate the essential facts to support their client's case by interviewing or deposing various witnesses. Students may also write a client letter, using plain English to explain to their client the law and the merits of the case, and advise the client on the best course of conduct. Finally, students develop their oral and written advocacy skills and start thinking about litigation strategy by researching and writing persuasive memoranda or legal briefs for a trial or appellate court. At the end of the year, the students orally argue their case. Instruction occurs not only in meetings of the class as a whole but also in individual conferences. Each student receives extensive editorial and evaluative feedback on each written assignment.

Property
Spring. 4 credits.

This is a course in basic property law. It covers acquisitions of rights in property, estates in land, concurrent ownership, landlord/tenant relations, and regulation of land use.

Torts
Fall. 4 credits.

An introduction to the principles of civil liability in the tort field: intentional wrongs, negligence, and strict liability. Attention is also given to the processes by which tort disputes are handled in our legal system.