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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. First-year law student classes are required.

First-Year Courses

  • Civil Procedure (6 credits)
  • Constitutional Law (4 credits)
  • Contracts (4 credits)
  • Lawyering (4 credits)
  • Torts (3 credits)
  • Criminal Law (3 credits)
  • Property (4 credits)
  • Elective (3 or 4 credits)


First-Year Course Descriptions

Civil Procedure
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, venue, and former adjudication.

Constitutional Law
A study of basic American constitutional law, including structural aspects of the Constitution and certain rights provisions.

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
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 is designed to introduce first-year students to lawyering skills, with primary emphasis on legal writing, analysis, research, and oral presentations. Assignments are usually set in the context of a simulated law office (or judge's chambers).  In the fall semester, students write predictive memoranda that point out the strengths and weaknesses of their client's case. To prepare the memoranda, students may need to determine the facts of the case by conducting interviews or depositions. Acting as junior attorneys, students will also make an oral presentation to a supervising attorney. The spring semester focuses on persuasive advocacy. Students prepare a memorandum, motion, or brief for submission to a court and, later, orally argue for their positions in a simulated court session. Throughout the year, students also learn the fundamentals of legal research. Instruction occurs not only in full-class sessions but also in individual conferences. Students receive extensive feedback on each major assignment.

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.

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.