First Year Required Courses

Fall Semester

  • Legal Method & Writing (3 units) examines methods used to analyze legal problems. Reviews precedent statutory construction and basic res judicata problems. Use of basic legal writing formats.
  • Torts (4 units) is a course on the legal protections of personality, property, and relational interests against physical, economic, and emotional harms.
  • Civil Procedure (4 units) explores the structure of a lawsuit and techniques of alternative dispute resolution. Specific topics include commencement of suit, joinder of parties, discovery, pretrial motions, subject matter and personal jurisdiction, res judicata, collateral estoppel, and choice of law under the Erie doctrine.
  • Contracts (4 units) explores common law legal method and the structure of Article 2 of the U.C.C. in the context of issues of contract formation.

Spring Semester

  • Criminal Law (3 units) is a course on the substantive law of crimes.
  • Constitutional Law (3 units) explores the role of the courts in the federal system; the distribution of powers between state and federal governments; separation of powers within the federal government.
  • Property (4 units) examines the nature of property within the American legal system, commencing with a study of the fundamental principles of property acquisition and ownership. The course covers common law doctrines of property law, private agreements with respect to property use and acquisition, and the governmental regulation of property through zoning and eminent domain. This is a survey course that will be useful to students in legal practice and it sets the foundation for advanced work in real estate law, real estate construction and development, and condemnation proceedings.
  • Legal Advocacy (2 units) builds on the skills learned in the first semester Legal Method and Writing course. The principal focuses of this course are to teach students the basics of: 1) persuasive writing; 2) oral advocacy; and 3) Bluebook citation format. In addition, this course reinforces legal analysis, organizational skills, and basic legal research skills.
  • Law & the Regulatory State (3/4 units), much of the first year curriculum is an introduction to the substance and processes of the common law. Much contemporary law, however, arises from statutes and administrative regulations; and the ability to research, interpret, understand, and effectively argue about their meaning is critical to the practice of law. In this course, students, having already begun to familiarize themselves with the judicial process, will begin to examine the legislative and administrative processes as well. They will also look closely at the role of courts in the interpretation of statutes, which has become a subject of considerable contemporary debate. Students should emerge with a greatly enhanced understanding of the ways law functions, refines itself, and evolves as an instrument of public policy and social order.

Full Year Course

  • Bridging the Gap:  Pathways to Success in Law School and the Profession (1 unit) Through weekly sessions, in either class-wide or smaller gatherings, issues concerning the study and practice of law will be explored under the guidance of the Dean, the Associate Dean, faculty members, and a range of speakers from the bench and bar. The goal of the seminar is to develop early in a law student's legal career a critical context for evaluating social and ethical issues and concerns that might otherwise be neglected in a curriculum that focuses seriatim on substantive legal doctrines and process. Issues of professionalism, legal ethics, and the lawyer's role in a diverse society will be stressed. Some of the sessions will include required readings, while other sessions will be devoted to issues of the mechanics of law school life. Many of the smaller gatherings will occur under the guidance of a faculty member whom that small group of students will be introduced to at orientation as a mentor. This is not a graded course but the successful completion of the course is required for graduation.