Course Descriptions - First Year

First Year Required Courses

Civil Procedure I

4 Credits (600-619) _This fall semester course introduces the first year law student to the modern system of civil litigation with particular emphasis on the federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Particular topics may vary, but will generally include the basis features of an adversarial system for dispute resolution and its alternatives, pleading, joiner of claims and parties, discovery, pretrial and post-trial motion practice, and concepts of personal and subject matter jurisdiction.

Constitutional Law

3 Credits (600-612) _This spring semester course examines the basic structures of the U.S. constitutional system, the historical development of the Supreme Court as an institution, the philosophical justifications for the exercise of judicial review and judicial authority of judges in a democratic society, and the various methods of legal reasoning that are brought to bear in interpreting the Constitution. Among the topics to be examined are judicial review, the commerce power and other powers of Congress, separation of powers, and economic liberties and redistribution (the contracts and the taking clauses).


5 Credits (600-615) _This year-long course teaches the law of contracts, including intent, offer and acceptance, capacity, consideration, contracts under seal, third party beneficiaries, assignments, the Statute of Frauds, performance and breach, discharge, illegal contracts and damages in contract actions.

Criminal Law

3 Credits (600-616) _This spring semester course provides an introduction to the basic principles of the substantive criminal law, as well as the elements of some common crimes to illustrate those basic principles. Topics covered will include, among others, actus reus, mens rea, homicide, self-defense, conspiracy, and attempts. The course emphasizes the skill of statutory interpretation and a comparison between common law and the Model Penal Code approaches to criminal liability.

Legal Method/Civil Rights

2 Credits (600-611) _This fall semester course will introduce students to legal methodology, using both constitutional and statutory civil rights cases. The course will provide instruction in the basics of legal analysis, specifically: (1) how to read, brief, and synthesize cases; (2) how to apply rules to facts; and (3) how to interpret statutes.

Legal Reasoning, Research and Writing

4 Credits (600-613) _This yearlong course teaches students the basics of legal reasoning, research, and writing through a series of research and writing exercises. Students learn how to use available research resources including computer-assisted research. Writings include objective legal memoranda, client letters, and advocacy briefs. Students are also introduced to some aspects of lawyering including representing clients and the role of the lawyer in the legal system. Oral argumentation is also introduced.

Real Property

4 Credits (600-614) _This spring semester course teaches real property law, including transactions in land, estates and rights in realty; landlord/tenant relationships and problems; and land conveyance and use controls.

Torts I

3 Credits (600-617) _This fall semester course begins with an historical view of the evolution of torts focusing on the concepts of trespass and trespass on the case. The course then proceeds to examine the legal basis for liability and the policy underlying such liability for civil wrongs. Thereafter the course explores liability for the wrongful invasion of the legally protected interest of another, focusing on the major specific intentional torts and negligence.

Torts II

2 Credits (Prerequisite – Torts I) (600-618) _This spring semester course explores the principle of liability without fault, and examines the some or all of the torts of products liability, defamation, invasion of privacy, nuisance, deceit, malicious prosecution, and interference with contractual relations.