by Lisa Rodino
The first year curriculum at the school of law is designed to challenge and at the same time deepen the student’s interest in the study of law. A combination of courses which emphasize legal doctrine and introduce and refine writing and advocacy skills are the foundation of this curriculum. In the fall term – day division program, students are introduced to Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law and Torts. In the spring term – day division program the curriculum continues so that Constitutional Law and Property are introduced. Throughout the year, students are involved in “Lawyering Process”. This course introduces students to professional skills essential to the practice of law. In the fall semester, training is provided in legal analysis, print and electronic legal research and predictive and persuasive legal writing. During the spring semester, the course focuses on client interviewing, counseling, case planning, investigation and negotiation. In addition, students will study the interpersonal, ethical and moral dimensions of lawyer-client, lawyer-witness and lawyer-lawyer relationships by observing and engaging in simulated lawyering activities.
The first year curriculum also offers students a unique concentrated immersion into the law with its Moot Court course. This is a training program in oral and written legal advocacy, consisting of three distinct components: (1) classroom instruction concerning the structure of the American judicial system, the functions, powers and responsibilities of its institutions, decision-makers and participants, and the legal rules, practical considerations and institutional expectations which set the bounds of proper advocacy therein; (2) exposure to the fundamental principles and essential techniques of effective oral and written legal advocacy of workshops designed to test those principles by fostering student participation in practical exercises involving the use, analysis, and criticism of those techniques; (3) carefully supervised practical experience in written and oral appellate advocacy, in which student teams write and rewrite appellate briefs and present arguments in mock appellate cases.
The first year curriculum for students in the evening division is composed of the same challenging and interesting courses, they are presented over the course of two, part-time years.
As you know, 1L Students are assigned to their courses. This assignment generally takes place at the end of June/beginning of July. Students are assigned in groups so as to facilitate cooperation between instructors of students in the same section and to encourage students to form small study groups. The day division student can expect to be in classes 5 days a week. The evening division student can expect to be in classes 3 evenings per week.