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Course Descriptions for Required 1L Classes

Fall Courses

Civil Procedure
This course covers the procedures courts use in deciding lawsuits that do not involve criminal misconduct. Much of it is concerned with the process of litigation in trial courts, from the initial documents, called pleadings, through the pretrial process, especially the process of discovery, in which parties obtain information from one another, to trial itself. Another important topic concerns the jurisdictional rules that determine in which court a lawsuit may be brought.

Contracts
This course is an examination of the legal obligations that attach to promises made in a business contract or otherwise, including the remedies that may be available for promises that are not kept. The course examines the legal requirements for enforceable contracts, including consideration, consent, and conditions; and the effect of fraud, mistake, unconscionability, and impossibility.

Criminal Law
This course explores the basic principles of Anglo-American criminal law, including the constituent elements of criminal offenses, the necessary predicates for criminal liability, the major concepts of justification and excuse, and the conditions under which offenders can be liable for attempt. Major emphasis is placed on the structure and interpretation of modern penal codes.

Torts
The course in torts examines liability for civil wrongs that do not arise out of contract. It explores three standards of conduct: liability for intentional wrongdoing, negligence, and liability without fault, or strict liability. It also examines other issues associated with civil liability, such as causation, damages, and defenses. Particular areas of tort law such as battery, medical malpractice, and products liability, as well as debates about tort reform, are also part of the standard coverage of the course.

Legal Research and Writing (both semesters)
The basic skills course in the first-year curriculum, the course covers fundamental legal research techniques and two styles of legal writing. The fall semester focus is on preparing objective office memoranda; and in the spring semester students produce an appellate brief. Students also present an appellate oral argument before a panel of alumni, faculty, and upperclass students.

Spring Courses

Constitutional Law
This course is an introduction to the structure of the U.S. Constitution and the rights and liberties it defines. Judicial review, federalism, congressional powers and limits, the commerce clause, and the 10th Amendment are covered, as are the equal protection and due process clauses.

Property
The course is a general introduction to property concepts and different types of property interests, particularly real property. The course surveys present and future estates in land, ownership, and concurrent ownership. Leasehold interests, gifts and bequests, covenants and servitudes, conveyancing, various land use restrictions, eminent domain, and intellectual and personal property issues are also considered.

Legal Research and Writing (both semesters)
The basic skills course in the first-year curriculum, the course covers fundamental legal research techniques and two styles of legal writing. The fall semester focus is on preparing objective office memoranda; and in the spring semester students produce an appellate brief. Students also present an appellate oral argument before a panel of alumni, faculty, and upperclass students.