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Important Information for First-Year Law Students

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Small Sections, Course Schedules and Required Texts

First-year students are randomly assigned to one of 10 "sections" lettered A through J. Each section has approximately 30 students. All students in a given section will have the same course schedule during the fall semester. One of your fall courses and Legal Research and Writing will be a "small-section" course in which only the students assigned to that section are enrolled. In your remaining fall courses, your section will be combined with one or two other sections. Section assignments and their corresponding course schedules will be posted at approximately 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 15, on LawWeb and in the glass case across the hallway from the Student Records Office, room 107 in Slaughter Hall. Once you know your assigned section and your corresponding course schedule, you will be able to purchase your required textbooks at the Law School bookstore.

First-Year Curriculum 

The first-year fall curriculum consists of five required courses — Civil Procedure (4 hours), Contracts (4 hours), Criminal Law (3 hours), Torts (4 hours) and Legal Research and Writing (1 hour).

In the spring, each student must take three required courses — Property (4 hours), Constitutional Law (4 hours) and the continuation of Legal Research and Writing (1 hour). Students may also continue with possible sequels to fall semester required courses (e.g., Contracts II) or take electives.

Class Attendance  

Regular class attendance is required.  Refer to the Academic Policies for more details.

Class Preparation 

All students are expected to have read and studied assignments before class, including the first class of the semester. Initial assignments will be posted on the course home pages on LawWeb.  Professors rely heavily on the traditional law school Socratic method in first-year classes.

Course Load and Schedule

All first-year students must enroll in the required fall curriculum of five courses totaling 16 credits. Fall classes meet for 50, 60, 75 or 80 minutes several days per week during a 14-week semester, usually between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. In the spring semester, first-year students must enroll in required and elective courses totaling at least 14, but not more than 16, credits. Spring classes meet for 60, 75 or 80 minutes during a 13-week semester. Typically, there is a 10-12 day exam period at the end of each semester.

First-Year Final Examinations 

Tentative Fall 2014 Final Exam Schedule

Dates in the exam schedule are provided so that plans for travel can be made based on the conclusion of the examination period. All first-year students will take final examinations for required courses on laptop computers. If you are apprehensive or ill at ease using a laptop, we recommend becoming comfortable using one before exams. In addition, please make sure that the laptop you plan to use complies with the Law School’s computer recommendations. Law ITC may be reached at lawitc@virginia.edu.

Information Resources 

For an official statement of Law School policies and regulations, please refer to the University Graduate Record and the Law School's Academic Policies. Please read the Academic Policies carefully. Students are responsible for developing a working knowledge of this information. 

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