First-Year Courses


(Effective fall 2016)

First-year students share the same course load for the full academic year to establish a strong foundation in the law and expose students to various aspects of the law and lawyering. The first-year curriculum integrates practical training, legal writing, and career planning. View complete course descriptions in the Graduate Catalog.

Fall semester


Civil Procedure I*
LAW 801 | 3 credit hours

Pleading, joinder of claims and parties, discovery, trials, verdicts, judgments, and appeals. Emphasis on Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Contracts I
LAW 803 | 3 credit hours

Basic agreement process and legal protections afforded contracts: offer and acceptance, consideration and other bases for enforcing promises; the Statute of Frauds, unconscionability and other controls of promissory liability. Introduction to relevant portions of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Criminal Law
LAW 809 | 3 credit hours

Substantive aspects of criminal law; general principles applicable to all criminal conduct; specific analysis of particular crimes; defenses to crimes.

Lawyering and Professionalism
LAW 811 | 1 credit hour

This course provides basic training in essential lawyering skills, introduces the values of the legal profession, and offers resources for early career planning.

Legal Process I
LAW 805 | 3 credit hours

Lawyer-like use of cases and statutes in prediction and persuasion. Analysis and synthesis of common law decisions; statutory interpretation; fundamentals of expository legal writing and legal research.

Torts I*
LAW 807 | 3 credit hours

Intentional torts, defenses and privileges related to intentional torts; negligence: standard of care, professional malpractice, and liability of owners and occupiers of land; defenses based on plaintiff’s conduct: contributory and comparative negligence, assumption of risk, failure to take precautions, and avoidable consequences; causation, proximate cause; duty rules; and questions of joint and several or several liability.

*First-year students enroll in an experiential section of either Civil Procedure I or Torts I. The experiential sections include three graded, simulation-based assignments. Each simulation places students in the role of lawyer, raises professionalism issues, requires students to perform a lawyering skill, and results in a written and/or oral work product. In addition to a final examination, the course also includes a midterm exam that includes at least one essay question.



Spring semester


Civil Procedure II
LAW 802 | 3 credit hours

Binding effect of judgments, selecting proper court (jurisdiction and venue), ascertaining applicable law, and federal and state practice.

Contracts II
LAW 804 | 3 credit hours

Continuation of Contracts I. Issues arising after contract formation: interpretation, duty of good faith; conditions, impracticability and frustration of purpose; remedies; third party beneficiaries; assignment and delegation. Considerable coverage of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code with respect to remedies, anticipatory repudiation, impracticability and good faith.

Legal Process II
LAW 806 | 3 credit hours

Continuation of Legal Process I. Formal legal writing, appellate procedure, and oral advocacy.

LAW 810 | 4 credit hours

Introductory course treating issues of ownership, possession, and title in the areas of: landlord-tenant relations; estates in land and future interests; co-ownership and marital property; real estate sales agreements and conveyances; title assurance and recording statutes; servitudes; and selected aspects of nuisance law, eminent domain and zoning.

Torts II
LAW 808 | 2 credit hours

Vicarious liability; strict liability; products liability; nuisance; defamation; privacy torts; interference with contract; and damages.

Transactional Lawyering Lab
LAW 820 | 1 credit hour

This simulation-based lab puts students in the role of a lawyer negotiating a commercial transaction on a client’s behalf throughout the semester. Involving both property and contracts law, the lab offers practical training in client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, and drafting. Students also encounter and resolve professionalism issues throughout the course.