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First Year Required Courses

First Year Institute

An orientation course for entering law students. It is designed to give new students an overview of the law school, the historical and philosophical foundation of our system of law, and the methodology for the study of law. (This course is required for all other incoming, first year students).


This course covers enforceable agreements including requirements for the formation of a contract; problems of interpretation, consideration and its equivalent, damages for breach, the statute of frauds, illegality, and rights and liabilities of third parties arising from the contract itself or from assignment of contractual rights or delegation of duties.

Criminal Law & Procedure

Topics include substantive criminal law and elements of criminal responsibility, law of crimes against persons, property, and habitation, the theory of criminal responsibility, parties and defenses to crimes. Also covered are the procedures for indictments, arrest, bail, trial sentencing and appeals.


The historical development and nature of non-contractual civil law which allocates the economic burden of various injuries. A study of the principles of liability for physical harm under theories of negligence, intentional torts, and strict liability, including the law governing defamation, invasion of privacy and other relational harms.

Legal Writing  (LWI)

An introductory course designed to improve analytical and written communication skills. Students work on simple legal problems, learning how to identify and analyze legal issues and express their legal reasoning. Assignments include exercises in case briefing, exam writing and drafting legal memoranda.


This course addresses key skills needed for law school, the bar exam, and the practice of law. Students will review key facts, rule synthesis, analogies and comparisons, analysis, and essay writing.  Students also learn about the school's plagiarism policy.

Legal Research

A course to familiarize students with the basic foundations of legal research. Assignments include researching problems in the law library and researching and writing office memoranda, opinion letters and other documents. Computer assisted legal research is included.

Professional Responsibility

An examination of the lawyer’s obligation to the client and the public. The class examines the professional rules contained in the American Bar Association Model Code and the Rules of Professional Conduct, attorney-client privilege, conflicts of interest, advertising, and legal malpractice.