The first-year course of study is designed to examine and foster an understanding of the processes by which law is made, the institutions which make law, and the analytical skills necessary in the professional use of case law and legislation. The first-year curriculum provides a general understanding of the American legal system, sharpens the student's analytical ability and lays the foundation of the basic working skills of a lawyer.
First-year classes meet in sections of approximately 80-100 students. Additionally, all first-year full-time students enroll in a seminar section as one of their fall term core courses. The seminars are comprised of approximately 40 students, allowing an opportunity to learn in a more intimate and informal atmosphere. Many of the assignments in the seminars provide training in skills not traditionally taught in first-year courses, such as negotiation, counseling, drafting, interviewing and oral argument. Instructor feedback is an important element of these seminars, and the students work closely with faculty on their assignments throughout the semester.
All students are required to take courses in Contracts, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Fundamentals of Law Practice. Most of these courses are generally taught in intensive one-semester courses, but some courses such as Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law and and Fundamentals of Law Practice are taught in a two-semester sequence. For part-time students, these required courses are scheduled over the first four semesters of matriculation.