Like every law school, our first year curriculum includes a set of courses that establish the core doctrinal, theoretical, and policy foundations of law. But our 1L curriculum uniquely includes a series of courses that are designed—from the first day of law school—to fulfill our mission of producing practice ready lawyers.
You will begin practical training the very first day of class. In Problem Solving I: The Lawyer and Client, you will work with practicing lawyers and law school faculty to acquire the skills that lawyers use to begin and maintain relationships with individual, corporate, and governmental clients. As part of this training, every student will interview an actual client and observe real world legal proceedings. In Legal Argument and Factual Persuasion, you will systematically learn how a lawyer formulates arguments to the court using the three fundamental sources of law—constitutions, statutes, and case precedents. The course also introduces the entirely different argument structure that a lawyer uses to persuade jurors to find disputed facts in favor of her client. You will then use that protocol to deliver a closing argument in the Law School’s Apfelbaum Family Courtroom.
- Civil Procedure (4 credits)
- Criminal Law (3 credits)
- Legal Argument and Factual Persuasion (3 credits)
- Problem Solving I: The Lawyer and Client (2 credits)
- Torts (4 credits)
The second semester introduces an additional set of lawyering skills. You will begin your training on the challenging art of conveying complex legal analysis in writing. In Problem Solving II: The Lawyer as Writer, you will objectively evaluate a series of realistic client problems by using effective research techniques. You then will write a memorandum of law, the lawyer’s primary tool for communicating objective legal analysis. Class sessions with lawyers will expose you to the diverse practice settings and substantive areas of practice in which you may choose to use your law degree. As a result, you will be able to make more informed choices about your elective courses and better position yourself for success in the job market.
- Constitutional Law (3 credits)
- Contracts (4 credits)
- Practicing Law in a Global World: Contexts and Competencies (2 credits)
- Problem Solving II: The Lawyer as Writer (3 credits)
- Property (4 credits)
Two required courses in your second year continue to ready you for practice. In Problem Solving III: The Lawyer as Persuader, you will learn how to use research and writing tools to craft arguments on behalf of your client that are strong, honest, and respectful of your adversaries and the court. You will advocate, both in written briefs and in oral arguments to the court. In Practicing Law in a Global World: Context and Competencies, you will receive training on additional skills you will need—beyond substantive legal knowledge—in order to be an effective and valued lawyer. Drawing upon some of the latest research as well as input from our prominent alumni, the course will introduce you to extra-legal competencies that are needed to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, including teamwork skills, project management, cultural competency, and familiarity with certain basic business concepts.
- Problem Solving III: The Lawyer as Persuader (2 credits)
- Professional Responsibility (3 credits)
- One writing course designated as a seminar (SEMNR in LionPATH)
The capstone of our educational mission to ready you for the workplace is the upper-level experiential learning requirement. You will practice law in a real world setting in one of three settings:
- As a certified legal intern in our in-house legal clinics,
- As an intern with a government agency, federal or state prosecutor or public defender’s office, or nonprofit entity, or
- By full immersion in a legal setting in either our Washington, D.C. or Harrisburg semester-in-practice program.
Students must earn at least 6 of the required 12 credits by practicing law in an in-house legal clinic, an internship, or a semester-in-practice. The student may earn the remaining credits by enrolling in courses designated as Experiential Learning Courses. For more information, see the J.D. Requirements.