Lawyer education (especially in the first year of law school) has a standard curriculum that varies very little across the various law schools. The law school curriculum for the first year of law school generally consists of the following mandatory classes: 1) Contracts; 2) Torts; 3) Property; 4) Criminal Law; 5) Civil Procedure; 6) Constitutional Law; 7) Legal Research and Writing. The below is a brief summary of each mandatory lawyer education class:
1) Contracts (or Contract Law) – This course will cover all aspects of enforceable agreements. Topics that will be discussed in this lawyer education course are; how a contract is made; what makes a contract enforceable; which contracts are required to be in writing to be enforceable; performance, breach, and remedies; and other processes of making agreements.
2) Torts (or Tort law) – Law school curriculum requires this course because it covers a miscellaneous group of civil wrongs against persons and property, other than breach of contract, for which a court of law affords a remedy in the form of an action for money damages. Included are wrongs committed intentionally, and injuries resulting from negligence. Think of slip and fall cases and law suits concerning motor vehicle accidents. Subjects covered are the law of assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land and personal property, intentional and negligent infliction of mental distress, and negligent injuries to person and property.
3) Property Law – An introductory investigation of legal rules governing acquisition, ownership, transfer, and use of real and personal property. The course examines acquisition of property; the rule of capture; the doctrine of adverse possession; estates in land; concurrent ownership; future interests; use rights through landlord/tenant law; nuisance rules; and private controls over land use
4) Criminal Law – An introduction to the general principles of substantive criminal law. What the government is required to prove before an individual's liberty can be restricted. Included are topics such as the nature of criminal acts, mental state, defenses, attempts, conspiracy and accomplice liability, homicide, assault and sexual assault, and property crimes.
5) Civil Procedure – Civil Procedure is included in the first year law school curriculum because it pertains to the rules that guide a civil case through the federal judicial system. Topics covered include, Constitutional foundations of the adversary system, civil disputes and how they progress through pleadings, motions, discovery, settlement, trial, and appeal, and introduces the students to the rules of court.
6) Constitutional Law – This lawyer education course focuses on the issues raised by the United States Constitution. Topics covered include judicial processes in constitutional cases; judicial review; and the federal courts functioning in the constitutional system; the relationships of the three federal branches of government (and powers/limitations); federalism and the respective roles of the national and state governments.
7) Legal Research and Writing – This course in the law school curriculum focuses on research skills and writing, which are both very important classes for your overall lawyer education. This course is writing intensive and designed to teach students how to research and produce from the results of said research, legal memorandum.
You will not be allowed to choose any classes for your first year of law school, and except for legal writing your grades will be based on one final exam (with some classes also including a midterm).
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