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JD: 1st Yr and Degree Requirements

Entering students often wonder who will instruct them. First-year sections have been carefully arranged to include a number of different faculty personalities. Most first-year courses are taught by full professors, permitting all students to experience the teaching of the most eminent legal scholars in their fields.

The 1L Experience

The first-year class of about 550 students is divided into seven cohorts of approximately 79 students, each cohort having a Faculty leader. The seven cohorts serve as first-year sections for required courses in Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Torts, and Property. First-year students also study Legal Reasoning and Argument (LRA), in groups fewer than 15, complementing the other required work by explaining legal techniques, handling of precedent, judicial analysis, uses of litigation, etc. An important adjunct to LRA is the Ames Competition (moot court) in which pairs of students research, brief, and orally argue a hypothetical case.

In addition to the required courses, first-year students are permitted to take an elective from the upper-level curriculum during the spring semester.

The 2L/3L Experience

In the second and third years, class size varies from seminars of 15-18 to classes of 25-200. In 2000-2001, the upper-level curriculum offered 262 courses and seminars, approximately 40% enrolled 25 or fewer students, approximately 65% enrolled fewer than 50 students, and only 16% had enrollments over 100.

Courses in both the second and third year are all elective, but we strongly recommend four courses that are prerequisites to much advanced work: Corporations, Taxation, Constitutional Law, and Accounting; and one or more courses with a clinical component. In general, the upper-level curriculum allow second- and third-year students to explore a broad spectrum of subjects, combining seminars, courses, clinics, individual needs and interests. During the second and third years, students may cross-register for a limited number of credits within other departments of the University.

The written work requirement may be fulfilled in either the second or third year by writing a paper either under the individual supervision of a faculty member or in connection with a Law School seminar. Wide latitude in choice of format and subject matter is allowed, and many options are available which satisfy the requirements for the paper.

Graduation Requirements

To receive the J.D. degree, you must complete the required first-year courses including LRA, and a first-year elective course; a course in professional responsibility; fifty-two credits in second- and third-year elective courses; and a satisfactory piece of written work.

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