What Law School Classes Are on the Bar?
While in law school, students have the option of taking various classes to meet ABA graduation requirements. While these courses typically won’t be tested on the bar exam, they can provide valuable supplementary instruction nonetheless.
First-year law students must take at least five of these courses: civil procedure, contracts, torts, constitutional law and criminal law. However, title and credit allocations may differ between institutions.
1. Constitutional Law
USC Gould School of Law offers an impressive range of upper-level courses across several practice areas. In addition to mandatory required courses, you have the freedom to select electives that pique your interest and help meet degree objectives while staying within budget. Popular topics include Business & Commercial Law; Civil Litigation; Constitutional Law; Criminal Law; Environmental, Energy & Natural Resources Law; General Practice / Legal Writing ; Media, Law & Technology.
Your first semester begins with a three-course plus capstone sequence that emphasizes legal writing, leadership, experiential learning, advocacy skills and professionalism. Additionally, you take classes on key bar exam subjects like Evidence, Federal Courts and Business Associations.
In your second semester, you take Contracts I and II (either a 3-credit course or 4-credit course) to gain an overview of modern commercial transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code. This body of laws governs sales of goods and services within America and will likely be tested on your bar exam.
Though the practice of law often necessitates quick, focused thinking, a legal education should encourage you to reflect more deeply about the legal matters you will encounter and the underlying values at stake in your work. Students are strongly encouraged to complement their legal school experience with at least one course that emphasizes legal theory or an interdisciplinary approach to solving social problems. These courses, often in paper format, satisfy Legal Analysis, Writing and Research IV (Law 800). You may want to specialize in an area of law you are passionate about or take an individual class as an elective to develop your knowledge in that area. In addition, law school provides opportunities for further developing one’s interest through co-op programs or electives related to that field of law.
Torts is a field of law that addresses civil wrongs for which someone may be held liable. This encompasses personal injury and business litigation as well as matters involving intellectual property and alternative dispute resolution methods. Many lawyers specialize in this area of the law.
To prepare students for this type of work, many law schools provide classes on torts, contracts, evidence, civil procedure and criminal law – known as core classes as mandated by the American Bar Association (ABA). These are typically offered during the first year of law school and cover a range of substantive areas like constitutional law, contracts, evidence and torts.
These classes can be difficult to master, yet they provide invaluable preparation for the bar exam. These lessons teach skills such as analyzing cases and statutes, reading/briefing materials, note taking, class discussion topics, legal analysis and writing.
Additionally, 1L Lab – a required non-credit course for 1Ls – helps them hone their oral, written and legal analysis skills during their first year of law school. It utilizes simulations and role-playing devices to teach essential lawyering abilities in an educational setting.
Finally, some law schools offer six-week courses on evidence and property for students prepping for the bar exam. These topics are specifically tailored to what will be asked on the bar exam, and they are taught through small group discussions.
Evidence study is an intricate and multidisciplinary endeavor, necessitating careful reading, analysis and critical evaluation of an extensive body of material. Law school classrooms are no exception to this rule; those who take time to learn and comprehend its rules will be in a better position to perform at their best on both bar exams as well as throughout their careers as lawyers.
Studying evidence is essential for students’ development as lawyers. By doing so, they will be able to articulate legal problems and propose satisfactory resolutions, as well as recognize and apply ethical standards.
A class that examines the law of evidence in both civil and criminal trials provides students with a thorough understanding of admissibility. Furthermore, it introduces basic interviewing and investigation techniques as well as using demonstrative evidence for persuasive purposes.
In addition to the aforementioned class, students should consider taking classes that focus on legal theory and an interdisciplinary approach to solving social problems. Doing so will improve their chances of navigating through the legal system more successfully and provide them with more than just a legal education.
However, the most impressive course isn’t one taught in a classroom but rather those found within law books or other scholarly sources. This is the best way to ensure you are learning only relevant and useful information during your first year as an attorney.
5. Criminal Law
Criminal law refers to a body of legislation that prohibits and regulates acts that are hazardous or detrimental to people’s health, moral wellbeing, property or safety. These rules are created by government authorities and enforced through courts; those found breaking them may be convicted of an offense and face prison time or other punishment.
Federal and state lawmakers create laws that define crimes and determine their punishments, while courts interpret how statutes and procedural rules are applied in a criminal case, as well as whether those laws violate constitutional limitations. Courts also have the final say on admissibility of evidence and what happens to accused criminals.
Deciphering and applying criminal laws is a vital skill set for lawyers, so it’s no surprise that students often take courses on this topic as part of their legal education.
The criminal legal system is an intricate web that encompasses not only the law itself but also its social, ethical, and economic foundations. Criminal law classes provide students with essential reading, writing, and communication skills that set them apart for those pursuing careers in related fields.
Students seeking practical experience for a legal career can enroll in various clinical programs. For instance, the School’s Criminal Law Clinical Program allows students to defend clients during trials and join one of the few Prosecutor Clinics in the country.
6. Legal Writing
If you’re interested in mastering the craft of legal writing, law school offers several courses to assist. These include Legal Analysis, Research and Writing (LARW), First-Year Lawyering & Legal Writing as well as Appellate Writing and Advocacy.
LARW is a required course in the first year of law school and it provides students with an introduction to legal research, writing and analysis. Faculty members impart these abilities through smaller classroom settings as well as through numerous assignments requiring research and writing skills.
This course assists students in honing their abilities in analyzing legal issues, crafting persuasive arguments and crafting effective client communication. It also provides them with instruction on using computer-assisted legal research tools like Lexis-Nexis and Westlaw.
Class sizes are small, enabling professors to provide personalized instruction and feedback on assignments. Instructors bring extensive real-world legal experience into the classroom and highly value imparting knowledge regarding legal writing techniques and skillset.
One of the best ways to hone your legal writing is by reading challenging yet well-crafted legal documents. This will give you insight into how other legal professionals explain complex matters and communicate with their audiences.
You can also consult the Legal Writer’s Toolkit for expert information on specific topics. This free online tool is an excellent resource for improving your legal writing skills; it includes videos divided into short segments to help you comprehend a concept more deeply.