William & Mary

First-Year Courses

Designed to introduce the essential analytical skills needed for your upper-level courses, the first-year curriculum emphasizes the many sources of law that govern our society — judge-made common law, statutory law and regulatory law as developed by governmental agencies — and the two major systems of law in the United States — the civil justice system and the criminal justice system.

In your first year, you will develop the skills to read cases, read and interpret statutory and regulatory materials and understand the fundamental principles of the traditional first-year subjects. For each first-year course there is a corresponding tutorial in our Academic Success Program.

Civil Procedure: Law 102

This course focuses on the strategic options federal law provides to persons attempting to resolve disputes through litigation. It introduces students to basic concepts involved in the federal civil adversary system, federal jurisdiction, choice of law, and finality. Students will explore in depth the policies governing and the mechanics involved in pleading, discovery, and disposition before trial.

Constitutional Law: Law 109

A study of the structure of government, from the role of the courts and the concept of judicial review, through the distribution of power in the federal system and the allocation of power among the three branches of the government, followed by a study of individual rights protected by the Constitution.

Contracts: Law 110

This course explores legally enforceable promises, normally exchanged as part of a bargain between private parties. Among the topics that may be covered are: bases of enforcement, capacity to contract, contract information, interpretation, conditions, excuse of performance, and remedies for breach.

Criminal Law: Law 101

An intensive study of the basic doctrines underlying the criminal law, including actus reus and mens rea; the principal substantive and inchoate crimes; the accountability for the criminal acts of others; and the general defenses to criminal liability.

Lawyering Skills I: Law 131

In this course, students will learn various skills essential to the successful practice of law. With instruction and feedback from practicing attorneys, students will learn by preparing for, and executing, several simulations designed to ready students for what they will encounter in the day-to-day life as an attorney. These simulations include presenting an oral report to a supervising attorney, interviewing a client, and counseling a client. Prior to each simulation, students will read about and discuss the underlying doctrine, theory, and goals that are fundamental to understanding the lawyer’s role. Through integrating coursework and simulations, students will also receive guidance on navigating daily practice and the importance of professional ethics.

Lawyering Skills II: Law 133

In the second semester of Lawyering Skills, students will reinforce and build upon the skills learned in Lawyering Skills I, and apply their practical communication abilities to a new range of settings. With the instruction and feedback from practicing attorneys, students will advance their advocacy skills through simulating a pretrial oral argument and a negotiation with an opposing counsel. As in Lawyering Skills I, prior to each simulation, students will read about and discuss the underlying doctrine, theory, and goals that are fundamental to understanding the lawyer's role. Through the continued integration of coursework and simulations, students will become increasingly able to navigate daily practice and uphold professional ethics.

Legal Practice I: Law 111

This is the first semester of Legal Practice for 1L students entering prior to fall 2016. In Legal Practice, students will learn legal analysis, writing, research, and other practical skills. Students will work with full-time writing faculty and research librarians to research and write objective office memoranda and a letter to a client. Students will also work with practicing attorneys to learn skills necessary in client interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and oral presentations.

Legal Practice II: Law 112

This is the second semester of Legal Practice for 1L students entering prior to fall 2016. The course continues instruction of legal negotiation, and oral presentations. analysis, writing, and research. Additionally, students continue working with practicing attorneys and refining the skills necessary in client interviewing, counseling, negotiation, and oral presentations.

Legal Research & Writing I: Law 130

In this course, students will develop the critical skills of legal analysis, writing, and research. Under the instruction of research librarians, students will learn to conduct thorough research using a number of different legal sources. Students will work with full-time writing professors to learn how to analyze legal rules and precedent to assess the legal position of a client or other party. With close guidance and feedback from the writing professors, students will learn how to successfully communicate legal analyses in objective legal memoranda, using clear and concise language and employing the fundamental principles of effective legal writing.

Legal Research & Writing II: Law 132

In this course, students will continue to develop the critical skills of legal analysis, writing, and research. Under the instruction of research librarians, students will expand their knowledge of legal sources, databases, and research methods. Building on the analytical and writing skills developed in Legal Research & Writing I, students will apply their abilities in a persuasive context. With close guidance and feedback from the writing professors, students will focus on how language can be crafted to persuade instead of just inform and will learn how to draft effective legal arguments in pretrial memoranda, settlement letters, and other documents.

Property: Law 108

Property focuses on the rules for acquiring, using, dividing (in various dimensions), and losing rights over scarce resources. Most material concerns realty, with limited consideration of person property. Property will introduce the rudiments of capture, finds, and adverse possession; landlord-tenant law; the system of estates; co-ownership; easements; and restrictive covenants. In addition to these private law subjects, the course will introduce zoning and takings.

Torts: Law 107

A survey of the legal system's responses to problems arising from personal injury and property damage. Concentration on the legal doctrines relating to liability for harm resulting from fault and to strict liability. Analysis of the goals and techniques of accident prevention and compensation for loss.

Content manager: Law IT

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