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The New 1L Curriculum

Employers reviewing transcripts of students in the classes of 2010 and 2011 will notice some changes to the traditional 1L curriculum. After much consideration and discussion, the law school decided to supplement the traditionally required 1L classes – Criminal Law, Contracts, Torts, Property, and Civil Procedure – with two additional courses: Legislation and Regulation, and a course on International/Comparative Law.

The adoption of the new 1L curriculum is the culmination of a 3-year process of study and consultation with legal academics, faculty from other professional schools, and practicing lawyers. Our goal was to reexamine the traditional law school model, created over 100 years ago, and develop a new curriculum for the 21st century. We hope that the new curriculum will more accurately reflect today’s legal field, and therefore better prepare our students to enter the current market.

In greater detail, here are descriptions of the new courses:

Legislation and Regulation
Legislation and Regulation is an introduction to lawmaking in the modern administrative state and is now required for every 1L. It examines 1) the way Congress and administrative agencies adopt statutes and regulations, respectively, and 2) the way that implementing institutions -- courts and administrative agencies -- interpret and apply these laws. It considers the justifications for modern regulation, the structure of the modern administrative state, the incentives that influence the behavior of the various actors, and the legal rules that help to structure the relationships among Congress, the agencies, and the courts.

International/Comparative Law
In their first year of law school, students learn to locate what they are studying about public and private law in the United States within the context of a larger universe – global networks of economic regulation and private ordering, public systems created through multilateral relations among states, and different and widely varying legal cultures and systems. 1Ls may satisfy the International/Comparative Law requirement with one of several courses offered. By way of example, the class of 2011 could fulfill this requirement with: Comparative Law: Introduction to European Legal Traditions; Comparative Law: Why Law? Lessons from China; The Constitution and the International Order; International Law; Law and the International Economy; or Public International Law.

Starting in the 2009-2010 academic year, 1L students will also take courses in “Problems and Theories”. These courses will allow students to reflect on what they have learned through systematic treatment of methods of statutory and case analysis, discussion of different theories of law and work on a complex problem (or problems) beyond the bounds of any single doctrinal subject, explored through simulation and teamwork.

Additional information on the revised 1L curriculum may be found at: http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/degrees/jd/index.html

Last modified: January 03, 2013

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