First Year Courses

Students in the first year take five core courses: contracts, torts, property, criminal law, and civil procedure. This curriculum provides a general foundation of legal knowledge, promotes an understanding of the process of development of the law through judicial decisions and statutory interpretation, and cultivates the skill of legal reasoning. In addition to the traditional offerings, Chicago has a unique first-year course called Elements of the Law. Elements introduces students to the law as an interdisciplinary field through interactions with fields such as philosophy, economics, psychology, and political theory, and gives students the tools to continue the interdisciplinary inquiry throughout their legal education.

All first-year students participate in the legal writing program under the supervision of one of the six Bigelow Teaching Fellows. “Bigelow” (as the course is known) introduces students to the standard tools and techniques of legal research and requires students to write a series of legal memoranda and briefs. In the Spring Quarter, each student prepares an appellate brief and argues the case before a panel of judges composed of members of the faculty and practicing alumni. The Bigelow course is taught in small sections of approximately 30 students, and each section stays together for all of its course work during the 1L year. Three of these sections combine for each of the substantive courses, and the sections are mixed in different ways over the year so that every student in the first-year class at some point takes a class with every other 1L student. To learn more about the Bigelow program, click here

Sample 1L Schedule

Autumn Quarter
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:30
9:45
Legal Writing (Balganesh)
Elements of the Law (Strauss)
Elements of the Law (Strauss)
Legal Writing (Balganesh)
Elements of the Law (Strauss)
11:00
Civil Procedure I (Buss)
Civil Procedure I (Buss)
Civil Procedure I (Buss)
12:05-1:30
1:30
Property
(Strahilevitz)
Property
(Strahilevitz)
Property
(Strahilevitz)
2:45
Torts
(Gersen)
Torts
(Gersen)
Torts
(Gersen)
Autumn Quarter Exams: Civil Procedure I and Elements of the Law
Winter Quarter
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:30
9:45
Property
(Fennell)
Property
(Fennell)
Property
(Fennell)
11:00
Criminal Law (Masur)
Criminal Law (Masur)
Legal Writing (Balganesh)
Criminal Law (Masur)
Legal Writing (Balganesh)
12:05-1:30
1:30
Contracts
(Bernstein)
Contracts
(Bernstein)
2:45
Torts
(Levmore)
Contracts
(Bernstein)
Torts
(Levmore)
Torts
(Levmore)
Winter Quarter Exams: Torts, Property
Spring Quarter
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:30
9:45
Contracts (Baird)
Legal Writing (Balganesh)
Contracts (Baird)
Contracts (Baird)
Legal Writing (Balganesh)
11:00
Criminal Law (Harcourt)
Criminal Law (Harcourt)
Criminal Law (Harcourt)
12:05-1:30
1:30
Public International Law (E. Posner)*
Public International Law (E. Posner)*
Public International Law (E. Posner)*
2:45
Civil Procedure II (D. Wood)
Civil Procedure II (D. Wood)
Civil Procedure II (D. Wood)
Spring Quarter Exams: Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Procedure II, Public International Law
*Note: 1Ls may choose from among 7-9 electives in the Spring Quarter