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
Torts (Levmore)
Elements (10:35-12:15) (Strauss)
Torts (Levmore)
Torts (Levmore)
Elements (10:35-12:15) (Strauss)
11:00
Civil Procedure I (Buss)
Civil Procedure I (Buss)
Civil Procedure I (Buss)
12:05-1:30
1:30
Legal Research and Writing (Reilly)
Property (1:40-3:20) (Peñalver)
Legal Research and Writing (Reilly)
Property (1:40-3:20) (Peñalver)
2:45
Autumn Quarter Exams: Civil Procedure I and Elements of the Law
Winter Quarter
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:30
Contracts (Baird)
Contracts (Baird)
Contracts (Baird)
9:45
11:00
Criminal Law (Masur)
Legal Research and Writing (11:10-12:15) (Reilly)
Criminal Law (Masur)
Criminal Law (Masur)
Legal Research and Writing (11:10-12:15) (Reilly)
12:05-1:30
1:30
Torts(Henderson)
Property (1:40-3:20) (Strahilevitz)
Torts(Henderson)
Torts(Henderson)
Property (1:40-3:20) (Strahilevitz)
2:45
Winter Quarter Exams: Torts and Property
Spring Quarter
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
8:30
9:45
Legal Research and Writing (Reilly)
Legal Research and Writing (Reilly)
11:00
Criminal Law (McAdams)
Civil Procedure II (10:35-12:15) (LaCroix)
Criminal Law (McAdams)
Criminal Law (McAdams)
Civil Procedure II (10:35-12:15) (LaCroix)
12:05-1:30
1:30
Foreign Relations Law (Abebe)
Foreign Relations Law (Abebe)
Foreign Relations Law (Abebe)
2:45
Contracts (E. Posner)
Contracts (E. Posner)
Contracts (E. Posner)
Spring Quarter Exams: Criminal Law, Contracts, Civil Procedure II, and Foreign Relations Law
Note: 1Ls may choose from among 7-9 electives in the Spring Quarter.