As is true at most law schools, first year students at BC Law follow a prescribed curriculum. They take Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Property, Torts, Criminal Law and Law Practice I & II. These include both traditional courses as well as those emphasizing the sources of law, professional responsibility issues, and lawyering skills.
First Year Elective (3 credits)
In the spring semester, first year students choose a three credit elective from a menu of classes. For the 2016-17 academic year these include Deals & Disputes, Evidence, Introduction to Civil Litigation Practice, Legal Interviewing and Counseling, and Negotiation.
Civil Procedure (4 credits)
Using the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this course introduces rules governing the conduct of litigation. After an overview of the entire sequence of events from commencement to final disposition of a lawsuit, specific topics are considered in detail.
Constitutional Law (4 credits)
Constitutional Law introduces the concept of judicial review of legislation and executive action. The course also focuses on the express and implied powers of the federal government and the effect of the interstate commerce clause on federal and state power.
Contracts (4 credits)
The concept of what constitutes a contract is followed by detailed study of the various principles that govern the enforcement of contracts. Common law rules are emphasized, but attention is also given to the statutory changes imposed by the Uniform Commercial Code.
Criminal Law (4 credits)
This course examines the elements of crimes, defenses that the accused may assert, and the methods and rationales for punishing criminal conduct. Attention is given to the common law of crime as well as to the Model Penal Code.
Law Practice I & II (5 credits total)
Law Practice provides students with a problem-based curriculum that equips them with the analytical, research and written communication skills essential to the practice of law. Instruction is characterized by a fully integrated research curriculum, classroom discussion of analysis, and comprehensive, individualized feedback on a series of predictive and advocacy memoranda assignments.
Property (4 credits)
This first-year course covers the substantive law of real property. Topics include initial acquisition, property theory, the right to exclude, land use regulation, servitudes, conveyancing, landlord-tenant law, zoning, and takings.
Torts (4 credits)
This course examines non-consensual relations among individuals and emphasizes negligence law, the measure of damages, and newer developments such as products liability.
SECOND AND THIRD YEAR PROGRAM
With the following exceptions, all upper-level courses are electives. Beginning with the Fall 2016 entering class, students are required to take a professional responsibility course, a course satisfying the “Perspectives on Law and Justice” requirement, a course satisfying the Upper Level Writing requirement, and at least 6 experiential learning credits. Note: students entering prior to Fall 2016 must meet the above requirements plus taking Constitutional Law II. A class fulfilling lawyering skills may substitute for the experiential learning credits.
In the upper level curriculum, students have their choice of nearly 200 course titles to choose from in any given year. Some of these courses will be taken by many as they are foundational for other, more advanced classes and seminars. Others are important because the twenty-first century lawyer ought to have competency in the field, even if she or he does not intend to practice directly in that area.
There are many different instruction formats, ranging from large lecture-based classes to small seminars of 10 – 15 students. Many of the classes qualify for the ABA experiential learning designation, in which students develop skills through simulation and other instructional formats while under close faculty supervision. This latter type can range from a clinical program to an externship to a simulation class on topics such as Mediation, a Business Immigration Law Externship or Tax Law Research. Some of these may occupy only a portion of a semester’s schedule and others are fully immersive – especially the various Semesters in Practice, which take place in cities as dispersed as London, Washington DC, the Hague, and Boston, of course.
As detailed in Principles of Course Selection (PDF) there is a core group of upper level elective courses that most students take. These include courses such as Evidence, Corporations, Administrative Law, Intellectual Property Law and Tax, among others. They are often pre-requisites for other courses and appear on many states’ bar examinations. Beyond this core group, many students will enroll in various topical clusters reflecting their interests and intended career paths.
For 2016-17 courses satisfying the various distribution requirements can be accessed here:
Distribution Requirements (PDF)
Students may enroll in any of the courses listed and described in the course description material, subject to prerequisite requirements for certain upper level courses and some limited enrollment courses.
In the first year, all candidates for the J.D. degree must follow the prescribed course schedule. Students must take 53 credit hours during their second and third years. Each student must take no fewer than 12 and not more than 17 hours each semester.
To graduate, students must be in residence, full-time, for 6 semesters and must successfully complete a minimum of 85 credit hours. To be considered a full-time student in residence, a student must register for a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. After the first year, students are strongly advised to take 26 credit hours per year. This will allow completion of the remaining 53 credits while maintaining a manageable course load in the last two years.
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