Important Information for First-Year Law Students

Important Information for First-Year Law Students

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Small Sections, Course Schedules and Required Texts

First-year students are randomly assigned to one of 10 "sections" lettered A through J. Each section has approximately 30 students. All students in a given section will have the same course schedule during the fall semester. One of your fall courses and Legal Research and Writing will be a "small-section" course in which only the students assigned to that section are enrolled. In your remaining fall courses, your section will be combined with one or two other sections. Specific details about section schedules will be provided at a later date. Section assignments will be posted by 4 p.m. on Friday, August 18, on LawWeb and in the glass case across the hallway from the Student Records Office, room 107 in Slaughter Hall. Once you know your assigned section, you will be able to purchase your required textbooks at the Law School bookstore.

First-Year Curriculum 

The first-year fall curriculum consists of five required courses — Civil Procedure (4 hours), Contracts (4 hours), Criminal Law (3 hours), Torts (4 hours) and Legal Research and Writing (1 hour).

In the spring, each student must take three required courses — Property (4 hours), Constitutional Law (4 hours) and the continuation of Legal Research and Writing (1 hour). Students may also continue with possible sequels to fall semester required courses (e.g., Contracts II) or take electives.

Class Attendance  

Regular class attendance is required.  Refer to the Academic Policies for more details.

Class Preparation 

All students are expected to have read and studied assignments before class, including the first class of the semester. Initial assignments will be posted on the course home pages on LawWeb.  Professors rely heavily on the traditional law school Socratic method in first-year classes.

Course Load and Schedule

The Student Records Office (SRO) enrolls all first-year students in the required fall curriculum of five courses totaling 16 credits. Fall classes meet for 50, 60, 75 or 80 minutes several days per week during a 14-week semester, usually between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. SRO enrolls first-year students in three required courses in the spring, and 1Ls are required to enroll in 5-7 elective credits during the spring enrollment process occurring in late October and early November. 1Ls can take J-term courses, but this does not reduce the number of credits required for the spring semester. Spring classes meet for 60, 75 or 80 minutes during a 13-week semester. Typically, there is a 10-12 day exam period at the end of each semester.

First-Year Final Examinations 

The fall exam period is from Saturday, December 9 to Thursday, December 21. First-year students have an exam on the last day so plans for travel can be made based on the conclusion of the examination period. All first-year students will take final examinations for required courses on laptop computers. If you are apprehensive or ill at ease using a laptop, we recommend becoming comfortable using one before exams. In addition, please make sure that the laptop you plan to use complies with the Law School’s computer recommendations. Law ITC may be reached at


The Law School provides reasonable exam accommodations and/or class room accommodations to students with documented disabilities, and may provide temporary reasonable accommodations for illness or injury upon the recommendation of a medical professional.  Please contact Sarah Davies in the Student Affairs Office to discuss any needs you may have in this regard.

Information Resources 

For an official statement of Law School policies and regulations, please refer to the University Graduate Record and the Law School's Academic Policies. Please read the Academic Policies carefully. Students are responsible for developing a working knowledge of this information. 

Questions about this information can be directed to the Student Affairs Office in Slaughter 109 or by email at