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University of Houston Law Center - Admitted Students First Year Classes

Below are brief descriptions of the first-year courses taken by all 1Ls.

Constitutional Law covers the text of the United States Constitution, individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the power of judicial review over federal and state legislation, and the scope of (and limitations on) the federal government’s power. It also covers constitutional constraints on the allocation of federal power amongst the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Contracts covers the fundamentals of the law used to enforce private agreements between two or more parties. Topics include contract formation, performance, defenses and excuses to non-performance, and remedies.

Criminal Law uses the backdrop of violent crime to introduce students to the statutory interpretation and legal argument surrounding the strong sanctions that the criminal legal system offers.  This course covers offenses such as homicide and rape, along with defenses such as insanity and self-defense.  It will also explore how statutory interpretation ties into the underlying goals and purposes of the criminal law.

Lawyering Skills and Strategies will focus on an introduction to the American legal system and the skills and strategic planning lawyers must possess to succeed within it. The curriculum will be problem-based, using fact-pattern simulations to enable students to work through actual practice skills and strategies and ethical issues. Students receive training in essential lawyering skills such as oral communication, legal writing, research, and analysis.

Procedure provides an introduction to the civil adjudicative process, primarily that of the federal courts, including jurisdiction, pleading, dispositive motions, discovery, and trial procedure.

Property focuses on the question “what does it mean to own something?”  This course examines the black letter law of property, which derives from very different sources of law, spans numerous bodies of doctrine, and deals with a wide variety of things that these sources and authorities govern.

Statutory Interpretation and Regulation introduces students to the role of statutes and administrative regulation in the practice of law today. The course covers the interpretation of statutes and regulations, including the close reading of one or more complex statutes. As a second element, this course also covers basic aspects of administrative law.

Torts covers an introduction to the law of torts, legal reasoning, and legal history.  This course is a survey of intentional, negligent and strict liability torts, with selective treatment of such topics as product liability, nuisance, defamation, and privacy law.