The first-year curriculum consists of six core substantive law classes, all of which are tested on the bar exam, as well as a course designed to prepare students for the legal research and writing they'll do as practicing lawyers.
- Core Courses
- Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research Skills
The required core curriculum includes the following eight courses: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Torts, Legal Analysis Writing and Research Skills (LAWRS) I and LAWRS II.
Full-time students complete the required core curriculum in the Fall and Spring semesters of the first year of law school. Part-time students complete the required core curriculum over the first four semesters (including the 1LE summer semester in Newark). Sections for the required core curriculum are set by the Dean’s Office and are not subject to reassignment except in extraordinary circumstances.
Although students will generally complete the required core curriculum within the above timeframe, under certain circumstances, students will not have successfully completed all of the required classes as planned. In those cases, students must take any class not successfully completed the next time it is offered. These circumstances occur when a student:
- has received a grade of “F” in a required course;
- did not take a required course when it was first offered to his/her class (as when the student was on leave of absence during that semester);
- has been required by the Committee on Scholastic Standing to repeat a course;
- has transferred from part-time to full-time status before completion of the required core curriculum;
- has transferred from full-time to part-time status before completion of the required core curriculum; or
- has transferred from another law school and did not take one or more such courses before transferring.
Students for whom one of the above circumstances applies must have their proposed program of study approved by the vice dean to ensure timely completion of the required core curriculum. Permission to defer taking a required course when it is next given may be granted only by the vice dean.
Students who delay complying with these requirements may be closed out of their preferred sections of upperclass and required courses. Students who do not register for a required course that they must complete may be dropped from one of their elective courses and reassigned to a section in the required course.
Although known as Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research in Camden and Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research Skills in Newark, these two courses cover the same material.
Many of our professors who teach the legal analysis, writing and research courses to first-year students are leaders and innovators in the field of legal writing. U.S. News & World Report regularly ranked the legacy Rutgers Legal Writing as a top-20 program, as voted by professors at other law schools. Our Lawyering Programs have developed a holistic “Orientation to Graduation” approach to preparing students for the representation of clients. As part of that, professors teaching our legal writing courses work with other faculty to integrate major goals of the first-year legal writing courses with those of the school's clinics, internal competitive appellate moot court program, other skills courses, and the various pro bono programs. A student might easily see their legal writing professor again in a clinical or skills course or in a pro bono project.
The first-year legal writing courses focus on investigatory legal and factual research and intra-office or client-counseling communications in the fall, and persuasive writing and oral advocacy on behalf of the client in the spring. In both semesters, students write multiple drafts of assignments and have one-on-one meetings with professors before submitting revised drafts. Classes have a lower student-teacher ratio than most first-year classes. Legal writing fellows or teaching assistants are an integral part of the writing program, and these students earn academic credit for their close work with 1L students.