New Curriculum

For over a year, the VULS faculty has been working on curricular reform.  The new curriculum, to be implemented the fall of 2013, has the following key features:

  • Full education in core lawyering skills – students will be exposed to and educated in law practice from day one.
  • Comprehensive coverage of foundational legal concepts — students will master core knowledge tested on bar examinations and necessary for a successful career.
  • Participation in collaborative practicums designed to bridge the gap between law school and practice, ensuring graduates are fully practice ready.

Breakdown by year:

1L: FIRST YEAR: The first year’s focus is on developing core competencies, including problem-solving and client skills. The curriculum is presented in four seven-week sessions with tight integration of professors and instruction both within each session and from one session to another. Spanning the first year is a Praxis course, in which first-year students will be exposed to live-client experiences. Praxis is designed to offer a context for the substantive first year courses. There is also an emphasis on developing problem-solving skills, writing and research.

2L: SECOND YEAR: The second year focuses on values and core foundational/bar courses including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Evidence, and Trust and Estates. The context of practice experience continues throughout the second year. The goal is for students, at the end of the second year, to be sufficiently well prepared to take a bar examination and to be ready for the third year of law school.

3L: THIRD YEAR: The third year facilitates a smooth transition from law school to career and practice. It provides clinical and practicum experiences which include intensive offerings that integrate courses into specific practice areas.  Mentors, client-based experiences, targeted skills, and advanced study in writing and research are key components of the third year. The third year also closely integrates the academic enterprise with career planning by having students continue to develop and implement personal career plans.