A Guide to the Law School Curriculum
This Guide to the Law School Curriculum has been prepared by the Faculty of The University of Alabama School of Law to assist students who have completed one or more semesters of law school and find themselves faced with the difficult task of choosing among a host of elective courses. This Guide lists courses recommended by those who teach in specialized areas, gives details about the sequencing of courses within particular fields of law, and suggests how courses in different areas of law complement one another. Not all courses listed may be offered during any academic year. All of the members of the Faculty, as well as the Dean and the Associate Dean for Academic Services, will be happy to assist any student in designing the curriculum best suited to his or her interests.
Today, a great many of the most talented students produced by our colleges and universities seek a legal education. While we are delighted that so many of these students have chosen The University of Alabama School of Law, we are also aware that their choice imposes a real obligation to provide them with the kind of legal education that will enable them to serve their society, their profession, and their clients with skill and distinction.
The “knowledge” you gain here, however, may not be precisely the “knowledge” you will use in practice. Legal rules and doctrines are bound to change over time, and your careers will span many decades. We, therefore, intend to teach much more than just “the law.” We want to equip our students with the ability to learn on their own, to ask probing questions, to research, and to analyze. In short, we try to equip our students for a productive professional career by exposing them to critical and creative thought and by engaging them in that process.
The curriculum is designed to give students a great deal of freedom and flexibility. Apart from a group of core courses, most of which are taught in the first-year, students may select from a large number of courses, seminars and clinical offerings. They may choose to concentrate — to varying degrees — in one or more areas of law or to gain exposure to a broad number of areas. Students should realize, however, that the ability to predict one’s future practice area or areas is not always perfect. Therefore, many students may benefit from taking a relatively wide range of courses.
Despite the freedom to choose that students are given during their second and third years, there are some subjects that probably ought not to be ignored. Included within this category is a course that offers some perspective on the practice of law — such as a jurisprudential or international law offering, or a comparative or legal history offering; business organizations; a course which deals with regulation — such as administrative law or an environmental or labor law offering; and a course which offers some taste of practice — such as a clinical or trial advocacy offering, moot court, or alternate dispute resolution.
William L. Andreen
Clarkson Professor of Law