First-Year Full-Time Curriculum
Georgetown's first-year program is designed to provide students with the foundation for upperclass studies by introducing the major areas of substantive law while developing the analytical, research and writing skills required of all lawyers.
During the first year, full-time students complete 30 required credits. Classes will meet Monday through Thursday and may also be scheduled on Fridays.
The first-year classroom instruction is complemented by "1L 101", a series of presentations led by faculty and administrators on topics including reading and briefing cases, synthesizing the material, and preparing for exams.
Two first-year curricula are available to Georgetown Law students in the full-time program: Curriculum "A" and Curriculum "B". Students in the two curricula take the same number of credits and are subject to the same faculty-recommended grading curve. Curriculum "A" is the traditional first-year curriculum which parallels those at all major law schools. Four full-time sections and the part-time section are instructed under curriculum "A." Curriculum "B" was developed in 1991 by a faculty committee charged by the Dean to comprehensively rethink the first year of law school and offers an innovative and integrated approach to the study of law. One full time section is instructed under curriculum "B."
Students in Curriculum "A" take Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I: The Federal System, Contracts, Criminal Justice, Legal Practice: Writing and Analysis, Property, Torts, and a First-Year Elective (a 3-credit elective in the spring semester drawn from two categories: legislative/regulatory law and international/comparative/transnational law). For course descriptions and the current schedule, see the first-year schedules in our Curriculum Guide.
Students in Curriculum "B" take Bargain, Exchange, and Liability; Democracy and Coercion; Government Processes; Legal Justice Seminar; Legal Practice: Writing and Analysis; Legal Process and Society; and Property in Time. For course descriptions and the current schedule, see the first-year schedules in our Curriculum Guide.
All first-year students have the opportunity to request a seat in the optional one-week, 1-credit course "First-Year Week One Simulations," which meets in January. In these Week One courses, students engage in scenarios that have been developed by Georgetown Law faculty to mirror situations that lawyers face in the real world, allowing students to practice critical legal skills such as conflict resolution, trial skills, interviewing, client counseling, legal document drafting, strategic planning, problem solving, teambuilding, stress management, presentation skills, professionalism, and emotional intelligence. Simulation courses are structured to permit for mistakes and provide opportunities for immediate feedback and reflection, giving students the supportive space to hone these legal skills before they need to rely on them in practice. For first-year students, the Week One courses are not only an introduction to experiential learning and the Law Center’s experiential education programming, but a first-hand view into lawyering competencies and law in practice.
First-Year Small Section Program
Each of the five full-time sections has approximately 100 students, who take their classes together. In the fall semester, each student is also assigned to a smaller group of approximately 30 students for one of the required courses. This smaller class is intended to encourage class participation and allow faculty to use teaching techniques that are easier to implement in a smaller class setting. Legal Practice: Writing and Analysis is also taught in a smaller class.
This small section structure provides each student with a smaller cohort of peers to share the first-year experience. Study groups, as well as friendships, often form within these small sections and the faculty members who teach them often become informal advisors to students. Small section professors are encouraged to host a brunch or dinner for their students as an opportunity for interaction beyond the classroom.