Required First-Year Program

What is the first-year class setting?

One of the benefits of Georgetown's sweeping curriculum and large faculty is that students have many opportunities to take small classes, permitting them to work closely with distinguished faculty members. The first year class is divided into 5 full-time sections (of approximately 100 students) and 1 part-time section (of approximately 50 students). All first year full-time students have a small section class of about 33 students, and an even smaller Legal Practice: Writing and Analysis seminar of about 25 students. Mentors are assigned to the smaller sections.

What is the first-year curriculum like?

Unlike many other law schools, Georgetown offers first year students welcome choices in their course of study. The first option, Curriculum "A," provides a thorough grounding in the foundational subjects — civil procedure, contracts, constitutional law, criminal procedure, property and torts — while enabling students in the spring semester to select from a diverse menu of elective courses drawn from two major areas of law: legislative/regulatory law and international/comparative/transnational law. The second option, Curriculum "B," covers the traditional subjects offered in Curriculum "A," but takes an interdisciplinary approach, placing emphasis on the public nature of law and the sources of law in economics, philosophy and other social sciences.

All first-year students have the opportunity to request a seat in the optional one-week, 1-credit course "Week One: Law in a Global Context," 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. 

Are there tutorial programs?

Yes. Tutorial programs are conducted by the Office of the Dean of Students.  Tutorial groups are established for each of the five first year sections. Each group is coordinated by an upper-class tutor who meets with participants at least once a week for two hours. Any particular learning issue that arises is given individual attention. Additionally, upper-class students are available to give one-on-one tutorial assistance.

Are there opportunities to meet faculty?

Yes. In addition to regular office hours, Georgetown Law has a Learn at Lunch program in which faculty members discuss an area of law they are interested in and students brown bag it on a walk-in basis. Another luncheon discussion series Georgetown Law offers is a program called First Wednesdays, where faculty, students, and invited guest speakers get together in an informal setting to discuss cutting edge legal issues. There are also periodic student receptions which faculty attend, and many professors are active with student organizations as well.

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