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All VLS Courses

Course Name

Appellate Advocacy

Required JD

An exercise in appellate brief writing and oral argument using a case pending before the United States Supreme Court.  Classes focus on the appellate process, complex research and analysis, preparation of briefs, critical writing skills, and oral argument.

Civil Procedure I

Required JD

Covers the procedural rules governing civil actions in the state and federal courts, from commencement through appeal, including jurisdiction over parties, joinder of parties and claims, contents of pleadings, pretrial motions and discovery, conduct of trial, post-trial motions, res judicata, collateral estoppel, and conflicts between the state and federal judicial systems.

Constitutional Law

Required JD

Constitutional Law I:

This course focuses on the historical development of major constitutional doctrines, including the Commerce, Due Process, and Equal Protection Clauses.  The course also studies the process of constitutional decision-making, and explores major techniques of constitutional interpretation. 

Constitutional Law II:

Continues the studies major constitutional doctrines, including the First Amendment, and the processes of constitutional decision-making as well as major techniques of constitutional interpretation. 


Required JD

This course examines in detail the requisite elements of a valid contract, while analyzing the effects of contracts on third parties and the impact of outside forces on contracting parties.

Criminal Law

Required JD

This course focuses on the foundation of our system of substantive criminal law, with emphasis upon mental state, responsibility, justification and excuse, inchoate crimes, and liability for the conduct of another.

Ecology of Food and Agriculture

Required JDRequired LLMEnvironmental

A critical examination of several case studies drawn broadly from the science, law, politics, economics and policy of food and agriculture.  The course also has the broader goals of teaching the student to critically read the scientific literature, and to effectively apply science in diverse legal and political settings. 

Legal Methods

Required JD

Focuses on building and reinforcing the analytical, writing, and reasoning skills essential for success in law school.

Legal Profession

Required JD

 The study of a lawyer's professional obligations based on the ABA's Model Rules, ethical rules from selected jurisdictions, and other laws and traditions governing professional conduct. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to identify ethical dilemmas and acquire the tools to help resolve them.


Legal Reasoning, Writing and Research (Legal Writing I)

Required JDWriting

An introduction to the three fundamental skills needed for the pursuit of a legal career: research, reasoning, and writing. The early emphasis is on basic writing skills to eliminate language problems and to begin to develop clear, fluid writing. Students also learn rudimentary legal writing skills, including citing, identifying legally significant facts, formulating issues, and reasoning by analogy.

Legal Research

Required JDResearch

Introduction to legal research tools and strategies relevant for law school as well as legal practice. Topics include legal authority, the use of primary and secondary sources, effictive use of LexisNexis, Westlaw, and other electronic databases, the role of the Internet in legal research, and a brief introduction to environmental and international legal research. Emphasis is placed on appropriate and effective research strategies and evaluation of sources, both print and electronic.

Legal Writing II: Theory and Practice

Required JD

Develops fundamental legal writing, reasoning, and research skills in the context of the analysis of a specific subject matter. This course also provides the transition from predictive to persuasive legal writing and advocacy and an introduction to other legal problem-solving skills.


Required JD

An introduction to the concept of ownership and its legal implications: rights to control, enjoy, and transfer real and personal property, including public and private restrictions on use; estates in land; concurrent ownership; adverse possession; easements and licenses; and landlords and tenants.


Required JD

This course presents the study of the legal protection afforded against interference by others with the security of one's person, property, or intangible interests.