June 23, 2010 15:04 Age: 4 yrs

A New First Year

By: Timothy L. Hussey

Incoming students will have more choices as they plan their academic studies

First-year students will be able to exercise a little choice next year thanks to significant changes to the first-year curriculum approved by the faculty this spring. Changes include the addition of a new required first-year course in Legislation and Regulation and the creation of an elective course option during the second semester.

“The legal profession has changed in innumerable ways over the past few years. We saw the need to pursue curricular reforms that would better position our students in this new marketplace and help prepare them to make an immediate impact in the practice of law upon graduating,” says David F. Partlett, dean and Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law.

The new Legislation and Regulation course introduces first-year students to the central role of legislatures and administrative agencies in the practice of law today. The course is a primary building block for Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Legislation and a number of specialized upper-level courses.

“Today’s practicing attorneys operate in a world where regulations and legal statutes are as important, or even more important in some cases, than decisions made by the courts,” Partlett says. “The addition of the Legislation and Regulation course exposes our students to the critical role this aspect of law will play in their future practice.”

Emory Law prepares students for practice by helping them discern their legal path. By creating the first-year elective option, the curriculum committee is giving students the option to explore areas of possible legal interest or get a head start on an area of interest.

“One of the more unique features of the Emory Law curriculum is the availability to our first-year students of an elective course in the second semester,” says Timothy P. Terrell, professor of law and chair of the curriculum committee. “This unusual early opportunity for individual choice allows our students to begin pursuing special interests even as the basics of legal education are being stressed.”

The list of elective courses offered will change from year to year. These courses will be offered as “building blocks” for more specialized legal study.

“In their first year, law students are put in the same classes, with the same students, and focus on the same type of law….” says Stacy Tolos 10L, the student representative to the curriculum committee. “The elective will allow students to take at least one class that they are very interested in, thus providing them with much needed autonomy and choice. Exposure to a new subject of interest in the first year also will help students to choose their upper level courses more carefully and deliberately.”

Other changes include the reduction of Civil Procedure from a two-semester, six-credit-hour offering to a one-semester, four-credit-hour course. The faculty approved elimination of the Legal Methods course, which will be subsumed by existing courses.

The new course requirements take effect in August for the Class of 2013.

Hussey is Emory Law’s senior director of marketing and communications.

List: <- Back to: News Releases