Questions and Answers About the New 1L Curriculum


Professor Martha Minow, chair of the curricular reform committee, answered The Record’s questions about the curriculum changes in an email interview Tuesday.

Is the new curriculum going into effect for 1Ls entering in 2007?

There will be a process of phasing in the changes; some but certainly not all will appear next year. This is a matter for the Dean and the Dean of Academic Affairs, and now that the faculty has voted, they can turn to work on the phase-in process.

Will future 1Ls have fall finals before winter break?

The plan does call eventually for moving 1L exams, like exams for upper-level students, before break, but this will not happen next year.

Will 1Ls still choose a spring elective?

The 1L elective is preserved; the faculty is strongly committed to opening up the array of courses to 1Ls in this way. In fact, we would like to encourage more students to explore seminars and writing opportunities as well as other courses.

How will the new legislation and regulation course and the new international law courses affect the substance of, or the enrollment in, Administrative Law and upper-division international courses?

The Legislation and Regulation Course will enable all upper-level offerings to go into greater depth. This means that faculty will adjust their syllabi in Administrative Law, but there will remain much in that course that is not addressed by the new 1L class. We expect students to enroll in that course and other advanced courses because they are important windows onto the contemporary worlds of practice and policy.

We have found that when it comes to international and comparative law, a major portion of the enrollment in the spring Public International Law course has been 1Ls. Many go on to more advanced courses. With the additional offerings of courses in International Economic Law and Comparative Law designed specifically as foundational courses for advanced work in international law, student interest in these areas should be well accommodated.

Will the Legal Research and Writing class change on account of the new courses?

The Legal Research and Writing program will continue in the fall to work ever more closely with other first year teachers, and as the Problems and Theories course is developed, they will be involved in that as well.

Erin Archerd contributed to the reporting of this article.

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