Each student in the traditional track completes mandatory courses in Fundamentals of U.S. Law and Legal Research and Writing, and then may customize their studies by choosing from the full range of law school offerings. Students take approximately 3-4 courses each semester. Students may focus their studies to earn Certificates of Specialization and/or to meet the requirements to become eligible to register for a Bar Exam; many LL.M. students pursue eligibility to sit for the California or New York Bar Examination.


Core Curriculum*

1. Fundamentals of U.S. Law

Students study the sources of U.S. law and the structure of the U.S. court system. Students also learn the fundamentals of the case method of legal education and statutory construction, and study how cases progress through the American court system. The course will also explore topics of judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, and the practical and political limitations of these concepts. Students will then use case analysis skills to examine landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases.

2. Legal Research & Writing

In this class, each student researches and writes a 15- to 20-page research memorandum addressing a compelling issue in contemporary law. Through this writing exercise students learn predictive legal reasoning.  Students also complete other, shorter assignments throughout the term, including an introduction to Bluebook citation. Research instruction is integrated into the writing assignments, and includes mainly on-line but also a few traditional book-based resources. Students receive extensive written comments and attend one-on-one conferences on their papers. 

*Required for foreign-trained students in the traditional track. Domestic students are exempt from these courses, but must complete a capstone writing project of 15 pages or more in length.

Elective Curriculum

Visit Berkeley Law’s Schedule of Classes for a full and current listing of courses.