The new 1L class faces an unprecedented challenge in starting the vaunted first-year law school curriculum virtually.
But these students are getting something special from the faculty: a compelling slate of small, one-credit courses.
“With our first-year classes being online in the fall semester, I want to create other ways to build community and provide our 1Ls a wonderful educational experience,” says Dean Erwin Chemerinsky.
He proposed these courses to the faculty so participating students — about 10 in each class — can get to know one another and the professor.
The three dozen courses cover myriad subjects. Students are digging into originalism with Professor Orin Kerr and discovering how Roman law influenced our own system (no Latin required) with Professor David Singh Grewal.
Many faculty members chose topics that reflect the times, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the movement toward racial and social justice, and climate change. Chemerinsky is teaching Civil Liberties in a Pandemic, and other topics include environmental justice, dismantling the carceral state, and an insider’s look at social movement lawyering.
Still others aim to help 1Ls better navigate their black-letter courses via Zoom. Professor Seth Davis is breaking down how to read a case; Professor Abbye Atkinson has students reading scholarly works by faculty who are teaching first-year students; and Experiential Education Director Kristen Holmquist is offering strategies for being happy in law school.
“I was thrilled at the enthusiastic response from our faculty, and I’m delighted at the rich array of topics and classes for the 1Ls to choose from,” Chemerinsky says.
—Gwyneth K. Shaw