Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

211.11 sec. 001 - Understanding the U.S. Legal Profession (Spring 2023)

Instructor: Catherine Laura Fisk  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded
Mode of Instruction: In-Person


MW 2:10 PM - 3:25 PM
Location: Law 10
From January 09, 2023
To April 25, 2023

Course Start: January 09, 2023
Course End: April 25, 2023
Class Number: 32377
This course is open to 1Ls.

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 19
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 32
As of: 08/24 11:03 PM

This course is designed to prepare you to chart a successful, rewarding, and responsible career in law. Drawing from various disciplines, it will teach you about the variety of practice settings in which lawyers work and the professional opportunities and challenges of each. It will also give you the tools you will need to resolve the legal and ethical issues that lawyers confront in practice and to navigate the enormous cultural, legal, and economic forces that are reshaping the legal profession. While virtually all other law school courses focus primarily on issues of concern to clients, this course revolves around issues of primary concern to you – as a person and as a lawyer.

One goal of this course is to help you decide what to do with your law degree and to appreciate the tradeoffs that various choices entail. We will study the issues facing lawyers in a variety of practice settings, so that you can match your aptitudes and aspirations to the realities of different types of practice. This will help those of you choosing a first job and those who have already chosen but may be anticipating the possibility of switching jobs after a few years in practice.

Another objective is to familiarize you with the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the California Disciplinary Rules, and other elements of the law that governs lawyers. We will study how they guide lawyers’ decision-making and how they do not. These rules are tested on the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam and the bar exam of California and many other states. We will go well beyond the straightforward rule to consider ambiguity in the law and how lawyers do and should respond to it. Lawyers’ workplaces are arenas of professionalism that shape lawyers’ views about their role and obligations as much or more than ethics rules, disciplinary committees, liability controls, and a lawyer’s individual conscience. As a young lawyer, you need to be mindful about how your workplace shapes your views about your role and obligations so that you exercise agency in forming your professional identity.

A third goal of this course is to inform you, as future leaders of the profession, about the issues and problems that confront the profession as a whole. Among the pressing issues we will consider are access to justice in the market for legal services in a time of economic inequality, the reasons for the profession’s demographics, the evolving social and economic structure of various sectors of the profession, and the effects of technology and globalization on the profession. Whether you like it or not, friends and strangers alike will look to you for commentary on the legal profession, and you will be held to account for the public’s views on lawyers. This course will push you to decide which criticisms of the profession are justified, what policy responses are appropriate, and which sectors of the profession may win or lose under various reform proposals.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class satisfies the Professional Responsibility Requirement.

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Exam Notes: (TH) Take-home examination
Exam Length: 6 hours
Course Category: Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility

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