First Year Courses

Required Courses

Contracts (LAW-LW.11672)

Fall or Spring semester, 4 credits. The body of law concerned with private agreements, including capacity to contract, contract formation, interpretation, conditions, excuse of performance, and remedies for breach, is the focus of this course. Attention is given to the Uniform Commercial Code and other relevant statutes as well as to principles of common law and equity.

Procedure (LAW-LW.11650)

Fall semester, 5 credits. This course examines the rules governing civil litigation, with an emphasis on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Constitutional issues relating to jurisdiction and procedural protections are also considered.

Torts (LAW-LW.11275)

Fall or Spring semester, 4 credits. This course covers laws that determine the conditions under which one incurs civil liability for having caused harm to the person or property of another. Topics include intentional and unintentional injury; fault and no-fault theories of liability; causation; compensatory and punitive damages; affirmative defenses and other limitations of liability; and the interaction between tort and other bodies of law, such as contract and legislative law.

Lawyering (LAW-LW.10687)

Year-long course, 2.5 credits each semester. The first semester involves a series of simulations designed to build essential legal problem-solving skills and analysis, including legal writing, interviewing, research, and counseling. In each simulation, students examine the interplay of law, fact, goals, and the context of the simulation. Whether working solo or collaboratively in groups of up to four, students identify fundamental questions, develop a plan, execute that plan, and participate in critique.

In the second semester, students build upon these skills by completing simulations in two core legal settings: transactional negotiation and motion practice.

Legislation and the Regulatory State (LAW-LW.10925)

Spring semester, 4 credits. Legislation and the Regulatory State describes the process by which legislation is created, interpreted, and implemented. The course provides an overview of the legislative process; the doctrines governing the interpretation of the terms that this legislative process produces; the constitutional rules governing the relations between the actors responsible for enacting and implementing statutes – courts, elected chief executives like the President or governors, legislative bodies like Congress or state legislatures, and the executive bodies set up by statutes for their implementation – and the various doctrines of administrative law that empower and control agencies in interpreting and implementing statutes.

Criminal Law (LAW-LW.11147)

Fall or Spring semester, 4 credits. This an introductory course on the jurisprudence of substantive criminal law. It deals with the necessary conditions of blameworthiness as a precondition for criminal liability, including such topics as strict liability, negligence, causation, accomplice liability and attempts. It examines justifications and excuses, including necessity, self-defense, duress, intoxication and insanity. Because criminal law is codified, the course provides a solid introduction into reading and interpreting statutes.


First-Year Elective Courses

Constitutional Law (LAW-LW.10598)

Spring semester, 4 credits. This course provides an introduction to United States Constitution, which is traditionally divided into structural and rights-based topics. The structural topics include judicial review, federalism, and separation of powers; the rights-based topics include due process and equal protection. The course will not only review substantive areas of law, but also methods of constitutional interpretation. Coverage will vary by instructor.

Corporations (LAW-LW.10223)

Spring semester, 4 credits. This course is a basic introduction to the law of business organizations. The course focuses on the central conflicts among owners of firms and between owners and managers in publicly held firms. Topics covered include agency, partnership, formation and financing of corporations, shareholder voting (proxy contests), securities fraud relating to proxies, managers' fiduciary duties, shareholder suits, mergers, and change of control transactions (takeovers).

Criminal Procedure: Police Practices (LAW-LW.12697)

Spring semester, 4 credits. This course covers the first half of the criminal process, focusing on the investigation of crimes prior to formal charge, together with related police practices such as public-safety interventions and order maintenance on the streets. Much of the relevant law has been constitutionalized; thus, the primary focus of the course is on Fourth and Fifth Amendment standards applicable to search and seizure, wiretapping and questioning of suspects.  We will devote particular attention to such topical issues as stop-and-frisk, police use of force, the war on drugs, racial profiling, electronic surveillance, counter-terrorism initiatives, and police interrogation.

Income Taxation (LAW-LW.10694)

Spring semester, 4 credits. This introductory course, designed for first-year law students with no prior background in tax law, examines the basic concepts underlying the income taxation of individuals. Subjects covered include the definition of the tax base (income and deductions), timing issues, the tax treatment of various types of property dispositions, and issues concerning taxation of the family. Although the primary emphasis is on current law, the course covers a variety of policy issues, concerning both economic efficiency and questions of just distribution that are raised by the income tax.

International Law (LAW-LW.11577)

Spring semester, 4 credits. This is a general survey course in Public International Law. It is designed to introduce the basics of the international legal system, including the fundamental sources of legal obligation (treaties, customary law, and general principles of law) but also international institutions such as those of the UN system and some of the many international courts now in operation. Since international law covers a virtual curriculum of topics, including the use of force, international environmental law, international criminal law, and human rights, the exact topics covered each year depend on the instructor, as does the amount of attention devoted to the role international law plays within the US legal system. The course seeks to provide students with the background needed to tackle NYU’s diverse specialized courses and seminars in the field.

Property (LAW-LW.10427)

Spring semester, 4 credits. A study of the institution of property—interests in land and in resources other than land; how and why we recognize "ownership" and award ownership to particular claimants; the estates system—possessory and non possessory interests; concurrent interests; the law governing landlord-tenant relationships; the law of nuisance—recovery for harms caused by uses of land; allocation and development of land resources by private arrangement and through community planning devices such as zoning and eminent domain.

Survey of Intellectual Property (LAW-LW.12469)

Spring semester, 4 credits. This course introduces the different ways in which law regulates creative and inventive activity. A particular focus is the challenge to traditional legal principles posed by new technology. The course also provides significant exposure to economic analysis and statutory interpretation.