Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice
In Summer 2020, Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice classes will be held remotely.
Introduction to US Law is an intensive course that reviews the fundamentals of the US legal system, including an overview of the US Constitution, federalism, the structure and function of courts, sources of legal authority, and common-law methodology.
Introduction to US Legal Practice teaches practical skills needed in the US legal environment including locating cases, statutes and other legal source materials; citing legal authority correctly; and checking the validity of case citations. In addition, these introductory classes help prepare students for study at a US law school by developing their skills in briefing cases, course outlining, and taking law school examinations.
All LLM students who received their first degree in law outside the United States and who are beginning their LLM program in Fall 2020 must take Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice beginning on Monday, August 10 through Friday, August 21, 2020.
Students beginning the LLM program in January 2021 will take the Intro classes beginning Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 15, 2021.
Please note that credits earned for these classes do not count toward the 24 credits needed to earn the LLM degree.
On the last day of the class there is an essay exam on the line of cases covered during the second week of Intro. Students have found studying for and writing the exam for Intro. to be important preparation for the fall semester.
Students who need the LLM degree to qualify to take the New York Bar exam can use credits earned in Introduction to US Law and in Introduction to US Legal Practice toward fulfilling NY Bar eligibility requirements.
Syllabus and Class Schedule
The syllabus and class schedule for Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice will be provided online for your reference a few weeks before the class begins.
Early Reading Assignments
Reading for Introduction to US Law
Please complete the reading assignment noted in the syllabus before the first Introduction to US Law class meeting; this assigned reading will be posted in advance on NYU Classes (a web-based system that enables NYU faculty to provide access to course content and communicate with class members). The textbook for the class is A Lawyer Writes: A Practical Guide to Legal Analysis (3rd ed.).
During the second week of Introduction to US Law, the faculty devotes several days to exploring an evolving line of judicial opinions (cases). They recommend that you read the cases before the beginning of the course. The cases for August 2020 (PDF: 16.4 MB) online.
Recommended Reading to Prepare for the Academic Year
- Law 101: Everything You Need to Know about American Law, by Jay M. Feinman, Fifth Edition, Oxford University Press. The faculty strongly encourage students to read this book before taking Introduction to US Law.
- Essential Legal English in Context: Understanding the Vocabulary of US Law and Government, by Karen Ross, NYU Press. Enormously helpful and readable introduction to legal English vocabulary and to the US Court system.
- Open Book: The Inside Track to Law School Success, by Barry Friedman and John C. P. Goldberg, Second Edition, Wolters Kluwer. Highly recommended guide to preparing for US law school classes and exams.
- Whose Monet? An Introduction to the American Legal System, by John Humbach, Second Edition, Wolters Kluwer. This book traces a civil action related to a stolen painting from discovery of the work through litigation.