Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice
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 must take the summer classes Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice, unless a waiver is granted. Please note that credits earned for these summer classes do not count toward the 24 credits needed in fall and spring to earn the LLM degree. Both classes will be held from Monday, August 12, 2019 through Friday, August 23, 2019. On Monday, August 12 there is a mandatory check-in from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. You should plan to be able to attend classes from 9:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m with some longer days.
On Friday, August 23 there is an essay exam on the line of cases covered during the second week of Intro. Students have found studying 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 use credits earned in Introduction to US Law and in Introduction to US Legal Practice toward fulfilling NY Bar eligibility requirements.
Introduction to US Law Sections
During the second week of Introduction to US Law, several days are devoted to exploring an evolving line of cases; the topic of these cases differs between sections as indicated below.
Section One: Just or Unjust? Punitive Damages and the American Judicial System
Professor Irene Ayers
Section Two: Just or Unjust? Private Arbitration and the American Consumer
Professor Mary Holland
Section Three: Just or Unjust? The Exclusionary Rule in the American Criminal Justice System
Professor Gerry Lebovits
To express a preference for a section of the class, please indicate accordingly on the online (the link will be live in early July) and click on "Registration" on the left sidebar. Indicate your first, second, and third choices. We will honor your preference to the extent possible, while maintaining classes of equal size. If you have not entered your preference by July 12 at 9:30 a.m. (New York time), we will place you automatically into one of the Intro sections. Once you are assigned to a section of Introduction to US Law, you will be automatically enrolled in the summer course Introduction to US Legal Practice.
Syllabus and Class Schedule
The schedule and syllabus for Introduction to US Law and Introduction to US Legal Practice are provided online for your reference.
Early Reading Assignments
Reading for Introduction to US Law
Please also complete the reading assignment noted in the syllabus before the first Introduction to US Law class meeting; this assigned reading will be posted during the summer 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 The NYU Graduate Lawyering Book which will be available for purchase at the NYU Bookstore in summer.
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 topic of the cases differs between sections; click the following link to find the cases for each section.
Reading Recommended to Prepare for the Academic Year
- Law 101: Everything You Need to Know about American Law, by Jay M. Feinman, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press (the faculty strongly encourage students to read this 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.
Check-In and Welcome Reception
On Monday, August 12 there is a mandatory check-in from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. To check in, at any time during the half hour before the Introduction to US Law class begins, please report to the Admissions staff member located near the entrance to your assigned classroom. Please do come before 9:00 a.m.! You will receive a packet with important materials including the LLM Orientation Schedule and information about the Student Health Center.
Following the first day of Introduction to US Law classes, students will attend a panel offered by the Office of Global Services including critical information about your stay in NYC. A Welcome Reception will follow. We hope you will stay for a while to mingle with your new classmates and enjoy refreshments!
During the Reception, you will be able to purchase tickets for the Manhattan Harbor cruise, and, if you are living off-campus, obtain an access sticker for University buildings.
- Access Sticker: Students living off-campus must obtain an access sticker called “SOLL.” Affix the SOLL sticker to your NYUCard for access to Law School buildings. Students living in NYU residence halls will be given a sticker for their NYUCard when they move into their residences; students living off-campus should pick up a SOLL sticker at the Welcome Reception.
- Manhattan Harbor Cruise tickets: OGA hosts an annual LLM Cruise around Manhattan harbor. The cruise will take place in the afternoon of Sunday, September 15. Tickets will be $30 (OGA subsidizes the cost of the ticket). The ride includes a close-up sighting of the Statute of Liberty, food, soda, beer, wine, and a DJ. Past LLM students have deemed the cruise a highlight of the LLM year.
Students who have applied for housing in Law School Residences, may also Request Early Arrival to stay in Law School residences during Introduction to US Law.
Deadline to Request a Waiver (of Requirement to Take Introduction to US Law): July 5
Deadline to Register for a Particular Section of Introduction to US Law: July 12 at 9:30 am NY time
Dates of Class: August 12 - August 23