But I keep thinking about it. And more to the point, I keep thinking about the current 1L curriculum at US law schools. Here are some of my thoughts and questions:
- What should be different in the current 1L curriculum, if anything? Did HLS get it right? Wrong? Miss the point?
- What courses among the standard 1L courses are perceived by students and law school grads as the most or least helpful or essential?
- What about legal research and writing courses? Should law schools teach their students such practical skills in distinct courses, or should they incorporate this sort of skills-building into other courses within the 1L and upperclass curriculum?
- By the same token, is HLS's new 1L course on legislation and regulations (see HLS's 10/6/06 announcement linked to above) something that should be in the first year curriculum of law schools? Or is the price of a separate course (taking time out of other 1L courses such as Torts or Contracts) simply too dear?
On that last point, it should be noted that a shift toward teaching more code-driven law has already occurred within some law school casebooks (and their supplements), at least to some extent. Look, for example, at a 1L Contracts casebook from 20 or 30 years ago versus a current casebook edition such as the one I use (Randy Barnett, Contracts: Cases and Doctrine (3d ed. 2003)). Chances are the new book, like Barnett's, includes significant use of the UCC. That's not to say, of course, that there shouldn't be more changes to the 1L curriculum, but it is to say that there has been some change in teaching focus in recent decades.
In any event, I would appreciate any comments readers might have on this subject.