First-Year Program and Beyond

The first-year program at Wisconsin is designed to teach the fundamentals of legal analysis and reasoning, as well as legal research and writing, in a supportive setting.  

First Semester (15 credits)

  • Contracts (4 credits)
  • Introduction to Substantive Criminal Law (4 credits)
  • Civil Procedure I (4 credits)
  • Legal Research & Writing (3 credits)

Our small-section program is the cornerstone of the first-year curriculum.  You will be assigned to a small section (approximately 30 students) of either Contracts or Criminal Law.  The students from your small section will share all of your other classes with you, making it easy to form study groups and, perhaps as important, to make friends.  In addition, you will learn important practice skills -- legal research, writing, and oral presentation skills -- in small sections of 20 students.  All sections of Civil Procedure will be medium-sized sections (approximately 40 students).  Your remaining classes will be large sections (approximately 60 to 100 students).

Second Semester (17 credits)

  • Property (4 credits)
  • Torts (4 credits)
  • Legal Research & Writing II (3 credits)

In your second semester, you will to choose two electives (from a designated slate of courses) that suit your individual needs and interests.  In recent years, elective options have included:

  • Contracts II
  • Civil Procedure II
  • Administrative Law
  • Business Organizations I
  • International Law
  • Constitutional Law I
  • Introduction to Criminal Procedure

Second- and Third-Year Programs

In your second and third years of law school, you will have time both to explore the curriculum to determine where your interests lie, and to develop the lawyering skills you will need when you graduate.  You will choose your courses from an extraordinary breadth and depth of offerings, affording you the opportunity to explore cutting-edge legal issues in the classroom and to apply your knowledge in one of our many clinical programs.

The University of Wisconsin Law School is a national law school that prepares students to practice wherever they choose, and our graduates have an excellent record for passing state bar exams across the country.  Moreover, graduates who complete specific course requirements and meet character standards are admitted to practice in Wisconsin without a bar examination, as part of Wisconsin Diploma Privilege, also qualifying to practice before the federal courts.

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