Law students should be exposed to the various philosophical approaches to law, the history of law, the ethical dimensions and professional obligation of the legal profession. In addition, law is increasingly regulatory in nature and students must have a firm foundation in legislative and administrative law and procedure. This knowledge base must partner with the foundation of legal practice: legal writing.
Students are reminded that the first year research and writing course constitutes only a minimal opportunity to develop the technical skills expected of a practicing lawyer. The upper division seminar requirement provides an opportunity to engage in scholarly writing. However, students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many courses and project opportunities that will further develop their research and writing skills.
Customized academic planning is key to developing a greater breadth and depth in the field of law. The diversity of the SLU LAW curriculum allows students to both acquire a broad knowledge base in the law and to specialize in a distinct area. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the multiple sources of advice and guidance in planning their legal education ranging from individual meetings to group advising sessions.
First year required courses are often viewed as "building blocks" from the Common Law tradition. Viewed in this light, the required Contracts course must be taken before Commercial Transactions, which must be taken prior to Advanced Commercial Transactions. Similarly, Property is a required course, and is followed by Trusts and Estates, then Estate Planning. Some other examples of "building blocks" include Civil Procedure and Evidence, which are prerequisites to Clinics and Trial Advocacy.
Additionally, a number of courses should be seen as a foundation for more specialized courses. Students are encouraged to enroll in these courses in their second year through the registration priority system. Second-year registration priority courses are: Administrative Law, Business Associations, Commercial Transactions, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Trusts and Estates. In addition, students interested in specializing may elect from the following - Labor Law, International Law, Health Law, IP Survey, Tax or Moot Court I.
Finally, certain courses, such as Admiralty, Remedies, Conflict of Laws and Federal Courts, offer a cross-cutting approach to much of the law dealt with in other courses. Students are advised to enroll in these kinds of courses during the third year.
Much attention has been devoted to the development of professional skills courses that focus on the application of knowledge to "real world" legal issues. Unlike other law classes that are purely exam based, professional skills classes test students' ability to engage in practice skills ranging from drafting and reviewing contracts to arguing a case before a judge. Experiential learning courses are offered every semester and include offerings ranging from Trial Advocacy to Negotiations to Transactional Drafting.
In order to achieve a balanced course load, it is important that each semester students' select courses from area(s) of personal interest, courses that fulfill graduation requirements and bar-related subjects.
In preparing for the Bar examination it is important to note that the multi-state
portion of the exam is given in every state. The subject areas tested on the multi-state
portion are listed below and the courses required by the School are denoted with an
asterisk. Several areas tested on the Bar Exam are not required courses. Some examples
of these are Evidence and Real Estate Transactions. Students are strongly advised
to tailor their studies to include these subjects, ensuring better preparation for
the exam. Each semester courses are offered in areas covered on the bar exam. Students
are encouraged to consult with the Director of Bar Exam Preparation and to obtain
information specific to the state in which they plan to take the bar.