What You Learn The First Year of Law School


When you first enter law school, you probably don’t know what you want to specialize in or even have a foundation to learn that said specialty. Like any form of education, the first step is always learning the basics. In your first year at law school, you’re going to learn all of the building blocks of the rest of your law education and then career. According to the Princeton Review  there are some basic classes you can assume you’re going to be mandated to take during your first year. These include:

  • Torts
  • Contracts
  • Civil procedure
  • Property
  • Criminal law
  • Constitutional law
  • Legal methods

The Princeton Review also gives a brief description of each of the classes along with why they’re important for the basis of your law education.


In simple terms, Torts is an act that hurts someone and the person who caused it can be held legally liable for the other party’s injuries. Torts fall under civil law and so in a beginner class like this, you’ll most likely study the reasoning behind past judgments regarding such civil cases. The Princeton Review gives an acronym to help students remember Torts: FITTED CAB. The acronym stands for: false imprisonment, trespassing on land, trespassing on personal property, emotional distress, conversion, assault, and battery.


Some of the more boring topics as described by many law students, contracts can be very complicated. Because there is so much to them, you’ll have to take multiple classes on the subject. Some of the main objectives you’ll look at are previous court cases and their decisions, the conditions and obligations that contracts of different types present to both parties, and how breached contracts are effectively resolved.

Civil Procedure

This topic is related to Torts in the way that it teaches students how to prepare for civil court. Since you’ve already learned what Torts is, the next step is to figure out how to win cases involving them. You’ll learn about the complicated rules that discuss when it’s okay to sue another party and how to go about doing it, along with how the court room operates during civil procedure cases.


Property law is another topic in which you would have to have a degree of interest in, in order to enjoy. Property law dates back to the start of civilization, and though the laws have of course changed, they’re important for attorneys to know. This class will explore the economic analysis that regards property law along with how people can legally purchase, sell, or transfer land.

Criminal Law

This class is notoriously one of the tougher ones you’re going to face in your beginning years of law school. Most likely, you’ll experience exam questions and in class scenarios that you’re never going to encounter in your actual profession no matter where you end up working. However, it’s designed to get you to think and to examine all potential outcomes.

Constitutional Law  

This class looks to examine the law created way back when, when the constitution was written. Many court cases today can go back to how the constitution is interpreted, since it’s the basis of what this country’s law system was built on. It’s important to have a thorough understanding of this.

Legal Methods

This class might be the most tedious, but it’s one of the most important classes you can take in order to build on your law skills. It will teach you about law research as well as writing and is absolutely a necessity in the remainder of your educational experience.

Once you get through the first year, you may want to declare a specialty depending upon if your school offers any. After that, your main objective is to pass the bar. Once you become a true attorney, you should look to join groups like Lawyers of Distinction to help yourself stand out amongst your peers. Being a lawyer doesn’t stop being competitive after school, and the learning never stops.

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