Legal Foundations: A new way of thinking
Law schools teach the foundations of law—transactional, statutory, constitutional, and administrative. You learn the fundamental cases, precedents, and modes of analysis related to tort, contract, criminal, civil, property, and other areas of law. Many of these courses are taken in the first year, and many cover subjects tested after law school on the bar exam.
At Mitchell Hamline, we integrate core skills, doctrine, and professionalism to teach you how to think like a lawyer as you build your fundamental understanding of the law. Our foundational courses are always paired with skills training that allows a deeper understanding of the law and its connection to practice. Instead of simply Contracts, for example, our 1L course is Contracts: Transactional Analysis.
- Team teaching means professors communicate, collaborate, and develop first-year capstone experiences
- The concurrent skills and simulations course Legal Writing connects all your Legal Foundations courses
- Sequencing of courses reinforces and enhances student learning
- Introduction of civil dispute resolution as a legal foundation gives you a deeper perspective as you continue your legal education
- A common framework and vocabulary for all classes increases learning and enhances upper-level courses and later experiences
- The support of the Office of Academic Excellence prepares you to succeed in your course work and on the bar exam
Courses are sequenced to build on skills as you learn them. First, in Torts and Criminal Law you learn case law and statutes respectively. These courses teach two major forms of legal texts, and they connect reading the law with legal reasoning. Then the more abstract Property and Powers courses build on those reading-the-law skills introduced in Torts and Criminal Law.
First-year Legal Foundations courses*
- Torts: The Common Law Process
- Criminal Law: Statutory Interpretation
- Contracts: Transactional Analysis
- Property: Jurisprudential and Comparative Analysis
- Powers: Advanced Legal Reasoning
- Civil Dispute Resolution
*Based on full-time enrollment
Career track, seminar, and survey courses
This distinctly planned approach to teaching the foundations of law and the skills of being a lawyer prepares you well to advance to the electives and experiences in the specialty areas Mitchell Hamline is known for: health law, intellectual property, dispute resolution, Indian law, and more.
We offer separate tracks for students who want to use their degree to go into business, government, or other specific career paths. Our course offerings include everything from broad areas of practice and social and constitutional questions of the day to niche topics like Law & the Business of Baseball.
Specialized areas of law with dedicated faculty
Several areas of law—beyond those with a center or institute—have concentrations of courses and expert faculty.