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First Year Curriculum






ONU Law is proud of the strength of its academic support program. From the first day of orientation to graduation, a team of faculty, staff and current students has your back. Every new law student is assigned a faculty mentor and an upperclass peer advisor. In addition, both the director and assistant director of academic support are available to assist you in your course of study. This team is built to provide you with the resources you need to succeed in law school. All major first-year courses or upper-level courses that cover subjects typically tested on the bar are complemented with teaching assistants (TAs) – second- or third-year students who did exceptionally well in that same class. They hold weekly review sessions and are available for one-on-one academic counseling.


Our curriculum has been developed to teach students the skills needed to become proficient practitioners. We expect our students to obtain 10 credit hours of skills training during their time in law school. A vital component of skills training is hands-on practice experience. ONU Law’s seven outstanding clinical placement programs give students the opportunity to delve into the field and get the experience that will help set them apart after graduation. It provides them with the knowledge and expertise for which our graduates are known. ONU Law has provided clinical education opportunities to students for more than 40 years, and we continue to be on the forefront of experiential education.


Every new ONU Law student is assigned both a student peer advisor and a faculty advisor upon entering the law school. Students are encouraged to use their advisors when in need of advice or guidance during their first year or for assistance in the transition to law school. Your faculty advisor will follow you through all three years of law school to assist in course planning for your law school career and beyond.


All first-year students are assigned to one of two sections. During their first year, students will share nearly every course with the members of this section and will be encouraged to form study groups within their section for outside class debates, discussion and study. Every student will have two first-year courses, Legal Research and Writing and Legal Problem Solving and Analysis, which will meet in smaller sections consisting of approximately 15-20 students. Small sections allow students the opportunity to get to know their professors and provide the opportunity to easily interact and engage with fellow classmates.



First-year students are enrolled in a required comprehensive core curriculum designed to provide a well-rounded understanding of American law. This includes Property, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Torts and Legal Research and Writing. You are pre-registered for all courses your first semester only.

JANUARY TERM, First Year (Required)

The College of Law offers an innovative January Term.  First year students take a course on Legal Problem Solving & Analysis, which has two main purposes:  (1) sharpening the first year students’ ability to analyze and resolve legal problems, and (2) providing students with an opportunity to interact with members of the profession.  Throughout the January term, the students complete a number of written analytical exercises.  The class sizes of 14 to 16 students are deliberately smaller than the size of a typical law school class to enable the professors to provide the students with prompt and thorough feedback.  The assignments, writing exercises, and prompt individual feedback help the students learn how to effectively develop and refine their analytical and legal problem solving skills. The students also meet with practicing attorneys throughout the term to discuss issues related to the practice of law.  The course culminates in a session of the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals, which is held at the College of Law.  Students attend the appellate arguments, meet with the attorneys arguing the cases, and then write a legal memorandum on one of the issues before the Court.  This writing assignment provides the students with an opportunity to apply all of the skills they have learned in the course.

Students will do a number of in-class and out-of class assignments that are designed to improve their writing and analytical skills and to expose students to the type of work common in legal practice.  The assignments include reviewing and re-writing the Torts final from Fall Semester, writing office memoranda on legal issues, and writing a judicial memorandum in an actual case that they will hear argued in court.  


In the spring semester of your first year, you will register for Public Law and the Legal Process, Property 2, Civil Procedure 2, Contracts 2, Legal Research and Writing 2, and Criminal Law. If you matriculated in the summer, register for Criminal Procedure in lieu of the courses you took in the summer. Make certain to register for the correct section of each of your classes. You must continue each course in the section in which you started.

Courses   Fall Semester January Term Spring Semester
1001/1002 Legal Research/Writing 1 & 2 2   2
1004 Legal Problem Solving and Analysis   2  
1011/1012 Civil Procedure 1 & 2 3   3
1021/1022 Contracts 1 & 2 3   3
1031/103 Property 1 & 2 3   3
1035 Public Law and the Legal Process     3
1043 Torts 4    
1052 Criminal Law     3
  Totals: 15 2 17



The operation of the courts. The organization of the state and federal courts and the relation between them; the methods by which these courts attempt to resolve civil disputes in accordance with controlling law and the extent to which a judicial decision is conclusive of subsequent disputes. Jurisdiction of courts over persons, property and subject matter; the scope of litigation as to claims, defenses and parties; preparation for trial through pleading, discovery and pretrial; trials and the related functions of judge and jury; appeals and the role of the appellate courts; the means of controlling frivolous litigation; the finality of judgements and decrees, consideration of the process by which judicial decision-makers are selected; questions of professional responsibility and attorney decorum in civil litigation; and brief mention of alternative dispute resolution systems. Preparation of pleadings used in civil litigation.


The theories of crime and punishment, the manner in which crimes are defined and graded, the principles of criminal culpability, including the mental element of crime and the requirement of an act; the exculpatory devices including defenses, excuses and justifications; and the parties to crime including aiders, abettors and conspirators.


The nature and history of contract law, the concepts of “freedom of contract,” the intention to be legally bound, reaching an agreement, interpreting assent, written manifestations of assent, the doctrine of consideration, the doctrine of promissory estoppel, performance and breach, conditions, defenses to contractual obligation, remedies, and the relation between basic contracts concepts and Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code.


Allows student to reflect on what they have learned through careful review of the methods of legal analysis and work on complex problems beyond the bounds of any single doctrinal subject, explored through simulation and teamwork. The course will focus on problem solving and will give students an opportunity to interact with practicing lawyers and judges.


The basic tools and methods of legal research as well as development of writing skills necessary in the practice of law. Completion of legal research exercises and preparation of a memoranda. In the second semester, you will be challenged to draft court documents, write an appellate brief and participate in oral advocacy. 


Law of finders, rule of capture, gifts, adverse possession and landlord-tenant. Methods of title assurance, estates, future interests, easements and covenants and taking issues. Property 2 will consist of title assurance, estates (other than leaseholds), future interests, easements and covenants and public control of land use. 


An introduction to public law and the modern administrative state. The course will cover the creation of public law both internationally and nationally, the fundamentals of treaty and statutory interpretation, the administrative process including rulemaking and the range of regulatory tools.


The basis and extent of legal liability for international or negligent invasions of protected interest in 1) physical security and opportunity and autonomy; 2) emotional security and other tangible interests; and 3) economic security and opportunity. Proving breach of duty, cause in fact and proximate cause and compensatory and punitive damages.