Required Courses

This course is designed to teach first semester law students the critical skills necessary to successfully manage their time, prepare for class, participate in class, and effectively practice for exams. Students will learn the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills essential to excelling in law school, passing the bar exam, and succeeding as future legal practitioners. In addition, students will be taught test-taking strategies and protocols and a methodology for the evaluation of their work through the deconstruction of their multiple choice and essay practice exam answers.

A study of the fundamentals of basic business associations with an emphasis on closely held businesses. Students will be introduced to agency concepts while exploring issues related to choice of entity. Various business forms will be examined such as general partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and privately held corporations. Corporate issues pertaining to corporations that are not publicly held will also be the focus. These include incorporation; financing for the small business; payment of dividends; roles of officers, directors, and shareholders; and management’s duty of care and loyalty.

An introduction to the organization of the federal and state courts, principles of jurisdiction, and procedural rules for civil cases. Topics include: pleadings, class actions, pretrial motions, discovery, venue, joinder of claims and parties, res judicata, collateral estoppels, summary judgment, non-jury and jury trials, claim and issue preclusion, binding effects of adjudication, and appellate review.

A concurrent program of academic instruction and skills training designed to more fully qualify the student for the practice of law. Students participate in civil and criminal settings provided by practicing attorneys. The classroom component teaches lawyering skills of interviewing, counseling, discovery, negotiation, advocacy, and Florida practice. Students must have taken, or take concurrently, Interviewing Counseling and Negotiation as well as Professional Responsibility. All practice is in accord with Florida Student practice rules. Alternatively, students may complete 20 hours of qualifying Pro Bono work. See Section XV “Clinical and Pro Bono Programs.”

The law of enforceable promises, including contract formation, interpretation, conditions, performance, assignment and delegation, third-party beneficiary contracts, breach, justifications and excuses for nonperformance, remedies, promissory estoppel and restitution. Emphasis is placed on classic contract doctrine, the sales of goods under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code and other commercial legislation.

Historical and legal analysis of the basic constitutional framework of the American system of government with an emphasis on the sources and limits of federal and Supreme Court jurisdiction, allocation of powers between the federal government and states, separation of powers, congressional regulatory power under the commerce clause, and the guarantees of individual rights.

Introduction to the substantive criminal law from both statutory and common law sources. Coverage includes the purposes of criminal law, criminal responsibility, theories of punishment, crimes against person and property, and defense.

Comprehensive examination of the problems of proof and the rules of evidence. Special attention is given to the concept of relevance, hearsay and non-hearsay, character evidence, testimonial proof, impeachment and support, scientific and demonstrative evidence and privileges.

Consideration of the ethical problems in the practice of law, the legal constraints on the lawyer’s professional conduct, the role of the lawyer in the legal profession and the place of the profession in society, including a detailed analysis of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

A study of the acquisition, ownership, and transfer of property. Topics include an analysis of ownership concepts, rights of possession, future interests, concurrent interests, landlord and tenant issues, common law principles, gifts, estates in land, licenses, easements, restrictive covenants, contracts for the sale of land, conveyancing, mortgages, recording systems and land use regulation.

The history and development of the legal principles underlying non-contractual civil wrongs at common law and under modern statutes are studied together with an analysis of the responsibility in tort for wrongs to the person and property. Topics include: intentional acts, liability without fault, negligence, privacy rights and harm to reputation.

All students must complete the Upper-Level Writing Requirement as a part of a two (2) credit seminar, an approved advanced course, an approved two (2) credit independent research paper, or through a note written by a FAMU Law Review member accepted for publication in a co-curricular law school journal as certified by the Law Review faculty advisor for the FAMU College of Law. A Florida A&M University College of Law full-time faculty member must supervise independent research projects and all research papers. Adjunct faculty members are not eligible to supervise independent research projects or research papers to satisfy this requirement.

Advanced writing courses that satisfy this requirement fall in the following categories: Transactional Legal Drafting, Litigation-Oriented Legal Drafting, Legislative Drafting, Appellate Legal Drafting. The faculty certification must be approved in the semester the grade is recorded for courses satisfying the UPPER LEVEL WRITING REQUIREMENT. No separate certification is necessary.

Drafting courses may satisfy either the experiential learning requirement or the Upper-Level Writing Requirement but not both. Courses approved for satisfaction of the Upper-Level Writing Requirement must earn a grade of B- or above and must meet the minimum writing standards listed below:

  • Minimum Content for Transactional Legal Drafting or Litigation-Oriented Legal Drafting to satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement:
    • Length of writings—in combination the final versions of work product must exceed 25 pages in length (the number of writing projects may vary, e.g., a litigation drafting course might have five or more instruments, while an appellate drafting course might have one to three).
    • A significant portion of the writing must be reviewed by the instructor and reworked by the student in one or more revised drafts.
    • The written instruments must be of the nature that a lawyer practicing in the field would prepare.
  • Minimum Content for Research Papers to Satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement

In order to satisfy the requirement for a research paper, the research paper must be a minimum of 25 pages in length including footnotes; earn a grade of B- or above; and the paper must meet all of the standards listed below, as certified by the faculty supervisor of the paper in the semester the paper is completed:

  • Significant analytical paper;
  • Reflects substantial legal research;
  • Contains original thought;
  • Displays proper writing style;and
  • Uses correct citationform.

The Upper-Level Writing Requirement may not be satisfied at any other institution under any circumstances.

Every student must complete one or more experiential courses totaling at least six credit hours.    Every experiential course must:

(i) integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics, and engage students in performance of one or more of the professional skills identified in the learning outcomes;

(ii) develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught;

(iii) provide multiple opportunities for performance; and

(iv) provide opportunities for self-evaluation.

The experiential education requirement may be satisfied by enrollment in a simulation course, a legal clinic, or a field placement.