This course will introduce students to the basic principles of legal reasoning -- how to think like a lawyer -- and provide students with an overview of the legal system. Students will use rule-based and analytical reasoning to engage with hypotheticals mirroring the laws, guidelines, and standards one encounters daily, from mobile phone subscription plans to school dress codes. Students will then consider law within the framework of institutions, or the enduring set of rules and patterns that regulate behavior, such as constitutions, the criminal justice system, tort law, and the larger court system. Multiple national legal systems shall be explored in addition to the US, providing students with a global outlook and giving them the tools to evaluate why some systems work and others fail. In this highly interactive course, students will participate in simulations, actively propose and discuss hypotheticals, and work in groups to design alternative legal systems. They will also hear from guest speakers including practicing lawyers, academics from law schools, and leaders of civil society organizations, and attend court proceedings. This course is recommended for students who are interested in law as a career and for anyone who is curious about what makes our social and political world tick.
Remote or Residential
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Class Duration (CST)