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Fall 2012

Welcome to Introduction to the U.S. Legal System.  As you know, this course is required for all students who do not hold a degree from a U.S. law school.  Please see the left-hand navigation panel to locate the tentative class syllabus and materials. 

The course will begin on an intensive basis during orientation, which begins Monday, August 13.  Following orientation, the class will continue to meet for the first several weeks of the semester in two sections.  One section meets on Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. (CRN 13802) and the other meets on Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:20 p.m. (CRN 17014). You should register for the section that best suits your schedule. The final examination is tentatively scheduled for Friday, September 21 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

Before orientation week, I recommend that you read the Constitution of the United States of America (available under "Materials").  You may also wish to begin reading the materials for the initial sessions of the course.

If you wish to read other things in preparation for your LL.M. studies, you might consider one or more of the following:

• Steven Burton, An Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning
• Allen Farnsworth, An Introduction to the Legal System of the United States
• Toni M. Fine, American Legal Systems: A Resource and Reference Guide
• Edward Levi, An Introduction to Legal Reasoning
• Karl Llewelyn, The Bramble Bush

Some students like to read judicial opinions before beginning their law studies in the United States.  This is a good idea for those students who do not have much experience reading or analyzing case law.  Depending on your interests, you might want to read recent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States (available on a number of sites, including the Supreme Court's official website), or cases on specific substantive topics that interest you.  Numerous open-access websites offer judicial opinions organized by legal topic or subject, including Cornell's Legal Information Institute and the University of Pittsburgh's Jurist

The best advice I could give is to enjoy your time before joining the LL.M. program.  We look forward to seeing you on August 13, rested and ready to begin what I am sure will be a fantastic experience for all of you and for us.  Best wishes to all of you for a joyous summer!


Toni M. Fine
Assistant Dean
International and Non-J.D. Programs