Colorado Law Announces New First-year Curriculum Reform

July 7, 2010

Colorado Law School announces that after two years of study and discussion, the faculty has enacted an exciting new first-year curriculum reform, including a new required course in legislation and regulation and an elective course option during the second semester.A new course, Legislation and Regulation, will introduce students to the principles of statutory interpretation, the architecture of the administrative state, and the analytical tools for the interpretation and review of regulation.“With the addition of this new course, Colorado Law first-year students (1Ls) will obtain a well-rounded foundation in all the major law disciplines, preparing them for advanced study in their second and third years,” said Dayna Matthew, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “The law faculty recognized that not only has the practice of law changed radically since the adoption of the Socratic method and Langdellian [focusing on case law] teaching, but the rise of the administrative state has made introducing students to statutes and regulations essential.”Professor Harold Bruff will teach the new course in the fall 2010 semester. Professor Bruff is a recognized expert in administrative and Constitutional law and has authored two textbooks on administrative law and the separation of powers.“Another exciting development is the Telos Project, designed by a group of law faculty to facilitate critical reflection by 1Ls concerning the moral and ethical dimensions of law study,” said Dean Matthew. The Project will involve 25 law students discussing selected readings to explore the self-transformation that occurs during the law school experience.In order to accommodate these changes, the 1L schedule has been redesigned. Although no classes were omitted, Civil Procedure and Property are now only one semester each. Along with the new Legislation and Regulation course and Civil Procedure, 1Ls will take Contracts, Torts, and Legal Writing in the fall semester. Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Appellate Court Advocacy will be taken with Property in the spring semester.“The new curriculum also now allows 1Ls to take an elective course during their second semester,” said Dean Matthew. Students will be able to choose a course in which they have specific interest, helping them plan their upper-level courses more carefully and deliberately, and begin pursuing special interest areas. 1Ls can select an elective course that does not have a prerequisite requirement, and must receive approval from the Dean’s office.“These reforms will provide the foundation for a three-year curriculum that organizes the study of law in a deliberatively progressive and developmentally appropriate manner,” said Dean Matthew. Colorado Law plans to introduce other curriculum changes in the future as part of this curriculum reform project, including a new and creative capstone experience for third-year students.