Choosing upper division courses and designing a curriculum that suits your interests is exciting -- and we want to help you make those important decisions. Along with your faculty advisors, representatives from other departments such as the Center for Professional Development, Access to Justice Institute, or the Academic Resource Center, can provide valuable advice to help you reach your goals. Visit Academic Advising's multimedia library to view related videos.
First-year Faculty Advisors
First-year students are assigned a faculty advisor on the basis of Legal Writing I section. Your faculty advisor will be one of your first year teachers, and he/she will meet with you at least once each semester of your first year in either a large-group (15 students) or small-group setting. First-year faculty advisors are also available to meet with students one-on-one to answer questions about law school, provide advice on curriculum choices and career pathways, or to point you in the right direction if you have questions that go beyond academic advising. The most important piece of advice we can give you is to take advantage of your faculty advisor; they're here to assist you. You are welcome to stay with your first-year faculty advisor throughout your time in law school, or you can seek out a faculty advisor who has expertise in an area of law that interests you.
Academic Advising Days
Each April, we hold registration information sessions for 1Ls who will be registering for upper division courses for the first time, followed by Academic Advising Days. Each faculty member sets aside ten 30-minute advising slots to meet with 1L and 2L students and discuss curriculum choices for the next academic year.
Course Selection Guidance
We recommend that students planning their upper division curriculum keep the following in mind:
- All students are required to take five upper division courses: Constitutional Law and Legal Writing II in the second year and Professional Responsibility, Evidence, and a Professional Skills course prior to graduation.
- In many areas, course sequencing is important, so students should look carefully at course descriptions and prerequisites early in their law school careers, and particularly before registering. For example, students interested in business law should consider taking Business Entities in the second year, students interesting in pursuing tax law should take Individual Income Tax in their second year, and students interested in a litigation practice should try to take Evidence in their second year. Students who wish to take a clinic, externship, or other live-client experience should make sure that they have the necessary prerequisites in place. ; In general, the larger survey courses such as administrative law, business entities, constitutional law, evidence, individual income tax, intellectual property, professional responsibility, and trusts and estates are core/foundational courses that frequently operate as prerequisites for more specialized upper division electives. They also tend to be bar-tested subjects.
- Not every course is offered every semester or even every year. Consult the course schedules for courses offered in the upcoming academic year.
- All students should take at least some of the courses that are tested on the Washington State Bar Exam (or other exam if you plan to take a bar exam in another state). Contact the Bar Studies Program for information on topics that are tested on the various bar exams.
- Students should strive to select a balanced and well-rounded array of courses on a number of different axes: doctrinal knowledge/skills training; public law/private law; domestic law/international and comparative law; transactional/litigation.
- A well-rounded legal education includes one or more courses in jurisprudence, legal theory/perspectives, and/or legal history.
- Every student should take at least one course that particularly piques your interest even if it is not clear how or whether it fits into your career plans.