Description: This is a brief introduction on the US law and method course in which you can learn the US legal system, the comparison between different systems and how they work.
Welcome to the introduction to US law and method course. We both love teaching international students, we both have been teaching our introduction to US law and method course here at Washington University for several years, we both have taught overseas, so we have experience teaching international students.
The important thing is that we enjoy it, we feel like we are able to learn from you about your system, we can compare the two different systems, so we need you to help us understand what they do in your country and your legal system.
This course is less about the content of the law and more about where the law is found, how it is made and how its enforced certainly. In this course, you will learn a word called core distincives, we use as poor distinctives, meaning what is distinctive about our system and we try to pinpoint very specifically exactly what makes us law, how we make enforce and depth law, what makes that distinctive about the US legal system. We want you to help us compile a list of what the distinctive aspects of the US system are, so we are going to ask you to submit one or two distinctive aspects of the US system each week.
I think one part of it would be how a US lawyer works through a client’s problems, solve his case by applying those core distinctives to practice. So we try to merge more of a theoretical component about what the disctinctive of the US legal system is.
And the second part is why it matters, so you will be taking the role hypothetically of a lawyer who has a legal problem to solve by using US law and methods. We hope that will give you both some insight into content of the law, how a lawyer think and handles problems.
So we have you for eight weeks and we have a lot to accomplish, the first couple weeks will be laying the groundwork. For example, 50 states including the District of Columbia, Guam and even other territories in the US system.
And then we have the federal government, each of those systems have their own branches of government and each branch creates a different law. Then we will be talking about how to find those sources on the internet for free, how you go to find the cases, states and provisions of the Constitution. Then in the following weeks, we unpack each source of law a little more.
The third week is about one of the most distinctive aspects, which is the common law system that is different from that of US, in some anglo-american territories, it is worth going in depth. Then we will look at how the common law and the statutory law interacts in week four. In the fifth week, we will be looking at Constitution, which is also my favorite part, we will talk about what’s unique or distinctive about the US constitutional system and how this old, short document has been effecting for so long.
Then week six which we call pretrial litigation, we take a turn to litigation, we try to go through what a lawyer does when he meets a case from beginning to end before a trial. We will be talking about how lawyers initiate lawsuits by filing complaints in the civil system or in the criminal system and indictment. And we will move through the events of litigation and focus on the role of lawyer, how distinctive has effected in the lawmaking process by arguing motions.
In week seven, we will be talking through and seeing examples of a jury trial. Every time we talk about his with our international lawyers, it is always something controversial about the advantages and disadvantages of a civil and criminal jury system.
And then in our capstone week, where we bring it together and we have a complex case that we’ll be working through that shows the interaction of all the different sources of law and the complexity of federalism.
We also hope to to demonstrate to you that the US system is dynamic, there are many ways, many venues and many processes to change the law, so we are looking forward to show you how that works in class.