Introduction to U.S. Law and The Way Lawyers Think

Course Description

In this course, we will explore various legal areas through real examples, hypotheticals, group discussions, and interactive exercises. We learn by doing, discussing, actively thinking through issues, and creatively formulating solutions to problems in this class.

Topics that we will study include:

  • The legal system in the U.S., sources of U.S. law, and why U.S law looks the way it does
  • How to analyze issues like an attorney
  • Different types of lawyers, what lawyers do, and how lawyers help and add value for individuals, businesses, and society
  • Options for practicing law in different ways and environments
  • The role legal concepts play in other industries
  • Law school and the path to becoming a lawyer
  • A variety of legal areas, such as constitutional law, criminal law, civil law, the court system, and business law
  • The practical impact of legal concepts on real-world issues
In this course, you will meet other legal professionals to emphasize the legal industry's breadth and add additional perspectives to our discussions. Past virtual and live class visitors have included: judges, practicing attorneys in various legal fields, and law students.

By the end of this class, you will:
  • Understand the structure of U.S. law
  • Have a working knowledge of several main areas of the law
  • Be able to analyze and apply the law like a lawyer
  • Understand traditional and unique paths to become a lawyer and other available career options in the legal field
This course offers insight and a head start for students considering a legal education, as well as a valuable advantage for students in any field. Your instructor, an attorney and law professor, will teach at an introductory level while giving you a sense of the law school approach to education.

In-Person Section:
You will participate in class discussions to cement your understanding of new concepts and apply legal analysis to realistic situations in small group discussions, activities, and hypotheticals. You are encouraged to ask questions to enhance your learning. You will also be given manageable assignments to review independently outside of class to support your in-class learning.

Online Section:
The online section is fully asynchronous but highly interactive. This format allows us to bring students across time zones together while running an interactive class that feels more like a delayed conversation than learning on your own. You will learn through a combination of short recorded lessons (taught by the course professor, with video guest appearances by other lawyers), online group discussions, and hands-on assignments. Students also receive PDF material to support their learning - reading assignments primarily help students prepare for each short video lesson. You will apply what you have learned in small group discussions and hands-on assignments. Past students regularly note the value of combining self-paced learning with immediate application of concepts and analysis learned through group discussions, feedback, and realistic assignments.


No prerequisites or prior experience is required for this course.


Two Sections Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 15, 2022
Duration: 3 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Katie Ahern
Course Number: 10242

Dates: June 27, 2022 - August 05, 2022
Duration: 6 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Katie Ahern
Course Number: 10160