A special part of the Faulkner Law first-year experience is the Foundations curriculum. Since 2011 every first year student has taken the Foundations of Law course. This year we are adding a new course entitled “Foundations of the Legal Profession.” These courses will not only prepare you to pass the bar but to gain insights into the purposes of law and the legal profession. These innovative courses help law students understand how the law shapes our culture and how lawyers can make a difference.
As a faith-based institution, we believe first principles and ideas matter. Foundations of Law ensures all of our first-year students are exposed to the most prominent, fundamental ideas of our legal institutions. The writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, William Blackstone, John Locke, James Madison, Oliver Wendell Holmes, H.L.A. Hart, John Rawls, John Finnis, Joseph Raz and other thinkers who have shaped American legal institutions comprise a substantial part of the readings for the course. Important and well known appellate court opinions are used to illustrate the theoretical principles outlined by the great minds of Western legal and political thought. Students leave the course with a deeper understanding of their own convictions about justice and with a better appreciation for some of the most influential principles and historical developments in American jurisprudence. Additionally, and equally as important, the Foundations course focuses heavily on the basics of legal reasoning: the doctrine of precedent, the distinction between rules and principles, standards of decision-making, and most importantly for new law students, the rudiments of logic, including heavy focus on syllogistic reasoning.
The Foundations of the Legal Profession explores the myriad ways a law degree is used to serve the common good. Taught as a one-week intensive followed by a weekly series of workshops, this course emphasizes collaborative learning, early career planning, close relationships with faculty, and regular interaction with mentor-practitioners. The goal is help each student develop specific career plans and personalize their last two years of study.