SMU Law Review


The new law school at the University of California, Irvine, is attempting to implement an innovative vision of top-tier legal education that emphasizes skills-based and experiential training. As part of that effort, the school has restructured the traditional first-year law school curriculum so that several of these courses each focus on a particular analytical method-specifically, common law analysis, statutory analysis, procedural analysis, constitutional analysis, or international legal analysis-rather than on a particular doctrinal subject matter such as contract law or torts. There are no doubt some pedagogical advantages to taking such an analytical methods-oriented instructional approach. However, I have some concerns regarding the efficacy of its first-year course, Common Law Analysis: Contracts, which most directly addresses contract law. That course focuses in a Langdellian manner upon common law analysis and common-law-derived legal doctrines, to the virtual exclusion of statutory analysis. I question whether that course will be as effective in teaching students how to apply basic contract law principles in the modern "age of statutes" as is the more conventional approach that presents to students both the common law and statutory aspects of the subject in a more holistic and integrated fashion.

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