Law School Curriculum

San Francisco Law School offers a comprehensive curriculum for law students matriculating for their J.D. degree. Courses are designed to build a solid legal foundation, as well as master the core subject requirements on the California Bar Examination.

Part-Time: First Year Courses

Contracts (3-3)

This course teaches remedies for breach of contract; consideration; offer and acceptance; problems of performance; conditions; impossibility; third party beneficiaries; assignment; Parol Evidence Rule; Statute of Frauds.

Torts (3-3)

This course examines: Intentional wrongs to person and property; unintentional wrongs; negligence; duty of persons in control of property; tort liability arising out of contractual relationships; liability for defective products; liability without fault; deceit; defamation; malicious prosecution; interference with contractual, economic and other legally predictable relations; tort alternatives.

Criminal Law (2-2)

This course teaches the nature and sources of criminal law; elements of crimes; analysis of specific crimes; legal defenses; California Penal Code and decisions; procedure.

Legal Writing (2-2) (pass/fail)

This course encompasses a thorough analysis of the case method as used in the American Legal System. The students are instructed in the traditional techniques for case briefings, coupled with the IRAC approach to essay writing. Topics also include the development of professional skills, outline skills and exam writing techniques.

Part-Time: Second Year Courses

Constitutional Law (3-3)

This course teaches the federal structure: judicial review, congressional powers, separation of powers, commerce power, state powers and federalism. Individual rights: due process, equal protection, state action, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.

Real Property (3-3)

This course teaches the law of real property; historical background; common law estates, interests and future interests; Statute of Uses and modern conveyancing; concurrent ownership; landlord and tenant; deeds and delivery; boundaries; recording acts and title search; contract for sale of land; easements, servitudes and other land use restrictions; adverse possession; landowners’ rights, including air, water, mineral and lateral and subjacent support.

Advanced Legal Writing (3) (pass/fail)

This course is teaches students analytical and organizational skills used in drafting all types of legal documents, from appellate briefs to client letters. This course, with its varied and extensive writing assignments and critiques, will serve graduates in their future practice of law.

Legal Research (2-2) (pass/fail)

This course features the study and application of legal research techniques in both hard copy and electronic format. A hands-on approach assists the students with recognizing legal issues, and guides them in the practical application of the Lexis-Nexus legal database.

A foundational approach in traditional legal research and methods prepares the students to advance towards the use of electronic research tools. Persuasive legal authorities, Boolian math, appropriate search strategies and legal citations are some of the topics covered.

Civil Procedure (2-2)

This course teaches subject matter and territorial jurisdictions; venue; joinder of parties and claims; litigation process including pleadings, service of process, discovery, summary judgments, dismissal, trial and appeal; res judicata and collateral estoppel.

Moot Court (2) (pass/fail)

This course features the practical application of legal principles at appellate level, oral argument and preparation of briefs on appeal; California appellate court procedure and practice. This course requires the completion of an appellate brief and participation in oral argument before a panel of judges.

Part-Time: Third Year Courses

Corporations (3-3)

This course teaches the formation; pre-incorporation activities; de facto corporations; ultra vires acts. Role, authority and meetings of officers, directors and shareholders, standard of care, Proxy solicitations; close corporations; fiduciary relations; shareholder litigation. Capitalization, dividend distributions. Fundamental changes; partnerships and agency.

Wills and Trusts (2-2)

This course covers intestacy; execution of wills; integration; republication; incorporation by reference, independent significance; revocation and revival; will contracts; lapse; ademption; will contests; will substitutes; nature and classification of trusts; elements of a trust; creation of inter-vivos and testamentary trusts; revocable and irrevocable trusts; insurance trusts; nature of the beneficiary’s interest, including restraints on alienation and principles regarding transferability, modification, and termination of trusts; charitable trusts; fiduciary administration, including qualification, duties, standards, liabilities, management, investment, and accounting.

Evidence (2-2)

This course is the study of what is admissible toward proof in State and Federal Courts: problems in relevancy, materiality and competency, including character evidence, impeachment and rules of witness examination. Study of admissibility of opinion evidence, hearsay and its exceptions, writings, and scientific evidence; limitations due to privileges and constitutional considerations; the effect of “burdens of proof” and presumptions.

Professional Responsibility (2) – Course

This course teaches the application of the California Rules of Professional Conduct, the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and relevant case materials. Examination of disciplinary system; relationship between disciplinary and legal malpractice liability. Duties of attorneys with respect to clients, the courts, opposing parties and the public. Problems arising from conflicts of interest.

Criminal Procedure (3)

This course covers Arrest through Appellate Proceeding, including bail, arraignment, preliminary motions, discovery and trial procedure. Recent Supreme Court decisions on right to counsel, freedom from pre-judicial publicity, fair trial and other constitutional guarantees.

Community Property (2)

This course teaches the historical development of community property law; jurisdictional issues; classification of marital property, community or separate; valuation of community property including business and goodwill; management of marital property; liability for marital and individual debts; division of community property on dissolution or death; problems posed by unmarried, cohabiting couples.

Part-Time: Fourth Year

Advanced Legal Reasoning (2-2) (pass/fail)

This course emphasizes extensive review in the identification and analysis of legal issues concentrating on torts, contracts and real property in a test environment.

Immigration Law (2)

This overview, hands-on course focuses on immigration law in the areas of family and employment visas, labor certification, non-immigrant visas, and political asylum. Students will gain a working understanding of immigration theory and practice while gaining practical skills in issue spotting, problem solving, preparation of forms and supporting documents, handling client interviews, and preparation of cases

Trial Practice (3) (pass/fail)

The course considers litigation problems, practical, legal and ethical that confront a trial lawyer. Emphasis is given to techniques of client interviewing and investigation, both informal and by use of statutory discovery procedures, and pleading. The student gains classroom experience in trial procedures from voir dire examination, opening statements, direct and cross examination through final argument.

Remedies (2-2)

This course covers the general scope of remedies; principles governing general use of equitable remedies; general scope of interpleader, declaratory relief (and related remedies), constructive trusts, and equitable liens. Principles governing use of, and defenses to, specific performance and injunctions; equitable conversions; technical aspects of injunctions; damages.

Elimination of Bias (1)

This course is an introduction to the identification of bias and discrimination by individuals and society, and to increase cultural diversity sensitivity in order to better serve legal clients and society in general.

Bar Strategies (1) (credit/no credit)

This course focuses on the essay portion of the California Bar Examination. It will also focus on the preparation, issue spotting, analysis, time management and writing style.

Electives

Advanced Criminal Law (1) (pass/fail)

This course covers the current cases in criminal law with reference to mental state, lesser included offenses, related offenses, self-defense, jury instructions.

California Evidence & California Civil Procedure (1) (pass/fail)

A short refresher of California Evidence to include the hearsay, dealing with forgetful witness, demonstrative evidence, practical considerations for admission of character evidence. This course also covers the California Civil Procedure from the pre-complaint satge through appeals.

Constitutional Law – First Amendment (1) (pass/fail)

This course examines the principal cases covering the first amendment and will include: Freedom of the Press, discussion of the Soloman Amendment, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech.

Criminal Law Practicum (1) (pass/fail)

This course covers the practical aspects of a criminal law practice, including attendance at actual arraignments,

Elder Law (1) (pass/fail)

A general overview of elder financial, physical abuse and neglect, nursing home litigation, Adult Protective Service, Public Guardian duties, Elder and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act, as well as consent, undue influence, and end-of-life issues.

Employment Law (1) (pass/fail)

The class will be a comprehensive study of employment law focusing on the discrimination laws that affect individuals and employers. The primary areas of attention will be: sexual discrimination, disparate treatment, harassment, race discrimination, age discrimination, retaliation, and constructive discharge.

Family Law (1) (pass/fail)

An overview encompassing such topics as community property and division of assets, no-fault dissolution, spousal support, along with, reimbursement of medical and dental expenses. A thorough discussion of the Domestic Partnership Act, and the Domestic Violence Prevention Act will aid the students in understanding how children are affected by these legislative acts.

Identity Theft (1) (pass/fail)

This course will cover fraud losses to individuals – federal and state laws protecting victims’ loses – venue and statute of limitations – e-commerce concerns – punishment and restitution – proactive prevention – scam trends – bank fraud – high-tech skimming – controlled delivery cases

International Law (1) (pass/fail)

This course offers instruction in the nature, scope, and limits of international law. It provides a foundation for studying commitments to international cooperation.

Mediation (1-3 units) (3 units required for Mediation Certificate of Completion)

This series of three courses offers instruction in best practices for mediators, the types of alternative dispute resolution and dispute resolution methods, the types of negotiation and negotiation styles, the fundamentals of mediation, including general and process skills, the roles of those attending a mediation, and requirements and regulations for mediators. Completion of all three units and participation in supervised mediations are required for a Certificate of Completion.