Harvard Law School Revamps its 1L Curriculum

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that Harvard Law School faculty have unanimously approved a new 1L curriculum that will "focus more heavily on international law, problem-solving skills, and modern law-making by governmental bodies."

In my experience, "international law" is a fuzzy concept -- not unlike "problem solving" -- both as an academic discipline and as an area of legal practice. (Most applicants, for example, have no concept of the difference between public and private international law  -- two entirely different areas of study and real-world application.) As a recent law school graduate reminded me, for many lawyers "international law just means sitting in a windowless conference room in Dubai rather than St. Louis, and those conference rooms all look the same." According to the Chronicle, the beefed up international component will involve "one of three courses that introduce global legal systems and concerns." I will be curious to hear about its implementation. Incidentally, to make room for those changes, students will spend fewer credit hours on traditional 1L courses like contracts, torts, criminal law, civ pro, and property.

As usual, this is also a genius move by Harvard on the marketing front. If I had a dollar for every applicant who told me he wanted to study "international law," whatever that is understood to mean...