The 1L Your Way program, available to full-time J.D. students who start law school in fall 2014 or later, is an optional early specialization track that introduces flexibility into the first-year curriculum. Students who choose to participate in 1L Your Way defer the required first-year course Legislation to the second year in favor of taking either an approved, upper-division elective course or a unique clinical rotation course.
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Elective Course Option
The elective course option is designed for first-year students who arrive at law school with defined practice goals, allowing them to begin specializing during their first year of studies rather than after they have satisfied all of their first-year law school requirements, as is traditional.
Students who intend to pursue a career in intellectual property law, for instance, may take Patent Law during the spring semester of their first year; similarly, students who plan to practice in a corporate law environment may take Business Organizations. One objective is to enhance students' marketability for summer employment.
A list of approved electives for first-year students is part of the spring-term registration materials each year.
Clinical Rotation Option
The clinical rotation option aims to help students refine their career interests by gaining exposure to diverse areas of law practice. Based on the medical school model, the intensive clinical rotation matches first-year students with a trio of faculty practitioners, allowing students to immerse themselves in several practice areas and to learn applicable skills as they assume various practice roles.
Based in Chicago-Kent's in-house law firm, the clinical rotation course is the first of its kind in the country. The law firm's faculty practitioners participate as both teachers and mentors. Students enrolled in the rotation spend four weeks with each of three practitioners, shadowing them as they work and taking part in virtually every phase of the cases they handle.
Practice areas include criminal defense, employment/civil litigation, entrepreneurial law, family law, health and disability law, and tax and probate law. Students participate in legal and factual research, client interviews, document drafting, discovery review, administrative hearings and negotiations, trial team strategy sessions, court appearances, and motion calls.
Approximately 70 students will be eligible to participate in the clinical rotation during the spring semester each year.