Introduction to US Law and Legal Systems

Introduction to US Law and Legal Systems is an orientation to the sources and types of law in the United States, the systems of making and administering laws, and the processes of resolving legal conflicts. To establish a foundation for advanced topics and issues, this course surveys the US Constitution and its structures for making, reviewing, and administering laws, including federalism and civil rights. The course compares major categories of law, explores their intersections, describes civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution, and raises critical issues of justice in law and society.

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the structure of the US legal system, both federal and state courts and the relationship between the two.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how laws are made and administered.
  • Understand and articulate the relationship between case law, statutes, and administrative regulations.
  • Understand and explain the basic concepts of and differences between civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution.
  • Recognize and articulate critical issues of justice in relationship to law and society.