1L Survey Course Selection

While the first-year curriculum includes a required set of courses, new Albany Law students have a unique opportunity to actively select part of their required first-semester curriculum from several new 1-credit seminars focusing on issues in law and society. 

The results of this survey will go to the Registrar's Office. Every effort will be made to accommodate the first choice of every student, but class size and schedules take precedent.

Each course is 1 credit.

Barriers to Justice: The Lawyers Ethical Duty to Ensure Equal Access to Justice (short title - Access to Justice)

Professor Connie Mayer, Every Other Thursday, 3-4:50 p.m.

This course will introduce students to the role of lawyers in ensuring access to justice.  It will explore the access to justice movement in the United States and examine the history, policies, and laws related to access to the courts and legal systems. The course will consider the reasons why access to civil and criminal courts and other systems is limited, including barriers created by race, gender, poverty, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disabilities. Students will become familiar with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct and Constitutional requirements with respect to a lawyer’s duty to ensure access to justice and the competent representation of clients. Students in this course will be required to participate in 6 hours of pro bono work in one of the law school’s various pro bono projects or other off-campus opportunities available (for example, Legal Aid of NENY and The Legal Project).

RBG and the Quest for Sex Equality in the Law

Professor Steve Clark, Every other Thursday, 3-4:50 p.m.

This course will introduce students to the history of political and legal efforts to establish constitutional protection against sex discrimination in the law, centering on the work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a lawyer for the ALCU’s Women’s Rights Project in the 1970s. 

Law and Justice: An Introduction

Dean and Professor Antony Haynes, Every other Thursday (some dates may be subject to change), 3-4:50 p.m. 

This course will introduce first-year JD students to the concept of justice in law and society.  Through the study of caselaw, policy papers, and candid discussion, it examines the law’s role in advancing both equity and disparities based on race, class, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, and sexual identity in areas such as healthcare, education, criminal justice, and employment.

Introduction to Critical Race Theory

Professor Ciji Dodds and Professor Nina Farnia, Mondays, 1-1:50 p.m.

The traditional approach to legal education tends to minimize the role of race and racism in the formation of American law.  Law in the traditional curriculum in particular is historically taught in a neutral, detached and decontextualized casebook methodology, which can result in a failure to address issues of racial oppression and discrimination in the classroom.  The failure to address race in the classroom tends to reproduce racial hierarchies in legal education by presenting the “law” as equal and neutral without taking into account the many ways in which “law” has and can be used to support racial inequality.  The failure to address race in the classroom also undermines the cultural competencies and professional readiness of law students by not fully preparing students to practice in a diverse world. This course seeks to fill this gap in legal education by exposing 1L students to issues of racial inequality at the very beginning of their legal education, while preparing students to satisfy New York’s (and other states) “competency and professional values” requirement for admission to the Bar.

Cultural Competence for the Legal Profession

Dean Jermaine Cruz, Every other Thursday, 3-4:50 p.m.

This course, for first-year students, will examine culture from a broad perspective and emphasize the importance of cultural competence in the practice of law. Students will develop cross-cultural competence that will follow them, and that they will further develop, throughout their law school and professional careers. Students will be assigned 25-30 pages of reading (articles) per module and/or will be required to screen relevant and/or supplemental documentaries/videos. Students will be assessed on participation in classroom discussions, in-class simulation exercises, written homework assignments and a final reflective paper.

Disability Justice

Dean Rosemary Queenan, Every other Thursday, 3-4:50 p.m.

The course will consider how law has defined disability and the role of law in shaping how disability has been conceptualized, classified, and criminalized. This course will uncover the limitations of federal disability rights laws that guarantee equal access to and treatment of people with disabilities in areas such as schools, employment, housing, facilities and in the criminal justice system. In addition, the course will explore how, in some cases, law and policies intended as protections have further marginalized people with disabilities.

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