The American Legal System

Module 1 of 6 - The American Legal System  — Background

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COURSE OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • appreciate the historical background of our legal system and the origins of American law
  • begin to understand the operation of the state courts
  • learn about the federal court system and federal jurisdiction
  • understand initiating a lawsuit
  • start compiling a list of important terms and definitions for 1L studies

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MODULE OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • understand the differences between "common law" and "civil law," "criminal law" and "civil law"
  • appreciate how American law arose from English law
  • learn about state courts and how the bulk of litigation arises here
  • understand federal courts, federal jurisdiction, and the law applied in federal cases

Text - Click here for information about the texts for this course.

2 hrs

  • ch. 1, "Historical Background" , 0.5 hrs.
  • ch. 4, "The Judicial System" , 0.5 hrs.
  • ch. 1, "Introductory Overview" , 0.5 hrs.
  • PDF Link: Terms and Definitions, 0.5 hrs.

    Module 1 – Background / Initiating a Lawsuit. Use any good print or online legal dictionary to look up these terms. A response appears in the next module under "HANDOUT."


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The American Legal System - Professor Shaun Jamison

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