Course taught primarily online. Students will attend an introductory class on campus and access instructional materials upon returning home at hours that suit their own schedules. This instruction may include lectures recorded by their professor, podcasts, documentaries, and discussion posts. Readings and assignments will be available via AU's Blackboard platform. Professors remain accessible to student questions for 30 days after the on-campus segment.
Course Description: Fundamentals of Law will introduce you to the American legal system, law, the role of the lawyer, and legal writing. We will learn about the structure and function of the legal system, and look at the process of resolving grievances through the courts. Additionally, we will review the key substantive areas in criminal and civil law, highlighting controversial issues in each. Finally, we will learn about the different roles that lawyers and judges can play, as well as their unique ethical obligations. Throughout the course, you will learn how to use legal terminology, conduct legal writing, and examine the many interesting facets of the American legal system.
Professor: Originally from Denver, Colorado, Alex Clayton is a third-year doctoral student in the department of Justice, Law & Criminology at American University, focusing on law and society. In addition to receiving his BA in politics and government from Western State Colorado University and his MS in justice, law and society from American University, Alex has done work as a paralegal in various law offices, as a legislative affairs intern in the United States Senate, and as a member of the editorial staff of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. His research focuses on the nexus of law, violence, and civil resistance, examining the conditions under which collective strategies of resistance are formed. He has taught a number of other courses, including Introduction to Systems of Justice and Critical Issues in Justice.