Harvard Law Faculty Votes to Revamp 1L Curriculum:
Given the historical influence of Harvard's curriculum on law school curricula nationwide, this news is particularly interesting:
The Harvard Law faculty unanimously approved sweeping revisions to the school's first-year curriculum in a closed-door meeting yesterday afternoon, professors confirmed last night. The vote marked the culmination of two years of work by Dean Elena Kagan and the review's chief architect, Smith Professor of Law Martha L. Minow, as well as several other professors and administrators.

Law School officials—including Kagan and Minow—did not respond to requests for comment last evening. But Petrie Professor of Law Einer R. Elhauge '82 said the century-old first-year curriculum covering traditional common law topics—contracts, torts, property, civil procedure, and criminal law—will be constricted, and courses on policy ("Legislation and Regulation") and international law ("International Law and Problems and Theories") will be added.
  I confess I tend to be pretty skeptical about proposed changes like this. In my view, the traditional first-year curriculum works because its courses lay the foundation for later study; public law and statutory courses generally build on common law origins, so I think it usually works to put the common law courses first. Of course, it may be that we think that other courses are now ultimately more important. But if that's true, I tend to think that means such courses should be upper-level requirements rather than required first-year courses.

  This doesn't mean the first-year curriculum is untouchable, of course, and without knowing the details of Harvard's plan it's hard to say anything specific. I've occasionally wondered whether property law still needs to be a required first-year course: it seems to me that relatively few advanced law school courses build on property law. I'm also not sure that Harvard's treatment of criminal law and criminal procedure as a single combined 1L course is the best approach; the two courses are pretty distinct, and in my experience learning constitutional criminal procedure as a 1L is somewhat confusing. In any event, it will be interesting to see the details of Harvard's plan, and very interesting to see if other schools follow suit.

  Thanks to How Appealing for the link.