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In order to become a lawyer, you must graduate from college and pass specific courses in law school. There are generally no specific undergraduate course requirements for becoming a lawyer. Most major course of study from English to music are acceptable for law school. Law schools do, however, require that students take and pass a certain number of credit hours. The mandatory subjects include torts, contracts, criminal law, property and constitutional law. Each state's bar exam also questions students on these subjects.
The subject of torts encompasses noncriminal damages that one party inflicts upon another. The most popular topics within this subject include negligence, products liability, defamation and the seven intentional torts (assault, battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, trespass to land, trespass to chattel and conversion). Students learn the elements of each tort and the case law that supports damages or a recovery from such offenses.
The subject of contracts deals with the legalities and formalities for forming a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. Common topics in a contracts class consist of the elements of a contract, the statute of fFrauds, parole evidence, the mail box rule and other provisions set forth in the Uniform Commercial Code.
Criminal law deals with the types of behavior that society punishes with fines and incarceration. Criminal law is mainly derived from statutes; however, most law students who are taking a criminal law course are required to read cases regarding judicial opinions on each specific type of crime. Many criminal law courses also provide a brief overview of the theories behind our criminal law system and the constitutional provisions.
Property law deals with an individual's ownership rights in his own personal or real property, although the vast majority of property law revolves around issues dealing with land and real estate. Some of the more popular topics in property law include easements, the rule against perpetuities, landlord and tenant rights, gifts and mineral and water rights.
Constitutional law encompasses the specific rights in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights as well as the large body of Supreme Court decisions. Some of the more popular constitutional law topics include civil rights, abortion, commerce, states' rights and the specific roles and power limitations of the three branches of the federal government.
Krystal Wascher has been writing online content since 2008. She received her Bachelor of Arts in political science and philosophy from Thiel College and a Juris Doctor from Duquesne University School of Law. She was admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar in 2009.