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STL’s signature J.D./J.M. dual degree program is four years long. The J.D. curriculum, which is taught entirely in English, is similar in content to the J.D. curriculums of the best U.S. law schools, with additional depth in Chinese legal history and law. The J.M. curriculum provides Chinese law courses and is taught largely in Chinese.

The STL First Year

STL’s first-year students or “1Ls” spend their first three quarters studying the core J.D. subjects that lay the doctrinal, theoretical, and skills foundations for the study of law.  These courses are taught in a highly interactive and rigorous manner, including through the Socratic method.  1L courses include Contracts, Torts, Property, Criminal Law, U.S. Civil Procedure, Business Associations, and Legal Analysis, Writing and Research.  Through these courses, 1L students learn how to read cases, interpret legal rules, spot and analyze legal issues, engage in legal research, produce competent written documents, and advocate on behalf of a client.  After the first three quarters, students commence their study of Chinese law in addition to continuing to study J.D. required and elective courses.

List of 1L J.D. Courses


This two-quarter course examines the formation and interpretation of contractual agreements under U.S. law (common law and Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)) and international law (United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG)). The course also explores issues concerning the avoidance of contractual obligations and remedies for the breach of contractual obligations.


This two-quarter course covers the law of civil injuries and liabilities, including intentional torts, negligence, product liability, damages, and remedies.


This course covers the major concepts and issues of Anglo-American property law. Topics to be covered in the first quarter include the concept of property in Anglo-American property law, property theory, the ownership of real property, adverse possession, the ownership of personal property, estates and future interests in land, concurrent ownership, and marital property. Topics to be covered in the second quarter include the leasing of real property (e.g., nonfreehold estates, assignments, subleases), private land use planning (e.g., easements, real covenants, equitable servitudes), land use regulation, eminent domain, and takings.

Civil Procedure

This course looks at civil legal procedure – the process through which private legal rights are enforced – with a particular focus on the U.S. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  While the course covers the same subject matter as would be covered in a typical US law school civil procedure course, it gives additional, particular emphasis to those aspects of the US civil justice system that are most relevant to non-US lawyers.

Criminal Law

Through the study of individual cases from multiple jurisdictions, this course develops understanding of the key elements of American criminal law: actus rea, (intent), mens rea (the act) concurrence and causation. The course examines the evidence and factors that courts and juries consider in determining the culpability of a defendant, and possible defenses a defendant might raise to a particular accusation. The course pushes students to think about the principles that have led the U.S. to structure its criminal justice system in the way that it has, and whether or not it is effective in realizing those principles.

Business Associations

This course surveys the role of legal controls on business organizations, with an emphasis on executives, directors and controlling shareholders of public corporations.  Aspects of the law of agency, partnership, and closely held corporations are reviewed to highlight continuities and discontinuities with the publicly held corporation.  Topics include basic accounting and basic corporate finance, limited liability, creditor protection, shareholder voting, executive compensation, fiduciary duties, shareholder lawsuits, and control transactions.  The emphasis throughout is on the economic analysis of legal rules as a set of constraints on corporate actors.

Constitutional Law

This course on U.S. Constitutional Law introduces student to governmental structure and the protection of civil rights. Through in-depth analysis of American cases, students will explore constitutional law's theoretical foundations, the interplay between law and politics, and the role of civil rights in fostering change.

Combining lectures and discussions, the course begins by investigating the separation of powers, federalism, and the responsibilities of government branches. Subsequently, it examines the essential civil rights enshrined in the Constitution and their societal context and implications.

Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research

Legal Analysis, Writing and Research is a three-quarter course that begins with an introduction to the U.S. legal system and to working with common law to produce legal analyses before proceeding to legal research and, finally, to written and oral advocacy on behalf of a client. Students in Leal Analysis, Writing and Research work closely in smaller sections with C.V. Starr Lecturers and receive frequent written and oral feedback.

STL’s dual degree J.D./J.M. curriculum offers unmatched depth in complex corporate and regulatory topics, commercial and international dispute resolution, and comparative legal traditions taught by an exceptionally distinguished multinational faculty.  Students are encouraged to pursue their individual interests from the wide variety of courses in STL’s curriculum.

The following are concentrations by subject matter. Clicking on each reveals courses within the concentration.