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The American legal system is one of the most influential and important legal systems in the world.  It is quite likely that lawyers outside the United States will come into contact with American law, American lawyers or American clients, and would thus be better served for having an understanding of the essential characteristics and aspects of the American legal system.  In addition, given the influence and role of the United States in the world, American legal concepts, ideas and approaches are often borrowed or considered by non-American courts and legislatures as they develop their own law.  But, successful transplantation is difficult, but made easier through a knowledge of the borrowed legal system and a corresponding ability to then critically evaluate the value and utility of any proposed transplantation. 

The course will focus principally on the study of the federal and state legal systems within the United States of America.  The course will include consideration of the primary features of the American legal system, including: U.S. legal history; U.S. judicial structure and operation; the U.S. Constitution; and the legislative and administrative structure and process.  The course will also include discussion of American legal actors, including American lawyers, legal education, judges and other participants in the American legal system.

This course is taught as part of the Berkeley summer program. For information on that program, please ask Student

Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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