Harvard Law School’s innovative online course, ‘Zero-L’, will be offered free to undergraduates at Goldsmiths, University of London studying the LLB Law programme.
Zero-L, taught by 18 leading Harvard Law faculty members, introduces foundational legal concepts, legal methodology, career orientation as well as subject-specific knowledge. Over the summer Harvard Law School offered a number of US law schools the opportunity to embed Zero-L into their programmes. Goldsmiths is understood to be the first university outside the US to have secured access for its students.
Harvard Law School designed Zero-L as a tool aiming to ensure that all their incoming students, whatever their backgrounds and previous areas of study, would start with foundational legal knowledge that would enable them to thrive in law school.
Zero-L is comprised of approximately a dozen hours of video lectures, vocabulary, and periodic comprehension checks that students can take at their own pace. Course modules cover a range of topics, including: an introduction to law and the legal profession; the history of the American Constitution; separation of powers and federalism; the stages of litigation; citizenship rights (civics) and much more. It also provides students with instruction and practise in basic skills, including how to read a case.
Professor Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Head of the Department of Law at Goldsmiths, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Harvard Law School in embedding their highly innovative course into our Law degree. Zero-L is an outstanding addition to our LLB Law programme, giving our students a firm foundation in legal theory and legal institutions, and allowing them to understand how the English and US legal systems compare. This exciting development reflects the international outlook of our programme where we invite our students to look at the English legal system in a global context and go on to study areas of international relevance such as Human Rights Law, Art Law, and AI, Disruptive Technologies and the Law.”
Dr Dagmar Myslinska, Lecturer in Law at Goldsmiths said: “Goldsmiths’ law lecturers are excited to be embedding Zero-L sessions into our modules, drawing out commonalities in Anglo-American legal doctrine and the practice of law, while providing comparative insights. The programme reinforces our emphasis on teaching foundational analytical frameworks that will equip our students with transferable skills. Notably, Zero-L sessions are very much in line with Goldsmiths law department’s emphasis on placing legal doctrine and procedure within broader socio-economic contexts and noting how law and legal practice intersect with gender, class, and race. Overall, Zero-L’s coherent framework reinforces our efforts to create ongoing synergies between substantive modules, clinics, skills training, and career opportunities that we provide to our students.”
Alongside Zero-L, LLB Law students will also have access to advice and commentary from Goldsmiths law academics on how the content of the course relates to existing LLB modules such as Tort Law, Criminal Law, and Property Law. Students will be invited to reflect on specific comparative points of interest for further investigation and discussion as part of the wider programme.