Offerings

Key:
+ subject to prerequisites, co-requisites, exclusions, or professor permission
1L first year required course
a extends over more than one quarter
c/l cross listed
e first-year elective
l Lecturer-taught seminar/simulation class
m seminar
p meets the professional responsibility/ethics requirement
r papers may meet substantial research paper (SRP) graduation requirement
s meets the professional skills requirement
u simulation class
w may meet writing project (WP) graduation requirement
x offering available for bidding
(#) the number of Law School credit hours earned for successful completion
  • Law and the Mental Health System

    LAWS 47001 - 01 (3) c/l, r, w
    The course examines the interrelationship between legal doctrine; procedural rules; medical, cultural, and social scientific understandings of mental disability; and institutional arrangements affecting the provision of services to the mentally disabled. Consideration is given to admission to and discharge from mental health facilities, to competency to consent to or to refuse treatment, to surrogate decision-making for those found incompetent, to the rights of those confined in mental health facilities; to discrimination against the mentally disabled, and to the rights of the mentally disabled in the criminal justice system. Grades are based on a final paper or a final take-home exam, and class participation.
    Autumn 2015
    Mark J. Heyrman
  • Legal Aspects of Sovereign Debt

    LAWS 75404 - 01 (3) l, m, w, x
    This proposed seminar will examine the legal aspects of sovereign state borrowing. It will cover the elements of sovereign debt-- with emphasis on borrowing denominated in currencies other than those of the debtor, as well as Euro-denominated borrowings, the key contractual provisions of debt agreements, legal doctrines bearing on sovereign debt (such as sovereign immunity, odious debts and state succession), and the process for rescheduling or otherwise resolving impaired debt. We also will consider the roles of various international bodies, such as the IMF, and proposed international regimes for resolving defaulted debt. Once we have laid that foundation, we will consider the recent cases of Argentina, Greece and the legal aspects of the recently announced ECB bond purchase program. We will use Lastra and Buchheit, "Sovereign Debt Management", Oxford University Press 2014 and other materials to be provided by the Lecturer. There are no prerequisites for the seminar. The grade will be based on a paper of approximately 25 pages, as well as on class participation.
    Spring 2016
    Jim Foorman
  • Legal Profession: Ethics

    LAWS 41003 - 01 (3) l, m, p, w
    This seminar addresses ethical considerations and issues encountered during the practice of law, including strategic, practical, and moral considerations with which attorneys should be familiar. Using materials from casebooks, the rules of professional conduct, and cases or articles of particular interest, we will discuss within the context of the rules the ethical situations that lawyers face. There will be a particular focus on the ambiguities of how to handle particularly difficult issues encountered in the practice of law and the rules and framework to which attorneys can turn in determining how to handle those issues. Throughout the seminar, we will consider certain overarching questions, including: a. are lawyers authorized by their duties to clients to lie, b. is civility consistent with the duty of vigorous representation, c. is social media beyond the rules, and d. can there be a conflict without direct adversity. This seminar will be taught as a participatory class and will use structured hypotheticals. Students will be evaluated both on the quality of their participation and on the basis of a paper of 20 pages in length on a topic relating to professional responsibility chosen by and of particular interest to the student. Short presentations of the paper may be incorporated into the class. The seminar will not meet the first week of the Winter 2016 term due to prior commitments. However, we will meet an extra 15 minutes during the remaining weeks to make up this time. Attendance is mandatory.
    Winter 2016
    Hal R. Morris
  • Litigating Financial Disputes

    LAWS 52523 - 01 (3) m, r, s, w, x
    This seminar will explore the practice, theory, and strategy of litigating financial disputes. These disputes include bankruptcy proceedings, shareholder derivative suits, securities fraud cases, white collar investigations, and suits alleging the breach of financial contracts. On the practical side, the seminar will explore the procedures for choosing and preparing financial experts to testify on valuation and other issues, interviewing and deposing executive officers and investment bankers, and common discovery issues that arise. On the theoretical side, we will explore critiques of the current systems of litigating these disputes and proposals for reform. In all areas, we will consider the strategic implications that lawyers must take into account both in litigating the disputes and in negotiating agreements in ways to avoid future disputes or reduce the risk of losing a dispute if one arises. In general, we will explore the overlap between litigation and transactional work that is at the heart of these disputes. For example, we will look at cases where litigation positions are used to facilitate leverage in transactions. The seminar's materials will be a mix of court opinions, pleadings filed in actual cases, transactional documents, and academic articles.
    Autumn 2015
    Anthony Casey
  • Litigation Laboratory

    LAWS 91563 - 01 (3) l, s, u, w, x
    This class brings lawyers and students together to analyze and develop aspects of the lawyers’ ongoing cases. It allows good lawyers to use law students for collaborative help with open cases, and allows law students to learn litigation skills by working with the lawyers. A different lawyer with a different case will participate in most class sessions. Typically the lawyer will provide materials for the students to review before the class. During the class, students will discuss, argue, debate, and work with the lawyer to solve hard issues. Following each class, students will complete written materials analyzing and evaluating the problem. In classes when lawyers are not included, students also learn practical litigation skills through various advocacy exercises. Students will be graded based on active participation and their written materials.
    Winter 2016
    Catherine Masters, James A. Clark
  • Mental Health Advocacy Clinic

    LAWS 67013 - 01 (1 to 3) +, a, s, w
    Mental Health Advocacy teaches a variety of advocacy skills. With the permission of the clinical teacher, students may choose to focus on litigation, legislation, or both. Students engaged in litigation may interview clients and witnesses; research and draft pleadings and legal memoranda, including briefs to reviewing courts; conduct formal and informal discovery; negotiate with opposing counsel and others; conduct evidentiary hearings and trials; and present oral argument in trial and appellate courts. Students who have completed fifty percent of the credits needed for graduation may be licensed to appear, under the supervision of the clinical teacher, in state and federal trial and appellate courts pursuant to court rules and practices. Students engaged in legislative advocacy may research and draft legislation and supporting materials, devise and implement strategies to obtain the enactment or defeat of legislation, negotiate with representatives of various interest groups, and testify in legislative hearings. In addition to discrete advocacy skills such as cross-examination, discovery planning, and legislative drafting, the course aims to provide students with an understanding of the relationships between individual advocacy tasks and the ultimate goals of clients, between litigation and legislative advocacy, and between advocacy on behalf of individual clients and advocacy for systemic change. Prior or contemporaneous enrollment in Law and the Mental Health System is encouraged, but not required, for all students. See the general rules for all clinical courses for further details concerning enrollment, including the rules governing the award of credit. There is a mandatory one-credit seminar component for this course which meets once a week during the Autumn Quarter. Mental Health Advocacy satisfies part of the writing requirement if substantial written work is completed. Student may enroll in this clinical course for between one and six quarters. For additional information concerning the Autumn 2015 Combatant Clemency Project, please follow this link: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/clinics/mandel/mental.
    Autumn 2015
    Mark J. Heyrman
  • Mental Health Advocacy Clinic

    LAWS 67013 - 01 (1 to 3) +, a, s, w
    Mental Health Advocacy teaches a variety of advocacy skills. With the permission of the clinical teacher, students may choose to focus on litigation, legislation, or both. Students engaged in litigation may interview clients and witnesses; research and draft pleadings and legal memoranda, including briefs to reviewing courts; conduct formal and informal discovery; negotiate with opposing counsel and others; conduct evidentiary hearings and trials; and present oral argument in trial and appellate courts. Students who have completed fifty percent of the credits needed for graduation may be licensed to appear, under the supervision of the clinical teacher, in state and federal trial and appellate courts pursuant to court rules and practices. Students engaged in legislative advocacy may research and draft legislation and supporting materials, devise and implement strategies to obtain the enactment or defeat of legislation, negotiate with representatives of various interest groups, and testify in legislative hearings. In addition to discrete advocacy skills such as cross-examination, discovery planning, and legislative drafting, the course aims to provide students with an understanding of the relationships between individual advocacy tasks and the ultimate goals of clients, between litigation and legislative advocacy, and between advocacy on behalf of individual clients and advocacy for systemic change. Prior or contemporaneous enrollment in Law and the Mental Health System is encouraged, but not required, for all students. See the general rules for all clinical courses for further details concerning enrollment, including the rules governing the award of credit. There is a mandatory one-credit seminar component for this course which meets once a week during the Autumn Quarter. Mental Health Advocacy satisfies part of the writing requirement if substantial written work is completed. Student may enroll in this clinical course for between one and six quarters.
    Winter 2016
    Mark J. Heyrman
  • Mental Health Advocacy Clinic

    LAWS 67013 - 01 (1 to 3) +, a, s, w
    Mental Health Advocacy teaches a variety of advocacy skills. With the permission of the clinical teacher, students may choose to focus on litigation, legislation, or both. Students engaged in litigation may interview clients and witnesses; research and draft pleadings and legal memoranda, including briefs to reviewing courts; conduct formal and informal discovery; negotiate with opposing counsel and others; conduct evidentiary hearings and trials; and present oral argument in trial and appellate courts. Students who have completed fifty percent of the credits needed for graduation may be licensed to appear, under the supervision of the clinical teacher, in state and federal trial and appellate courts pursuant to court rules and practices. Students engaged in legislative advocacy may research and draft legislation and supporting materials, devise and implement strategies to obtain the enactment or defeat of legislation, negotiate with representatives of various interest groups, and testify in legislative hearings. In addition to discrete advocacy skills such as cross-examination, discovery planning, and legislative drafting, the course aims to provide students with an understanding of the relationships between individual advocacy tasks and the ultimate goals of clients, between litigation and legislative advocacy, and between advocacy on behalf of individual clients and advocacy for systemic change. Prior or contemporaneous enrollment in Law and the Mental Health System is encouraged, but not required, for all students. See the general rules for all clinical courses for further details concerning enrollment, including the rules governing the award of credit. There is a mandatory one-credit seminar component for this course which meets once a week during the Autumn Quarter. Mental Health Advocacy satisfies part of the writing requirement if substantial written work is completed. Student may enroll in this clinical course for between one and six quarters.
    Spring 2016
    Mark J. Heyrman
  • Poverty Law

    LAWS 57402 - 01 (2 to 3) l, m, w, x
    In Poverty Law, we will explore the role that lawyers can play in challenging the distribution of wealth in American society. We will focus primarily on the patchwork of government programs we call the “safety net”—such as programs providing cash (welfare), food assistance, and Medicaid. We will deepen our understanding, as lawyers and as citizens, of how such programs, a frequent source of discussion in current media, function in reality. In the process, we will enjoy many opportunities to explore whether and how program structures reflect or reinforce prevailing cultural attitudes and assumptions about program participants—including attitudes and assumptions based on gender and race. We will also debate, from practical, political, legal and ethical perspectives, what government can or should do, when administering safety net programs, to address what policy makers identify as behavioral causes of American poverty.
    Spring 2016
    Miriam Hallbauer
  • Private Equity in Asia

    LAWS 71407 - 01 (3) l, m, w, x
    Private equity is expanding rapidly into new regions around the world. Asia, where profound economic change is taking place in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, and Viet Nam, offers attractive opportunities for Western firms seeking to apply their proven investment models. Leading global firms like Carlyle, KKR, and Bain Capital are bullish on Asia and expect their Asian operations to excel in both rate of growth and rate of return – and eventually rival their U.S. and European operations. Such expansion is not without risk, however, and success in Asia requires private equity firms to develop new skills such as partnering with state-owned enterprises, accepting minority investment stakes, dealing with ambiguous legal frameworks, fending off fraud and corruption, and correcting weak corporate governance. Additionally, competition from indigenous firms is threatening to change the landscape - domestic funds are sprouting up in large numbers and increasingly attracting many of the best deals. This seminar will address current developments in private equity across major countries in Asia. We will examine the rise of the industry in the region, the role of private equity in economic development, and the nature of recent Asian private equity deals. Using case examples, we will evaluate deal opportunities and simulate investment decisions in eight different countries. Grading will be determined by class participation during the discussion of cases and readings – and by performance across three short papers. The first paper will examine private equity in the macro-context of economic transformation; the second will focus on the evaluation of a recent deal; and the third will address the terms in a prospective deal negotiation.
    Autumn 2015
    Tom Manning
  • Project and Infrastructure Development and Finance

    LAWS 42512 - 01 (3) +, c/l, l, m, w, x
    This seminar is focused on the development and project financing of infrastructure facilities. These transactions feature a wide variety of commercial agreements and financial instruments, legal and financial structuring, and a significant role for lawyers. Public private partnership structures will be examined. Representative transactions, principally in the energy, transportation and public infrastructure sectors, will be selected for analysis and discussion. Infrastructure projects such as these provide a convenient vehicle for discussion of contractual provisions, structuring parameters, financial analysis, and legal practice issues common to a broad range of business and financial transactions. The classes will be discussion oriented; grades will be based on 3-4 short papers, an analytical paper of 10- 13 pages based on a case study and class participation. There are no pre-requisites, although basic corporation law is recommended. The readings will be taken from textbooks, professional journals, and actual commercial and financial contracts. A speaker from the financial community with a wide range of experience is expected. WP requirements may be satisfied with an additional research paper. Enrollment is limited to 25 students.
    Autumn 2015
    Martin Jacobson
  • Public Corruption and the Law

    LAWS 68314 - 01 (2 to 3) +, l, m, w, x
    This seminar will focus on how governments use the law to prevent and catch public corruption, how the law is sometimes used to protect public corruption, and how one should determine the optimal response to corruption and its consequences. We will examine the substantive criminal laws and sentencing schemes used in the best public corruption prosecutions, ranging from RICO and "honest services" fraud to bribery and extortion laws. We will also examine the laws that create, authorize, or prevent the most effective investigative tools used by law enforcement against public corruption, including wiretap laws and related privacy issues. We will study several key topics within public corruption law, including patronage, its effect on democratic institutions, and its status under the First Amendment; campaign finance reform and whether money in campaigns is protected speech or a corrupting influence (or both); and the relationship between transparency, online access to information, and corruption. We will also consider an economic analysis of public corruption, including questions about whether the level of democracy, and the pervasiveness of corruption in the culture, affect the cost-benefit analysis. Constitutional Law I and II are recommended pre-requisites. Students taking the class for 3 credits write one short reaction paper (or short research paper if appropriate), and one major paper. Those taking it for 2 credits write several short reaction papers.
    Spring 2016
    David Hoffman
  • Public Morality and Legal Conservatism

    LAWS 78605 - 01 (3) c/l, m, r, w, x
    This seminar will study the philosophical background of contemporary legal arguments alluding to the idea of "public morality," in thinkers including Edmund Burke, James Fitzjames Stephen, and Patrick Devlin, and the criticisms of such arguments in thinkers including Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill, and Herbert Hart. We will then study legal arguments on a range of topics, including drugs and alcohol, gambling, nudity, pornography and obscenity, non-standard sex, and marriage. Non-law students are welcome but need permission of the instructors, since space is limited. We are aiming for a total enrollment of 30, of which up to 10 can be non-law students (no undergraduates), and the rest will be law students, selected by lottery. Non-law students should apply to both professors by December 1, 2015, describing relevant background, especially in philosophy.
    Winter 2016
    Martha Nussbaum, William Baude
  • Public Opinion, Public Policy, and the Law

    LAWS 69002 - 01 (3) m, r, w, x
    This seminar will explore the intersection of public opinion, public policy, and the law. To date, questions about whether and how public opinion influences public policy have been addressed primarily by political scientists. But these questions are also vital to several legal domains, in particular constitutional law and election law. In the constitutional law context, the mistranslation of public opinion into public policy may be evidence of a political malfunction that requires judicial intervention. In the election law context, one of the most important functions of elections is to align the preferences of the electorate with the policies enacted by their representatives. The seminar will tackle these complex and interesting issues through readings drawn from legal scholarship, political theory, and empirical political science. An effort will also be made to have outside speakers present papers once or twice during the quarter.
    Spring 2016
    Nicholas Stephanopoulos
  • Racism, Law, and Social Sciences

    LAWS 54303 - 01 (3) m, r, w, x
    This seminar will provide an in-depth study of theories and methods for analysis of racialization in past and present societies. Analyses of the social construction of racial and ethnic identities have facilitated studies of the ways in which social differences are created, maintained, and masked. Subjects to be addressed in this seminar include the interrelation of racializing ideologies with other cultural and social dimensions, such as class, ethnicity, gender, political and legal structures, and economic influences. We will also consider the related histories of biological and genetic concepts of different races within the human species as part of the context of our study of racism operating within social processes. Requirements for this seminar course include preparation of a research paper and thoughtful class participation. Writing for this seminar may be used as partial fulfillment of the J.D. writing requirement (SRP or WP).
    Winter 2016
    Christopher Fennell
  • Religion, Law, and Politics

    LAWS 97521 - 01 (3) c/l, l, m, w, x
    This seminar examines the conceptualization and realization of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. We explore philosophical precepts and historical contexts, review the state of the law, and address current controversial issues.
    Spring 2016
    Sylvia Neil
  • Reproductive Health and Justice

    LAWS 46603 - 01 (3) l, m, w, x
    This seminar will examine the history and evolution of legal protections for abortion, contraception and other reproductive health care. We will look at state and federal constitutional, statutory and common law theories used to secure and protect these rights. We will explore current threats and growing barriers to access, including ever-expanding assertions of religious beliefs to limit access to reproductive health care. We will also look at advocacy strategies for addressing those threats and barriers. Grades are based on a final paper and class participation.
    Autumn 2015
    Lorie Chaiten
  • Roman Law

    LAWS 47702 - 01 (3) e, m, r, w, x
    The seminar develops skill in analyzing legal problems according to the processes of the Roman civil law, in contrast with those of the common law, and does not purport to give a comprehensive treatment of its detailed workings. The material provides an outline of the sources and procedure of Roman private law, followed by an examination of the Roman institutional system, the basis of most modern civil law codes. Particular emphasis is given to property and to obligations (contracts and torts). No knowledge of Latin is required for the seminar. This class will be assessed via a series of short research papers. Because this is a 1L elective, it will be graded on the curve usually applied to courses (as all 1L electives are) and will not count against the seminar limit.
    Spring 2016
    Richard A. Epstein
  • Selected Problems in Complex Litigation

    LAWS 93603 - 01 (3) l, m, w, x
    This seminar addresses legal and ethical requirements, as well as strategic and practical considerations, around handling multidistrict litigation, including mass tort and complex class actions. Using materials from recent and current cases, the class will discuss topics such as early case assessment, coordination of multijurisdictional litigation, use of dispositive motions, the importance of expert testimony and mechanisms for resolving scientific disputes, resolution options, media coverage of MDLs and bellwether selection methods and trial of bellwether cases. Discussions will involve the Vioxx, Baycol, diet drug, Teflon, and Firestone litigations, among others. Expectations: This class will be taught as a participatory seminar. Students will not be expected to have already taken a complex litigation course, but should be willing to seek out answers to legal questions as they arise. Students will be evaluated on the basis of course participation and a written paper. Students will need access to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Manual for Complex Litigation Fourth (http://www.fjc.gov/public/home.nsf/autoframe?openform&url_l=/public/home.nsf/inavg eneral?openpage&url_r=/public/home.nsf/pages/470), the website of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (www.jpml.uscourts.gov), and reading materials that I will email to students each week. Students also will need access to Westlaw and/or Lexis.
    Winter 2016
    Adam Hoeflich, Abby Mollen
  • Structuring Financial Instruments

    LAWS 71400 - 01 (2 to 3) +, l, m, s, w, x
    This seminar introduces tax, legal, accounting and economic principles relevant to the structuring of complex financial instruments—from forwards, swaps and options to convertible bonds and other securities with embedded derivatives. Throughout the seminar, different products designed to achieve similar economic goals will be examined to highlight the significance of structuring choices and the range of techniques available. For example, there are various products that can be used to approximate the economics of buying an asset, without an actual purchase of that asset. The seminar will examine how these products are treated differently for tax, securities law, commodities law, bankruptcy, accounting and other purposes, notwithstanding their economic similarity. Students will develop the ability to optimize transactions by selecting among existing financial instruments or inventing new ones. The seminar will also include discussion of policy issues. No specific prerequisites, but introductory income tax recommended, and knowledge of securities law and bankruptcy law helpful. The seminar will be assessed via a) a series of reaction papers (2 credits) or b) via a full-length research paper (3 credits). Class participation and attendance will be considered.
    Spring 2016
    Jason Sussman