Legal Practice and Ethics Courses

Professor David Zarfes

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Legal Practice and Ethics courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.

PLEASE NOTE: This page does not include courses for the current academic year. To browse current course offerings, visit my.UChicago.

Abrams Environmental Law Clinic

Spring 2019, Mark Templeton and Robert Weinstock

Students in the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic fight against water pollution, promote clean energy, protect natural resources and human health, and address legacy contamination. Clinic students engage in a wide variety of activities to learn practical legal skills, such as conducting factual investigations, interviewing witnesses and preparing affidavits, reviewing administrative determinations, drafting motions, working with experts, arguing motions and presenting at trial or an administrative hearing, among other activities. The Clinic generally represents regional and national environmental organizations and works with co-counsel, thus exposing students to the staff of these organizations and other experienced environmental lawyers. In addition to litigation, the Clinic may also engage in legislative reform and rule-making efforts; students interested solely in that kind of work should notify the instructor before joining the Clinic, if possible. Environmental Law is a co-requisite.  A student enrolling in the Clinic for the first time should sign up for two credits; in subsequent quarters, she or he may enroll for one, two or three credits per quarter after consultation with clinic faculty.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Mark Templeton and Robert Weinstock
  • Winter 2018, Mark Templeton and Robert Weinstock
  • Spring 2018, Mark Templeton and Robert Weinstock
  • Autumn 2018, Mark Templeton and Robert Weinstock
  • Winter 2019, Mark Templeton and Robert Weinstock

Accounting and Financial Analysis

Spring 2019, Philip Berger

This course is designed to quickly introduce you to (or, preferably, refresh your knowledge of) basic financial accounting [first two weeks of class] and then aims to aggressively increase your ability to be a highly sophisticated user of financial statements. After taking this course, you should improve your ability to determine a firm's accounting policy for a particular type of transaction and to determine how that policy choice affects its primary financial statements. You will also learn how to question whether these effects fairly reflect the underlying economics of the firm's transactions. Asking these questions involves an interplay between accounting, economics, finance, law and business strategy. You should therefore greatly improve your ability to use an accounting report as part of an overall assessment of the firm's strategy and the potential rewards and risks of dealing with the firm. It is REQUIRED that students registering for this course have a thorough exposure to accounting course work, at least at the level provided by the Booth course Financial Accounting (B30000). Fundamentals of Accounting for Attorneys (LAWS 79112 or 53260) does not provide a sufficient foundation for this course. Students who have not taken B30000, but feel they have taken an equivalent level of accounting coursework, must petition for a waiver from Professor Berger at Philip.berger@chicagobooth.edu.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Philip Berger

Advanced Civil Procedure

Autumn 2018, William Hubbard

This course examines salient features of major civil litigation from both a practitioner's and a policymaker's perspective. Broadly, these features fall into two categories: issues with forum and aggregation on the one hand, and problems with the collection and production of evidence on the other. Topics in the first category include class actions, multi-district litigation, and arbitration. Topics in the second category include electronic discovery, expert witnesses, and preservation of evidence. In addition, this course studies how the federal rulemaking process, statutes, and judicial decisions compete to define the procedures that govern civil litigation. The student's grade is based on a final examination with limited consideration of class participation.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, William Hubbard

Advanced Contract Skills

Spring 2019, Joan E. Neal

This three-credit seminar will include a series of discrete topics to help students who want to become transactional lawyers hone more advanced contract skills to help clients achieve their goals. Issues covered may include: issue spotting in more complex types of agreements, effective negotiation, use of master agreements, use of term sheets/letters of intent, pros and cons of contract simplification, more complex drafting exercises, analysis of more complex risk allocation provisions, etc. Some classes will include guest speakers from practice (both law firm and in-house counsel). Contract Drafting and Review is a prerequisite for this seminar. Grades will be based upon class participation, preparation for guest speakers, and a series of weekly written homework assignments and in-class exercises.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Joan E. Neal

Advanced Contracts: Sales Law for A Modern Economy

Winter 2019, Lisa Bernstein

This seminar is an advanced contracts seminar that focuses on Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. It presents the material from a hybrid jurisprudential, transactional and litigation perspective in an effort to help students integrate what they have learned about contracts in theory, into the types of tasks that they will face as a transactional lawyer. For (almost) every class students will prepare a written exercise (about 2-4 pages) applying the material in the reading, these range from writing letters to clients, to lecturing the loading dock staff of a company, to researching the content of industry norms, to drafting contract clauses to deal with particular transactional realities. During the quarter students will do a mock appellate argument, a negotiation, and will draft a sales agreement. There is no exam. Written assignments and the final contract will count for 60% of the grade, the other 40% will be based on class preparation and participation.

Advanced Legal Research

Winter 2019, Sheri Lewis

The purpose of this seminar is to enhance students' knowledge of legal sources and to develop their ability to research the law. The seminar will cover the basic categories of legal research in depth and with a focus on practical skills and efficiency, including statutes, administrative law, legislative history, cases, and secondary sources. This seminar also will address a series of practice areas such as corporate and securities, tax, transactional, federal procedure, and intellectual property, focusing on the substantive resources and practical research skills for each. Upon successful completion of the seminar, students will expand their understanding of research resources in a variety of areas, will improve their skills in using legal research tools, and will develop extensive research knowledge in at least one area from their work on a final research paper. The seminar will be limited to twenty-five students with priority to third year students. To receive credit for this seminar, students must complete research assignments (30 percent of grade), submit a research paper on a topic approved by the instructor (60 percent of grade), and attend and participate in course meetings (10 percent). Students may earn either 2 or 3 credits for this seminar depending upon the number of assignments completed and the length of their final paper (minimum 20 pages for 3 credits; 10 pages for 2 credits). In the research paper, the student should extensively and comprehensively address sources for researching the topic, discuss successful and less useful techniques, and recommend research strategies.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Todd Ito
  • Winter 2018, Sheri Lewis
  • Autumn 2018, Todd Ito

Advanced Legal Writing

Spring 2019, Elizabeth Duquette

This course will prepare law students for the working world by honing writing skills for briefs, memoranda, motions, and contracts. We will discuss and practice the major principles of legal writing in plain English -- no jargon, no legalese, no anachronistic fluff. In addition to fine-tuning basic and more advanced writing skills, students will learn how to use their writing to win arguments, persuade clients and sharpen their thinking. The class will function largely as a workshop where we analyze the impact of various writing styles. Regular attendance is essential. Through exercises and group critiques, students will learn to write more succinctly and effectively. Better writers make better lawyers. The course concludes with an eight-hour take-home examination, which determines the student's grade. Students must complete all assignments before the exam period begins. This course satisfies the Writing Project writing requirement. Legal Research and Writing is a pre-requisite.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Elizabeth Duquette

Arbitration in the United States

Winter 2018, James Ferguson

This seminar focuses on arbitration as a means of resolving both domestic and international commercial disputes. The seminar will explore the advantages and disadvantages of arbitration as compared to both mediation and litigation in the courts.  The seminar will also address (among other topics) the nature and scope of arbitral jurisdiction; the nature of the arbitral process; the scope of discovery in domestic and international arbitrations; techniques of effective advocacy in arbitral hearings; the enforcement of domestic and international arbitral awards; and judicial review of arbitral proceedings.  A major focus of the class will be a series of recent Supreme Court decisions in which the Court has limited the scope of judicial review of arbitral awards and clarified the ways in which arbitral agreements can limit liability (for example, by barring class actions).  Finally, the seminar will examine international arbitration in the United States, including the U.S. enforcement of international awards and the conduct in the U.S. of arbitral proceedings involving foreign governments and private parties ("Investor-State" arbitrations).Final grade will be based on: a major paper and class participation

The Board of Directors

Spring 2019, Todd Henderson and Eileen Kamerick

In this seminar, we will simulate nine meetings of a board of directors of a hypothetical company. Students will act as board members. Each week, the board will face a discrete issue of corporate governance. Students will take turns acting as the chair of the board, leading the board of directors though a discussion of the issues. The board will have one week leading up to each class to do legal and other research, to communicate amongst each other and with external stakeholders (played by the professors), and to prepare a presentation for the board and the CEO. The chair will present the case and run the meeting.  The course will focus on the normal functioning of United States publicly listed companies, as well as on the duties of directors in times of crisis or significant change to the corporation. Grades will be based on class participation and out of class work. Instructor consent required. Prerequisite: Business Associations/Corporate Law.Each student will earn two credits for serving as a chair one week and participating in board discussions during the remaining weeks. The chair will present the case and lead the meeting, as well as being responsible for the outcome. To earn an additional credit, students will submit a short paper at the end of the course (less than 15 pages) describing lessons learned during each of the sessions.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Todd Henderson and Eileen Kamerick

Brief-writing and Appellate Advocacy Seminar

Winter 2019, Michele Odorizzi

This seminar will be devoted to the art of brief-writing and appellate advocacy. Topics will include how to select the best arguments, how to choose a theme and structure the facts and the argument, and how to write the brief in a way that it is clear, concise and persuasive on the first read. Grades will be based on two papers -- an opening brief and a reply.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Michele Odorizzi

Business Planning

Winter 2018, Keith Crow and Anthony Sexton

This seminar develops and applies the student's knowledge of taxation and corporate and securities law in the solution of a series of transactional problems involving typical steps in business formation and rearrangement. The problems include the formation of a closely held company; the transition to public ownership of the corporation; executive compensation arrangements; the purchase and sale of a business; and mergers, tender offers, and other types of combination transactions. Small-group discussions and lectures are employed. The student's grade is based on a final examination; students may earn an additional credit by writing a paper on a topic approved by the instructors.The student must have taken (or be taking concurrently) Business Organizations and Corporate Tax I or receive instructor approval.

Business Strategy

Autumn 2017, Emir Kamenica

This course applies tools from microeconomics, game theory, industrial organization, and theory of the firm to analyze decisions facing firms in a competitive environment.  The specific focus is on strategic decisions where each firm's profits depend critically on the actions chosen by its competitors.  Classes combine case analysis and discussions with lectures.  Topics include pricing, positioning, strategic commitment, firm structure, and entry and exit.

Civil Rights Clinic: Police Accountability

Spring 2019, Craig Futterman

The Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project (PAP) is one of the nation's leading law civil rights clinics focusing on issues of criminal justice. Through the lens of live-client work, students examine how and where litigation fits into broader efforts to improve police accountability and ultimately the criminal justice system. Students provide legal services to indigent victims of police abuse in federal and state courts. They litigate civil rights cases at each level of the court system from trial through appeals. Some students also represent children and adults in related juvenile or criminal defense matters. Students take primary responsibility for all aspects of the litigation, including client counseling, fact investigation, case strategy, witness interviews, legal research, pleadings and legal memoranda, discovery, depositions, motion practice, evidentiary hearings, trials, and appeals. A significant amount of legal writing is expected. Students work in teams on cases or projects, and meet with the instructor on at minimum a weekly basis. Students also take primary responsibility for the Clinic's policy and public education work. PAP teaches students to apply and critically examine legal theory in the context of representation of people in need. It teaches students to analyze how and why individual cases of abuse occur and to connect them to systemic problems, often leading to "public impact" litigation and other strategies for policy reform. Through our immersion in live client work, we engage fundamental issues of race, class, and gender, and their intersection with legal institutions. We instruct students in legal ethics and advocacy skills. And we seek to instill in them a public service ethos, as they begin their legal careers. Students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence, Criminal Procedure I, and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop. Constitutional Law III is also recommended.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2018, Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2018, Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2018, Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2019, Craig Futterman

Civil Rights Practicum

Spring 2019, Aziz Huq

In this practicum, students will engage in a range of research and analysis under the supervision of Prof. Huq, in relation to a number of active civil rights cases or other matters. Initial projects will include work on hate-crimes regulation. The aim is to cultivate experience in litigation and advocacy-related tasks in a real world setting, albeit without the structured format of a clinic.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2019, Aziz Huq

Class Action Controversies

Autumn 2018, Michael Brody

The purpose of this seminar is to discuss and understand the rules applicable to class action litigation, the major doctrinal and policy issues that influence class action litigation, and the strategic, ethical, and practical considerations class counsel and litigants face in class action litigation. We will address class certification, notice, settlements, attorneys fees, collateral attack of class judgments, and due process considerations in class cases. There is no case book. Instead, each week I will assign cases and other materials for you to read and for us to discuss. Students may submit a major paper for three credits or a series of reaction papers for two credits. Class participation may influence the grade -- i will not reduce a grade for lack of class participation but in an unusual case I may increase a grade where I believe the student's class participation reflects greater understanding than may be indicated by the student's written submissions.

Communications and Advocacy for Lawyers

Winter 2019, Marsha Nagorsky

No skill is more important for a lawyer than communication, and this is especially true when lawyers are engaged in public advocacy. Students in this hands-on seminar will develop skills in writing, analysis, and presentation geared toward advocacy. Students will take on the role of a spokesperson for an organization (non-profit, business, or law firm) and learn to advocate for that organization though writing op-eds, press releases, blog posts, and communications plans; preparing and delivering a presentation and slide decks; and engaging through media interviews and crisis communications. Topics covered will include creating and adjusting communications based on audience and medium; writing persuasively, especially for non-legal audiences; communications plan development, media training, and public speaking with and without preparation. Students will be expected to speak before the class and outsiders, write on a weekly basis, and edit each other's work. Students will be graded on quality of work product, participation in class, and improvement over the class time, with the majority of the grade coming from a final presentation and slide deck and a capstone communications plan.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Marsha Nagorsky

Complex Litigation

Spring 2018, Brian Murray

An advanced civil procedure class, this seminar will introduce students to complex civil litigation, and the various ways available in the federal system to aggregate multi-party, multi-issue, and multi-forum disputes. The class will cover both the theory of the various laws and devices used in aggregation, and also the practical aspects of how those laws and theories succeed (or not) in achieving fair and efficient disposition of disputes. Topics covered will include the various mechanisms for aggregating parties, including joinder, intervention, interpleader, and class actions; relevant venue and consolidation considerations, including multi-district transfer and consolidation; federal jurisdiction and preclusion rules that affect aggregation; and relevant choice of law issues.

Constitutional Decisionmaking

Winter 2019, Geoffrey R. Stone

Students enrolled in the seminar will work as "courts" consisting of five "Justices" each. During each of the first eight weeks of the quarter, each court will be assigned two hypothetical cases raising issues under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. All cases must be decided with opinion (concurring and dissenting opinions are permitted). The decisions may be premised on the "legislative history" of the Equal Protection Clause (materials on that history will be provided) and on any doctrines or precedents created by the "Justices" themselves. The "Justices" may not rely, however, on any actual decisions of the United States Supreme Court. The seminar is designed to give students some insight into the problems a Justice confronts in collaborating with colleagues, interpreting an ambiguous constitutional provision, and then living with the doctrines and precedents he or she creates. Enrollment will be limited to three courts. Since the members of each court must work together closely under rigid time constraints, students must sign up as five-person courts. This seminar will not have regularly-scheduled classes (except for introductory and concluding meetings), but you should not underestimate the time demands. It is a very demanding seminar. If more than three courts sign up, I will select the participating courts by lot. To be eligible for participation in the seminar, students should send me an e-mail (gstone@uchicago.edu) including the names and e-mail addresses of all five "Justices." This seminar will not have regularly-scheduled classes (except for an introductory meeting), but you should not underestimate the time demands. It is a very demanding seminar. If more than three courts sign up, I will select the participating courts by lot and I will email you to let you know whether your court has been selected. Registration for this class required an application by November 6. Registration is full for Winter 2019.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Geoffrey R. Stone

The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' Point of View

Autumn 2018, Emily Buss

In this seminar, a small number of law students will collaborate with Professor Buss in teaching a course to high school students from the Woodlawn Charter School and the Laboratory Schools on students' constitutional rights in school. Each class will focus on a different case and related doctrine, and will engage the high school students in a discussion of a scenario that asks them to apply the doctrine to new facts. Topics will include student speech and religious exercise, drug testing and locker searches, procedural rights in the context of disciplinary actions, and race and gender discrimination, among others. Before each class students will read an edited version of a Supreme Court case and will prepare to discuss a case study. After each class the high school students will write a brief reflection piece. Each law student will be paired with two high school students, and will interact with those students in and out of class. Law students will check in with the high school students to assist with class preparation, and will review and comment on the students' reflection pieces. During class, law students will help facilitate the small group discussions. Law students will also submit brief weekly reports of their students' class participation and their out-of-class interactions. At some point in or after the quarter (the timing will be at the law students' discretion, within the time frame permitted under the Law School's paper policy), Law Student's will write a paper that discusses one of the topics we have covered, and that particularly draws on the high school students' perspective, shared in and out of class, to develop a theme relevant to the doctrine in question. Students interested in applying for this class should send a note of interest to Professor Buss ebussdos@uchicago.edu.

Previously:

  • Emily Buss

Contract Drafting and Review

Spring 2019, Joan E. Neal

This seminar will serve as an introduction to contracting drafting and how such drafting differs from other types of legal writing. We will start with the basic "anatomy of a contract," discussing the meaning, use and effect of various provisions. The seminar will address not only legal drafting issues, but also how to understand a client's practical business needs in order to effectively use the contract as a planning and problem solving tool. Students will draft and review specific contract provisions, and will learn how to read, review and analyze contracts with an eye toward both legal and business risk issues. Final grade will be based on: substantial out of classroom work, group projects, class participation.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Joan E. Neal
  • Winter 2018, Joan E. Neal
  • Spring 2018, Joan E. Neal
  • Autumn 2018, Joan E. Neal
  • Winter 2019, Joan E. Neal

Contract Law for LLM Students

Spring 2019, Lisa Bernstein

This course in contracts is designed for LL.M. students in lieu of attending a regular 1L course. It will cover both common law and statutory law and focus on both case analysis and application to real world problems. Special attention will be paid to negotiation strategies and the application of the law to firms outsourcing decisions and contracts. The class will culminate in the drafting of a commercial agreement. This class will help students practice American contract law at a high level of skill.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Douglas Baird

Corporate Compliance and Business Integration

Autumn 2018, Forrest James Deegan

This seminar explores the rapidly expanding scope of Corporate Compliance across industries and the evolving role of corporate compliance officers as business partners and culture champions.  Study begins with a foundational overview of the relevant legal and policy mandates, proceeds to explore Corporate Compliance's role in operational oversight and risk mitigation, and finishes with an examination of Corporate Compliance's evolving role in enterprise risk, strategy and culture. The first section of the course will provide insight into the legal, regulatory and risk management considerations that have driven business organizations to develop and enhance their internal programs for identifying and managing compliance risks.  The second section will focus on case studies from different industries, and from the separate perspectives of business leaders, regulators, consumers and employees. The final section of the course will focus on the intersection of compliance and organizational culture, and illustrate how to leverage the tools of policy, training, and leadership engagement to build cultures of integrity.  The course will include academic, regulatory and business readings as well as interactive case studies, where students will apply practical solutions to real risk and corporate integrity challenges faced by multinational organizations in a variety of sectors and explore the consequences for the compliance function.This seminar will be taught by Forrest Deegan, Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, at Abercrombie & Fitch.

Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic

Spring 2019, Herschella G. Conyers

The Project provides law and social work students the supervised opportunity to represent children and young adults accused of crime in juvenile and criminal court. Representation includes addressing the social, psychological and educational needs of our clients and their families. In addition to direct representation, students are involved in policy reform and public education including work with coalitions on issues of juvenile life without parole, youth violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of conviction. Students will participate in case selection and litigation strategies. Students will be expected to do legal research and writing including drafting motions and memoranda on various legal issues, i.e. evidentiary questions, sentencing, etc. and brief writing. Additionally, students will do pre-trial investigation and fact development including interviewing clients and witnesses. 3L students who have taken a trial practice course will have the opportunity to argue motions and second chair hearings and trials. Policy work will include general research on issues, drafting statement and position papers and attendance at meetings. Corequisite: Evidence must be taken at some point that the student is in the clinic.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Herschella G. Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Winter 2018, Herschella G. Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Spring 2018, Herschella G. Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Autumn 2018, Herschella G. Conyers
  • Winter 2019, Herschella G. Conyers

Divorce Practice and Procedure

Autumn 2018, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh

This is a simulation class providing exposure to the dynamic process of representing clients in dissolutions of marriage and issues related to them. The class will make you aware of the complexities arising whenever the ever changing family unit becomes divided. Topics are covered through an evolving case with you in the role of a practicing lawyer. Issues include interstate and international parental kidnapping, determination of jurisdiction, domestic violence, restraining orders and injunctions, temporary and permanent parenting rights and responsibilities (custody and visitation), temporary and permanent maintenance (alimony), child support, the characterization of property and division of assets and liabilities; also, premarital and post marital agreements, ethical issues, federal tax law affecting divorce and the effects of bankruptcy. The class will also discuss same-sex marriage, civil unions and issues unique to LGBTQ relationships. Students will discuss and argue issues not only with instructors, but also with one or more sitting Illinois Domestic Relations Court Judges,  interacting with the class. Readings will be drawn from case law, statutes, and Court approved forms used in contested proceedings. Two-thirds of a student's grade is based on preparation for and class participation including 2 short papers, and one-third on an open book final exam comprised of essay questions.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh

Drafting Contracts: The Problem of Ambiguity

Winter 2018, Preston Torbert

This seminar is unique. It is a very interesting, very intellectual, and very practical learning experience. The main features are: 1. Students will learn some extremely useful tools for analyzing and drafting contracts. They will acquire them by an inductive process of reviewing many examples of ambiguity from case law, eminent legal scholars, and the lecturer's practice. They will learn to identify and eliminate ambiguity in drafting contracts. These tools are the creation of the lecturer and will give students unique practical skills that no other American law students (except the lecturer's prior students) have. 2. The course materials come from the in-house seminars for the firm's China Practice lawyers that the lecturer conducted for many years as a partner at Baker & McKenzie and that established the profession's best practices for China-related contracts. 3. The historical examples of ambiguity in the seminar are of human, as well as intellectual, interest. They show that ambiguity can lead to the hanging of an individual for piracy or treason, a damages award of more than U.S. $10 billion, and even a change in the course of World War II. 4. The seminar facilitates student learning. At the beginning of each class, an audience response system ("clickers") provides students immediate, comparative, and anonymous feedback on their understanding of the reading assignment. The course also allows each student to see what he or she has learned in the course by comparing his or her analysis of a specific contract for the first class and for the last class. This contract analysis, like the final exam, gives each student the experience of a practicing lawyer reviewing a contract. Grades will be based on a proctored final exam.

Entrepreneurship and the Law

Autumn 2018, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik

This seminar examines how the law and legal counsel influence innovation and entrepreneurship in the US, including by micro-enterprises and high-growth disruptors. The seminar explores the position of the entrepreneur in society, in the economy, and in our constitutional framework, in order to analyze the entrepreneur's fundamental legal needs. We survey legal questions particular to start-ups, including strategies for structuring a business organization, financing, and protecting intellectual property. Assignments require students to research issues that apply to hypothetical and real start-ups and practice lawyerly skills like strategic planning, negotiation, drafting, and counseling. Students' grades will be based on active participation, a written assignment, and a research paper.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Elizabeth Kregor, Amy Hermalik, and Salen Churi

Ethical Quandaries in Legal Practice

Spring 2019, Sharon Fairley

With the advent of 24-hour news cycles and the proliferation of social media, the practice of law, like many professions, is under increasingly intense scrutiny from clients, the public, the judiciary, regulators and peers. The attendant risk to the reputations of practicing attorneys remains sky high. This seminar will satisfy the professional responsibility/ethics graduation requirement. Through analysis of ethical issues that lawyers operating in the public and private sectors face on a daily basis, we will study the challenges, consequences and opportunities associated with the ethical practice of law. Pending confirmation, seasoned attorneys with public sector experience, private practitioners, in-house counsel and members of the judiciary will join portions of the seminar to discuss real world scenarios and provide insight into how attorneys can successfully navigate through today's ethical minefields. Students who have taken Modern Professional Responsibility, Professional Responsibility: Representing Business Organizations, or Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession may not take this class.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Sharon Fairley

Ethics for Transactional Lawyers

Winter 2019, Joan E. Neal

This class will focus on ethical issues faced by transactional lawyers.  We will consider the role of a transactional lawyer, the various sources of guidance for transactional lawyers (in light of the fact that the Model Rules are largely litigation focused), the intersection of personal morality and rules-based ethics, individual and organizational practice pressures that can cause lawyers to violate ethics norms, and select ethics issues faced by transactional laywers in practice (including, e.g.,  ethics issues arising when drafting contracts, negotiating agreements, conducting due diligence, and providing opinion letters).  Grades will be based upon active class participation in discussions and simulations, plus a final paper (20-25 pages). Students who have already fulfilled the Professional Responsibility requirement may not take this class.

Exoneration Project Clinic

Spring 2019, Tara Thompson, David Owens, and Joshua Tepfer

The Exoneration Project is a post-conviction clinical project that represents people convicted of crimes of which they are innocent. Students working in our project assist in every aspect of representation including selecting cases, advising clients, investigating and developing evidence, drafting pleadings, making oral arguments, examining witnesses at evidentiary hearings, and working on all aspects of appellate litigation. Through participation in our project, students explore issues of error and inequality in the criminal justice system, including police and prosecutorial misconduct, the use of faulty scientific evidence, coerced confessions, unreliable eyewitness testimony, and ineffective assistance of counsel. The Exoneration Project is an intensive, rigorous experience designed for students who are committed to providing the best possible representation to deserving clients. Second-year students wishing to enroll in the Project are encouraged to take Evidence in their second year. Third-year students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop. Students are also strongly encouraged but not required to take Criminal Procedure I, and Criminal Procedure II. Students selected for this project will receive credit for the work they do in accordance with the credit rules for all other clinical programs.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Winter 2018, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Spring 2018, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Autumn 2018, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl Leonard
  • Winter 2019, Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl Leonard

Federal Criminal Justice Clinic

Spring 2019, Alison Siegler

The Federal Criminal Justice Clinic zealously represents indigent defendants charged with federal crimes and gives students a unique opportunity to practice in federal court. The FCJC is the first legal clinic in the country to exclusively represent indigent clients charged with federal felonies. We enter our federal district court cases at the time of arrest, take them to trial or guilty plea and sentencing, and then carry them through appeal and beyond. As part of our broader mission to promote fairness in the criminal justice system, we also take Seventh Circuit appeals and write amicus briefs and petitions for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. FCJC students may have an opportunity to interview clients and witnesses; meet with clients at the jail and out on bond; conduct and participate in bond hearings, preliminary hearings, arraignments, evidentiary hearings, plea hearings, sentencing hearings, and trials; research, write, and argue motions and briefs; negotiate with prosecutors; and participate in case investigations. Students involved in appellate litigation write briefs to the Seventh Circuit and the Supreme Court and may conduct oral argument in the Seventh Circuit. The seminar component includes skills exercises, simulations, lectures, case rounds, and discussions. The pre-requisites/co-requisites are Evidence and Criminal Procedure I; these courses may be taken at any time during 2L or 3L year. It is strongly recommended that students interested in joining the FCJC take Prof. Siegler's Criminal Procedure course in Spring 2019 and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop at the beginning of 3L year. The FCJC is a year-long clinic and is typically only open to 3Ls. Any slots that remain after bidding closes will be opened to 2Ls. Students who want to learn more about the FCJC may contact Professor Siegler or Professor Zunkel for more information.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Alison Siegler, Erica Zunkel, and Judith Miller
  • Winter 2018, Alison Siegler, Erica Zunkel, and James DuBray
  • Spring 2018, Alison Siegler, Erica Zunkel, and James DuBray
  • Autumn 2018, Alison Siegler, Erica Zunkel, and Judith Miller
  • Winter 2019, Alison Siegler, Erica Zunkel, and Judith Miller

Federal Criminal Justice Practice and Issues

Winter 2019, Michael Doss

This practice-oriented course integrates instruction on federal pretrial criminal procedures and issues with student practice exercises overseen by the instructor. The course will cover federal criminal practice from investigation up to trial, utilizing examples from recent federal criminal investigations and cases. The course will provide opportunities for student performance to develop professional skills and understanding. In particular, the course will provide instruction on (i) federal investigations and related issues (including Grand Jury proceedings, witness immunity, and search warrants); (ii) corporate internal investigations; (iii) federal charging decisions; (iv) initial appearances following arrest and accompanying bail/detention hearings (v) discovery under the federal criminal rules; (vi) pretrial motions and practice; and (vii) plea agreements and hearings. Students will engage in periodic practice simulations related to the pretrial stages of a federal criminal case. For example, students will conduct mock witness interviews in the context of a corporate internal investigation, present motions and arguments seeking, and objecting to, pretrial detention, and present motions and argument seeking to exclude or admit evidence. The course thus will provide opportunities for oral and written advocacy focusing on federal criminal pretrial practice. Each class session will also include discussion of practical and strategic issues facing both the defense and the prosecution under real-world circumstances at each pretrial stage. A student's grade will be based on class participation and written and oral performance in the simulated practice exercises.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Michael Doss

Federal Criminal Practice

Spring 2018, Jared Hasten and Shannon Murphy

Federal Criminal Practice aims to expand students' knowledge of the scope and application of federal criminal law, and will challenge students to think and act as practicing prosecutors and defense attorneys.  The course is taught by a lawyer at Winston & Strawn LLP who focus her practice on criminal law, including representation of individuals and companies in criminal matters and referrals to law enforcement agencies, and a lawyer who works in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice.  Among other things, the course seeks to prepare students to bridge the gap between law school and actual practice of federal criminal law.  The course seeks to combine substantive content with practical considerations to help students start to think like a practitioner. The course includes lecture and discussion about significant topics in federal criminal law; guest speakers with prosecutorial, judicial, and private practice experience who will describe the application and implications of these topics; and practical exercises that will provide students with the opportunity to enhance their advocacy abilities both orally and in writing.  The course will review four major areas of federal criminal law: (1) the role and scope of the federal criminal system; (2) federal narcotics prosecutions; (3) federal public corruption prosecutions including use of the mail fraud and honest services statutes; and (4) federal racketeering laws.  Students will gain a working knowledge of relevant case law on these topics, and will also review and apply real cases prosecuted in federal courts in the Northern District of Illinois.  Students will also hear from guest speakers on topics 2-4, who will also provide information about more general challenges and issues that they have observed or experienced in their own practices and will provide tips regarding the upcoming practical exercises, discussed below.  To cover a spectrum of experiences, the speakers will be (1) a federal judge in the Northern District of Illinois who also served as an Assistant United States Attorney for many years; (2) a current Assistant United States Attorney who is early in his prosecutorial career; and (3) a former Assistant United States Attorney who now focuses his practice on criminal defense work at a law firm.   This course is unique in that it will incorporate a practical component, namely: writing and arguing a motion to suppress evidence and a sentencing position; conducting an opening statement; and presenting a short closing argument.  For all exercises students will be divided evenly between prosecutors and defense attorneys.  Students will complete two written and three oral exercises which, together with class participation, will provide the basis for each student's grade.  Because of the practical component, the class size will be strictly limited to 12 students.

Good with Words: A Writing Workshop

Spring 2019, Patrick Barry

Perhaps the most important thing students and professionals of all kinds can do to improve their effectiveness is embrace the following directive: become good with words. This course will teach you how to do that. They'll be in-class exercises. They'll be real-world examples. They'll be many, many opportunities to develop into a better writer than you are right now. Method of evaluation: a series of research papers (20-25 pages). This class is pass/fail.

Hellenistic Ethics

Autumn 2018, Martha C. Nussbaum

The three leading schools of the Hellenistic era (starting in Greece in  the late fourth century B. C. E. and extending through the second century C. E. in Rome) - Epicureans, Skeptics, and Stoics - produced philosophical work of lasting value, frequently neglected because of the fragmentary nature of the Greek evidence and people's (unjustified) contempt for Roman philosophy.  We will study in a detailed and philosophically careful way the major ethical arguments of all three schools.  Topics to be addressed include: the nature and role of pleasure; the role of the fear of death in human life; other sources of disturbance (such as having definite ethical beliefs?); the nature of the emotions and their role in a moral life; the nature of appropriate action; the meaning of the injunction to "live in accordance with nature".  If time permits we will say something about Stoic political philosophy and its idea of global duty.  Major sources (read in English) will include the three surviving letters of Epicurus and other fragments; the skeptical writings of Sextus Empiricus; the presentation of Stoic ideas in the Greek biographer Diogenes Laertius and the Roman philosophers Cicero and Seneca. This course complements the Latin course on Stoic Ethics in the winter quarter, and many will enjoy doing both. Admission by permission of the instructor.  Permission must be sought in writing by September 15. Prerequisite: An undergraduate major in philosophy or some equivalent solid philosophy preparation, plus my permission.  This is a 500 level course.  Ph.D. students in Philosophy, Classics, and Political Theory may enroll without permission.

Hopi Law Practicum

Spring 2018, Todd Henderson and Justin Richland

The Hopi Clerkship is a year-long opportunity for students to get first-hand experience with the complex challenges and unique opportunities present in the everyday work of contemporary tribal legal systems. Students will support the Hopi tribe in three distinct ways: (1)    serving as law clerks to justices of the Hopi Appellate Court, doing legal research, writing bench memoranda, participating in the judges' conferences, and drafting opinions on live cases; (2)    serving as law clerks to the criminal trial court judge, especially on matters related to the application of federal Fourth Amendment law to tribal police; and(3)    serving as legal advisors to the Office of Cultural Preservation, working to support investigations and prosecution of Hopi cultural claims around the world in an attempt to return tribal patrimony.Students will do all their coursework and assigned casework at the University of Chicago with site visits to the respective Hopi legal institutions to attend oral arguments, present findings to Hopi tribal officials, and participate in judicial deliberations.  In so doing, they will be directly involved in testing the socio-legal principles, theories and critiques they explore in class in the crucible of the work they do helping to lay the regulatory and legal foundations for Hopi tribal institutions.  In this practicum, almost every project that a student will work on will involve important questions of first impression with respect to a wide variety of pressing, yet enduring sociolegal issues, including issues of constitutionalism (separations of powers, checks and balances, etc.), crime and punishment (criminal law enforcement and defendants' and victims' rights), civil procedure (due process, appellate procedure, motions and orders), private law (property, contract, family), pluralism (the role of Anglo-American vs. Hopi traditional norms, and alternative dispute resolution), among many others. Given the centrality of these issues to the philosophy, social science, and practice of law - whether in the context of indigenous self-governance and settler colonialism, or otherwise -we believe that there are few other opportunities like this one, where students will encounter, explore and work through, the profound governance and legal issues and discussions offered by the Hopi Clerkship.Co-requisite: American Indian Law

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Todd Henderson and Justin Richland
  • Winter 2018, Todd Henderson and Justin Richland

Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic

Spring 2019, Jeffrey Leslie

The Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic provides legal representation on complex real estate development projects to build affordable housing.  Clients include nonprofit, community-based affordable housing developers and housing cooperatives.  Students serve as deal lawyers, working with clients and teams of professionals -- such as financial consultants, architects, marketing professionals, property managers, and social service providers -- to bring affordable housing and mixed use development projects to fruition.  Projects range from single family rehabs with budgets in the $30,000 to $75,000 range, to multi-million dollar rental and mixed use projects financed by low income housing tax credits, tax exempt bonds, TIF, and other layered subsidies.  Students also counsel nonprofit clients on governance and tax issues related to their work.  In addition to their client work, students meet as a group in a weekly two-hour seminar in autumn quarter, and in a weekly one-hour seminar during winter and spring quarters, to discuss the substantive rules and legal skills pertinent to real estate development transactions and to examine emergent issues arising out of the students' work. During the fall quarter seminar, returning clinic students need only attend the first hour; new students should attend for the full two hours. In the winter and spring quarters, all students should attend all the one-hour seminar sessions. Academic credit for the Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic varies and is awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses as described in the Law School Announcements and by the approval of the clinical faculty.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Jeffrey Leslie
  • Winter 2019, Jeffrey Leslie

Innovation Clinic

Spring 2019, Emily Underwood

The Innovation Clinic gives students the opportunity to counsel startups and venture capital funds on a broad range of corporate law and strategic issues, including regulatory compliance, entity formation, stock options and employee equity, privacy, employment, governance and founders' agreements, and commercial agreements. The Innovation Clinic also supervises students participating in the Innovation Fund Associates program, where they can participate in teams working to diligence the Fund's potential investments. Note that Innovation Fund Associates must apply separately to the Innovation Fund to be included in this program, and applications are accepted each fall for the following calendar year, but students are not required to be Innovation Fund Associates in order to participate in the Innovation Clinic. In addition to their work with the Clinic's clients and the substantive topic areas to be covered, students will have the opportunity to train in, and develop, the soft skills that separate good lawyers from highly effective lawyers in a transactional practice, such as negotiation, client management, preparedness and flexibility.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Salen Churi
  • Winter 2018, Salen Churi
  • Spring 2018, Salen Churi
  • Autumn 2018, Emily Underwood
  • Winter 2019, Emily Underwood

Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship

Spring 2019, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik

The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, or IJ Clinic, provides legal assistance to low-income entrepreneurs who are pursuing the American Dream in spite of legal obstacles. IJ Clinic students develop practical skills in transactional lawyering while helping creative entrepreneurs earn an honest living, innovate, and build businesses that build neighborhoods. Students advise clients on issues such as business formation, licensing, zoning, strategic relationships, intellectual property protection, and regulatory compliance. Students become trusted advisors for their clients and have the opportunity to consult with clients on business developments; draft and review custom contracts; negotiate deals; research complex regulatory schemes and advise clients on how to comply; and occasionally appear before administrative bodies. Students may also work on policy projects to change laws that restrict low-income entrepreneurs. Policy work may involve legislative drafting, lobbying, and community organizing. Academic credit varies and will be awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses as described in the Law School Announcements and by the approval of the clinical staff. A commitment of at least two consecutive quarters is required.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik
  • Winter 2018, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik
  • Spring 2018, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik
  • Autumn 2018, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik
  • Winter 2019, Elizabeth Kregor and Amy Hermalik

Intensive Negotiation Seminar

Spring 2019, Ian Solomon

This intensive negotiation skills seminar ("bootcamp") offers students an opportunity to develop skills and strategies for application in all areas of personal and professional life. Students will be introduced to conceptual frameworks for understanding how agreements are reached or not reached, and they will have ample opportunities to practice negotiation in structured simulations and other experiential exercises. Seminar discussions will consider contributions from law, game theory, psychology, and more. Students will be encouraged to develop their own tools and practices of inquiry to enable continued learning about negotiation beyond this seminar.You may not take this class if you have taken LAWS 81123 Negotiation. Method of evaluation: Self-assessment; instructor review and observation; peer feedback.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Ian Solomon

Intensive Trial Practice Workshop

Autumn 2018, Herschella G. Conyers, Craig Futterman, Erica Zunkel, and Jorge Alonso

This is a required class for participation in the Civil Rights-Police Accountability Clinic, the Criminal & Juvenile Justice Project Clinic, and the Exoneration Project Clinic. This class is strongly recommended for participation in the Employment Law Clinic and the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic. This class teaches trial preparation, trial advocacy, and strategy through a variety of teaching techniques, including lectures and demonstrations, but primarily through simulated trial exercises. Topics include opening statements, witness preparation, direct and cross examination, expert witnesses, objections at trial, and closing argument. Practicing lawyers and judges are enlisted to provide students with demonstrations and critiques from varied perspectives. The class concludes with a simulated jury trial presided over by sitting state and federal court judges. Open to 3L J.D. students only. Completion of this class partially satisfies one of the requirements for admission to the trial bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Students who have taken Trial Advocacy (LAWS 67603) or Trial Practice: Strategy and Advocacy (LAWS 91702) may not take this class.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Herschella G. Conyers, Randolph Stone, and Craig Futterman

International Arbitration

Autumn 2018, Javier Rubinstein

This seminar provides a basic foundation in the law and mechanics of international commercial arbitration and international investment arbitration. It will give students an understanding of the substantive and strategic issues that frequently confront international arbitration practitioners. The Seminar covers, among other things, the crafting of international arbitration agreements, the relative advantages and disadvantages of ad hoc UNCITRAL-Rules arbitration and institutional arbitration (e.g., ICC, LCIA, CAS, ICSID). The seminar also addresses the rules of procedure that commonly govern international arbitration, including procedural issues that commonly arise in international arbitration, including the availability and extent of discovery, pre-hearing procedure, the presentation of evidence, and the enforcement of international arbitral awards. The Seminar also will cover the fundamentals of international investment arbitration, including the jurisdictional issues that commonly arise in investor-state arbitration and the types of treaty claims that are commonly asserted under international law. While there will be a fair amount of traditional lecture, the format of the Seminar will depend heavily upon active student participation, including a mock arbitration exercise. Students will be graded based upon the quality of their preparation for and participation in the Seminar, as well as the quality of a required paper (20-25 pages). This Seminar will satisfy part of the lesser of the school's two writing requirements, if substantial research and written work is completed.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Javier Rubinstein

International Human Rights Clinic

Spring 2019, Claudia Flores and Nino Guruli

The International Human Rights Clinic works for the promotion of social and economic justice globally and in the United States. The Clinic uses international human rights laws and norms, other substantive law, and multidimensional strategies to draw attention to human rights violations, develop practical solutions and promote accountability on the part of state and non-state actors. The Clinic works with clients and organizational partners through advocacy campaigns, research and litigation in domestic, foreign, and international tribunals. Working in project teams, students develop and hone essential lawyering skills, including oral advocacy, fact-finding, research, legal and non-legal writing, interviewing, media advocacy, cultural competency and strategic thinking. Some students may have the option (but are not required) to undertake international or domestic travel in connection with their projects during the Autumn, Winter or Spring quarter breaks. Students may enroll for up to three credits a quarter. New students should plan to take the clinic for three quarters for a minimum of two credits each quarter. Returning students may enroll for one credit each quarter.International Human Rights Law and Public International Law are recommended but not required co requisites.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Claudia Flores
  • Winter 2018, Claudia Flores and Nino Guruli
  • Spring 2018, Claudia Flores and Nino Guruli
  • Autumn 2018, Claudia Flores and Nino Guruli
  • Winter 2019, Claudia Flores and Nino Guruli

Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic

Spring 2019, David A. Strauss and Sarah Konsky

The Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic represents parties and amici curiae in cases before the United States Supreme Court and other appellate courts. Students work on all aspects of the clinic's cases -- from formulating case strategy; to researching and writing merits briefs, amicus curiae briefs, and petitions for certiorari; to preparing for oral arguments. Students also conduct research on cases that may be suitable to bring to the U.S. Supreme Court. Although the clinic's focus is the U.S. Supreme Court, the clinic may also handle cases in the United States Courts of Appeals and the Illinois Supreme Court. The clinic is supervised by Assistant Clinical Professor Sarah Konsky, Professor David Strauss, and members of the Appellate and Supreme Court Practice group at Jenner & Block. U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice (LAWS 50311) is a required co-requisite for 2L and 3L students participating in the clinic. Students who have successfully completed a course covering content comparable to the U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice seminar may seek consent from Professor Konsky to waive the co-requisite requirement. If you have taken LAWS 50311 previously, no special approval is needed. Academic credit for the clinic varies and is awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses as described in the Law School Announcements and by the approval of the clinical faculty.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, David A. Strauss and Sarah Konsky
  • Winter 2018, David A. Strauss and Sarah Konsky
  • Spring 2018, David A. Strauss and Sarah Konsky
  • Autumn 2018, David A. Strauss and Sarah Konsky
  • Winter 2019, David A. Strauss and Sarah Konsky

Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing

Winter 2019, Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman

Judicial opinions are the means by which judges explain their rulings to the litigants and their lawyers, and in many instances (depending largely, but not exclusively, on whether the judge is writing on behalf of a court of review) to the bar as a whole, other judges, other branches of government, and/or the public at large.  For those of you planning to serve as a law clerk after graduation, opinion drafting and editing likely will comprise the lion's share of your work.  For those of you planning on a career as a litigator, understanding the elements of judicial opinion writing will help you to effectively frame your arguments in your briefs and at oral argument.  And for all of you, reinforcing the skills necessary to write clearly and edit wisely will serve you well whatever your future plans.The class will begin with a careful review of the work of some well known judges, past and contemporary.   The remaining sessions will proceed largely in a workshop format.  For the first half of the remaining sessions, each of you will rewrite a recent, published appellate opinion that we will select.  For the second half, each of you will write an appellate opinion from scratch based on a real case that we will select and that will recently have been argued.  If your opinion is up for discussion for a given week, we will ask that you post it to the class site by noon on the Monday preceding the class so that we and the other students can read it.  More than one student will be assigned each rewritten and original opinion, enabling the class to compare different approaches taken to the same set of problems.  The point of this, as you'll see, is entirely pedagogical; it is not to turn this class into the law school equivalent of Top Chef or Project Runway.  There is no single right way to construct an eminently readable and learned opinion.A series of short research papers will be required.Class participation may be considered in final grading. This class will be co-taught by Judge Gary Feinerman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Robert Hochman and Richard Posner

The Law and Ethics of Lawyering

Winter 2018, Clark A. Remington

This seminar, which satisfies the professional responsibility requirement, will consider ethical problems in the practice of law. We will work with a problem-oriented casebook and the ABA Model Rules. A substantial part of our class time will be devoted to the discussion of ethical dilemmas that have actually arisen in practice. Throughout the seminar there will be running as a kind of background to our discussions, some consideration of the question of just what motivates lawyers to be ethical when they are ethical. Topics will include lawyer liability, confidentiality, relationships between lawyers and clients, conflicts of interest, and lawyers' duties to courts, adversaries, and third persons. Enrollment will be limited to 20. Students will be evaluated on the basis of participation, a series of short written assignments, and an in-class final exam. Attendance is mandatory.

Law and Practice of Zoning, Land Use, and Eminent Domain

Autumn 2017, Thomas Geselbracht, Paul Shadle, and Theodore Novak

This seminar is a multi-disciplinary, multi-partisan discussion of the balance between private property rights and governmental regulation in land use and development. We primarily address (i) the constitutional bases of private rights and public land use planning; (ii) eminent domain, takings and exactions (including impact fees and regulatory takings); (iii) current manifestations of local and regional planning and zoning, including City of Chicago zoning revisions; and (iv) legal procedures and practical strategies for obtaining public financial incentives, land use approvals, and "relief" for real estate development projects, both large and small.  Our discussions are based on case law and our real world experience; active class participation by members of the seminar is essential.  "Illinois Zoning, Eminent Domain and Land Use Manual" is used to provide practical answers to the issues presented in the seminar; other case materials are provided by the instructors upon registration.  Grades are based on class participation and either a paper addressing a substantive topic or a proctored exam.

Law and Public Policy:  Case Studies in Problem Solving

Autumn 2018, Stephen Patton

This class examines the intersection of law and public policy and the lawyer's role in helping to formulate and defend public policy choices, using recent, real-world problems based on the instructor's experience as Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and senior legal advisor to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  While the course will be conducted in a seminar/discussion format, a significant portion of each class will be devoted to hands-on role-playing in which students will play the role of legal advisors to an elected official, grappling with and proposing solutions to vexing issues of public policy.While this course may be of particular interest to students who are interested in public service and public policy-making, its emphasis on developing students' analytical and problem-solving skills and on providing hands-on, practical experience in advising clients on complex issues should be of benefit to any student, regardless of interests and career objectives.  Providing legal analysis and advice and counseling clients on available options are a critical part of almost every legal career, whether as a litigator or transactional lawyer in a private firm or as in-house counsel for a corporation or not-for-profit.Assigned reading will include press articles, proposed legislation, briefs and pleadings, and other materials concerning the case studies/public policy issues that will be examined.  Students will be expected to identify and analyze  legal issues and limits, competing legal and policy interests, and possible policy alternatives and advise their "client" accordingly. Grades will be based on class participation and performance in role-playing exercises and short  (5 page) reaction papers concerning three of the case studies that will be examined.

Legal Elements of Accounting

Winter 2019, John Sylla

This mini-class introduces accounting from a mixed law and business perspective. It covers basic concepts and vocabulary of accounting, not so much to instill proficiency with the mechanics of debits and credits as to serve as a foundation from which to understand financial statements. The course then examines accounting from a legal perspective, including consideration of common accounting decisions with potential legal ramifications. It also analyzes throughout the reasons for and roles of financial accounting and auditing, as well as the incentives of various persons involved in producing, regulating, and consuming financial accounting information. The seminar will touch on some limitations of, and divergent results possible under, generally accepted accounting principles. Current cases, proposals, and controversies will be discussed. Attendance and participation will be very important. Grades will be based on a take-home exam. Students with substantial prior exposure to accounting (such as students with an MBA, joint MBA/JD students, and undergraduate finance or accounting majors) may not take the course for credit.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, John Sylla

Legal Profession

Spring 2019, Barry Alberts

This course, which satisfies the professional responsibility requirement, will consider the law and the ethics governing lawyers. Among the topics that will be examined are the nature of the lawyer-client relationship, competency, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and some fundamental questions about who we are and what we stand for as lawyers. A student's grade is based on a final examination. This class will be capped at 50.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Barry Alberts

Legal Profession: Ethics

Winter 2019, Hal Morris

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 Model Rules of Professional Conduct, cases or articles of particular interest and videos, we will discuss within the context of the Model 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 situations. 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.    are aspects of the practice of law 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, role playing, class discussions, and class competitions. A short quarter ending presentation is required.  Students will be evaluated both on the quality and extent of their participation and the presentation 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. Attendance is mandatory.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Hal Morris

Legal Profession: Ethics in Government and Public Interest Legal Practice

Spring 2019, Lynda A. Peters

This seminar, which satisfies the professional responsibility requirement, will address the ethical rules and principles that govern public interest and government attorneys. Among the topics that will be explored is the challenge of defining who the client is in government practice and how that interplays with conflict of interest rules. Time will also be devoted to exploring the nature of the attorney-client relationship, candor requirements and various other duties and obligations imposed upon government and public interest attorneys, whether they litigate cases or not. Real world scenarios will be used to illustrate the various ethical issues attorneys face each day. The class will meet once a week. A student's grade will be based upon the quality of in-class participation, a take-home final exam and a 10 page paper on a topic of the student's choosing in consultation with the Instructor.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Lynda A. Peters

Litigation Laboratory

Winter 2019, Catherine Masters and James Clark

This seminar 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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Catherine Masters and James Clark

Mental Health Advocacy Clinic

Spring 2019, Mark J. Heyrman

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.  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. 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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Mark J. Heyrman
  • Winter 2018, Mark J. Heyrman
  • Spring 2018, Mark J. Heyrman
  • Autumn 2018, Mark J. Heyrman
  • Winter 2019, Mark J. Heyrman

Modern Professional Responsibility

Autumn 2018, Mark Nozette

This course satisfies the professional responsibility requirement. It will explore a variety of legal, ethical and real-world issues commonly faced by modern lawyers in their daily practices. It will address the relationship among the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It will also focus on several noteworthy legal malpractice and securities claims in which lawyers and major law firms were involved. Course materials will include traditional texts and statutory materials, hypotheticals drawn from unreported matters, as well as the results of mock trials and jury focus groups in which the conduct of lawyers was at issue.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Mark Nozette

Moot Court Boot Camp

Autumn 2018, Sarah Konsky and James Whitehead

Moot Court Boot Camp has two components: oral advocacy and writing. The oral advocacy component will cover the basics of appellate oral argument. Students will receive two different cases and prepare and submit argument outlines in advance. During the workshop, students will gain hands-on experience by conducting multiple oral arguments before a variety of alumni and other practicing attorneys, judges, and faculty, who will provide feedback. The writing component will cover the basics of appellate brief writing. Students will prepare a short, written assignment that we will discuss and revise during class. We will focus on strong issue statements, effective headings, and powerful conclusions. We'll also explore sentence structure and word choice. Students will learn to define themes in their writing and carry them into the oral argument. Focused writing, we will learn, promotes successful oral advocacy, and vice versa. This class, which will meet for one weekend (October 27-28) during the quarter, is an optional supplement to the Hinton Moot Court Competition. One credit will be granted for the weekend course and an additional credit will be granted upon completion of two judged arguments as part of the Hinton Moot Court Competition. There are no prerequisites, but good faith participation in the Hinton Moot Court Competition is required. Students may receive credit for this class only once during their Law School career. The Moot Court Boot Camp is open to J.D. students only and is graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Elizabeth Duquette and Lisa M. Noller

Negotiating Merger and Acquisition Agreements

Spring 2019, Scott J. Davis

In this experiential seminar the members of the class will negotiate certain issues that may arise in the negotiation of: (1) merger agreements in which the target is a public company; and (2) asset purchase agreements. For each type of agreement, we will begin with an examination of certain aspects of a model agreement and a discussion of some significant issues that may be present. The members of the class will then have simulated negotiations based on written hypothetical situations in which they will be attempting to reach an agreement and negotiate contractual language on the open points. In the simulated negotiation for each type of agreement all members of the class will be identified as counsel for either (a) the buyer or (b) the target or the seller. The simulated negotiations will begin in class, though they may need to be finished outside of class. We will also examine certain ethical issues that may arise in negotiations. Grades will be based on: (i) two three to five page papers describing the student's simulated negotiating experience for each type of agreement, and what the student would do differently in the future; and (ii) classroom performance (including in-class performance in the simulated negotiations). Some of the topics in this course will also be covered in Mergers and Acquisitions, but that course is not a prerequisite for this course and students may take both classes.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Scott J. Davis

Negotiation

Spring 2019, Jesse Ruiz

This class will introduce the theory and practice of negotiation across various contexts, including deal-making and dispute resolution. It will give students an organized theoretical framework for analyzing various parties' positions and crafting thoughtful strategies. Students will develop their practical skills and individual styles through a series of simulation exercises, which will be executed inside and outside of class and then discussed and critiqued. Exposure to different techniques, styles, and contexts will be used to teach students what works best for them. Grading will be based on a series of reaction papers and out of classroom work. You may not take this class if you have taken LAWS 81003 Intensive Negotiation Seminar.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Jeffrey Leslie and Jesse Ruiz

Partnership Taxation

Spring 2019, Richard Lipton

A review of the principals of partnership taxation, with an emphasis on the tax consequences of the formation, operation and dissolution of partnerships. Matters discussed include the treatment of leverage, capital accounts, disguised sales, mixing bowls, anti-abuse rules and other aspects of partnership taxation. Prerequisite: Introductory Income Tax. This class meets at 300 E. Randolph - Baker and McKenzie.

Poverty and Housing Law Clinic

Spring 2019, Lawrence Wood

This clinic, conducted over two sequential quarters, exposes students to the practice of poverty law by giving them the opportunity to work on housing cases at LAF, the Midwest's largest provider of free civil legal services to people who are living in poverty or otherwise vulnerable. Students may be be asked to attend administrative grievance hearings, represent tenants facing unwarranted evictions, and prevent landlords from performing lockouts or refusing to make necessary repairs. All students will be expected to interview clients, prepare written discovery, conduct research, and draft motions. In addition to working 12 hours a week at LAF, students will attend a weekly two-hour class to learn about subsidized housing programs, eviction actions, housing discrimination, representing tenants with disabilities, the intersection between domestic violence and housing, and the extensive and often misunderstood connection between criminal law and housing.

Previously:

  • Winter 2019, Lawrence Wood

Pre-Trial Advocacy

Autumn 2017, Lisa Hausten and Erin Kelly

This seminar will focus on litigation strategies and skills that are instrumental in the day-to-day life of a litigator, many of which are used in both the pretrial and trial phases of litigation. Students will get to interview witnesses, negotiate discovery disputes, take depositions, cross-examine witnesses and draft and argue motions in limine, in addition to learning to evaluate and develop facts and legal theories and study tactical moves to disarm the opposing side and narrow the case for trial. The seminar employs a variety of learning methodologies, including lectures, small group discussions, and participation in mock exercises with live witnesses. Students taking Pre-Trial Advocacy are also eligible to enroll in the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop. Because of the overlap in topics, students are ineligible for Pre-Trial Advocacy if they have taken or are currently enrolled in the Mental Health Advocacy Clinic. The student's grade is based on class participation, including participation in mock exercises, and written work product.Evidence is a prerequisite, but may be taken concurrently.

Pretrial Litigation:  Strategy and Advocacy

Winter 2019, Barry Fields

This seminar will focus on litigation skills and strategies that are instrumental in the day-to-day life of any litigator. Indeed, a lawyer will use many of the same strategies and skills in both the pretrial and trial phases of litigation. Students will learn how to evaluate and develop fact and legal theories; develop themes; draft pleadings and discovery; take and defend depositions; draft pretrial motions; and use various tactics to prepare a case for trial. The seminar will use a variety of learning methodologies, including lectures, demonstrations, and participation in mock exercises. Evidence is a prerequisite, but can be taken concurrently. The student's grade will based on class participation, including participation in mock exercises, and written work product (research papers totaling 20-25 pages.

Private Equity Transactions: Issues and Documentation

Winter 2019, Mark Fennell and Stephen Ritchie

This seminar will examine from a practical perspective the issues and documentation arising in a typical private equity acquisition transaction. The seminar will follow this type of transaction through its various stages and provide students in-depth and practical experience with common deal issues and drafting contractual provisions to address those issues. The goal of the seminar is to help prepare students for the practical aspects of being a deal lawyer. Coursework will include reading acquisition contracts, cases and legal commentators and weekly written assignments (contract drafting and issue analysis). Grades will be based on class participation and the written assignments. Business Organizations and Contracts are prerequisites.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Mark Fennell and Stephen Ritchie

Professional Responsibility and the Legal Profession

Autumn 2018, Anna-Maria Marshall

This course provides a systematic treatment of the law of professional responsibility. The central goal is to understand how the rules of professional conduct guide lawyer conduct and shape the legal profession. Toward that end, we will begin by examining the lawyer's key duties to clients in different contexts, paying attention to differences based on what lawyers do (advocacy, advising, negotiating), where they work (law firms, corporate legal departments, government legal offices, public interest organizations, legal services groups), and what types of clients they represent (individuals, classes, organizations). Drawing upon case materials and problems, our emphasis will be on how lawyers define and resolve ethical problems while promoting their public duties in the real world of practice. We will pay special attention to the two foundational rules of professional responsibility (client confidentiality and conflicts of interests) and will consider how market changes and demographic shifts impact the lawyer's role. Overall, the course is designed to help you think critically about the challenges you will face in the profession you are about to enter and how you can best meet them in the pursuit of your professional goals.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Anna-Maria Marshall

Professional Responsibility: Representing Business Organizations

Winter 2019, Daniel Feeney

This seminar concerns the rules governing the legal profession and practical applications of the rules, with a focus on representing business organizations. Materials will include the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and a casebook; we may also read supplemental materials from time to time. Grades will be based on an in-class final exam, several short response papers, and a class participation component. This seminar will fulfill the professional responsibility requirement.

Prosecution and Defense Clinic

Spring 2018, Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour

The Prosecution and Defense Clinic provides students with an opportunity to learn about the criminal justice system through: (1) a 2-quarter seminar taught by a former Assistant United States Attorney and a career defense lawyer; and, (2) a clinical placement in either a prosecutor's office or public defender's office.  The course will familiarize students with the legal procedures and issues which arise in a typical criminal case as well as ethical and other social justice issues encountered by all criminal justice attorneys and courts.  The clinic provides students with a unique combination of substantive criminal law and procedure, ethics, trial practice, and hands-on experience through a clinical placement.Each student in the clinic will be responsible for securing a field placement and participating in a pre-screened externship program with a federal or state prosecutor or defender office for the winter and spring quarters.  Examples include the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois or the Public Defender's office in any northern Illinois county.  Students will comply with the clinical placement's requirements regarding hours and assignments, and may be expected to research substantive criminal law issues, draft affirmative and responsive pleadings and memos, interview witnesses and clients, assist lawyers with court hearings and where permitted (and with an appropriate 711 license), appear in court under the supervision of practicing attorneys.Other components of each student's grade are: seminar classroom participation; trial practice exercises; journal entries; and, a 10-page practice paper or research paper.  There is no final exam (in either quarter) and students will earn up to seven credits for the course, depending on the placement.  Because of the practical component, the class size will be limited to twelve 2L or 3L students.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour

Restructuring in Bankruptcy: Strategy and Tactics

Winter 2019, Chad J. Husnick

This experiential seminar focuses on strategy and tactics in restructuring financially stressed and distressed companies. We will use a series of case studies to illustrate the dynamics of advising boards of directors regarding fiduciary duties, stakeholder negotiations, and complex legal issues facing troubled companies.  The seminar will culminate with students preparing and presenting to a mock board of directors of a financially distressed company and drafting a related pleading.  Grades will be based 50% on the mock board presentation, 25% on class participation, and 25% on 10-15 page reply brief on a litigation topic discussed in the litigation session.

The Role and Practice of the State Attorney General

Spring 2019, Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan

All 50 States and the District of Columbia have an Attorney General, each of whom enjoys broad discretion over a range of legal issues.  This seminar will address the institutional role of these officials, including their status within their respective state systems and their relationship to the federal government.  The course will also address a host of critical and often controversial areas-including civil rights, criminal justice, consumer fraud, and environmental regulation-where state Attorneys General have come to play a leading role on the local and national stage.  Students will be graded based on class participation and a final paper of 20-25 pages.

Strategic Considerations in Securities and Corporate Governance Litigation

Spring 2019, Steven Feirson and Joni Jacobsen

This seminar will introduce students to the most important strategic considerations that lawyers encounter in today's highly sophisticated financial services litigation. The litigators (and corporate lawyers) who concentrate in this area must function in an environment where the stakes are high, leverage is critical, and "victory" is defined by the client, not the court. Accordingly, this seminar examines the critical questions faced in virtually every financial services litigation matter including: (1) which is the most favorable venue for this litigation, including consideration of how legal principles vary jurisdiction by jurisdiction; (2) how does Directors and Officers Liability insurance impact the litigation, itself; (3) strategic considerations relating to the composition of the board and use of special litigation committees; (4) how dispositive motions can be used to, at a minimum, best frame and limit the litigation; (5) how derivative and class certification mechanisms can be used to narrow or defeat claims; (6) how to use the timing and positioning of mediation to produce a favorable result for the client; (7) who of your pool of potential experts should be identified, on what topics, and when to maximize chances of success; and (8) what is jury research and what role does it play in making thematic and settlement decisions. To further the student experience, we will supplement our sessions by bringing some of the nation's top practioners in fields like jury research, D&O insurance, mediation and/or damage analysis to share their years of expertise drawn from real world situations. Grading will be based on class participation and two relatively short papers (under 10 pages) which will focus on discrete topics covered in class and in the reading assignments. Each paper will count for approximately 30% of your grade, and the remaining 40% will be based on class participation.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Steven Feirson and Joni Jacobsen

Strategies and Processes of Negotiations

Winter 2019, George Wu

Increasingly negotiation is part of the day-to-day life of managers. The aim of this class is to make students more effective negotiators. Students should leave the class with (1) a structured approach for preparing for and thinking about negotiations; and (2) a refined set of skills for carrying out negotiations. A central part of the class is an extensive set of negotiation simulations. These simulations take students through a variety of negotiations: single and multiple issue; two-negotiator and multiple-negotiator (coalitional); and internal (within organization) and external. In addition, the class includes a number of cases. Lectures, readings, and structured analytical exercises supplement the simulations and cases.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, George Wu

Structuring Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Entrepreneurial Transactions

Spring 2019, Jack Levin and Donald Rocap

Course covers tax, legal, & economic principles applicable to series of interesting, complex, current entrepreneurial transactions, utilizing venture capital (VC) or private equity (PE) financing, including (1) new business start-up, (2) growth-equity investment in existing business enterprise, (3) leveraged buyout of private or public company (including going-private transaction), (4) use of both double-tax C corps and flow-through single-tax S corps, partnerships, or LLCs for variety of VC or PE financed transactions, (5) devising equity-based exec comp program, (6) PE financed restructuring or workout (in or out of bankruptcy) for troubled over-leveraged enterprise and utilizing troubled corp's NOL post restructuring, (7) exit scenarios for successful VC or PE financed enterprise (such as IPO, series of SEC rule 144 stock sales, sale of company, or merger of company into larger enterprise), & (8) forming VC, PE, or LBO fund.    Substantive subjects include federal income tax, federal securities regulation, state corp, partnership, & LLC law, federal bankruptcy law, state & federal fraudulent conveyance law, & other legal doctrines, as well as accounting rules (exec comp and acquisition accounting) & practical structuring issues (including use of common & preferred stock, subordinated or mezzanine debt, convertible debt & preferred stock, warrants, options, & substantial-risk-of-forfeiture stock), all reviewed in transactional context, with discussion of policy underpinnings & likely future evolution.    No specific prerequisites, but introductory income tax strongly recommended, entity taxation desirable, & knowledge of corp law, securities regulation, bankruptcy, & accounting helpful. However, course book & course book appendix contain adequate discussion & supplemental material so student can (with careful reading) adequately comprehend these topics. Grade based on final in-class examination. Instructor consent not required.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Jack Levin and Donald Rocap

Supreme Court Strategy, Administrative Jurisprudence, and the Law

Spring 2019, Robert Gasaway

This seminar has two goals. First, it will introduce concepts of big-case Supreme Court strategy with the aid of guest appearances by eminent ,judges, lawyers, and business executives. Scheduled to appear are Judge Amy Coney Barrett (Seventh Circuit), Mary Tolan, General Partner, Chicago-Pacific Founders and member, University of Chicago Board of Trustees; Justice Judith French (Ohio Supreme Court), W. Thomas Haynes, former General Counsel Coca-Cola North American and Executive Director, Coca-Cola Bottlers' Association, Tracy Genesen, Wine Institute General Counsel, and Jack McMackin, Williams & Jensen, and Ashley C. Parrish, King & Spalding. Second, we will explore from a jurisprudential standpoint today's administrative-law controversies -- above all, the fundamental challenges to traditional non-delegation and Chevron deference doctrines. The unifying theme for these (seemingly) distinct topics is the need to delve at least one layer of legal logic deeper when confronting difficult problems of theory and practice. Grades will be based on papers. Readings will be drawn from traditional and non-traditional legal materials. Administrative Law (whether taken previously or concurrently) is helpful; not required. A major paper of 20-25 pages is required.

Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenant Litigation

Winter 2019, Brian Sieve and Michael Slade

This interactive course will explore legal principles applicable to trade secret and  restrictive covenant litigation.  Students will review recent cases and articles addressing cutting edge legal issues, and then will argue motions pertinent to those issues.  Students will be expected to argue at least two motions (which may include motions to dismiss, motions to compel discovery, preliminary injunction, summary judgment, or other motions), and to serve as the judge during at least one argument conducted by other students in the class.  Among other things, the class will cover the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and non-competition and non-solicitation law in several states.  The goal is to help students understand how to present and litigate trade secret and restrictive covenant cases.  The students will also be expected to write two short papers on trade secret or non-competition issues.

Trial Advocacy

Spring 2019, Jay Cohen

This class will focus on the trial phases of civil litigation. Simulated trial problems designed to promote knowledge of the litigation process and to afford individual experience in selected phases of trial practice will be employed to familiarize students with pragmatic tactical issues and solutions. Written trial materials will be used and instruction will by lecture, demonstration, and exercise (including a mini-trial). Students who have taken the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop (LAWS 67503) may not take Trial Advocacy (LAWS 67603). An understanding of the Federal Rules of Evidence is preferred but not a prerequisite. Final grades will be based on class participation, performance during courtroom exercises and the mini-trial, and one or more written assignments. If students wish to earn 3 credits, they will also be required to submit a 15-page researched trial brief in connection with the final trial. Enrollment is limited to 12 students.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Jay Cohen

U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice

Autumn 2018, Sarah Konsky and Michael Scodro

This seminar will provide an in-depth look at the U.S. Supreme Court, with particular emphasis on the skills required to practice successfully in that forum. Students will not only discuss the Court as an institution, but they will also hone skills needed to navigate the certiorari process and to brief and argue before the Court. In addition to class participation, students will be graded on a legal brief (generally 15-25 pages in length) and on their performance in a moot court. Students interested in enrolling should email Mr. Scodro (mscodro@mayerbrown.com) and Professor Konsky (konsky@uchicago.edu), a resume and short statement of interest explaining why they would like to enroll in the seminar.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Sarah Konsky and Michael Scodro

World Bank Practicum

Spring 2019, Thomas Ginsburg

This practicum involves preparing memoranda on various issues for the Legal Department of the World Bank under the supervision of Professor Ginsburg. Students work in small teams to analyze an array of policy and legal issues. Past topics have ranged from an analysis of sovereign wealth, to lending in post-conflict zones, to a study of remedies. The course is limited to a small number of students each quarter.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Thomas Ginsburg
  • Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg
  • Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg
  • Autumn 2018, Thomas Ginsburg

Writing and Research in the US Legal System

Winter 2019, Elizabeth Duquette and Scott Vanderlin

In this course, international LLM students learn research and writing skills essential to the practice of U.S. law.   Students learn how to use these skills to win arguments, persuade clients and sharpen their own thinking.  We discuss and practice the major principles of legal writing in plain English - no jargon, no legalese.  The class functions largely as a workshop where we apply multiple research techniques and analyze the impact of various writing styles.  Students meet individually with the instructor throughout the course.  Regular class attendance is mandatory.  Students must complete all assignments before the take-home examination, which determines the student's grade.    This course is open only to LLM students and satisfies the legal research and writing prerequisite for the New York Bar exam.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Elizabeth Duquette and Margaret Schilt
  • Winter 2018, Elizabeth Duquette and Margaret Schilt
  • Autumn 2018, Elizabeth Duquette and Margaret Schilt

Writing for the Judiciary

Spring 2018, Ashley Keller

This seminar is designed to closely replicate the actual responsibilities of a law clerk to a United States Supreme Court Justice.  The first class will take the form of an interview. Prospective clerks will face a range of questions designed to test their approach to statutory and constitutional interpretation while gauging their familiarity with pending, recent, and seminal cases. (You will all be hired!) In subsequent classes, clerks will: (1) circulate and review cert-pool memos for actual, pending petitions for writs of certiorari.  These memos help the full Court determine which cases to hear on the merits; (2) review merits briefs and write a bench memo to assist your Justice at oral argument and at Conference (where the Justices meet to resolve argued matters); (3) draft a judicial opinion assigned to your Justice (which may well entail a judgment or legal reasoning the clerk does not agree with); and (4) lead class discussion and debate for the cert-pool and merits cases for which the clerk took primary responsibility.  Over the course of the seminar, each clerk will write three cert-pool memos, one bench memo, and one opinion.  The seminar is aimed at students who have or seek a state or federal clerkship and those with a possible interest in clerking for a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. A firm background in constitutional law is strongly recommended, and your open-minded Justice seeks applicants with a wide array of political and jurisprudential perspectives.  Grades will be based on a combination of draft opinions, class participation, cert-pool memos, and bench memos.  If you are interested in registering for the seminar, please submit a resume to Professor Keller by 5:00pm on Friday, March 2, 2018.