Health Law Courses
The courses listed below provide a taste of the Health Law courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum.& This list includes the courses taught in the 2021-22 and 2022-23 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.
Students interested in Health Law can also earn a Certificate in Health Administration and Policy through the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy.
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- Big Problems
- Disability Rights Law
- Environmental Law in Bankruptcy and Transactions
- Environmental Law: Air, Water, and Animals
- Family Law
- Food Law
- Global Inequality
- Greenberg Seminars: Race and Public Health
- Greenberg Seminars: Wine and the Law
- Health Care Law and Policy
- Health Law and Policy
- Insurance Law
- Life (and Death) in the Law
- Pandemic Legal Impacts
- Regulation of Drug, Devices, Biologics, and Cosmetics
- Regulation of Sexuality
- Reproductive Health and Justice
- Toxics, Toxic Torts and Environmental Injustice
The Big Problems course will use multidisciplinary approaches to try to understand and tackle the most important problems facing our country or the world. The first 8 weeks will be taught by the instructors and outside experts, focusing on problems such as the Zika virus, Syrian migration to Europe, cybersecurity, nuclear waste storage, opioid addiction, sex trafficking, and policing and race relations. Students will work in teams of students to develop feasible policy or private sector solutions to a problem of their choosing and make a presentation in the last 2 weeks. Presentations will be made to instructors, outside experts and fellow students. Final grade will be based on the presentations and a companion paper (6000-7500 words).
Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2022: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
- Spring 2022: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
- Spring 2021: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
- Spring 2020: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
- Spring 2019: David Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy
- Spring 2018: David Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy
This course will focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including the interpretation of the definition of disability and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act; employment discrimination; the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision guaranteeing community integration; and the ADA's application to healthcare, education, websites and criminal justice. In addition to the ADA, the seminar will review disability laws related to special education and housing.
This class requires a series of very short reaction papers and an 2350-3000 word term paper (for 2 credits). To earn 3 credits students must write a term paper of 3500-4400 words in addition to the reaction papers. Participation may be considered in the final grading.
- Winter 2023: Barry Taylor
- Winter 2022: Andrew Webb and Barry Taylor
This seminar will provide an overview of environmental transactional and environmental bankruptcy topics. Environmental issues often play a critical role in business and corporate transactions. This class will provide practical skills development focusing on the environmental aspects of transactions, with a core emphasis on the identification, management and allocation of environmental liability risks in many different types of transactions. In the bankruptcy arena, this course will provide an understanding of key environmental bankruptcy concepts, how to harmonize the conflicting goals of bankruptcy and environmental law, and how environmental liabilities are managed during the bankruptcy process. Students will gain practical experience in learning how environmental bankruptcy cases are handled. This class requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2023: Tobias Chun and Jeanne T. Cohn
- Spring 2022: Tobias Chun and Jeanne T. Cohn
- Spring 2021: Tobias Chun and Jeanne T. Cohn
This survey course explores the major domestic policies in place to protect the environment, with a focus on clean air and water and animal conservation (e.g., the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act). The course is a complement to Professor Templeton's Toxic Torts and Environmental Justice course; neither is a prerequisite for the other, and the two share little overlap. We'll spend some time on the regulation of climate change and will discuss issues of environmental justice embedded in each of the major topics.
This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2023: Hajin Kim
- Spring 2022: Hajin Kim
- Spring 2021: Hajin Kim
This course will examine the state's role in recognizing and regulating personal relationships between adults and between adults and children. Throughout the quarter we will explore assumptions about family that underlie existing legal regulation, including assumptions embodied in constitutional law. All students may choose between a series of short reaction papers or a major research paper (20-25 pages). Students who obtain instructor permission may meet the SRP or WP requirement. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2022: Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2020: Mary Anne Case
- Winter 2018: Mary Anne Case
- Autumn 2018: Kristin A. Collins
This seminar will examine issues relating to food law and food policy. Topic covered will include: food safety, food advertising and labeling, genetically modified agriculture, food deserts, regulation of food quality, restaurant regulations, and more. Students will have to write 6000-7500 word research paper (which could, but does not have to, satisfy WP or SRP credit) and make a presentation in class.
Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2023: Omri Ben-Shahar
- Autumn 2021: Omri Ben-Shahar
- Autumn 2020: Omri Ben-Shahar
Global income and wealth are highly concentrated. The richest 2% of the population own about half of the global assets. Per capita income in the United States is around $66,000 and in Europe it is around $38,500, while in India it is $6,400 and in Congo, it is $1,100. There are equally unsettling inequalities in longevity, health, and education. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we ask what duties nations and individuals have to address these inequalities and what are the best strategies for doing so. What role must each country play in helping itself? What is the role of international agreements and agencies, of NGOs, of political institutions, and of corporations in addressing global poverty? How do we weigh policies that emphasize growth against policies that emphasize within-country equality, health, or education? In seeking answers to these questions, the class will combine readings on the law and economics of global development with readings on the philosophy of global justice. A particular focus will be on the role that legal institutions, both domestic and international, play in discharging these duties. For, example, we might focus on how a nation with natural resources can design legal institutions to ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Students will be expected to write a paper (6000-7500 words), which may qualify for substantial writing credit. Non-law students need instructor consent to enroll. Participation may be considered in final grading. This class will begin the week of January 2, 2023.
- Winter 2023: Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach
- Winter 2021: Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach
- Winter 2019: Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach
This Greenberg seminar will examine the interaction of public health questions (broadly defined to include both the public health system generally and environmental determinants of health) and racial dynamics in the US and beyond. We will read five texts on different areas of this topic.
Graded Pass/Fail and is worth 1 credit which defaults to the autumn quarter.
The Greenberg Seminars Lottery will take place after the initial registration and bidding period, from September 14-16, 2022. Meetings have not been set by the faculty, but will likely take place on weekend mornings throughout the year.
- Autumn 2022: Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq
This year long seminar will consider the law and politics of wine production and regulation in the US and elsewhere. There will be an empirical research component. Graded Pass/Fail and is worth 1 credit which defaults to the autumn quarter.
- Autumn 2021: Tom Ginsburg and Johnathan Masur
This class will cover the basics of health law, health economics and U.S. health care policy. We will discuss the value of health, the productivity of health care and the role of health insurance. We will also review the major sources of US health care (physicians, hospitals, and drugs) and health insurance (including Medicaid and Medicare). We will also discuss the common law and statutory regulation of these providers in common law and statute, as well as regulation of health insurance in the US. We will discuss the drivers of health care innovation and health care costs. We will also take up timely policy topics such as Medicare for All, drug pricing, medical bankruptcy, racial disparities in health, and hospital mergers. My aim is to provide a survey of the many views of health care markets, regulation and reforms. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading. This class will not meet on September 21. A make-up class has been scheduled for Wednesday, October 6 from 12:15pm-1:20pm in Room D.
- Autumn 2021: Anup Malani
This class will explore legal and policy issues in the health care system of the United States. The course begins with an examination of Medicare, Medicaid, and various federal statutes governing the delivery of health care to patients. It then considers the Affordable Care Act and legal and policy issues relating to that Act. Next, it considers the impact of other laws such as the antitrust and tax laws -- as well as state law and policy -- that bear on the provision of health care services. At the conclusion of the course, students should have a good understanding of the complex and often conflicting laws and policy that govern the delivery of health care services in this country.
This class has a final exam or students may choose to write a 6000-7500 word paper. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2022: Jack R. Bierig
- Autumn 2020: Jack R. Bierig
This course introduces students to insurance institutions and insurance law, with the ultimate goal of understanding the role of insurance in society. Liability, life, and property insurance will receive the most attention, but we will also discuss health and disability insurance. After taking this course, students will know how to read and analyze a standard form insurance contract, how to work with insurance regulatory materials, how to spot the insurance issues in a wide variety of legal and public policy contexts, and will have a more advanced understanding of Tort and Contract law. Cross-cutting themes of interest include the effects of insurance on tort law and on litigation, the formation and performance of insurance contracts, the use of personal attributes to classify policyholders' risk, the effect of insurance on risky activity in society, and the ways in which various conceptions of justice are achieved through insurance mechanisms.
This class has a final exam.
- Spring 2023: Omri Ben-Shahar
- Spring 2021: Omri Ben-Shahar
- Spring 2020: Omri Ben-Shahar
This seminar will explore the various definitions and valuations of life across diverse areas of the law. Readings will include seminal cases in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, right-to-die, and capital punishment. Background readings in related areas, i.e., scientific journals, papers, etc. will also be required. The seminar will discuss policy decision-making including actuarial analysis and social, medical and religious values inherent, implicit or ignored in the legal analysis. Students will be required to write three response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation. This is a biddable class. Priority registration to 3L students.
- Spring 2023: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2022: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2021: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2020: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2019: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2018: Herschella Conyers
This class evaluates the many changes to the legal landscape that the current pandemic has forged. We will explore the legal impacts of prior pandemics, as they were evidenced through case law and laws existing prior to the current pandemic. We will examine developments in different areas of the law, including commercial contracts, employment, privacy, and regulatory compliance. As to commercial contracts, we will consider the applicability and enforceability of force majeure clauses. With respect to employment and privacy, we will review the effect of the pandemic on the traditional notion of the workplace and the resulting legal implications of the work from home or remote work phenomenon. We will also consider the employment and privacy implications of vaccine mandates and testing requirements. We will explore the regulatory compliance changes arising out of the pandemic, including anti-price gouging laws and antitrust measures. We will consider what gaps remain in the legal landscape in light of the pandemic and which changes should remain after this pandemic has concluded. This class requires a major paper (6000-7500 words). Participation may be considered in final grading. The instructor's name for the course is Elizabeth Sheyn Brown.
- Autumn 2022: Elizabeth Sheyn
This course explores legal and policy issues in the federal regulation of drugs, medical devices, biologics, and cosmetics. It will examine substantive standards applicable to these products and procedural issues in the enforcement of these standards. It will also address the tension between state and federal regulation in this area, constitutional constraints on such regulation, the conflict between state tort law and federal regulation, and a variety of other issues relating to the development and marketing of regulated products. These issues are particularly timely and important in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final examination or major paper.
- Spring 2023: Jack Bierig
- Spring 2022: Jack Bierig
This course explores the many ways in which the legal system regulates sexuality, sexual identity, and gender and considers such regulation in a number of substantive areas as well as the limits on placed on such regulation by constitutional guarantees including free speech, equal protection, and due process. Readings include cases and articles from the legal literature together with work by scholars in other fields. . The grade is based on a substantial paper (6000-7500 words) or a series of short papers, with class participation taken into account.
- Spring 2023: Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2022: Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2021: Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2020: Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2019: Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2018: Mary Anne Case
In 2022 we saw a once-in-a-generation seismic shift in the legal framework governing the right to obtain reproductive health care in the United States with the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. This course will examine the historical evolution of the right to abortion from Roe v. Wade through Dobbs, and how states both hostile and protective with regard to reproductive rights are attempting to respond since Roe has been overturned. It will also consider the shortcomings of legal approaches to securing reproductive health, and the critiques and insights offered by the reproductive justice movement. This class requires a major paper of 6000-7500 words. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2023: Emily Werth
This course will expose students to common law and administrative approaches for addressing actual and potential public health and environmental harms from toxic substances. The course will begin by examining concepts of risk assessment and risk management. Next, the course will look at common law approaches, including theories of liability, causation, admissibility of evidence, proximate cause, damages, and defenses. The course will then review in-depth federal laws to address these issues, such as statutes that cover solid and hazardous waste (RCRA and CERCLA (Superfund)) and potentially toxic products (FIFRA, TSCA). Throughout the course, students will learn about how individuals and groups, including low-income and people-of-color communities, have sought redress for the toxic exposures they have faced. The course is a complement to Professor Kim's Environmental Law: Air, Water, and Animals course; neither is a prerequisite for the other, and the two share little overlap.
Participation may be considered in final grading. This class requires a series of research papers (6000-7500 words).
- Winter 2023: Mark N. Templeton
- Winter 2022: Mark N. Templeton
- Winter 2021: Mark N. Templeton