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 2018-19 and 2019-20 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.

Big Problems

Spring 2020, David A. Weisbach and Anup Malani

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 2 business and 2 law 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 (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, David A. Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy
  • Spring 2019, David A. Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy

Bioethics

Spring 2020, Laurie Zoloth, Ranana Leigh Dine, Daniel Takarabe Kim, and Miriam Yonati Attia

This lecture course will introduce you to the field of Bioethics. We will use a case-based method to study how different philosophical and theological traditions describe and defend differences in moral choices in contemporary bioethics. This class is based on the understanding that case narratives serve as the motivation for the discipline of bioethics and that complex ethical issues are best considered by a careful examination of the competing theories as they work themselves out in specific cases. We will examine both classic cases that have shaped our understanding of the field of bioethics and cases that are newly emerging, including the case of research done at Northwestern University. Through these cases, we will ask how religious traditions both collide and cohere over such topics as embryo research, health care reform, terminal illness, issues in epidemics and public health, and our central research question, synthetic biology research.
This class will also explore how the discipline of bioethics has emerged to reflect upon such dilemmas, with particular attention to the role that theology philosophy, law, public health, and religious studies have played in such reflection. We will look at both how the practice of different disciplines has shaped the field of bioethics and in particular at how different theological and philosophical claims, methodology, and praxis have continued to shape and inflect bioethics. We will examine the issue of epistemic stance, of truth claims, and of how normative policies are created amid serious controversy. We will explore the nature of the relationship between religion and public policy and study how religious traditions and moral philosophy shape our view of issues as "bioethics controversies" to be addressed.

Corporate Law and Dual-Purpose Organizations

Spring 2020, Emilie Aguirre

Organizations pursuing multiple objectives-including social, financial, and environmental goals-are on the rise, particularly in the healthy food and health sectors. However, managing the inherent tensions among these objectives poses a serious challenge. In light of this trend, this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to re-examining the theory of the firm from both a legal and a management perspective. It asks whether and how law-especially corporate law and contract law-can accommodate "purpose." Drawing from the legal and management literatures, including sociology, organizational theory, and economics, it explores the distinctions between how law treats these topics and how business treats these topics. The course uses the healthy food and health sectors to examine these questions. For example, how can a purpose-driven healthy food company retain its purpose and profit objectives after it is acquired by a non-purpose-driven company? How do for-profit hospitals differ from non-profit hospitals-and how should they? The course breaks down our assumptions about what firms are in order to better understand how they are currently treated and how they should be going forward. This class requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Environmental Law

Autumn 2018, Mark N. Templeton

This course introduces students to the laws, policies and theories related to environmental protection in the United States. No environmental, engineering or science background is required, and it is not necessary to take Administrative Law before or during enrollment in this course. The course reviews different, and often competing, objectives related to the environment: development and use of natural resources, preservation of nature, protection of human health, economic efficiency, and distributional equity. The course explores in depth how the common law and the major federal environmental statues (e.g. the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, etc.) address these objectives. The student's grade is based primarily on a final examination.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Karen Bradshaw

Family Law

Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case

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. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Autumn 2018, Kristin A. Collins

Food and Drug Law and Policy

Spring 2020, Jack Bierig

This course explores legal and policy issues in the federal regulation of foods, drugs, medical devices, and other products coming within the jurisdiction of the FDA. 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. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final in-class examination or major paper.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Jack Bierig
  • Spring 2019, Jack Bierig

Food Law

Spring 2020, Omri Ben-Shahar and Emilie Aguirre

This seminar will examine issues relating to food law and food policy. Topic covered will include: food safety, food labeling, genetically modified agriculture, corn policy, regulation of food quality, factory farming, restaurant regulations, and more. Students will have to write an SRP paper and make a presentation in class.

Previously:

  • Spring 2019, Omri Ben-Shahar

Global Inequality

Winter 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum and David A. Weisbach

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 $47,000 and in Europe it is around $30,500, while in India it is $3,400 and in Congo, it is $329. 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 (20-25 pages), which may qualify for substantial writing credit. Non-law students need instructor consent to enroll. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

Greenberg Seminar: Global Poverty

Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani

This seminar will focus on how legal regimes can be improved to reduce global poverty by promoting economic and social development. For each session, we will watch a documentary film that explores a different issue related to poverty and development around the world. These issues will include topics like migration, housing, health, labor markets, and education. We will focus on discussing how existing laws contributed to the emergence of current problems and how laws can be reformed to promote development. We will also discuss the extent to which the films we watch are successful at identifying and conveying development challenges and opportunities.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Alison Siegler and Mark Siegler
  • Spring 2018, Alison Siegler and Mark Siegler
  • Autumn 2019, Alison Siegler and Mark Siegler

Greenberg Seminar: Wine and the Law

Winter 2019, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur

This 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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur
  • Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur

Health Care Policy

Winter 2020, Anup Malani

This class will cover the basics of 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 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 and reforms. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Insurance Law

Spring 2020, Omri Ben-Shahar

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 how to think about insurance related issues using conceptual tools from a variety of disciplines. Cross-cutting themes of interest include the effects of insurance on tort law and on litigation, the regulatory function of insurance contracts, and the ways in which various conceptions of justice are achieved through insurance mechanisms as well as insurance regulation. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Law and the Mental Health System

Autumn 2018, Mark J. Heyrman

The course examines the interrelationship between legal doctrine; procedural rules; medical, cultural, and social scientific understandings of mental disability; and institutional arrangements affecting the provision of services to the mentally disabled. Consideration is given to admission to and discharge from mental health facilities, to competency to consent to or to refuse treatment, to surrogate decision-making for those found incompetent, to the rights of those confined in mental health facilities; to discrimination against the mentally disabled, and to the rights of the mentally disabled in the criminal justice system. Grades are based on a final paper (20-25 pages) or a final take-home exam, and class participation.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Mark J. Heyrman

Life (and Death) in the Law

Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

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 two response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

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
  • Spring 2019, Mark J. Heyrman

Poverty Law

Spring 2019, Andrew S. Hammond

This seminar offers an introduction to the substantive law and procedure of public benefit programs in the United States. The seminar will identify persistent controversies in poverty law, including means-test design, funding structure, federalism issues, and behavioral rules, as well as how poverty law interacts with immigration enforcement and disability law. Throughout, we will examine to what extent the agencies that administer these public benefits are vulnerable to federal litigation and what remedies may result from such litigation. Final grade will be based on: a series of short reaction papers and class participation (2 credits). Student who wish to earn 3 credits will be writing an additional long paper.

Previously:

  • Spring 2019, Andrew S. Hammond

Regulation of Sexuality

Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case

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, series of short paper and class participation taken into account.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case

Reproductive Health and Justice

Winter 2019, Lorie Chaiten

This seminar will examine the history and evolution of legal protections for abortion, contraception and other reproductive health care. We will look at state and federal constitutional, statutory and common law theories used to secure and protect these rights. We will explore current threats and growing barriers to access, including ever-expanding assertions of religious beliefs to limit access to reproductive health care. We will also look at advocacy strategies for addressing those threats and barriers. Grades are based on a final paper of 20-25 pages and class participation.