Courts, Jurisdiction, and Procedure Courses

Senior Lecturer Hon. Diane Wood

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Courts, Jurisdiction, and Procedure Law 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.

Administrative Law

Spring 2019, Jennifer Nou

This course examines the structure of the administrative state, its relations to the other branches of government and private citizens, and the constitutional, statutory, and common law rules that govern the substance and procedure of administration action and inaction. A central theme is how the law manages the tension between rule of law values (e.g., procedural regularity, accountability, and substantive limits on arbitrary action) and the desire for flexible, effective administrative governance. In particular, the course focuses on constitutional topics, including the non-delegation doctrine, presidential control over administrative agencies, and the delegation of adjudicative authority to non-Article III officers. Substantial attention is also given to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and other statutory requirements for lawful agency action. Other covered topics include the proper role of agencies in interpreting statutory and regulatory law; judicial review of agency decisions; and public participation in agency rulemaking. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final  in-class examination.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
  • Winter 2018, Jennifer Nou

Admiralty Law

Autumn 2018, Randall Schmidt

This course will cover the development and scope of this part of the jurisdiction of the federal courts, the role of the Supreme Court in the common law development of the substantive law of the admiralty, and several of the main elements of substantive maritime law: maritime torts, industrial accidents, collisions, salvage, and limitation of liability. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Randall Schmidt

Advanced Civil Procedure

Autumn 2018, William H. J. 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 H. J. Hubbard

Arbitration in the United States

Winter 2018, James R. 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

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

Class Action Controversies

Autumn 2018, Michael T. 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.

Comparative Legal Institutions

Spring 2019, Thomas Ginsburg

This course is designed to examine a range of legal institutions from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. It is not a traditional course in comparative law, in that it focuses not so much on particular rules of substantive law but on the structure of different legal systems and the consequences of those structural differences for law and society. In particular, we will focus on the economic impact of legal traditions. Readings will be drawn from legal and social science literature, including works from anthropology, economics, political science and sociology. The course will explicitly cover non-Western legal traditions to an extent not found in conventional comparative law courses. Furthermore, American institutions are explicitly included in the comparison: this is not simply a course in foreign law. Assessment is by a three-hour take-home exam. There is an option to write a research paper sufficient to fulfill the substantial writing requirement; LLM, second-year and third-year students can exercise this option freely but only a limited number of first-year students may avail themselves of it.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg

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.

Conflict of Laws

Winter 2019, William Baude

States frequently have different laws, and so it is frequently important which state's law applies to a given case or transaction. This course will confront the choice and enforcement of law in these conflicts. We will cover the competing theories of choice of law, constitutional limits on state authority, and full faith and credit. Application to international law and internet transactions may also be covered.

Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process

Spring 2019, John Rappaport

This course focuses on the law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final examination.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, John Rappaport
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2019, Richard McAdams

Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail

Spring 2019, Alison Siegler

Criminal Procedure II surveys the criminal process after a case comes into court, from the formal filing of charges through the pretrial process, the trial, and beyond. Criminal Procedure I is NOT a prerequisite, and no knowledge of Criminal Procedure I is needed for this course. While Criminal Procedure I examines the rules that govern police investigations, this course examines the constitutional and procedural rules that govern at the next chronological stage, as the case moves from the arrest through the court process. Topics include: pretrial release and detention, the preliminary hearing, the grand jury, the charging instrument, joinder and severance, discovery, selected trial issues (including confrontation rights), plea bargaining and negotiation, and sentencing. We also examine prosecutorial discretion and ethical issues surrounding the representation of criminal defendants. Guest speakers typically include two U.S. District Court judges, a federal magistrate judge, and a current or former Assistant U.S. Attorney. The final grade is based on an eight-hour take-home examination. Class participation may be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Alison Siegler

Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law

Winter 2019, Patrick Fitzgerald and Michael Scudder

This seminar covers a series of current issues in criminal and national security law, often comparing and contrasting the two approaches, with a particular focus on challenges arising from acts of terrorism and other national security prosecutions (including a focus on substantive terrorism offenses, espionage offenses as well as the leaking of classified information), a discussion of criminal and intelligence investigative tools (comparing Title III electronic surveillance with Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ), application of constitutional principles to terrorism investigations and prosecutions (particularly the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the application of Miranda, Quarles and Corley decisions and certain state bar rules in that context), the President's war powers and congressional oversight (including discussions of drone strikes, law of war detention, and Presidential and Congressional authority to use military force), and in other select areas, including the Classified Information Procedures Act, and economic sanctions, and national security leaks. Each class will focus on a different topic, with advance reading assigned around each topic, and grading on the basis of two short reflection papers (3-5 pages each) and a final paper preferably written in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion (20-25 pages, including a majority and dissent) on a select issue in criminal and national security law. Guest speakers will help facilitate discussion on certain -requisites: Criminal Law

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Patrick Fitzgerald and Michael Scudder

Evidence

Spring 2019, Emily Buss

This course examines the law governing proof of disputed propositions of fact in criminal and civil trials, including relevance, character evidence, the hearsay "rule" and other rules of exclusion, and examination and privileges of witnesses. The grade is based on a 3 hour final take-home examination.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Brian Leiter
  • Spring 2018, Brian Leiter
  • Winter 2019, John Rappaport

Federal Courts

Spring 2019, William Baude

This course covers the role of the federal courts in the federal system. Topics will include the jurisdiction of the federal courts, Congress's power over those courts, litigation against federal and state governments and their officials, and the relationships between federal and state courts. Constitutional Law I is a prerequisite, though it may be waived in special circumstances. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final take-home examination.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Adam Mortara
  • Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018, Fred O. Smith Jr.
  • Winter 2019, Aziz Huq

Federal Habeas Corpus

Winter 2019, Adam Mortara

We will cover the history of the Great Writ and the evolution of the scope of federal habeas corpus review and relief; the Suspension Clause; habeas review in capital cases including stays of execution; alternatives to habeas review; state post-conviction proceedings; and jurisdictional issues in both the trial and appellate courts. There will be an emphasis on habeas review under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which will be particularly helpful for students taking federal judicial clerkships. Students' grades are based on in-class participation, an exam, and optional papers (10-12 pages, if the 3 credit option is chosen).

Gideon, Civil Gideon and Access to Justice

Spring 2019, Atinuke Adediran

This seminar explores access to justice and right to counsel debates in the criminal and civil contexts, starting with the landmark Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright. Topics include, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, whether Gideon's promise is being fulfilled in criminal cases, the costs and benefits of having a civil Gideon regime, funding for civil legal services organizations, empirical research on the impact of lawyers on access to justice, pro bono, limited scope representation, and the role of race and class in access to justice. Readings will include cases, law review and social science articles, and book excerpts. Final grades will be based on a series of short response papers and class participation.

Greenberg Seminar: Crime and Politics in Charm City: A Portrait of the Urban Drug War

Spring 2018, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams

We will explore a series of works on urban crime, politics, and policing, with an emphasis on the City of Baltimore: David Simon, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," Sudhir Venkatesh, "Gang Leader for a Day," Jill Loevy, "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America," and all of "The Wire." We will focus particularly on the drug war - the economics and violence of the trade; the culture of the police bureaucracy; alternative law enforcement strategies such as informants and wiretapping; the politics of race, crime rates, and legalization; and the effects of addiction. But these works also examine the effects of declining blue collar jobs and weakening labor unions; the effects of race, incumbency, and corruption on local politics; the challenges and failures of urban education and child welfare agencies; and the role of the city newspaper in self-governance. Preference is given to 3L students. Graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
  • Winter 2018, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams

Hopi Law Practicum

Spring 2018, M. Todd Henderson and Justin B. 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, M. Todd Henderson and Justin B. Richland
  • Winter 2018, M. Todd Henderson and Justin B. Richland

Human Rights: Alien and Citizen

Winter 2018, Susan R. Gzesh

The basic notion of international human rights is that rights are inherent in the identity of human beings, regardless of their citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. This course will address how international human rights doctrines, conventions, and mechanisms can be used to understand the situation of the "alien" (or foreigner) who has left his or her country of origin to work, seek safe haven, or simply reside in another country. How native or resident populations and governments respond to new arrivals has varied tremendously in the past and present. In some situations, humanitarian impulses or political interests have dictated a warm welcome and full acceptance into the national community. In other cases, alien populations have become targets of suspicion and repression. In some extreme cases, states have "denationalized" resident populations who previously enjoyed national citizenship. We will use an interdisciplinary approach to address such questions as (1) Why do human beings migrate? What might human rights as a measuring instrument tell us about conditions that promote refugee flows and other forms of forced migration? (2) What is the meaning of citizenship? How is it acquired or lost? What rights may societies and nation-states grant only to citizens, but withhold from others? (3) Are human rights truly universal? Are rights necessarily dependent on citizenship? (4) How do differences in rights between citizens and aliens become more important during national security crises? (5) What are the principal categories used by nation states to classify foreign visitors and residents? How do these categorizations affect the rights of foreigners? (6) How do international human rights doctrines limit actions by states with respect to certain categories of foreigners such as refugees, asylum applicants, and migratory workers? (7) Given the non-voting status of foreign populations in almost all countries, how are the rights of aliens represented in societies of settlement? How do home country governments regard their expatriate communities? The student's grade is based on attendance, participation, and a major paper.

Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations

Spring 2019, Ben Laurence

Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture and genocide.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Ben Laurence, Joshua Fox, Claudia Hogg-Blake, and Agatha Slupek

Immigration Law

Autumn 2018, Allison Brownell Tirres

This course explores the U.S. immigration system. The course will focus on the federal laws and policies that regulate the admission and exclusion of immigrants. Topics covered will include: the visa system, deportation and removal, the law of asylum, the role of the states in regulating migrants, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Adam Chilton

International Law of Sovereign Debt Crises

Winter 2019, James Foorman

This seminar will cover the international law that applies to sovereign debt crises, i.e., crises that occur when nation states default on their bonds or loan obligations. We will begin by discussing the elements of sovereign debt finance, the key contractual provisions of debt agreements, legal doctrines bearing on sovereign debt (such as sovereign immunity, odious debts and state succession), and the process for rescheduling or otherwise resolving impaired debt. Such recent cases as Argentina, Greece and Ukraine will provide concrete and practical context for our discussions. We also will consider the roles of various international bodies, such as the IMF and the European Central Bank, and proposed international regimes for resolving defaulted debt. We will use Lastra and Buchheit, "Sovereign Debt Management", Oxford University Press 2014 and other materials to be provided by the Lecturer. There are no prerequisites for the course. The grade will be based on a paper of approximately 25 pages, as well as on class participation.

Judicial Federalism

Winter 2019, Diane P. Wood

In this seminar, we will explore the various doctrines that police the line between the role of the U.S. federal courts and the often-parallel role of the state courts (or occasionally tribal courts). Those doctrines include the limits on the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts found in Article III; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; constitutional or common-law limitations on federal authority such as those for domestic-relations and probate cases; the various abstention doctrines (Pullman, Burford, Younger, Colorado River); the Anti-Injunction Acts; notions of lis pendens that apply in both federal and state courts; "complete" versus defense preemption, and habeas corpus review of state-court criminal judgments in federal courts. We will also compare the U.S. system to that of the European Union. There are no prerequisites. Students will write a paper (which can qualify for the substantial writing requirement) for credit in the seminar.All students are required (1) to have an individual conference at which the paper topic is approved, (2) to turn in a rough draft for comments, and then (3) to turn in a final paper of 20-25 pages..

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Diane P. Wood

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, Richard A. Posner and Robert Hochman

Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions

Winter 2019, Gerald Rosenberg

The seminar aims to introduce students to the political science literature on courts understood as political institutions. In examining foundational parts of this literature, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What factors influence judicial decision-making? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the seminar with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. In addition, by critically assessing approaches to the study of the courts, the seminar seeks to highlight intelligent and sound approaches to the study of political institutions. Particular concern will focus on what assumptions students of courts have made, how evidence has been integrated into their studies, and what a good research design looks like.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Gerald Rosenberg

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 in Government and Public Interest Legal Practice

Spring 2019, Lynda 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 Peters

Life (and Death) in the Law

Spring 2019, Herschella G. 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 G. Conyers

Litigation Laboratory

Winter 2019, Catherine M. Masters and James A. 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 M. Masters and James A. Clark

Local Government Law

Spring 2018, Julie Roin

This course examines the law regarding the provision of public goods and services at the state and local level. It explores the way in which local government law addresses the issues of what services a local government should provide, which residents should receive those services, who pays for the services provided, and how these decisions are reached. In the process, it explores the relationship among federal, state, and local governments, with particular emphasis on judicial analysis of the constitutional and statutory basis of those relationships.

Patent Litigation

Spring 2019, Steven Cherny and Jason Wilcox

This course is a hands-on introduction to patent litigation. Using a hypothetical case, students will explore the practical application of key patent law and litigation concepts. Students will follow the litigation over the course of the term as counsel for plaintiff or defendant. Students will be asked to produce written work (e.g., pleadings, motion papers, deposition outlines, etc.) and to orally argue motions. Potential topics include motions to dismiss or transfer, discovery disputes, claim construction, expert discovery, summary judgment, and appeals. In addition to oral argument, class will discuss practical and legal topics pertaining to patent litigation, typically to assist in preparation of the next week's assignment.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Steven Cherny and Jason Wilcox

Precedent

Spring 2019, William Baude

In this seminar we will consider several different aspects of the doctrine of precedent. Do lower courts have to obey the precedents of higher courts? If so, why, and when? Does the Constitution permit the Supreme Court to follow precedent, even when that precedent misinterprets the Constitution? If so, why? And under what circumstances can or should precedents be overturned? Is it possible to have a principled doctrine of precedent? We will consider both examples from case law and arguments from text, structure, and history.A previous constitutional law class is recommended, but not required. A major paper of 20-25 pages is required. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

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.

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

Public International Law

Autumn 2018, Mary Ellen O'Connell

International law is the system of rules, principles and procedures that regulate activity at the inter-state level. The system plays a critical role in contemporary life, effecting issues of war and peace, the global economy, human rights, and the natural environment. International law is a complete system of law, distinctive from national legal systems.  The main objective of the course is to provide a comprehensive overview of the system by introducing how international law is made, applied, and enforced. The course will also introduce the four major subfields. Additional objectives include:•    Learning about the nature and purpose of international law by comparing international law to other legal systems and by reviewing various theories of law;•    Understanding the relationship between the general principles and processes that characterize the system as a whole and the subfields of war/peace, economy, human rights, and environment;•    Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the systems as well as creatively considering how to enhance the effectiveness of the international legal system; and  •    Preparing for the practice of international law.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, James Gathii

Remedies

Autumn 2018, Ariel Porat

The way in which the law responds to violations of rights is no less important than the way in which those rights are allocated. The law of remedies determines the law's response to violations of rights, and in so doing, it delineates their boundaries and gives them legal meaning. Hence, the study of the law of remedies is closely related to the study of the substantive law, each field shedding light on the other. This course focuses on remedies in Contracts and Torts, referring to the goals of the substantive law to better understand the remedial law. It explores the law of damages in both Contracts and Torts and covers topics such as: restitutionary damages; probabilistic recoveries; offsetting benefits and offsetting risks; liquidated damages; damages for pure economic losses; and damages for severe bodily injury and death. The course also covers the remedies of specific performance in Contracts and injunction in Torts and compares and contrasts these remedies with monetary ones. Some of the defenses available to both the breaching party and the wrongdoer, such as mitigation of damages and comparative fault, in Torts and Contracts will also be discussed. Finally, the course explores a new topic, recently identified and developed in scholarly writings, which is "Aggregation of Claims." This mini-course meets for four weeks (starting September 26 and ending October 18).

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 Roberts Court

Spring 2019, Lee Epstein and Adam Liptak

Co-taught by Professor Lee Epstein and Mr. Adam Liptak (Supreme Court correspondent of the New York Times) with Judge Richard A. Posner and Professors Dennis Hutchinson and William M. Landes also participating, this course will examine the contemporary Supreme Court. Topics include the Court's membership; its procedures for selecting cases for review; the role of lawyers, law clerks, and journalists; and doctrinal developments in several areas of the law.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Lee Epstein, Adam Liptak, Richard A. Posner, Dennis J. Hutchinson, and William M. Landes

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.

Securities Litigation and Enforcement

Autumn 2017, Andrew Verstein

This course is about misbehavior relating to stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments. We examine the complex substance and procedure of private civil litigation, SEC enforcement actions, and Department of Justice criminal prosecutions. Topics include corporate fraud, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, and market manipulation.While this course has no prerequisites or corequisites, a background in Securities Regulation is helpful and the two courses are complementary. Both courses study the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and subsequent statutes, administrative rules, and case law. However, one course (Regulation) focuses on how to raise money lawfully, whereas the other (Litigation) addresses the consequences for acting unlawfully.  This course is of natural interest to future civil litigators, prosecutors, and white-collar criminal defenders. Transactional and in-house attorneys will also benefit from understanding a body of law that is of immense personal interest to the executives they advise. Student grades will be based primarily on a 3-hour in class examination.

Selected Topics in Conflict of Laws

Autumn 2017, Daniel Abebe

This seminar will examine the legal framework for the resolution of interstate conflict of laws within the U.S., focusing on the choice of law principles that courts apply to determine the rule of decision in cases where the relevant parties, conduct or transactions have connections to more than one state. Topics include the traditional and modern approaches to choice of law; federal constitutional limitations on choice of law; conflict of laws in the federal system, and the role of international conflict of laws rules on the domestic enforcement of foreign judgments, among other topics.  There are no prerequisites for this seminar. Student grades are based on a 3 hour in-class final exam.

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, Brain 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.

Transnational Litigation and Arbitration

Spring 2018, Diego Zambrano

This seminar will examine some of the practicalities of litigating cases with transnational elements in U.S. courts, and their implications for fairness, access to justice, and international comity. Litigation involving foreign parties, foreign laws, or a foreign situs is now part of the day-to-day work of the federal judiciary, large law firms, and international organizations. We will explore the interaction between federal courts and foreign sovereigns, the background influence of different procedural rules, as well as the growth of commercial arbitration in this context. One important example that we will cover is the series of cases in the Second Circuit involving Argentina. For more than ten years, Judge Griesa of the Southern District of New York became a quasi-ruler of a foreign nation. We will evaluate the implications of this case, and others like it, for cross-border commerce and U.S. law. Our discussions will cross between theory and practice, but we will focus on the actual concerns lawyers deal with in these cases. To that end, we will have guest speakers from large law firms. In order to reflect the materials used by academics and practitioners in "real life," I am assigning full law review articles and unedited cases. We will meet eight times over the course of the quarter. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you better over the course of the semester. I hope our conversations together are casual and collaborative.Students will be evaluated based on class participation and a series of reaction papers (two credits).

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 M. 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 M. Konsky and Michael Scodro

Workshop: Judicial Behavior

Spring 2019, Lee Epstein, Frank Easterbrook, and William M. Landes

The Workshop on Judicial Behavior provides students with a unique opportunity to read and analyze cutting-edge scholarship that focuses on how judges reach their decisions. In a case law system such as that of the United States, a realistic understanding of judicial behavior, which conventional legal instruction does not convey, is essential to the understanding and practice of law. Over the course of the academic year, six scholars from the fields of law and the social sciences will present their work.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Lee Epstein, Frank Easterbrook, William M. Landes, Richard A. Posner, and Dennis J. Hutchinson
  • Winter 2018,  Lee Epstein, Frank Easterbrook, William M. Landes, Richard A. Posner, and Dennis J. Hutchinson
  • Spring 2018, Lee Epstein, Frank Easterbrook, William M. Landes, Richard A. Posner, and Dennis J. Hutchinson
  • Autumn 2018, Lee Epstein, Frank Easterbrook, and William M. Landes

Writing for the Judiciary

Spring 2018, Ashley C. 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.