Courts, Jurisdiction, and Procedure Courses
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 2020-21 and 2021-22 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.
Jump to course
- Administrative Law
- Admiralty Law
- Advanced Civil Procedure
- Advanced Evidence: Key Legal Principles and Their Practical Application
- American Indian Law
- American Indian Tribal Law
- Brief-writing and Appellate Advocacy Seminar
- Class Action Controversies
- Comparative Legal Institutions
- Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process
- Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail
- Criminal Procedure III: Further Issues in Criminal Adjudication
- Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law
- Federal Courts
- Federal Habeas Corpus
- Greenberg Seminar: Crime and Politics in Charm City: A Portrait of the Urban Drug War
- Hopi/Alaska Law Practicum
- Immigration Law
- Introduction to American Law and Legal Institutions
- Judicial Opinion Writing
- Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions
- The Law of Police
- The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing
- Legal Profession
- Legal Profession: Ethics in Government and Public Interest Legal Practice
- Life (and Death) in the Law
- Litigation Laboratory
- Local Government Law
- Pretrial Litigation: Strategy and Advocacy
- Prosecution and Defense Clinic
- Public Corruption and the Law
- Public International Law
- Restructuring in Bankruptcy: Strategy and Tactics
- The Role and Practice of the State Attorney General
- Supreme Court Reform
- Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenant Litigation
- Trial Advocacy
- U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice
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 examination. Professor Nou may occasionally need to cancel class and schedule evening makeup sessions due to a concurrent position in government. These makeup sessions will occur on Tuesday (and possibly other) evenings from 7:30-8:30pm, though alternative times/days will be explored as a class.
- Spring 2022: Jennifer Nou
- Winter 2022: David A. Strauss
- Autumn 2021: Jennifer Nou
- Winter 2020: David A. Strauss
- Spring 2019: Jennifer Nou
- Spring 2018: Jennifer Nou
- Autumn 2017: Nicholas Stephanopoulos
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.
- Autumn 2021: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2020: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2019: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2018: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2017: Randall Schmidt
Advanced Civil Procedure
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.
- Winter 2021: William H. J. Hubbard
- Autumn 2018: William H. J. Hubbard
- Autumn 2017: William H. J. Hubbard
Advanced Evidence: Key Legal Principles and Their Practical Application
This class will focus on advanced evidence principles and problems through experiential learning (learning by doing), using real-world issues that arose during a four-week trial of a case the instructor recently tried, Ramirez, et al. v. U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement, as well as a case file and selected problems from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy. Completion of the Law School's course on Evidence is a prerequisite for this course. Classes will typically consist of: (1) a lecture concerning the topic(s) for that day, which will focus not only on the relevant law, but also practical considerations and practice tips and real-world anecdotes and illustrations; (2) role-playing problems in which students will argue in support of and against evidentiary objections and motions in limine, and conduct brief directs and cross-examinations laying the foundation for and opposing the admissibility of various types of evidence; and (3) feedback concerning the role-playing performances and discussion of the issues they raise. Topics that will be covered include: the authentication and admissibility of exhibits, including laying the foundation for the admission of business records, summaries, demonstratives, and other types of exhibits; objections, motions in limine and offers of proof; identifying and overcoming hearsay objections; experts and opinion testimony, including admissibility, expert disclosures and reports, and the structure and strategy of expert directs; and impeachment and rehabilitation. Typical assignments will include reading one or two key cases or excerpts from leading texts and preparing for the role-playing problems on the subject(s) for that class. Grades will be based on class participation and role-playing performances (70%) and three short (5-page) written assignments (10% per assignment, 30% in total).
In addition to the two required textbooks students should also have a copy of the Federal Rules of Evidence that includes the Advisory Committee Notes. They should have this already from their course in Evidence, which is a prerequisite for this course.
- Spring 2022: Stephen R. Patton
American Indian Law
This course will consider the law governing the relation between non-tribal law and tribal law. This is the law of treaties, federal jurisdiction, and sovereignty. The Supreme Court has several cases on tribal issues each year, and with the rise of gaming and natural resources as major sources of wealth, the stakes in these cases for tribe members and non-members is increasing. Last year, the Supreme Court decided a case that suggests half of Oklahoma, including Tulsa, is actually "Indian Country," and subject, in part, to tribal law. The materials for the course will be mostly Supreme Court cases, as well as some historical materials necessary to understand the context of the judicial consideration of tribal jurisdiction. The flavor for this part of the course will be international law, although with a decidedly American approach. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2022: M. Todd Henderson
- Autumn 2019: M. Todd Henderson
American Indian Tribal Law
Most of American legal education focuses on federal, state, and local government laws. Yet, there are 574 tribal governments in the United States that receive precious little attention from legal academia and American society broadly. Why do we generally ignore or exclude the laws of American Indian tribes from the mainstream study and conception of of "American law"? When we take the time to look at tribal law, what might we learn? These questions will guide this seminar as we examine the complex history of tribal law in America and the current state of American Indian tribal law. A series of short research papers on different topics in tribal law will be required (20-25 pages.)
- Spring 2021: Elizabeth A. Reese
Brief-writing and Appellate Advocacy Seminar
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.
- Autumn 2021: Michele Odorizzi
- Autumn 2019: Michele Odorizzi
- Winter 2019: Michele Odorizzi
- Winter 2018: Michele Odorizzi
Class Action Controversies
The purpose of this seminar is to 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 that judges, class counsel, and litigants face in class action litigation. Each week, we will address topics in class action law that bear on these issues.
Students taking the class for 2 credits will complete 2-3 reaction papers. Students taking class for 3 credits will complete a substantial writing project. Students completing the three credit option can receive writing project credit. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2021: Michael T. Brody
- Autumn 2020: Michael T. Brody
- Autumn 2019: Michael T. Brody
Comparative Legal Institutions
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. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2022: Tom Ginsburg
- Spring 2021: Tom Ginsburg
- Spring 2019: Tom Ginsburg
- Spring 2018: Tom Ginsburg
Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process
This course covers the constitutional law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final examination.
- Spring 2022: John Rappaport
- Winter 2022: Sharon R. Fairley
- Spring 2021: John Rappaport
- Winter 2021: Richard McAdams
- Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
- Winter 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
- Autumn 2019: John Rappaport
- Spring 2019: John Rappaport
- Winter 2019: Richards McAdams
- Spring 2018: Aziz Huq
- Winter 2018: John Rappaport
Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail
Criminal Procedure II surveys the criminal process after an individual has been formally charged 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 criminal proceedings as they occur chronologically. Topics include: sufficiency of the charging instrument, joinder and severance, discovery, jury selection, selected trial issues (including confrontation rights), double jeopardy, sentencing, post-trial motions and post-conviction relief. The final grade is based on an eight-hour take-home examination.
- Spring 2022: Sharon R. Fairley
- Spring 2021: Alison Siegler
- Spring 2020: Alison Siegler
- Spring 2019: Alison Siegler
- Spring 2018: Alison Siegler
Criminal Procedure III: Further Issues in Criminal Adjudication
We will cover a variety of criminal procedure topics not addressed elsewhere including: double jeopardy and criminal collateral estoppel, appellate review standards, and joinder. We will also cover in depth post-conviction review and federal habeas corpus proceedings, which is especially beneficial to those students with or interested in judicial clerkships. This class has an 8 hour final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021: Adam Mortara
Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law
This seminar covers a series of current issues in criminal and national security law, often comparing and contrasting the two approaches, with a focus on war power and uses of military force, drone strikes, challenges arising from acts of terrorism and national security prosecutions (including a focus on substantive terrorism offenses, espionage offenses as well as the leaking of classified information), a discussion of criminal investigative tools and intelligence activities, 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), and in other select topics, including the Classified Information Procedures Act, 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 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 may be invited to help facilitate discussion on certain topics. Criminal Law is a prerequisite.
- Winter 2022: Patrick J. Fitzgerald and Michael Y. Scudder
- Winter 2021: Michael Y. Scudder and Patrick J. Fitzgerald
- Winter 2020: Michael Y. Scudder and Patrick J. Fitzgerald
- Winter 2019: Patrick J. Fitzgerald
An examination of the federal rules governing proof at trial. On many points, the rules of most states are the same or similar (New York and California have the most differences, though even they have significant overlap with the Federal Rules). There will be somewhat more lecture than in a typical course, in order to facilitate coverage of material. Even so, certain relatively minor or easy topics will not be covered (Burdens of Proof, Presumptions, Judicial Notice), and others will be covered only briefly (e.g., Privileges, Impeachment of Witnesses). Approximately two-thirds of the term will be devoted to the two central topics in the law of evidence: relevance and hearsay (including the hearsay exceptions). This class has a final exam.
- Spring 2022: Emily Buss
- Winter 2022: Brian Leiter
- Winter 2021: Emily Buss
- Autumn 2020: Geoffrey R. Stone
- Spring 2020: Emily Buss
- Winter 2020: Brian Leiter
- Spring 2019: Emily Buss
- Winter 2019: John Rappaport
- Spring 2018: Brian Leiter
- Winter 2018: Brian Leiter
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. NOTE: Unlike in previous years, this class may not use the traditional Hart and Wechsler casebook, or any casebook. Prerequisite: Constitutional Law I.
- Spring 2022: William Baude
- Spring 2021: Alison LaCroix
- Autumn 2020: Fred O. Smith, Jr.
- Spring 2020: William Baude
- Spring 2019: William Baude
- Winter 2019: Aziz Huq
- Autumn 2018: Fred O. Smith, Jr.
- Spring 2018: Aziz Huq
- Autumn 2017: Adam Mortara
Federal Habeas Corpus
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).
- Spring 2022: Adam Mortara
- Spring 2020: Adam Mortara
- Winter 2019: Adam Mortara
Greenberg Seminar: Crime and Politics in Charm City: A Portrait of the Urban Drug War
We will explore a series of works on crime, politics, policing, and race, 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 education and child welfare agencies; and the role of the city newspaper in self-governance. Preference is given to 3L students. Graded Pass/Fail. Spring meetings will be held on April 8 and May 6 from 7:00-9:00 PM.
- Spring 2021: Johnathan Masur and Richard McAdams
- Winter 2021: Johnathan Masur and Richard McAdams
- Autumn 2020: Johnathan Masur and Richard McAdams
Hopi/Alaska Law Practicum
Students will work directly with Alaskan Native Corporations, Alaskan Native Villages, and the Hopi Appellate Court (Arizona). One project is on the impact of climate change on legal access to sustainable food sources (e.g., caribou and salmon). The student will work as part of a National Science Foundation grant, as an input of the tribal perspective into the broader issue. This will involve research (including talking to relevant stakeholders and potentially field research), as well as crafting parts of the final report. The other Alaskan project is about corporate governance of Alaskan for-profit and non-profit regional corporations. Shareholding in these is limited by statute, but can be expanded under certain circumstances. This is a vital issue for many natives, as the existing shareholder base is limited and viewed by many as inequitable. There are many interesting governance issues with huge impact and wide appeal. The work will involve crafting a policy memo that summarizes the existing state of play, legal rules, and suggested strategic approach. It will be an input into a regional chiefs meeting in Fairbanks, and will have the potential to have a big impact on the future of Alaska natives. The final project involves assisting the Hopi Appellate Court as a law clerk.
- Spring 2022: M. Todd Henderson
- Winter 2022: M. Todd Henderson
- Spring 2020: M. Todd Henderson
- Winter 2020: M. Todd Henderson
- Autumn 2019: M. Todd Henderson
- Winter 2018: M. Todd Henderson and Justin Richland
- Autumn 2017: M. Todd Henderson and Justin Richland
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. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
- Spring 2020: Adam S. Chilton
- Autumn 2018: Allison Tirres
- Spring 2018: Adam S. Chilton
Introduction to American Law and Legal Institutions
This class is only open to LLM students, MLS students, and PhD students from elsewhere in the university. This course will consider a variety of legal institutions and how they interact to produce a distinctly American configuration of law. Since Tocqueville, observers have noted that Americans have a distinctly legal mode of organizing society: as he put it "Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question." More than citizens of other advanced democracies, they seem willing to turn to courts to resolve disputes, from those about mundane traffic accidents to major disputes of politics and public policy, and to emphasize punitive legal sanctions. The causes and consequences of this litigiousness will be explored through the lens of legal institutions. The course will begin with an introduction to the constitutional structure and then proceed to examine particular legal institutions. Subjects will include the civil and criminal jury, the role of lawyers, the political role of the judiciary, and legalistic modes of administrative regulation. The emphasis will be on how the institutions actually operate, and readings will be drawn from both legal and social scientific literature. Students may take a final exam or choose to write a major paper (20-25 pages).
- Autumn 2021: Tom Ginsburg
- Winter 2021: Tom Ginsburg
Judicial Opinion Writing
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. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2022: Robert Hochman, and Gary Feinerman
- Winter 2021: Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman
- Winter 2020: Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman (as Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing)
- Winter 2019: Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman (as Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing)
- Winter 2018: Richard A. Posner and Robert Hochman (as Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing)
Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions
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. This class has a final exam or major paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading. The final exam is administered by the instructor. Please watch the following video from Professor Rosenberg about the class: https://youtu.be/k0Lvqs5EQF8.
- Spring 2021: Gerald N. Rosenberg
- Autumn 2019: Gerald N. Rosenberg
- Winter 2019: Gerald N. Rosenberg
- Winter 2018: Gerald N. Rosenberg
The Law of Police
This course will comprehensively survey the law governing police in the United States, beyond what is already extensively covered in Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process (so a student may take both courses). Topics include state and local law creating and empowering public and private police; class action lawsuits to challenge stop and frisk policies under the Fourth Amendment; class action lawsuits to challenge racial profiling under the Equal Protection Clause, especially regarding car stops; Fourth Amendment and state statutory law on police use of deadly force and local use-of-force policies; collective bargaining law regarding arbitration of police discipline and use-of-force policies; the First Amendment and statutory law of policing public protests; section 1983 lawsuits against the police and qualified immunity; federal and state law for prosecuting the police; the law of injunctive relief against police; and the policy choice between reform and abolition. The grade is based on a final examination.
- Winter 2022: Richard McAdams
- Spring 2021: Richard McAdams
The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing
In the wake of several highly publicized incidents of police brutality, the American public is engaged in substantive debate over modern policing strategies and tactics and how best to achieve public safety while respecting the rights and dignity of all citizens. This course will provide an overview of the public safety challenges facing large, urban police organizations. With the legal framework as a foundation, students will discuss the policy and political considerations relevant to key policing strategies. Starting with readings that provide the historical perspective on policing, each week will focus on a distinct policing strategy or policy challenge, including topics such as crisis intervention, national security, and gun violence. Some classes may include invited guest speakers. Students can do an exam and a 10-12 page paper to earn 3 credits, or they can do exam only for 2 credits, or major paper for 3 credits with possible SRP credit. Participation may be considered in final grading. Criminal Procedure is suggested as a pre-requisite, but not required.
- Autumn 2021: Sharon R. Fairley
- Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
- Autumn 2019: Sharon R. Fairley
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.
- Spring 2022: Barry S. Alberts
- Spring 2021: Barry S. Alberts
- Spring 2020: Barry S. Alberts
- Spring 2019: Barry S. Alberts
- Spring 2018: Barry S. Alberts
Legal Profession: Ethics in Government and Public Interest Legal Practice
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.
- Spring 2022: Lynda A. Peters
Life (and Death) in the Law
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.
- Spring 2022: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2021: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2020: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2019: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2018: Herschella Conyers
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.
- Winter 2022: Catherine M. Masters, and James A. Clark
- Winter 2021: Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
- Winter 2020: Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
- Winter 2019: Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
- Winter 2018: Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
Local Government Law
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. This class has a final exam.
- Autumn 2021: Julie Roin
- Spring 2020: Julie Roin
- Spring 2018: Julie Roin
Pretrial Litigation: Strategy and Advocacy
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; take and defend fact and expert witness 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 and mock exercises. The student's grade will based on performance in mock exercises and written work product. This class requires a series of research papers (20-25 pages).
- Winter 2022: Barry Fields
- Winter 2021: Barry Fields
- Winter 2020: Barry Fields
- Winter 2019: Barry Fields
Prosecution and Defense Clinic
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.
- Winter 2022: Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour
- Spring 2020: Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour
- Winter 2020: Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour
- Spring 2018: Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour
- Winter 2018: Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour
Public Corruption and the Law
This seminar will focus on how governments use the law to prevent and catch public corruption, how the law is sometimes used to protect public corruption, and how one should determine the optimal response to corruption and its consequences. We will examine the substantive criminal laws and sentencing schemes used in the best public corruption prosecutions, ranging from RICO and "honest services" fraud to bribery and extortion laws. We will also examine the laws that create, authorize, or prevent the most effective investigative tools used by law enforcement against public corruption, including wiretap laws and related privacy issues. We will study several key topics within public corruption law, including patronage, its effect on democratic institutions, and its status under the First Amendment; campaign finance reform and whether money in campaigns is protected speech or a corrupting influence (or both); and the relationship between transparency, online access to information, and corruption. We will also consider an economic analysis of public corruption, including questions about whether the level of democracy, and the pervasiveness of corruption in the culture, affect the cost-benefit analysis.
Constitutional Law I and II are recommended pre-requisites. Students taking the class for 3 credits write one short reaction paper (or short research paper if appropriate), and one major paper. Those taking it for 2 credits write several short reaction papers.
- Winter 2022: David H. Hoffman
- Winter 2020: David H. Hoffman
Public International Law
This course is an introduction to public international law, which is the body of law that nation states have jointly created for the purpose of governing their relations. The course focuses on the sources of international law, international institutions such as the United Nations, international adjudication, and various substantive fields of international law, such as the use of force, human rights, the treatment of aliens, and international environmental law. Grades will be based on a take-home examination, with marginal bonus for participation. A paper option is allowed for students who wish to write an SRP.
- Autumn 2021: Tom Ginsburg
- Autumn 2020: Tom Ginsburg
- Autumn 2019: Eric A. Posner
- Autumn 2018: Eric A. Posner
- Autumn 2018: Mary Ellen O'Connell
- Autumn 2017: James Gathii
Restructuring in Bankruptcy: Strategy and Tactics
This experiential seminar focuses on strategy and tactics in restructuring financially stressed and distressed companies. We will use a case study to illustrate the dynamics of advising boards of directors regarding fiduciary duties, stakeholder negotiations, and complex legal issues facing troubled companies. The seminar alternates between a interactive learning session and an experiential session where students prepare and present to a mock board of directors or management of a financially distressed company. Grades will be based 75% on the in-class presentations, 10% on class participation, and 15% on a 10-15 page client memorandum.
Prerequisite: Bankruptcy (recommended but not required)
- Spring 2021: Chad J. Husnick
- Winter 2019: Chad J. Husnick
The Role and Practice of the State Attorney General
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.
- Spring 2022: Lisa Madigan and Michael Scodro
- Spring 2021: Lisa Madigan and Michael Scodro
- Spring 2020: Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan
Supreme Court Reform
The seminar will discuss various proposals for reforming the Supreme Court in particular and the judiciary in general. It will begin with a discussion of the current political context and how judicial reform has come to be a serious possibility for the first time in almost a century. It will then turn to more theoretical readings, covering the basic political philosophical considerations that bear on the issue. Finally, we will discuss different concrete reform proposals, both in terms of legality and desirability. Students will work in small groups to prepare and present memos evaluating specific reform proposals. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021: Ryan D. Doerfler
Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenant Litigation
In this seminar, students will learn how to litigate and try trade secrets and restrictive covenants cases. Two active practitioners in the field will teach this seminar based on actual recent cases. Each class will include instruction on the substance of the law in the field and actual practice techniques, including on-your-feet argument in each class. Specifically, all students will have the opportunity to argue various aspects of trade secrets and restrictive covenants cases, ranging from motions to dismiss, TRO/preliminary injunction motions, motions to compel, summary judgment motions, and post-judgment appeals. This class also requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021: Brian D. Sieve and Michael B. Slade
- Winter 2019: Brian D. Sieve and Michael B. Slade
This course teaches students the basics of trial advocacy, including formulating a theory of the case, delivering opening and closing statements, conducting direct and cross examinations, introducing exhibits, making and responding to evidentiary objections, navigating technology in the courtroom, and handling experts. The faculty consists of clinical faculty, sitting judges, and trial lawyers from the community who have extensive litigation experience. Students will learn by doing. Each week, faculty will give mini-lectures and then students will perform trial exercises in small groups with faculty supervisors. Each student's performance will be critiqued by a faculty member.
This course is open to 3L students only. The required pre-requisites/co-requisites are Evidence AND first priority is given to students enrolled in the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project, the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, the Employment Law Clinic, and the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2022: Jay Cohen
- Spring 2021: Erica Zunkel, Jorge Alonso, Craig Futterman, Herschella Conyers, and Judith P. Miller
- Spring 2019: Jay Cohen
- Spring 2018: Jay Cohen
U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice
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 15-20 pages in length) and a moot court presentation.
- Autumn 2021: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
- Autumn 2020: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
- Autumn 2019: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
- Autumn 2018: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
- Autumn 2017: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro