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 2021-22 and 2022-23 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.
PLEASE NOTE: This page does not include courses for the current academic year. To browse current course offerings, visit my.UChicago.
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- Administrative Law
- Admiralty Law
- Advanced Civil Procedure
- Advanced Evidence: Key Legal Principles and Their Practical Application
- American Indian Law
- Brief Writing and Appellate Advocacy
- Civil Procedure (for LLMs)
- Class Action Controversies
- Comparative Legal Institutions
- Conflict of Laws
- Constitutional Procedure
- Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process
- Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail
- Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law
- Evolution of Legal Doctrines
- Federal Courts
- Federal Habeas Corpus
- Hopi/Alaska Law Practicum
- Immigration Law
- Introduction to American Law and Legal Institutions
- Judicial Federalism
- Judicial Opinion Writing
- Legal Profession
- Legal Profession: Ethics in Government and Public Interest Legal Practice
- Life (and Death) in the Law
- Litigation Laboratory
- Local Government Law
- Modern American Legal History
- Patent Litigation
- Pretrial Litigation: Strategy and Advocacy
- Prosecution and Defense Clinic
- Public Corruption and the Law
- Public International Law
- Restructuring in Bankruptcy: Strategy and Tactics
- The Law of Police
- The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing
- The Role and Practice of the State Attorney General
- Trial Advocacy
- U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice
- Writing for the Judiciary
This course will study the law governing the administrative state - the executive departments of the federal government. Among other things, we will consider the constitutional foundations of the administrative state; the statutes, especially the Administrative Procedure Act, that govern administrative agencies; presidential control of administrative agencies; the role of agencies in interpreting statutes and regulations; and judicial review of agency action. A central theme is the tension between values associated with the rule of law (such as procedural regularity, transparency, democratic accountability, and reasoned decisionmaking) and the demands of effective executive action. Students' grades are based on a final examination.
- Autumn 2022: Thomas Ginsburg
- Winter 2023: David A. Strauss
- 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 2022: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2021: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2020: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2019: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2018: Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2017: Randall Schmidt
This course examines selected topics in civil procedure with the goal of both broadening and deepening your study of the field that began in your 1L year. These topics will include some or all of the following: class actions, multi-district litigation, arbitration, electronic discovery, the federal rulemaking process, appellate jurisdiction, and forum shopping (including rules governing subject matter jurisdiction, venue, transfer, and forum non conveniens). The student's grade is based on a final examination with limited consideration of class participation. Prerequisite: Civil Procedure.
- Spring 2023: William H. J. Hubbard
- Winter 2021: William H. J. Hubbard
- Autumn 2018: William H. J. Hubbard
- Autumn 2017: William H. J. Hubbard
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). Prerequisite: Evidence.
- Spring 2022: Stephen R. Patton
- Spring 2022: Stephen R. Patton
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 course will have a final exam. Participation may be considered in the final grading.
- Spring 2022: M. Todd Henderson
- Autumn 2019: M. Todd Henderson
This course will focus on persuasive brief writing techniques with the focus on writing a federal circuit court brief based on a hypothetical problem. Students will also learn oral argument techniques and will present an appellate argument based on the class problem to a guest panel.
Evaluation will be based on the preparation of an appellate brief and the presentation of an appellate oral argument.
- Autumn 2021: Michele Odorizzi
- Autumn 2019: Michele Odorizzi
- Winter 2019: Michele Odorizzi
- Winter 2018: Michele Odorizzi
Civil Procedure introduces students to the process of civil litigation, focusing on the phases of the federal civil action such as pleading, discovery, motion practice, trial, and appeal. It also provides an introduction to jurisdiction and other doctrines that control where, when, and with whom civil litigation happens. The student's grade is based on a final exam.
- To be updated
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 (6000-7500 words). 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
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. In lieu of taking the exam, there is an option to write a research paper (6000-7500 words) 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
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 legal doctrines that address these conflicts. We will cover the competing theories of choice of law, constitutional limits on state authority, and full faith and credit. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- To be updated
This seminar explores the procedural aspects of constitutional litigation. It is not a traditional course in constitutional law in that it does not focus on the substance of constitutional law but rather on the special procedures employed in constitutional law cases, such as three-judge district courts, intervention by the attorney general, Congressional participation, certification of constitutional questions and direct appeals to the Supreme Court. As the recent litigation over the constitutionality of the Texas abortion law has shown, procedural complications play a unique and important role in how the federal judiciary exercises its constitutional function. A central aim of the seminar is to expose the failures of ordinary judicial procedures in dealing with the challenges that arise from contemporary constitutional litigation and the ways in which judicial review has been shaped through tailored procedural arrangements that are often overlooked and not covered in other classes. We will also examine this emerging field from a comparative perspective by looking at various practices and rules of procedure with which other constitutional systems around the world have experimented to accommodate the particularities of constitutional cases. Assessment will be based either by a series of short reaction papers for 2 credits or upon a final paper of 6000-7500 words for 3 credits. Participation may also be considered in final grading.
- To be updated
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
- Autumn 2021: Trevor Gardner
- 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 surveys the procedural and constitutional rules that govern the court process in a criminal case, with a focus on Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. We study bail and pretrial detention, the preliminary hearing, the grand jury, litigating racial bias, venue, joinder/severance, discovery, trial, confrontation rights, plea bargaining, jury selection, and sentencing. We also examine prosecutorial discretion, legal and ethical issues surrounding the representation of criminal defendants, and the pervasive roles of race and poverty in the criminal legal system. Guest speakers typically include U.S. District Court judges, a federal magistrate judge, and a current/former Assistant U.S. Attorney. (IMPORTANT: Criminal Procedure I is not a prerequisite, and no knowledge of Criminal Procedure I is needed for this course. Criminal Procedure I examines the rules that govern police investigations, while this course covers the next chronological stage-the court process.)
This course will have a final exam. Participation may be considered in the final grading.
- Spring 2022: Sharon R. Fairley
- Spring 2021: Alison Siegler
- Spring 2020: Alison Siegler
- Spring 2019: Alison Siegler
- Spring 2018: Alison Siegler
This seminar covers a series of issues in national security and foreign relations law, with a focus on historical and constitutional foundations, the roles of courts, war power and uses of force (including targeted killings), covert action, military detention of alleged terrorists, military commissions, and select issues of international law. 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 (6000-7500 words), including a majority and dissent) on a select issue in national security and foreign relations law. Guest speakers may be invited to help facilitate discussion on certain topics. Participation may be considered in final grading.
Criminal law is prerequisite.
- Winter 2023: Michael Y Scudder
- 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
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 of witnesses. The grade is based on class participation and a final in-class examination.
- Spring 2023: John Rappaport
- Autumn 2022: Geoffrey Stone
- 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
Legal doctrines have life cycles. They are born and mature. Many doctrines fade and die. There is a form of natural selection among doctrines, with several candidates offering to serve the same function in different ways. This seminar looks at the maturation and replacement of doctrines, posing the question why some die and others survive. Scope is eclectic: the doctrines range from "separate but equal" under the equal protection clause to the "original package doctrine" under the commerce clause, from the appointment of counsel under the Sixth Amendment to the understanding of the Rules of Decision Act (that is, why Swift gave way to Erie). The premise of the seminar is that those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. Final grade will be based on: a series of short research papers (6000-7500 words) and class participation.
- Winter 2023: Frank Easterbrook
This course examines the role of the federal courts in the U.S. federal system. Topics will include the power of Congress to expand or contract the jurisdiction of the federal courts, federal question jurisdiction, litigation against federal and state governments and their officials, direct and collateral review of state-court decisions, abstention, and related doctrines. Constitutional Law I is highly recommended. This class has a final exam.
- Winter 2023: Alison LaCroix
- Autumn 2022: Curtis Bradley
- 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
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 (3000-3600 words), if the 3 credit option is chosen).
- Spring 2023: Taylor A.R. Meehan
- Spring 2022: Adam Mortara
- Spring 2020: Adam Mortara
- Winter 2019: Adam Mortara
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. It 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, forms of relief from deportation, the law of asylum, immigration enforcement and detention, 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.
- Autumn 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
- 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
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 6000-7500 word 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.
- Winter 2023: Diane P Wood
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 2023: Gary Feinerman and Robert Hochman
- 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)
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
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
This seminar will explore the various definitions and valuations of life across diverse areas of the law. Readings will include seminal cases in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, right-to-die, and capital punishment. Background readings in related areas, i.e., scientific journals, papers, etc. will also be required. The seminar will discuss policy decision-making including actuarial analysis and social, medical and religious values inherent, implicit or ignored in the legal analysis. Students will be required to write three response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation. This is a biddable class. Priority registration to 3L students.
- Spring 2023: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2022: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2021: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2020: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2019: Herschella Conyers
- Spring 2018: Herschella Conyers
This 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 2023: Catherine M. Masters, and James A. Clark
- 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
This course addresses the powers and responsibilities of local governments. We will consider the law surrounding the services that local governments provide, including who pays for them and who receives them. We will examine how federal and state law shapes local authority. We will explore the interplay among local governments (such as cities and their suburbs), and the relationships between local governments and the people who live within (and beyond) their boundaries. We will also confront questions about the appropriate role of localism, the potential for localities to exacerbate or redress social inequities, and the political processes that generate local decisions. Grading is based on a final examination; participation may be taken into account as indicated on the syllabus.
- Autumn 2022: Lee Fennell
- Autumn 2021: Julie Roin
- Spring 2020: Julie Roin
- Spring 2018: Julie Roin
This course will introduce law students to the major problems and interpretations in the field of modern U.S. legal history. Through lectures as well as discussions of cases and secondary materials, the course will survey American public and private legal development from the Civil War to the present. The course employs a braided narrative, interweaving (a) the chronological story of the rise of modern legal liberalism and an administrative and regulatory state with (b) a week-to-week sampling of different historical topics, methods, and problematics. Topics to be covered this semester include: the 14th Amendment and the remaking of American citizenship, the constitutional rollback of civil rights and voting rights after Reconstruction, classical legal thought, corporation and labor law in the Lochner Era, progressive reform, pragmatism and legal realism, the origins of civil liberties, New Deal constitutionalism, the origins of modern rights revolutions, and the rise of neoliberalism. The course also attempts to introduce some of the theoretical and historiographical perspectives that have fueled some exciting new developments in the field. This class requires a major paper (6000-7500 words). Participation may be considered in final grading.
- William J Novak
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.
Students will be evaluated based on a series of papers, which will require substantial outside research and analysis, as well as in-class performance arguing in support of or in opposition to various motions. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2022: Steven C Cherny and Patrick Curran
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 a series of research papers (6000-7500 words). In addition to the Monday class sessions, each student must sign up for an additional 90-minute session in early February to participate in one of the class's mock deposition exercises. The lecturer consults with the students when scheduling these sessions.
- Winter 2023: Barry Fields
- Winter 2022: Barry Fields
- Winter 2021: Barry Fields
- Winter 2020: Barry Fields
- Winter 2019: Barry Fields
The Prosecution and Defense Clinic is designed to provide 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 criminal defense attorney; and, (2) a clinical placement in either a prosecutor's office or public defender's office. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the legal procedures and issues which arise in a typical criminal case as well as ethical and other social justice issues (such as race and poverty) routinely considered by all criminal justice attorneys and courts. The clinic will provide students with a unique combination of substantive criminal law and procedure, ethics, trial practice (through participation in courtroom exercises built around federal criminal cases), and hands-on experience through a clinical placement.
Each student in the clinic is responsible for securing a field placement and participating in a pre-screened placement program with a federal or state prosecutor or defender office for the winter and spring quarters (January through May). Field placements will be formally supervised by coordinators within each program's office, and the faculty instructors will monitor the student's substantive work and performance in conjunction with the field placements. Students must comply with the placement's requirements regarding hours and assignments, which will be considered part of the course grade. In the placements, students 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.
Students receive up to 7 credits for the course.
- Spring 2023: Lisa M. Noller and Molly Armour
- 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
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.
This seminar will have a final exam. Participation may considered in the final grading.
The required textbook for the class is the 8th edition of "The International Legal System," by O'Connell which will be released in early October. The instructor will supply readings from the 7th edition until the 8th edition is available.
- Autumn 2022: Mary OConnell
- 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
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). Students who have taken LAWS 53492 Advanced Restructuring Practice: Legal and Financial Strategies, may not take this class.
- Spring 2023: Chad J. Husnick
- Spring 2021: Chad J. Husnick
- Winter 2019: Chad J. Husnick
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
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 (6000-7500 words) 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.
- Spring 2023: Sharon R. Fairley
- Autumn 2021: Sharon R. Fairley
- Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
- Autumn 2019: Sharon R. Fairley
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 (6000-7500 words).
- Spring 2023: Lisa Madigan and Michael Scodro
- Spring 2022: Lisa Madigan and Michael Scodro
- Spring 2021: Lisa Madigan and Michael Scodro
- Spring 2020: Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan
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.Recommended prerequisite: Evidence (not required). 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 4500 word researched trial brief in connection with the final trial.
- Spring 2023: Jay Cohen
- 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
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 (6000-7500 words) and a moot court presentation.
- Autumn 2022: Sarah M. Konsky and Michael Scodro
- 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
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. Interested students should email their resume to Adam Mortara with the subject line: Writing for the Judiciary, no later than noon on February 23 at email@example.com.
- Spring 2023: Adam Mortara and Ashley Keller