Courts, Jurisdiction, and Procedure Courses

Senior Lecturer Hon. Diane Wood

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Administrative Law courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 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 2018, 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 examination.


  • Autumn 2016, Nicholas Stephanopoulos
  • Winter 2017, Jennifer Nou
  • Autumn 2017, Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Admiralty Law

Autumn 2017, 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.


  • Autumn 2016, Randall Schmidt

Advanced Civil Procedure

Autumn 2017, William 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.


  • Spring 2017, William Hubbard

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Spring 2017, Michael Leroy

This is a class in the dispute resolution methods that attorneys often use in the practice of law. The class provides experiential simulations in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. The class differs from most other law classes in the following ways: 1. Many classes teach a substantive body of law; this class, in contrast, is designed to teach a variety of lawyering skills. 2. In most classes, students participate strictly as individuals; in contrast, students in this class often interact in small group settings and simulations, and therefore, must listen to and cooperate with peers while working through their disagreements. 3. Many classes measure student performance once, at the end of the semester, through an issue-spotting exam; in contrast, this class requires brief reflection papers that are based on a combination of readings, group activities, and simulated exercises. 4. Most classes involve little or no role playing; in contrast, this class gives students the experience of being a negotiator, trial advocate, arbitrator, mediator, victim/complainant and defendant/respondent in an adversarial proceeding. The instructor will base simulations on cases from his private arbitration practice. Students will be required to sign and abide by a confidentiality agreement with respect to these sensitive materials.

American Indian Law

Autumn 2016, M. Todd Henderson and Justin B. Richland

This course will consider two distinct bodies of law regarding the 565 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States. First, we will study 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. 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. Second, we will study the law within several prominent tribal areas. The Hopi, for instance, have a court system that is roughly parallel to the American one, but with key differences for handling crimes, contracts, torts, and so on. The flavor for this part of the course will be comparative law, since we will compare how different legal rules develop in distinct but related legal systems. This course is mandatory for students interested in participating in the Hopi Law Practicum (serving as clerks to justices of the Hopi Appellate Court on live cases), but it is open to all students with an interest in tribes, federal jurisdiction, sovereignty, or comparative law.

Antitrust Litigation Seminar 

Winter 2017, Robert J. Robertson

The Antitrust Litigation seminar covers the evolution of antitrust law, with a particular focus on litigated cases involving mergers, monopoly, unreasonable agreements, the intersection of antitrust law with intellectual property, and class actions. We will also review the Horizontal Merger Guidelines of the FTC and the DOJ and will try to understand their impact on litigated cases of all kinds, especially with respect to issues related to market definition. For each area of antitrust law, we will discuss how the law developed and study litigation strategies in at least one recent, relevant case. Students will be provided excerpts from actual testimony, evidence, and/or lower court or agency rulings. As part of the classroom work, the students will learn how to use exhibits and demonstratives to argue an antitrust case. Students will have a hands-on experience in using trial exhibit technology and will discuss how it can help an antitrust presentation at trial or on appeal. Why spend time with the early phases of these cases? By the time an appellate court renders an opinion in a case, the issues often look very simple and one-sided, but they are not. After you graduate from the Law School, almost every case that you will see will never make it through litigation or find its way to a decision by a Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. To gain a complete understanding of antitrust law, you will need to understand how cases evolve at the early stage and what the contested issues are. This seminar will serve students with diverse interests and plans for their legal careers: it should be as valuable to the general business lawyer as to the litigator. I do not assume advanced skill or training in economics, nor is knowledge of complex mathematical or economic tools required. The basic Antitrust Law course is helpful but not required to take the seminar. An eight-hour take home examination, along with participation and performance in class exercises, will determine your grade.

Arbitration in the United States

Winter 2018, James 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 2018, Michele Louise 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.


  • Winter 2017, Michele Louise Odorizzi

Child Exploitation, Human Trafficking & the Supply Chain

Winter 2018, Virginia Kendall

This seminar provides a comprehensive, practical introduction to the history and present-day reality of child sexual exploitation and trafficking, as well as to the interconnected web of domestic and transnational federal laws and law enforcement efforts launched in response to this global challenge. The class will use a text written by the professor and a colleague who have the distinctive perspective of two individuals who have spent their careers in the trenches investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating these intricate and commonly emotional cases. The class will offer open debate about child sexual abuse by stripping it of its unhelpful, constricted definitions, and by candidly discussing the state of the law, the criminal justice process, and the treatment of offenders and victims. The seminar examines today's system of federal anti-exploitation laws including the arrival of commercial supply chain laws; the connection between modern communications technologies, such as the Internet, and the rise in U.S. and foreign child exploitation; the unique challenges posed by transnational investigations; organized crime's increasing domination over the commercial sexual exploitation of children; the current state of the U.S. government's transnational anti-trafficking efforts; the myriad international legal instruments designed to enhance transnational enforcement efforts; how, during investigations and trials, to avoid re-injuring the child-victims; the hallmarks of an effective trial strategy; the most promising investigative and trial avenues for the defense; and, what contemporary research tells us about charging and sentencing-related issues, including victimization and recidivism rates. Taught by federal district court judge, Hon. Virginia M. Kendall. Final grade will be based on a major paper.

Class Action Controversies

Autumn 2016, Michael 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 2018, 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; 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.


  • Spring 2017, 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.

Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process

Spring 2018, Aziz Huq

The course focuses on the constitutional law regulating searches, seizures, and confessions. It considers both physical searches and seizures and also searches and seizures of electronic data. Grades are based on a final examination and class participation.


  • Winter 2017, John Rappaport
  • Spring 2017, Louis Michael Seidman
  • Winter 2018, John Rappaport

Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail

Spring 2018, 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 procedural rules that govern police investigations, this course examines the 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, as well as ethical issues surrounding the representation of criminal defendants. Various guest speakers typically visit class, including federal district court judges, an Assistant United States Attorney, and a criminal defense lawyer. The final grade is based on an eight-hour take-home examination.

Criminology and Criminal Procedure

Spring 2017, Ben Grunwald

This seminar uses social science research to examine the empirical assumptions of rules and systems of criminal law and procedure. We will cover a series of empirical questions that are likely to include: (1) Does the death penalty deter crime? (2) Are there alternatives to incarceration that can keep us safe? (3) Does stop and frisk policing reduce crime? (4) Is there racial disparity in sentencing, and can we do anything about it? (5) Are juries any better than judges at fact-finding? (6) What is the right age of majority to separate the juvenile and adult justice systems? While some background in social science research and statistics may be helpful, it is not a requirement for the course. Students will be evaluated based on class participation and a series of reaction papers (two credits). They may earn a third credit by writing a short research paper (10-15 pages) in addition to the rest of the coursework.

Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law

Winter 2018, 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 topics. Pre-requisites: Criminal Law


  • Winter 2017, Patrick Fitzgerald and Michael Scudder


Spring 2018, Brian Leiter

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).


  • Autumn 2016, John Rappaport
  • Spring 2017, Emily Buss
  • Winter 2018, Brian Leiter

Federal Courts

Spring 2018, Aziz Huq

This course will consider the functioning of the federal courts in our larger federal system. Particular attention will be paid to doctrinal questions pertinent to those intending to litigate in federal court or serve as federal law clerks. It is recommended that students take Constitutional Law I before taking this class. The student's grade is based on a proctored final examination.


  • Autumn 2016, Adam Mortara
  • Spring 2017, Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2017, Adam Mortara

Federal Habeas Corpus

Winter 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.

Federalism and State Social Policy

Spring 2017, Fay Hartog-Levin

This seminar will examine the origins of federal and States' powers; how conflicts between the two have been resolved; how and why there has been an expansion or contraction of States' powers; and what political, policy,economic and other factors have affected these changes. Some of the substantive topics to be discussed include K-12 education, regulation of water quality and access, discrimination based on sexual orientation, labor laws, elections and voting rights,environmental laws, gun control, and the legalization of marijuana. Resources will include current news articles and commentaries. Guest lecturers will include Senator Dick Durbin and other politicians and practitioners. This class is cross-listed with Harris. Harris School students must also attend class on Wednesday, March 29. The final meeting for this class will be on Wednesday, May 24.

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

Spring 2017, 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.


  • Autumn 2016, Jonathan Masur and Richard Mcadams
  • Winter 2017, 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


  • Autumn 2016, M. Todd Henderson
  • Winter 2017, M. Todd Henderson
  • Spring 2017, M. Todd Henderson
  • 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 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.


  • Autumn 2016, Susan Gzesh

Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations

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

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.


  • Spring 2017, Ben Laurence, Pascal Brixel, Arnold Robert Brooks

Immigration Law 

Spring 2018, Adam S. Chilton

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.


  • Spring 2017, Adam S. Chilton

Immigration Policy 

Spring 2017, Adam S. Chilton

This seminar will explore immigration policy in the United States and other countries around the world. The seminar will specifically focus on examining which policies are effective and potential reforms to existing policies that are failing. The seminar will explore topics including the financial consequences of immigration, the impacts of efforts to police immigration, the consequences of guest worker programs, and the determinants of public opinion on immigration policy. Specific attention will be given to studying immigration policy in a comparative context.

International Law of Sovereign Debt Crises

Spring 2017, 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 2018, Diane 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.


  • Winter 2017, Diane Wood

Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing

Winter 2018, Richard Posner and Robert Hochman

For many graduates of this law school, their first job is as a judicial law clerk, usually in a federal court of appeals. A few graduates will eventually become judges. More important, many, many graduates will have a litigation practice. As law clerks or judges, they must learn to write judicial opinions. As practicing lawyers, they must learn to think like judges so that they will know how to communicate with them effectively, in briefs and at oral argument: something few lawyers know how to do. The seminar aims to teach law students how to think and write like judges, and so to equip them for a future as law clerks, judges, practicing lawyers--or all three.


  • Winter 2017, Richard Posner and Robert Hochman

Lawyering: Brief Writing, Oral Advocacy and Transactional Skills

Spring 2018, Brian Feinstein, Diego Zambrano, Dorothy Lund, Emma Kaufman, Manisha Padi, Hiba Hafiz

This experiential class provides first-year students with a broad range of transactional and litigation-oriented lawyering skills including brief writing; oral advocacy; contract-drafting; and negotiation strategy. In preparation for this class, all first-year students must complete a specially-designed transactional module taught by members of the Law School's clinical faculty and focusing on a range of key competencies, including contract-drafting and negotiation strategy, among other areas. Students then move to developing their research and writing skills by drafting an appellate brief based on a factual scenario that mirrors real life cases encountered in day-to-day legal practice. During the brief-writing process, students will be introduced to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure and the basic rules of professional conduct that govern formal court submissions. After completing the brief, students will focus on developing their presentation skills and attend a lecture on oral advocacy by a federal appellate judge. The class culminates in the formal Bigelow Moot Court, in which students argue before a three-judge panel of law professors and distinguished attorneys who will provide students with (1) an opportunity for self-assessment, and (2) individualized feedback on their oral advocacy. Each of the experiential components of the Lawyering class - brief writing, oral advocacy, and the transactional module - builds upon the competencies that students have developed throughout the first-year legal writing program and provides them with an introduction to basic lawyering skills.


  • Spring 2017, Brian Feinstein, Ben Frunwald, Dorothy Lund, Michael Pollack, Diego Zambrano, Hiba Hafiz

Legal Profession

Spring 2018, Barry Steven 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.


  • Spring 2017, Barry Steven Alberts

Legal Profession: Ethics in Government and Public Interest Legal Practice

Spring 2018, Lynda Peters

This seminar, which satisfies the professional responsibility requirement, will address the ethical rules and principles that govern government and public interest attorneys. Among the topics that will be explored is the challenge of defining who the client is in government practice. Time will also be devoted to exploring the nature of the attorney-client relationship, conflicts of interest, 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 2017, Lynda Peters

Litigation Laboratory

Winter 2018, Catherine Masters and James 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.


  • Winter 2017, James Clark and Catherine Masters

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.


  • Winter 2017, Julie Roin

Patent Litigation 

Spring 2018, 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.


  • Spring 2017, Steven Cherny and Jason Wilcox

Prosecution and Defense Clinic

Spring 2018, Lisa 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.


  • Winter 2018, Lisa Noller and Molly Armour

Public International Law

Autumn 2017, James Gathii

This course takes up international law as a substantive body of rules, an array of processes by which law is created, interpreted, and enforced, as well as a discipline in that comprises a community of lawyers and academic jurists with a common vocabulary, a shared sense of history and a shared range of professional activities, but often with divergent views about its purposes, missions and accomplishments. This course is designed to introduce you to both the substance and process aspects of international law and how it is applied, interpreted and contested by it various participants. After focusing on two problems that demonstrate how international law has evolved and developed, the course then proceeds to focus on the traditional sources of international law and the contemporary pressures that have been placed on them. Its participants will then be considered particularly in light of the decision-making mechanisms by which international law is developed and carried out, the institutions that serve as deciders, and the legal regimes that take shape as a result. Part of the course will also engage the question of international law in the domestic system. The last part of the course will address problems related to global interdependence and integration, including but not limited to international legal challenges relating of managing the global economy (with a particular focus on dispute settlement in the World Trade Organization) as well as on efforts to regulate the use of force. Final grade will be based on: a major paper.

The Roberts Court

Winter 2018, Lee Epstein, Adam liptak, Richard Posner, Dennis Hutchinson, William Landes

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.


  • Winter 2017, Lee Epstein, Adam liptak, Richard Posner, Dennis Hutchinson, William Landes

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.


  • Spring 2017, Daniel Abebe

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 2018, 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 16 students.

U.S. Courts as Political Institutions

Winter 2018, 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.

U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice

Autumn 2017, Sarah 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 ( and Professor Konsky (, on or before September 1, a resume and short statement of interest explaining why they would like to enroll in the seminar. Students will be informed of their enrollment status by September 5.


  • Autumn 2016, Sarah Konsky and Michael Scodro

Workshop: Judicial Behavior

Spring 2018, Lee Epstein, William Landes, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Dennis Hutchinson

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. By the end of the academic year, students will produce a major research paper on judicial behavior. The Workshop is limited to twenty law students; interested students should contact Prof. Landes ( by the start of Autumn quarter 2017. It will meet seven times over the course of the academic year.


  • Autumn 2016, Lee Epstein, William Landes, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Dennis Hutchinson
  • Winter 2017, Lee Epstein, William Landes, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Dennis Hutchinson
  • Spring 2017, Lee Epstein, William Landes, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Dennis Hutchinson
  • Autumn 2017, Lee Epstein, William Landes, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Dennis Hutchinson
  • Winter 2018, Lee Epstein, William Landes, Richard Posner, Frank Easterbrook, Dennis Hutchinson

Workshop: Law and Philosophy: Current Issues in General Jurisprudence

Spring 2017, Brian Leiter, Martha Nussbaum, Matthew Etchemendy

This is a seminar/workshop; many of whose participants are faculty from various related disciplines. It admits approximately ten students. Its aim is to study, each year, a topic that arises in both philosophy and the law and to ask how bringing the two fields together may yield mutual illumination. Most sessions are led by visiting speakers, from either outside institutions or our own faculty, who circulate their papers in advance. The session consists of a brief introduction by the speaker, followed by initial questioning by the two faculty coordinators, followed by general discussion, in which students are given priority. The topic for 2016-17 will expose students to cutting-edge work in general jurisprudence, that part of philosophy of law concerned with the central questions about the nature of law, the relationship between law and morality, and the nature of legal reasoning. We will be particularly interested in the way in which work in philosophy of language, metaethics, metaphysics, and other cognate fields of philosophy has influenced recent scholarly debates that have arisen in the wake of H.L.A. Hart's seminal The Concept of Law (1961). Please see for additional information concerning each session. Usual participants include graduate students in philosophy, political science, and divinity, and law students. Students write a 20-25 page seminar paper at the end of the year. The paper may satisfy the Law School Substantial Writing Requirement. Students must enroll for all three quarters to receive credit. Students are admitted by permission of the instructors. They should submit a c.v. and a statement (reasons for interest in the course, relevant background in law and/or philosophy) to the instructors by e mail by September 20.


  • Autumn 2016, Brian Leiter, Martha Nussbaum, Matthew Etchemendy
  • Winter 2017, Brian Leiter, Martha Nussbaum, Matthew Etchemendy

Writing for the Judiciary

Spring 2018, Ashley Conrad 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.


  • Spring 2017, Ashley Conrad Keller