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 2019-20 and 2020-21 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.
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 rule making. The student's grade is based on class participation and a final in-class examination.
- Winter 2020, David A. Strauss
- Spring 2019, Jennifer H. Nou
- Spring 2018, Jennifer H. 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 2020, Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2019, Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2018, Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2017, Randall Schmidt
Advanced Civil Procedure
This course examines salient features of major civil litigation from both a practitioner's and a policymaker's perspective. Broadly, these features fall into two categories: issues with forum and aggregation on the one hand, and problems with the collection and production of evidence on the other. Topics in the first category include class actions, multi-district litigation, and arbitration. Topics in the second category include electronic discovery, expert witnesses, and preservation of evidence. In addition, this course studies how the federal rulemaking process, statutes, and judicial decisions compete to define the procedures that govern civil litigation. The student's grade is based on a final examination with limited consideration of class participation.
- Winter 2021, William H. J. Hubbard
- Autumn 2018, William H. J. Hubbard
- Autumn 2017, William H. J. Hubbard
American Indian Law
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.
- Autumn 2019, M. Todd Henderson
American Indian Tribal Law
Most of American legal education focuses on federal, state, and local government laws. Yet, there are 574 tribal governments in the United States that receive precious little attention from legal academia and American society broadly. Why do we generally ignore or exclude the laws of American Indian tribes from the mainstream study and conception of of "American law"? When we take the time to look at tribal law, what might we learn? These questions will guide this seminar as we examine the complex history of tribal law in America and the current state of American Indian tribal law. A series of short research papers on different topics in tribal law will be required (20-25 pages.)
- Spring 2021, Elizabeth Anne Reese
American Legal History, 1607-1870
This course examines major themes and interpretations in the history of American law and legal institutions from the earliest English settlements through the Civil War. Topics include continuity and change between English and American law in the colonial period; the American Revolution; changing understandings of the U.S. Constitution; the legal status of women and African Americans; federalism; commerce; slavery; and the Civil War and Reconstruction. The student's grade will be based on a take-home final examination.
- Spring 2020, Alison LaCroix
This is an advanced seminar on arbitration in the United States. We will survey issues raised by federal and state courts' interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Each week will explore a distinct theme, such as federalism, public policy, or consumer contracting. We will explore questions such as: Should the FAA apply equally in state as in federal court? Are state laws prohibiting arbitration of sexual harassment claims preempted? When can a court refuse to enforce an arbitration agreement? The course will also introduce economic theories to analyze these questions. Students will be evaluated according to their participation in class and brief reaction papers that respond to each week's readings (2 credits). Students who want to earn 3 credits must also submit a substantial paper in addition to the weekly reaction papers as part of their evaluation. In the last two sessions, students will present and discuss their final papers.
- Spring 2020, Sarath Sanga
Brief-writing and Appellate Advocacy Seminar
This seminar will be devoted to the art of brief-writing and appellate advocacy. Topics will include how to select the best arguments, how to choose a theme and structure the facts and the argument, and how to write the brief in a way that it is clear, concise and persuasive on the first read. Grades will be based on two papers -- an opening brief and a reply.
- Autumn 2019, Michele Odorizzi
- Winter 2019, Michele Odorizzi
- Winter 2018, Michele Odorizzi
Civil Gideon and Access to Justice
This seminar explores access to justice and right to counsel debates in the criminal and civil contexts, starting with the landmark Supreme Court case, Gideon v. Wainwright. Topics include, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel, whether Gideon's promise is being fulfilled in criminal cases, the costs and benefits of having a civil Gideon regime, funding for civil legal services organizations, empirical research on the impact of lawyers on case outcomes and client experiences, pro bono legal services, and the role of race and class in access to justice. Readings will include cases, law review and social science articles. Final grades will be based on a series of short response papers and class participation.
- Spring 2020, Atinuke Adediran
- Spring 2019, Atinuke Adediran
Civil Rights Litigation in the Child Welfare Context
Landmark constitutional cases hold that the familial association rights are fundamental, but enforcing that principle through litigation has been challenging for advocates for children and families. In this seminar taught by a civil rights lawyer for families involved in dozens of civil rights cases on behalf of children and families for over 30 years, we will examine cases that have tested the constitutional rights of parents and children in the context of child protective systems intervention that restricts associational, personal integrity and privacy rights, including: family separation/children's removal from homes and hospitals, so-called voluntary removals, investigation tactics including gynecological searches and photographing of nude children, race/national origin discrimination and Native American rights, disability rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of foster care; poverty/homelessness; and the interface between domestic violence and child protection. The course will also consider common obstacles to successful system reform challenges in civil rights litigation, including qualified and absolute immunity, standing, abstention/Rooker Feldman, and mootness.
Students taking the class for 2 credits are expected to write two case comment papers of 4-8 pages, participate in as plaintiff, defendant, or judge in one mock oral argument of a total of 15 minutes length, and participate in a 10-15 minute group presentation about a major systemic reform case involving the child welfare system. In addition to these requirements, students who take the class for 3 credits are expected to also submit a paper of at least 10 pages that expands upon a case comment or addresses one of the topics discussed in class in more depth.
Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2020, Diane L. Redleaf
Class Action Controversies
The purpose of this seminar is to understand the rules applicable to class action litigation, the major doctrinal and policy issues that influence class action litigation, and the strategic, ethical, and practical considerations that judges, class counsel, and litigants face in class action litigation. Each week, we will address topics in class action law that bear on these issues.
The seminar is offered for two credits, with students completing 2-3 reaction papers. As an alternative, the class is also offered for three credits with students completing a substantial writing project. Students completing the three credit option can receive writing project credit. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2020, Michael T. Brody
- Autumn 2019, Michael T. Brody
Comparative Legal Institutions
This course is designed to examine a range of legal institutions from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. It is not a traditional course in comparative law, in that it focuses not so much on particular rules of substantive law but on the structure of different legal systems and the consequences of those structural differences for law and society. In particular, we will focus on the economic impact of legal traditions. Readings will be drawn from legal and social science literature, including works from anthropology, economics, political science and sociology. The course will explicitly cover non-Western legal traditions to an extent not found in conventional comparative law courses. Furthermore, American institutions are explicitly included in the comparison: this is not simply a course in foreign law. Assessment is by a three-hour take-home exam. There is an option to write a research paper sufficient to fulfill the substantial writing requirement; LLM, second-year and third-year students can exercise this option freely but only a limited number of first-year students may avail themselves of it.
- Spring 2021, Thomas Ginsburg
- Spring 2019, Thomas Ginsburg
- Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg
Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process
This course covers the constitutional law regulating the investigatory process, including searches, seizures, and confessions. The grade is based on a final 8 hour take-home examination./The grade is based on a final examination.
- Spring 2021, John Rappaport
- Winter 2021, Richard McAdams
- Autumn 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley
- Winter 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley
- Autumn 2019, John Rappaport
- Spring 2019, John Rappaport
- Winter 2019, Richards McAdams
- Spring 2018, Aziz Huq
- Winter 2018, John Rappaport
Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail
Criminal Procedure II surveys the procedural and constitutional rules that govern the court process in a criminal case, with a focus on Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. Topics may include: bail and pretrial detention, the preliminary hearing, the grand jury, litigating racial bias, venue, the charging instrument, 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 2 to 3 U.S. District Court judges, a federal magistrate judge, and a current or 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 class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2021, Alison Siegler
- Spring 2020, Alison Siegler
- Spring 2019, Alison Siegler
- Spring 2018, Alison Siegler
Criminal Procedure III: Further Issues in Criminal Adjudication
We will cover a variety of criminal procedure topics not addressed elsewhere including: double jeopardy and criminal collateral estoppel, appellate review standards, and joinder. We will also cover in depth post-conviction review and federal habeas corpus proceedings, which is especially beneficial to those students with or interested in judicial clerkships. This class has an 8 hour final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021, Adam Karl Mortara
Current Issues in Criminal and National Security Law
This seminar covers a series of current issues in criminal and national security law, often comparing and contrasting the two approaches, with a focus on war power and uses of military force, drone strikes, challenges arising from acts of terrorism and national security prosecutions (including a focus on substantive terrorism offenses, espionage offenses as well as the leaking of classified information), a discussion of criminal investigative tools and intelligence activities, application of constitutional principles to terrorism investigations and prosecutions (particularly the First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments and the application of Miranda, Quarles and Corley decisions and certain state bar rules in that context), and in other select topics, including the Classified Information Procedures Act, economic sanctions, and national security leaks. Each class will focus on a different topic, with advance reading assigned around each topic, and grading on the basis of two short reflection papers (3-5 pages each) and a final paper in the form of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion (20-25 pages, including a majority and dissent) on a select issue in criminal and national security law. Participation may be considered in final grading. Guest speakers may be invited to help facilitate discussion on certain topics. Criminal law is prerequisite.
- 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 and privileges of witnesses. The grade is based on a final examination.
- Winter 2018, Brian Leiter
- Spring 2018, Brian Leiter
- Winter 2019, John Rappaport
- Spring 2019, Emily Buss
- Winter 2020, Brian Leiter
- Spring 2020, Emily Buss
- Autumn 2020, Geoffrey Richard Stone
- Winter 2021, Emily Buss
This course considers 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 recommended. This class has a final exam.
- 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
The Federal Courts and the Federal System
This course will consider the role of the federal courts in the U.S. federal system. We will cover, among other things, Congressional control of the jurisdiction of the federal courts; the federal question jurisdiction of the federal courts; issues arising out of the relationship between state and federal courts; and the sources of, and limits on, actions against state and federal governments and their officials. Constitutional Law I is a co-requisite (that is, students must have taken Constitutional Law I or be taking it at the same time as this course). Grades will be based on a take-home final exam.
- Winter 2020, David A. Strauss
Federal Habeas Corpus
We will cover the history of the Great Writ and the evolution of the scope of federal habeas corpus review and relief; the Suspension Clause; habeas review in capital cases including stays of execution; alternatives to habeas review; state post-conviction proceedings; and jurisdictional issues in both the trial and appellate courts. There will be an emphasis on habeas review under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which will be particularly helpful for students taking federal judicial clerkships. Students' grades are based on in-class participation, an exam, and optional papers (10-12 pages, if the 3 credit option is chosen).
- Spring 2020, Adam K. Mortara
- Winter 2019, Adam K. Mortara
Greenberg Seminar: Crime and Politics in Charm City: A Portrait of the Urban Drug War
We will explore a series of works on crime, politics, policing, and race, with an emphasis on the City of Baltimore: David Simon, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," Sudhir Venkatesh, "Gang Leader for a Day," Jill Loevy, "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America," and all of "The Wire." We will focus particularly on the drug war - the economics and violence of the trade; the culture of the police bureaucracy; alternative law enforcement strategies such as informants and wiretapping; the politics of race, crime rates, and legalization; and the effects of addiction. But these works also examine the effects of declining blue collar jobs and weakening labor unions; the effects of race, incumbency, and corruption on local politics; the challenges and failures of education and child welfare agencies; and the role of the city newspaper in self-governance. Preference is given to 3L students. Graded Pass/Fail. Spring meetings will be held on April 8 and May 6 from 7:00-9:00 PM.
- Spring 2021, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
- Winter 2021, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
- Autumn 2020, Jonathan Masur and Richard McAdams
Greenberg Seminar: The Trial in Film and Literature
In this seminar, we will discuss portrayals of courtroom proceedings in literature and film/TV, beyond My Cousin Vinnie, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Law and Order. What do they tell us about the effectiveness and justice of our system? About how non-lawyers view litigation and lawyers? How do these accounts affect how we think about our profession and our roles in it? About our society? We will give seminar participants a chance to weigh in on the materials we read and view, but some possibilities include: (film/TV) Anatomy of a Murder, Runaway Jury, The Escape Artist, In Contempt; (literature) Franz Kafka, The Trial; Scott Turow, Presumed Innocent; John Grisham, A Time to Kill.
- Spring 2020, Emily Buss and Judith P. Miller
- Winter 2020, Emily Buss and Judith P. Miller
- Autumn 2019, Emily Buss and Judith P. Miller
Hopi/Alaska Law Practicum
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 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. Co-requisite: American Indian Law
- 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
Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations
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 2020, Ben Laurence, Kévin Orly Irakóze, and Andrea Elizabeth Ray
- Spring 2019, Ben Laurence
- Spring 2018, Ben Laurence, Joshua Fox, Claudia Hogg-Blake, and Agatha Slupek
This course explores the U.S. immigration system. The course will focus on the federal laws and policies that regulate the admission and exclusion of immigrants. Topics covered will include: the visa system, deportation and removal, the law of asylum, the role of the states in regulating migrants, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2021, Amber Nicole Hallett
- Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton
- Autumn 2018, Allison Tirres
- Spring 2018, Adam S. Chilton
Introduction to American Law and Legal Institutions
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. This class will have a final exam. This class is only open to LLM students and is required for LLM students to take.
- Winter 2021, Thomas Ginsburg
Is Our Constitution Undemocratic?
It is often said that the U.S. Constitution is the oldest democratic constitution in the world. But how democratic is it? This seminar will explore that question both historically and by examining, in some detail, the constitutional design. Topics to be discussed include: the Framing and the legacy of slavery; constitutional war powers and U.S. imperialism; presidential power; Article III and the powers of judicial review; the Senate; the Electoral College and the constitutional organization of voting more broadly; Article V and the difficulties of amending the Constitution. Grades will be based on some combination of class participation, reaction papers and/or a short final research paper.
- Winter 2020, William Baude and Genevieve Lakier
In this seminar, we will explore the various doctrines that police the line between the role of the U.S. federal courts and the often-parallel role of the state courts (or occasionally tribal courts). Those doctrines include the limits on the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts found in Article III; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; constitutional or common-law limitations on federal authority such as those for domestic-relations and probate cases; the various abstention doctrines (Pullman, Burford, Younger, Colorado River); the Anti-Injunction Acts; notions of lis pendens that apply in both federal and state courts; "complete" versus defense preemption, and habeas corpus review of state-court criminal judgments in federal courts. We will also compare the U.S. system to that of the European Union. There are no prerequisites. Students will write a paper (which can qualify for the substantial writing requirement) for credit in the seminar.All students are required (1) to have an individual conference at which the paper topic is approved, (2) to turn in a rough draft for comments, and then (3) to turn in a final paper of 20-25 pages.
- Winter 2020, Diane P. Wood
- Winter 2019, Diane P. Wood
- Winter 2018, Diane P. Wood
Judicial Opinion Writing
Judicial opinions are the means by which judges explain their rulings to the litigants and their lawyers, and in many instances (depending largely, but not exclusively, on whether the judge is writing on behalf of a court of review) to the bar as a whole, other judges, other branches of government, and/or the public at large. For those of you planning to serve as a law clerk after graduation, opinion drafting and editing likely will comprise the lion's share of your work. For those of you planning on a career as a litigator, understanding the elements of judicial opinion writing will help you to effectively frame your arguments in your briefs and at oral argument. And for all of you, reinforcing the skills necessary to write clearly and edit wisely will serve you well whatever your future plans. The class will begin with a careful review of the work of some well known judges, past and contemporary. The remaining sessions will proceed largely in a workshop format. For the first half of the remaining sessions, each of you will rewrite a recent, published appellate opinion that we will select. For the second half, each of you will write an appellate opinion from scratch based on a real case that we will select and that will recently have been argued. If your opinion is up for discussion for a given week, we will ask that you post it to the class site by noon on the Monday preceding the class so that we and the other students can read it. More than one student will be assigned each rewritten and original opinion, enabling the class to compare different approaches taken to the same set of problems. The point of this, as you'll see, is entirely pedagogical; it is not to turn this class into the law school equivalent of Top Chef or Project Runway. There is no single right way to construct an eminently readable and learned opinion. A series of reaction papers is required for this class. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021, Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman
- Winter 2020, Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman (as Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing)
- Winter 2019, Robert Hochman and Gary Feinerman (as Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing)
- Winter 2018, Richard A. Posner and Robert Hochman (as Judicial Opinions and Judicial Opinion Writing)
Law and Politics: U.S. Courts as Political Institutions
The seminar aims to introduce students to the political science literature on courts understood as political institutions. In examining foundational parts of this literature, the seminar will focus on the relationship between the courts and other political institutions. The sorts of questions to be asked include: Are there interests that courts are particularly prone to support? What factors influence judicial decision-making? What effect does congressional or executive action have on court decisions? What impact do court decisions have? While the answers will not always be clear, students should complete the seminar with an awareness of and sensitivity to the political nature of the American legal system. In addition, by critically assessing approaches to the study of the courts, the seminar seeks to highlight intelligent and sound approaches to the study of political institutions. Particular concern will focus on what assumptions students of courts have made, how evidence has been integrated into their studies, and what a good research design looks like. This class has a final exam or major paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading. The final exam is administered by the instructor. Please watch the following video from Professor Rosenberg about the class: https://youtu.be/k0Lvqs5EQF8.
- Spring 2021, Gerald Rosenberg
- Autumn 2019, Gerald Rosenberg
- Winter 2019, Gerald Rosenberg
- Winter 2018, Gerald Rosenberg
The Law of Police
This course will comprehensively survey the law governing police in the United States that is not already extensively covered in Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process (so a student may take both courses). Topics may include the state and local law creating 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; statutes limiting racial profiling; 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; statutory and constitutional regulation of police surveillance and undercover operations; constitutional regulation of police obtained eyewitness identifications; the constitutional and statutory law of policing public protests; federal influence over local police; section 1983 lawsuits against the police and qualified immunity; the law for prosecuting the police; the law of injunctive relief against police. The grade is based on a final examination.
- Spring 2021, Richard McAdams
The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing
In the wake of several highly publicized incidents of police brutality, the American public is engaged in substantive debate over modern policing strategies and tactics and how best to achieve public safety while respecting the rights and dignity of all citizens. This course will provide an overview of the public safety challenges facing large, urban police organizations. With the legal framework as a foundation, students will discuss the policy and political considerations relevant to key policing strategies. Starting with readings that provide the historical perspective on policing, each week will focus on a distinct policing strategy or policy challenge, including topics such as crisis intervention, national security, and gun violence. Some classes may include invited guest speakers. This class has a final take-home examination. Participation may be considered in final grading. Students may qualify for an additional credit hour by writing a substantial paper. Criminal Procedure is suggested as a pre-requisite, but not required.
- Autumn 2020, Sharon Renee Fairley
- Autumn 2019, Sharon Renee Fairley
This course, which satisfies the professional responsibility requirement, will consider the law and the ethics governing lawyers. Among the topics that will be examined are the nature of the lawyer-client relationship, competency, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and some fundamental questions about who we are and what we stand for as lawyers. A student's grade is based on a final examination. This class will be capped at 50.
- Spring 2021, Barry Alberts
- Spring 2020, Barry Alberts
- Spring 2019, Barry Alberts
- Spring 2018, Barry Alberts
Life (and Death) in the Law
This seminar will explore the various definitions and valuations of life across diverse areas of the law. Readings will include seminal cases in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, right-to-die, and capital punishment. Background readings in related areas, i.e., scientific journals, papers, etc. will also be required. The seminar will discuss policy decision-making including actuarial analysis and social, medical and religious values inherent, implicit or ignored in the legal analysis. Students will be required to write two response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation.
- Spring 2021, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
- Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
- Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
- Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn 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. The class requires substantial out-of-class work, often individual but sometimes collaborative.
- Winter 2021, Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
- Winter 2020, Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
- Winter 2019, Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
- Winter 2018, Catherine M. Masters and James A. Clark
Local Government Law
This course examines the law regarding the provision of public goods and services at the state and local level. It explores the way in which local government law addresses the issues of what services a local government should provide, which residents should receive those services, who pays for the services provided, and how these decisions are reached. In the process, it explores the relationship among federal, state, and local governments, with particular emphasis on judicial analysis of the constitutional and statutory basis of those relationships.
- Spring 2020, Julie Roin
- Spring 2018, Julie Roin
This course is designed principally to provide a broad overview of the legal issues that confront the U.S. military and its servicemembers. The course will touch on military justice, administrative law, operational law, servicemembers' rights, and fiscal law (time permitting). This course is useful for anyone interested in serving as a lawyer in the military, working in the military law area as a civilian attorney, or working in the military or national security area in a policy-oriented position. It is also useful for any future public policymaker or official to have a basic understanding of the legal framework for the activities of our military here and abroad.
- Winter 2020, Adam Benjamin Spencer
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. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2020, Steven Cherny and Jason Wilcox
- Spring 2019, Steven Cherny and Jason Wilcox
- Spring 2018, Steven Cherny and Jason Wilcox
Pretrial Litigation: Strategy and Advocacy
This seminar will focus on litigation skills and strategies that are instrumental in the day-to-day life of any litigator. Indeed, a lawyer will use many of the same strategies and skills in both the pretrial and trial phases of litigation. Students will learn how to evaluate and develop fact and legal theories; develop themes; take and defend 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 class participation, including participation in mock exercises, and written work product (series of research papers (20-25 pages).
- Winter 2021, Barry E. Fields
- Winter 2020, Barry E. Fields
- Winter 2019, Barry E. Fields
Prosecution and Defense Clinic
The Prosecution and Defense Clinic provides students with an opportunity to learn about the criminal justice system through: (1) a 2-quarter seminar taught by a former Assistant United States Attorney and a career defense lawyer; and, (2) a clinical placement in either a prosecutor's office or public defender's office. The course will familiarize students with the legal procedures and issues which arise in a typical criminal case as well as ethical and other social justice issues encountered by all criminal justice attorneys and courts. The clinic provides students with a unique combination of substantive criminal law and procedure, ethics, trial practice, and hands-on experience through a clinical placement.Each student in the clinic will be responsible for securing a field placement and participating in a pre-screened externship program with a federal or state prosecutor or defender office for the winter and spring quarters. Examples include the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois or the Public Defender's office in any northern Illinois county. Students will comply with the clinical placement's requirements regarding hours and assignments, and may be expected to research substantive criminal law issues, draft affirmative and responsive pleadings and memos, interview witnesses and clients, assist lawyers with court hearings and where permitted (and with an appropriate 711 license), appear in court under the supervision of practicing attorneys.Other components of each student's grade are: seminar classroom participation; trial practice exercises; journal entries; and, a 10-page practice paper or research paper. There is no final exam (in either quarter) and students will earn up to seven credits for the course, depending on the placement. Because of the practical component, the class size will be limited to twelve 2L or 3L students.
- Spring 2020, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour
- Winter 2020, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour
- Spring 2018, Lisa Marie Noller and Molly Armour
- Winter 2018, Lisa Marie 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. A major paper (20-25 pages) is required for students who wish to take the course for 3 credits. Students who take the course for 2 credits will write a series of short reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2020, David H. Hoffman
Public International Law
This course is an introduction to public international law, which is the body of law that nation states have jointly created for the purpose of governing their relations. The course focuses on the sources of international law, international institutions such as the United Nations, international adjudication, and various substantive fields of international law, such as the use of force, human rights, the treatment of aliens, and international environmental law. Grades will be based on a take-home examination, with marginal bonus for participation. A paper option is allowed for students who wish to write an SRP.
*Depending on the enrollment outcome, this course may qualify to be all in person.
- Autumn 2020, Thomas Ginsburg
- Autumn 2019, Eric Andrew Posner
- Autumn 2018, Eric Andrew Posner
- Autumn 2018, Mary Ellen O'Connell
- Autumn 2017, James Gathii
Restructuring in Bankruptcy: Strategy and Tactics
This experiential seminar focuses on strategy and tactics in restructuring financially stressed and distressed companies. We will use a case study to illustrate the dynamics of advising boards of directors regarding fiduciary duties, stakeholder negotiations, and complex legal issues facing troubled companies. The seminar alternates between a interactive learning session and an experiential session where students prepare and present to a mock board of directors or management of a financially distressed company. Grades will be based 75% on the in-class presentations, 10% on class participation, and 15% on a 10-15 page client memorandum.
Prerequisite: Bankruptcy (recommended but not required)
- Spring 2021, Chad J. Husnick
- Winter 2019, Chad J. Husnick
The Role and Practice of the State Attorney General
All 50 States and the District of Columbia have an Attorney General, each of whom enjoys broad discretion over a range of legal issues. This seminar will address the institutional role of these officials, including their status within their respective state systems and their relationship to the federal government. The course will also address a host of critical and often controversial areas-including civil rights, criminal justice, consumer fraud, and environmental regulation-where state Attorneys General have come to play a leading role on the local and national stage. Students will be graded based on class participation and a final paper (20-25 pages).
- Spring 2021, Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan
- Spring 2020, Michael Scodro and Lisa Madigan
Supreme Court Reform
The seminar will discuss various proposals for reforming the Supreme Court in particular and the judiciary in general. It will begin with a discussion of the current political context and how judicial reform has come to be a serious possibility for the first time in almost a century. It will then turn to more theoretical readings, covering the basic political philosophical considerations that bear on the issue. Finally, we will discuss different concrete reform proposals, both in terms of legality and desirability. Students will work in small groups to prepare and present memos evaluating specific reform proposals. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021, Ryan David Doerfler
Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenant Litigation
In this seminar, students will learn how to litigate and try trade secrets and restrictive covenants cases. Two active practitioners in the field will teach this seminar based on actual recent cases. Each class will include instruction on the substance of the law in the field and actual practice techniques, including on-your-feet argument in each class. Specifically, all students will have the opportunity to argue various aspects of trade secrets and restrictive covenants cases, ranging from motions to dismiss, TRO/preliminary injunction motions, motions to compel, summary judgment motions, and post-judgment appeals. This class also requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2021, Brian D. Sieve and Michael B. Slade
- Winter 2019, Brian D. Sieve and Michael B. Slade
This course teaches students the basics of trial advocacy, including formulating a theory of the case, delivering opening and closing statements, conducting direct and cross examinations, introducing exhibits, making and responding to evidentiary objections, navigating technology in the courtroom, and handling experts. The faculty consists of clinical faculty, sitting judges, and trial lawyers from the community who have extensive litigation experience. Students will learn by doing. Each week, faculty will give mini-lectures and then students will perform trial exercises in small groups with faculty supervisors. Each student's performance will be critiqued by a faculty member.
This course is open to 3L students only. The required pre-requisites/co-requisites are Evidence AND first priority is given to students enrolled in the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic, the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project, the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project, the Employment Law Clinic, and the Federal Criminal Justice Clinic. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2021, Erica Kristine Zunkel, Jorge Alonso, Craig Futterman, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers, and Judith P. Miller
- Spring 2019, Jay Cohen
- Spring 2018, Jay Cohen
U.S. Supreme Court: Theory and Practice
This seminar will provide an in-depth look at the U.S. Supreme Court, with particular emphasis on the skills required to practice successfully in that forum. Students will not only discuss the Court as an institution, but they will also hone skills needed to navigate the certiorari process and to brief and argue before the Court. In addition to class participation, students will be graded on a legal brief (generally 15-20 pages in length) and a short reaction paper.
- 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
Voting Rights from Reconstruction to the Roberts Court
This course examines the intersection of race and voting rights. From debates about voter ID laws to legal battles over redistricting, race and voting rights are inextricably intertwined in our society. This course analyzes the development of voting rights over U.S. history, starting with the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments during Reconstruction. Other topics include the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the constitutionality of race-conscious redistricting, and the legal significance of racially polarized voting. Students will leave the course with an understanding of the major issues in voting rights today. Students will be graded based on short reaction papers as well as the quality of their preparation and participation in the seminar. There will not be a final examination. Prerequisites: Constitutional Law is recommended but not required.
- Spring 2020, Travis Crum