Equality and Human Rights Courses

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Equality and Human Rights courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.

PLEASE NOTE: This page does not include courses for the current academic year. To browse current course offerings, visit my.UChicago.

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Access to Justice

Access to justice is a persistent and pressing problem in the American legal system. Significant structural barriers prevent people from exercising their rights and from getting fair outcomes from the civil legal system. Moreover, their lack of access to fair and equitable dispute resolution re-enforces existing systems of inequality. Drawing mostly on an emerging empirical literature on access to justice, this seminar will focus on the obstacles to providing quality civil legal aid and on solutions, including making courts less complex, increasing the supply of lawyers, and offering dispute resolution outside of the legal system. A major paper (20-25 pages) is required.


  • Autumn 2021: Anna-Maria Marshall

American Indian Tribal Law

Most of American legal education focuses on federal, state, and local government laws. Yet, there are 574 tribal governments in the United States that receive precious little attention from legal academia and American society broadly. Why do we generally ignore or exclude the laws of American Indian tribes from the mainstream study and conception of of "American law"? When we take the time to look at tribal law, what might we learn? These questions will guide this seminar as we examine the complex history of tribal law in America and the current state of American Indian tribal law. A series of short research papers on different topics in tribal law will be required (20-25 pages.)


  • Spring 2021: Elizabeth A. Reese

Big Problems

The Big Problems course will use multidisciplinary approaches to try to understand and tackle the most important problems facing our country or the world. The first 8 weeks will be taught by the instructors and outside experts, focusing on problems such as the Zika virus, Syrian migration to Europe, cybersecurity, nuclear waste storage, opioid addiction, sex trafficking, and policing and race relations. Students will work in teams of 2 business and 2 law students to develop feasible policy or private sector solutions to a problem of their choosing and make a presentation in the last 2 weeks. Presentations will be made to instructors, outside experts and fellow students. Final grade will be based on the presentations and a companion paper (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
  • Spring 2021: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
  • Spring 2020: David Weisbach and Anup Malani
  • Spring 2019: David Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy
  • Spring 2018: David Weisbach, Anup Malani, Robert Topel, and Kevin Murphy

Civil Rights Clinic: Police Accountability

The Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project (PAP) is one of the nation's leading law civil rights clinics focusing on issues of criminal justice. Through the lens of live-client work, students examine how and where litigation fits into broader efforts to improve police accountability and ultimately the criminal justice system. Students provide legal services to indigent victims of police abuse in federal and state courts. They litigate civil rights cases at each level of the court system from trial through appeals. Some students also represent children and adults in related juvenile or criminal defense matters. Students take primary responsibility for all aspects of the litigation, including client counseling, fact investigation, case strategy, witness interviews, legal research, pleadings and legal memoranda, discovery, depositions, motion practice, evidentiary hearings, trials, and appeals. A significant amount of legal writing is expected. Students work in teams on cases or projects, and meet with the instructor on at minimum a weekly basis. Students also take primary responsibility for the Clinic's policy and public education work. PAP teaches students to apply and critically examine legal theory in the context of representation of people in need. It teaches students to analyze how and why individual cases of abuse occur and to connect them to systemic problems, often leading to "public impact" litigation and other strategies for policy reform. Through our immersion in live client work, we engage fundamental issues of race, class, and gender, and their intersection with legal institutions. We instruct students in legal ethics and advocacy skills. And we seek to instill in them a public service ethos, as they begin their legal careers. Students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence, Criminal Procedure I, and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop. Constitutional Law III is also recommended. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2021: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2021: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2021: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2020: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2020: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2020: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2019: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2018: Craig Futterman
  • Spring 2018: Craig Futterman
  • Winter 2018: Craig Futterman
  • Autumn 2017: Craig Futterman

Civil Rights Practicum

In this practicum, students will engage in a range of research and analysis under the supervision of Prof. Huq, in relation to a number of active civil rights cases or other matters. Initial projects will include work on hate-crimes regulation. The aim is to cultivate experience in litigation and advocacy-related tasks in a real-world setting, albeit without the structured format of a clinic. Students will be evaluated based on written work, collaboration, and analysis. Questions should be directed to Prof. Huq.


  • Spring 2021: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2021: Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2019: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2019: Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2018: Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2018: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018: Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2017: Aziz Huq

Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions

This seminar will explore the ways in which having a criminal record changes people's lives, as well as the broader social and public safety impact of those consequences, including distributive consequences along racial and socioeconomic lines. We will explore the many ""collateral legal consequences"" of criminal convictions (that is, legal consequences other than the sentence), constitutional theories for challenging those consequences, and socioeconomic hurdles facing people with records, especially those reentering society from prison. We'll also evaluate, from an interdisciplinary perspective, various legal and policy interventions designed to help people with records overcome these obstacles and avoid criminal recidivism. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Sonja Starr
  • Spring 2021: Sonja Starr

Comparative Constitutional Studies

In this seminar, we will study recent developments in constitutional law and politics from a comparative perspective. In particular, it explores the role of constitutional design in the context of recent threats to constitutionalism across the world. It has two distinctive features: first, it examines comparative constitutional law through the lens of plurinational and deeply divided societies. Constitutions are supposed to provide political and legal mechanisms for resolving societal disputes, and a focus on deeply divided societies will allow us to examine this function closely. We will, therefore, draw our examples not only from constitutionally influential jurisdictions, but also from those outside the 'canon' of comparative constitutional law. Second, the seminar goes beyond a focus on courts and legal norms. Apart from constitutional courts, it includes a study of other constitutional institutions (such as legislatures, executives, political parties, and guarantor institutions such as electoral commissions, ombuds offices, human rights and equality commissions, and anti-corruption bodies). Recommended (not required): any constitutional law/politics/theory class concerning any jurisdiction(s). This class has a final exam (2 credits), plus optional papers (3 credits). Students may also write a major paper (20-25 pages) for 3 credits.


  • Spring 2022: Tarunabh Khaitan

Constitutional Law II: Freedom of Speech

A study of the doctrine and theory of the constitutional law of freedom of speech. The subjects for discussion include advocacy of unlawful conduct, defamation, invasion of privacy, commercial speech, obscenity and pornography, offensive speech, symbolic expression, protest in public places, regulation of campaign finance, and selective government subsidies of speech. Students may take a final exam or write a major paper (20-25 pages).


  • Spring 2022: Geofrey R. Stone
  • Winter 2022: Geofrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2021: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2020: Genevieve Lakier
  • Spring 2020: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2019: Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2019: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2018: Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2018: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Autumn 2017: Laura Weinrib

Constitutional Law III: Equal Protection and Substantive Due Process

This class explores the doctrinal development of Equal Protection and substantive due process rights. We will, of course, explore the historical development of these rights. We will also think about how the rights interact with pressing present concerns related to social stratification, especially by gender and race.This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2022: David A. Strauss
  • Autumn 2021: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2021: Aziz Huq
  • Spring 2021: Genevieve Lakier
  • Winter 2021: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2020: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2020: Geoffrey R. Stone
  • Spring 2019: Justin Driver
  • Winter 2019: David A. Strauss
  • Spring 2018: Justin Driver
  • Autumn 2017: Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Constitutional Law V: Freedom of Religion

This course explores religious freedom in America, especially under the first amendment. It is recommended that students first take Constitutional Law I. Students who have completed Constitutional Law IV are ineligible to enroll in this course. The grade is based on a substantial paper or a series of short papers with class participation taken into account. Instructor consent required for paper to be considered for SRP certification. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2021: Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2020: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018: Mary Anne Case

Constitutional Law VII: Parent, Child, and State

This course considers the role that constitutional law plays in shaping children's development. Among the topics discussed are parents' right to control the upbringing of their children; children's rights of speech, religion, procreative freedom and against cruel and unusual punishment; children's procedural rights in school and in the criminal justice system; parental identity rights, including rights associated with paternity claims, termination proceedings, assisted reproduction, and adoption; the scope of the state's authority to intervene to protect children, to regulate their conduct, or to influence their upbringing; and the role of race and culture in defining the family. This class has a final exam or a major paper may be written (20-25 pages).


  • Spring 2021: Emily Buss
  • Spring 2019: Emily Buss
  • Spring 2018: Emily Buss

The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' Point of View

This seminar will be offered to a small group of law students who will co-teach a group of high school students who are currently in the custody of Illinois's Juvenile Justice System. Each law student will be paired with one or two high school students living in and attending school in a juvenile facility and will be responsible for supporting those students' learning, commenting on their weekly work, and co-running weekly small group sessions. Law Students will also be expected to participate in additional group meetings with Professor Buss to plan the curriculum and discuss the insights gained from the class, and in individual meetings with the high school students as part of the teaching process. The seminar will meet on Tuesday mornings from 9:00 to 11:00 to accommodate the needs of the high school students. Additional meetings will be scheduled to accommodate the schedules of enrolled law students, high school students and Professor Buss. Priority will be given to Law Students enrolled in Con Law VII, to increase the law students' expertise on the topics addressed in the High School seminar and to enrich the learning in Con Law VII. If any students not enrolled in Con Law VII are enrolled in the seminar, they will be expected to do additional reading to prepare them for the seminar sessions. Topics will include: Young peoples' rights in the juvenile justice system, minors' right to control medical and reproductive decisions, and high school students' religious and speech rights , due process rights, and rights against search and seizure in school. Law Students' writing will consist of weekly response papers addressing high school students' participation and reflecting upon the high school students' contributions. Advance approval by Emily Buss is required., and space is limited. If you are interested, please contact her by email at ebussdos@uchicago.edu at your earliest convenience. Students interested in taking it for 3 credits will write an additional 10-15 page paper.


  • Spring 2021: Emily Buss
  • Autumn 2019: Emily Buss
  • Winter 2018: Emily Buss
  • Autumn 2018: Emily Buss

Constitutionalism After AI

This seminar explores the effect that artificial intelligence (AI) has on constitutional rights and values. "AI" here means the range of actually existing computational instruments for making predictions and identifying correlations from large pools of data. "Constitutional values" is a term that captures not just the individual rights identified in the U.S. Constitution, but more generally the fundamental interests and structural norms picked out by the American constitution or other liberal democratic organic laws. AI is increasingly used in legal decision-making and their role is likely to increase in the next several decades, dramatically transforming our legal system. These new tools pose a set of challenges to constitutional values: This seminar explores those challenges. This class will require a series of research papers (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Aziz Huq

Constitutions Lab: Myanmar

The coup d'etat earlier this year in Myanmar has created a horrific humanitarian situation. It has also brought a host of legal challenges, including: the question of who can properly represent the country at the United Nations and other international fora; the status of existing peace agreements with armed rebels; and the future constitution of the country. This Lab will grapple with these issues. It will first cover a series of background readings on the country, followed by a series of short assignments that will inform constitution-making efforts under way outside Myanmar. Enrollment is limited and by instructor approval only. Interested students should send a cv and statement of interest to Prof. Ginsburg. Group projects and memos will be the basis of evaluation. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2021: Jason Gelbort, Tom Ginsburg

Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic

The Project provides law and social work students the supervised opportunity to represent children and young adults accused of crime in juvenile and criminal court. Representation includes addressing the social, psychological and educational needs of our clients and their families. In addition to direct representation, students are involved in policy reform and public education including work with coalitions on issues of juvenile life without parole, youth violence, mass incarceration, and the collateral consequences of conviction. Students will participate in case selection and litigation strategies. Students will be expected to do legal research and writing including drafting motions and memoranda on various legal issues, i.e. evidentiary questions, sentencing, etc. and brief writing. Additionally, students will do pre-trial investigation and fact development including interviewing clients and witnesses. 3L students who have taken a trial practice course will have the opportunity to argue motions and second chair hearings and trials. Policy work will include general research on issues, drafting statement and position papers and attendance at meetings. Corequisite: Evidence must be taken at some point that the student is in the clinic.


  • Spring 2022: Herschella Conyers
  • Winter 2022: Herschella Conyers
  • Autumn 2021: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2021: Herschella Conyers
  • Winter 2021: Herschella Conyers
  • Autumn 2020: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2020: Herschella Conyers
  • Winter 2020: Herschella Conyers
  • Autumn 2019: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2019: Herschella Conyers
  • Winter 2019: Herschella Conyers
  • Autumn 2018: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2018: Herschella Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Winter 2018: Herschella Conyers and Randolph Stone
  • Autumn 2017: Herschella Conyers and Randolph Stone

Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process

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


  • Spring 2022: John Rappaport
  • Winter 2022: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Spring 2021: John Rappaport
  • Winter 2021: Richard McAdams
  • Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Winter 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2019: John Rappaport
  • Spring 2019: John Rappaport
  • Winter 2019: Richards McAdams
  • Spring 2018: Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2018: John Rappaport

Criminal Procedure II: From Bail to Jail

Criminal Procedure II surveys the criminal process after an individual has been formally charged through the pretrial process, the trial, and beyond. Criminal Procedure I is NOT a prerequisite, and no knowledge of Criminal Procedure I is needed for this course. While Criminal Procedure I examines the rules that govern police investigations, this course examines the constitutional and procedural rules that govern criminal proceedings as they occur chronologically. Topics include: sufficiency of the charging instrument, joinder and severance, discovery, jury selection, selected trial issues (including confrontation rights), double jeopardy, sentencing, post-trial motions and post-conviction relief. The final grade is based on an eight-hour take-home examination.


  • Spring 2022: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Spring 2021: Alison Siegler
  • Spring 2020: Alison Siegler
  • Spring 2019: Alison Siegler
  • Spring 2018: Alison Siegler

Critical Race Studies

This course provides an introduction to critical race theory through reading canonical works by critical race scholars; it explores a selection of current legal debates from a critical race perspective; and it contextualizes critical race theory through the study of related movements in legal scholarship, including legal realism, critical legal studies, and social science research on discrimination and structural racism. We will attempt to identify the ways in which critical race scholarship has influenced, or should influence, legal research and law school pedagogy. Requirements for this course include thoughtful class participation and a series of short research papers.


  • Spring 2022: William H. J. Hubbard
  • Spring 2021: William H. J. Hubbard

Current Trends in Public Law Scholarship

Recent events, including President Trump's controversial policies and actions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and nationwide protests over policy brutality, have placed a strain on administrative law and institutions in the United States. In this seminar, invited speakers from other law schools will present scholarship that examines these developments. The seminar serves the dual purpose of introducing students to scholarly approaches to understanding contemporary events, and educating them about the relevant administrative and constitutional rules, particularly those that address crises and fast-changing problems. Students will read academic articles, draft short reaction papers, and be prepared to ask questions of the speaker. The Q&A with each paper's author will be followed by discussion among the students and professors regarding the strengths and shortcomings of the scholarship presented. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2021: Jonathan Masur and Eric A. Posner

Disability Rights Law

This course will focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), including the interpretation of the definition of disability and the subsequent ADA Amendments Act; employment discrimination; the Supreme Court's Olmstead decision guaranteeing community integration; and the ADA's application to healthcare, education, websites and criminal justice. In addition to the ADA, the seminar will review disability laws related to special education, housing and financial benefits. This class requires a series of very short reaction papers and an 8-10 page term paper (for 2 credits). To earn 3 credits students must write a a term paper of 12-15 pages in addition to the reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2022: Andrew Webb and Barry Taylor

Education Law & Policy

Public schools have been a dramatic setting for Constitutional challenges for over 100 years, and K-12 education has been shaped by cases on the role of government in education, by policies intended to promote equality of opportunity and access, and by evolving methods of reform. Students will examine well-established education precedents while learning how education law and policy have developed. The class focus, however, will be on cutting-edge issues. Students will explore policy choices under theories of jurisprudence including critical race theory. Readings will include Constitutional issues of speech, privacy, equal protection, and freedom of religion, as well as state constitutional rights to adequate education. In addition, there will be applications of statutory and regulatory law. Broad course themes include: equity in access to education and the disparate impact of policy choices, particularly during the pandemic, on students who are members of groups with limited access to educational opportunity historically; the goals of public education and the tension between government authority to ensure these goals are met, and family rights to control the values and education presented to their children; and the balance between freedom of expression for students and the goal of schools to provide a safe teaching and learning environment. Current disputes will be analyzed through the lens of access to a quality education at every aspect of the education process. Topics may include: K-12 student data privacy; transgender student rights; practices that may create a school-to-prison pipeline; safe spaces and the First Amendment; artificial intelligence digital tutors and rights to adequate education; tax credit scholarships for religious schools; the impact of growth of charter schools; teachers' rights to work conditions in a pandemic; sanctuary districts and excluding immigrants from the Census; and K-12 teacher tenure and compensation. This class requires a major paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021: Susan Epstein

Equality as a Human Right

This seminar will examine equality within the context of human rights. The general principles of equality and non-discrimination are fundamental elements of international human rights law and most of the world's constitutions. However, legal definitions of equality and non-discrimination differ globally as do perspectives on how human rights principles (and the concept of rights more generally) promotes and impacts equality. We will explore legal definitions of inequality based on protected classes, attributes and identity such as race, gender, ethnicity, nationality and sexual orientation. We will also discuss socio-economic inequality and its intersection with the human rights system. Students may take the course for two or three credits. All students will do a short presentation. Students taking the course for two credits will write two 4-5 page reaction papers. Students taking the course for three credits will write a reaction paper and a longer final paper. Grades will be based on the presentation, participation and papers submitted.


  • Winter 2021: Claudia M. Flores

Exoneration Project Clinic

The Exoneration Project is a post-conviction clinical project that represents people convicted of crimes of which they are innocent. Students working in our Project assist in every aspect of representation including selecting cases, advising clients, investigating and developing evidence, drafting pleadings, making oral arguments, examining witnesses at evidentiary hearings, and appellate litigation. Through participation in our Project, students explore issues of error and inequality in the criminal justice system, including police and prosecutorial misconduct, the use of faulty scientific evidence, coerced confessions, unreliable eyewitness testimony, and ineffective assistance of counsel. The Exoneration Project is an intensive, rigorous experience designed for students who are committed to providing the best possible representation to deserving clients. Second-year students wishing to enroll in the Project are encouraged to take Evidence in their second year. Third-year students are required to complete, prior to their third year, Evidence and the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop (although we recognize that that may not be possible under current circumstances). Students are also strongly encouraged but not required to take Criminal Procedure I and II. Students will receive credit for the work they do in accordance with the credit rules for all other clinical programs. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Winter 2022: Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Autumn 2021: Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Spring 2021: Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Winter 2021: Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Autumn 2020: Russel Ainsworth, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Lauren Myerscough-Mueller
  • Spring 2020: Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russel Ainsworth
  • Winter 2020: Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russel Ainsworth
  • Autumn 2019: Joshua Tepfer, Karl Arthur Leonard, and Russel Ainsworth
  • Spring 2019: Tara Thompson, David Owens, and Joshua Tepfer
  • Winter 2019: Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl Leonard
  • Autumn 2018: Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, Russell Ainsworth, and Karl Leonard
  • Spring 2018: Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Winter 2018: Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth
  • Autumn 2017: Tara Thompson, David Owens, Joshua Tepfer, and Russell Ainsworth

Fair Housing

This course will focus on the law and policy of fair housing, broadly construed. Substantial attention will be devoted to antidiscrimination laws in housing, including the federal Fair Housing Act. We will also explore existing and proposed policies for improving access of lower-income people to housing. The causes and consequences of residential segregation will be examined, as well as the effects of zoning and other land use controls. Additional topics may include gentrification, eviction, squatting, mortgages and foreclosures, the siting of locally undesirable land uses, and the use of eminent domain. The student's grade will be based on class participation and a final exam.


  • Spring 2021: Lee Fennell

Feminist Economics and Public Policy

This seminar will explore advances in feminist economics and the implications for public policy in local and global communities. Drawing from feminist economics research, the seminar will address the persistence of gender inequality in societies around the world and proposed policy solutions. Topics will include gender relations and the organization of domestic and market work, violence against women, workplace and pay equality, gendered access to resources, education, and healthcare, and gender and property rights. Evaluation will be based on class participation, and short research/response papers. Non-law students must have instructor consent to enroll.


  • Spring 2021: Diana Strassmann
  • Spring 2019: Diana Strassmann

Global Human Rights Clinic

The Global Human Rights Clinic (GHRC) works to advance social and economic justice worldwide. The Clinic uses multidimensional advocacy strategies to address pressing human rights issues, including documentation and reporting, legislative and institutional reform, and litigation in domestic, regional and international tribunals. Working in project teams, students develop essential lawyering skills, including oral advocacy, fact-finding, research, legal and non-legal persuasive writing, interviewing, media advocacy, cultural competency and strategic thinking. GHRC clients and partners include United Nations agencies and other multinational organizations, NGOs and individuals across the globe, and national and local governments. Clinic projects vary from year to year. In 2020-2021, GHRC projects included litigation of a Petition on behalf of domestic workers before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; advisory support to candidates for Chile's constitutional commission on measures to advance gender equality and women's rights; publication of two reports on police lethal use of force policies in the U.S. and globally; design and delivery of trainings on strategic litigation and comparative foreign law to lawyers in Tanzania challenging inhumane prison conditions; and documentation to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Vietnam's violation of its citizens' right to freedom of expression. For more information on the Clinic's work, visit the GHRC's website: https://www.law.uchicago.edu/ghrc and Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GHRChicago. Students may enroll for up to three credits in the Clinic per quarter. New students to GHRC enrolled in the J.D. program should plan to take the Clinic for three quarters for a minimum of two credits each quarter, unless they receive faculty approval prior to registration. Continuing J.D. students and LLMs may take the Clinic for any allowable amount of credits and quarters. Participation may be considered in final grading. Recommended (not required) co-requisites: Public International Law; International Human Rights Law.


  • Spring 2022: Claudia M. Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Winter 2022: Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Autumn 2021: Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Spring 2021: Claudia M. Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Winter 2021: Claudia M. Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat
  • Autumn 2020: Claudia M. Flores and Mariana Olaizola Rosenblat

Global Inequality

Global income and wealth are highly concentrated. The richest 2% of the population own about half of the global assets. Per capita income in the United States is around $47,000 and in Europe it is around $30,500, while in India it is $3,400 and in Congo, it is $329. There are equally unsettling inequalities in longevity, health, and education. In this interdisciplinary seminar, we ask what duties nations and individuals have to address these inequalities and what are the best strategies for doing so. What role must each country play in helping itself? What is the role of international agreements and agencies, of NGOs, of political institutions, and of corporations in addressing global poverty? How do we weigh policies that emphasize growth against policies that emphasize within-country equality, health, or education? In seeking answers to these questions, the class will combine readings on the law and economics of global development with readings on the philosophy of global justice. A particular focus will be on the role that legal institutions, both domestic and international, play in discharging these duties. For, example, we might focus on how a nation with natural resources can design legal institutions to ensure they are exploited for the benefit of the citizens of the country. Students will be expected to write a paper (20-25 pages), which may qualify for substantial writing credit. Non-law students need instructor consent to enroll. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2021: Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach
  • Winter 2019: Martha C. Nussbaum and David Weisbach

Government Integrity and Transparency Seminar

The new Seminar on Government Integrity and Transparency will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the legal systems that promote government integrity and transparency through participation in a seminar and a field placement in a government oversight agency or entity. The goal of this new course offering is to familiarize students with the legal rules, policies, and procedures for ensuring the proper, transparent functioning of governmental operations. The seminar will provide students with exposure to substantive and procedural law, criminal and administrative law, ethics, litigation preparation and practice (through participation in classroom exercises built around a single public corruption matter), and hands-on experience through a field placement. Each student in the seminar will be responsible for securing a field placement and participating in a pre-screened field placement program with a governmental entity with oversight and transparency responsibilities during the Spring Quarter 2021. Through a working case study, students will have an opportunity to build investigative and reasoning skills. This class requires weekly written assignments. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021: Sharon R. Fairley

Greenberg Seminar: (Re)Building Bridges: Can Reviving & Reimagining Public Infrastructure Save America?

The traditional rationale for government spending on public infrastructure is to solve collective action problems. However, in recent years, governments have struggled to maintain existing infrastructure, much less expand it to be inclusive of new needs. Why is building infrastructure and maintaining it so difficult in the present day? Could government spending on public infrastructure be a means to facilitate collective action and to create collective identity? Can expanding and improving shared resources and public spaces give the United States a better and more unified future? Should we expand our notion of what counts as public infrastructure? In contemporary society, is access to some sorts of public infrastructure essential or even a right? How can or should equity analysis impact public infrastructure? This seminar exploring public infrastructure will raise these and other questions.

We will begin by considering what is - or should be - considered part of our shared public infrastructure. We will then examine classic examples of public infrastructure-think roadways, bridges, and water systems-and the challenge of addressing the current collapsing state of American infrastructure. Then we will move on to press the boundaries of what we consider public infrastructure-from public parks to schools to healthcare access-and to ask how our conception of public infrastructure reflects shared values about what public goods are worth providing at a societal level. We will conclude with a focus on lessons learned throughout the year-why are shared spaces and services important? What are the societal benefits of robust and reliable public infrastructure? As we deal with a tumultuous time, a public health crisis, an economic crisis, and struggles for justice, how should we change public infrastructure-in terms of both its concrete and its conceptualization-in the United States in the coming decade? We are excited to have the conversation with you.


  • Spring 2021: Robert A. Weinstock and Amy Marie Hermalik
  • Winter 2021: Robert A. Weinstock and Amy Marie Hermalik
  • Autumn 2020: Robert A. Weinstock and Amy Marie Hermalik

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

We will explore a series of works on crime, politics, policing, and race, with an emphasis on the City of Baltimore: David Simon, "Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets," Sudhir Venkatesh, "Gang Leader for a Day," Jill Loevy, "Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America," and all of "The Wire." We will focus particularly on the drug war - the economics and violence of the trade; the culture of the police bureaucracy; alternative law enforcement strategies such as informants and wiretapping; the politics of race, crime rates, and legalization; and the effects of addiction. But these works also examine the effects of declining blue-collar jobs and weakening labor unions; the effects of race, incumbency, and corruption on local politics; the challenges and failures of education and child welfare agencies; and the role of the city newspaper in self-governance. Preference is given to 3L students. Graded Pass/Fail. Spring meetings will be held on April 8 and May 6 from 7:00-9:00 PM.


  • Spring 2021: Johnathan Masur and Richard McAdams
  • Winter 2021: Johnathan Masur and Richard McAdams
  • Autumn 2020: Johnathan Masur and Richard McAdams

Greenberg Seminar: Tyrants, Big and Small

We're surrounded by 'tyrants' and complaints about ''tyranny'--in the household, among our peers, on social media, in our national government, and overseas. But what is tyranny? And why's it so bad? This Greenberg seminar takes an eclectic look at the idea of 'tyrants' in a wide array of contexts, using a varied set of texts.


  • Spring 2021: Bridget A. Fahey and Aziz Huq
  • Winter 2021: Bridget A. Fahey and Aziz Huq
  • Autumn 2020: Bridget A. Fahey and Aziz Huq

Greenberg Seminars: Race and Capitalism

This is a year long seminar. This Greenberg seminar will examine the relationship of ideas of race and American (and global) markets. We'll read historical and contemporary work on the relationship of race and capitalism. Graded Pass/Fail and is worth 1 credit which defaults to the autumn quarter.


  • Autumn 2021: Daniel Abebe and Aziz Huq

Hate Crime Law

This seminar will provide students with an overview of hate crime. The course will explore the emergence of modern hate crime laws in the United States and the legal controversies surrounding them, including in the context of contemporary social issues. We will examine the challenges of data collection and the impact of data on policy analysis. Law enforcement and hate crime prosecution will be reviewed. The course will also consider the limits of the legal system to effectively address hate crime through conventional methods and discuss alternative options. Grading will be based on class participation and a final research paper (20-25 pages).


  • Autumn 2020: Juan Carlos Linares
  • Spring 2019: Juan Carlos Linares

History and Theory of Policing in America

We will read from classic texts that influenced the way those who think and write about the police, as well as the police themselves, view the role of the police in American society. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages). To earn SRP credit, papers will be 25-35 pages and include drafts and revision. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: John Rappaport

Human Trafficking and the Link to Public Corruption

This course provides a comprehensive, practical introduction to the history and present-day reality of human trafficking both domestically and internationally. In the year of the 20th anniversary of the Palermo Protocol, the course will look back on how far individual states have come in their efforts to fulfill their obligations under the Protocol. By reviewing the challenges to criminal prosecution first, the course will explore alternative paths to eradicating this transnational human rights crime that impacts over 40 million individuals annually. Reviewing the array of supply chain laws domestically and internationally first and then exploring industry-wide practices, students will learn to examine solutions from an array of laws that reach beyond merely criminal prosecution. Recognizing that public corruption plays a significant and powerful role in aiding the crime to continue with little societal repercussions, the course will explore ways in which the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the TVPRA have mechanisms to enforce these violations that provide billions of dollars to the traffickers. Taught by federal district court judge, Hon. Virginia M. Kendall. A major paper (20-25 pages) is required.


  • Winter 2022: Virginia Kendall
  • Winter 2021: Virginia Kendall
  • Winter 2020: Virginia Kendall

Immigrants' Rights Clinic

The Immigrants' Rights Clinic provides legal representation to immigrant communities in Chicago, including individual representation of immigrants in removal proceedings, immigration-related complex federal litigation, and policy and community education projects on behalf of community-based organizations. Students will interview clients, develop claims and defenses, draft complaints, engage in motion practice and settlement discussions, appear in federal, state, and administrative courts, conduct oral arguments and trials, brief and argue appeals, and engage in media advocacy. In the policy and community education projects, students may develop and conduct community presentations, draft and advocate for legislation at the state and local levels, research and draft public policy reports, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations. Past and current projects include the first challenge to indefinite detention under the PATRIOT Act, a civil rights lawsuit alleging Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment challenges against state law enforcement involved in an arrest that led to deportation, litigation against ICE detention centers for conditions of confinement during the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges to due process in removal proceedings, representation of asylum seekers and human trafficking victims, and publication of the first guide to the immigration consequences of criminal convictions for criminal defense attorneys in Illinois. The seminar will meet for two hours per week and will include classes on the fundamentals of immigration law and policy as well as skills-based classes that connect to the students' fieldwork. Both 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply. Students must enroll for either 2 or 3 credits each quarter and must enroll for all three quarters. Students will be evaluated on the fieldwork portion of course on the basis of whether they: • Fulfill professional obligations to clients • Work diligently and zealously towards accomplishing the clients' goals • Collaborate with team members and supervisor effectively • Show willingness to learn new skills and confront new legal problems • Show improvement in legal writing, oral advocacy, and other lawyering skills • Willingly incorporate feedback into your work • Use reflection to learn from clinic experiences • Display responsibility, collegiality, and professionalism • Meet internal and external deadlines • Attend class prepared to discuss readings and regularly participate in classroom discussions • Practice excellent file management and time-keeping.


  • Spring 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2022: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Autumn 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2021: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Autumn 2020: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2020: A. Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2020: A. Nicole Hallett

International Human Rights

This course is an introduction to international human rights law, covering the major instruments and institutions that operate on the international plane. It includes discussion of the conceptual underpinnings of human rights, the structure of the United Nations System, the major international treaties, regional human rights machinery, and the interplay of national and international systems in enforcing human rights. There are no prerequisites. Grading will be on the basis of a take-home exam at the end of the quarter. Students who wish to write, in lieu of the exam, a paper sufficient to satisfy the substantial writing requirement, may do so upon approval of the topic in advance. This course now has a waitlist, email registrar@law.uchicago to get added to the waitlist.


  • Winter 2022: Tom Ginsburg

International Humanitarian Law

This course is an introduction to international humanitarian law (IHL), otherwise known as the law of armed conflict. It will cover cover sources of IHL, including: the Hague and Geneva treaty regimes; jurisprudence of international and national courts; national legislation, especially in the United States; and the practice of both state militaries and non-state actors. The course will explore three fundamental tensions that structure recurring debates in IHL: between humanitarianism and war; between state and non-state forms of organized violence; and between the formal equality of sovereign states and the realities of an unequal international system. A series of research papers (20-25 pages) is required. Participation may be considered in final grading. Public International Law and International Human Rights Law are recommended, but not required.


  • Winter 2021: Darryl Li
  • Winter 2019: Darryl Li

Islamic Law: Foundations and Contemporary Issues

Since its inception, Islamic Law has grown from a set of rules governing life in 6th century Arabia to a global body of law developed across time and place with application to religious, civil, criminal, constitutional, commercial, and international law. The primary objective of the seminar will be to give students a basic understanding of Islamic Law and the issues faced in applying Islamic Law in the modern context, including current political and social events globally that have roots in Islamic Law issues. The seminar will cover the origins and historical development of Islamic Law, Islamic legal theory, scope and application of Islamic Law, and selected current issues such as Islamic Finance. Modern constitutional law issues regarding sources of law, religious freedom, public interest, and related issues in Muslim majority countries will be reviewed as well as the debates around the application of Islamic Law for Muslim minorities living in secular states. This is a one semester seminar for 2L and 3L students. There are no pre-requisite courses required in Islam. Weekly readings will be assigned in English language source materials. A series of research papers is required (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.The seminar will draw on the lecturer's extensive personal experience with the subject matter and knowledge of the legal systems of Muslim majority states such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia, and elsewhere. Professor Kamran Bajwa studied classical Islamic Law and Islamic Theology at the Al-Azhar seminary in Cairo, Egypt. Professor Bajwa currently heads the Middle East regional practice for Kirkland & Ellis and travels regularly to the region.


  • Autumn 2020: Kamran Bajwa
  • Autumn 2019: Kamran Bajwa
  • Autumn 2018: Kamran Bajwa
  • Autumn 2017: Kamran Bajwa

Jurisprudence II: Problems in General Jurisprudence

The class builds on topics first touched upon in Jurisprudence I, probing more deeply into the philosophical and jurisprudential issues; the class will be more philosophically demanding than Jurisprudence I. After a review of the Hart-Dworkin debate, we will consider the semantics underlying Hart's theory of the "open texture" of language as a source of legal indeterminacy, and a competing view of meaning that might eliminate indeterminacy. We then turn to the general problem of the normativity of law, before an extended investigation of Dworkin's jurisprudence, with particular attention to his different conception of jurisprudential methodology, and his treatment of questions about the objectivity of law (and morals) and the problem of theoretical disagreements. We will look at criticisms of Dworkin's views, including venturing into issues in metaethics, as well as alternative approaches to the problem of theoretical disagreements (esp. the Toh-Leiter debate). We briefly consider one other, contemporary anti-positivist approach to law that involves striking methodological assumptions. We conclude by examining the most famous work of Scandinavian Realism (Alf Ross's On Law and Justice), whose approach to the problem of the nature of law differs from Hart's and Dworkin's. Students who have not taken Jurisprudence I at the Law School must seek instructor permission to enroll (please supply detailed information about prior study of legal philosophy). This class has a final exam or students may choose to write a major paper (20-25 pages). Students who have already take Jurisprudence I can email the registrar's office at registrar@law.uchicago.edu to be enrolled.


  • Spring 2022: Brian Leiter

Law and Public Policy: Case Studies in Problem Solving

This course examines the intersection of law and public policy and the lawyer's role in helping to formulate and defend public policy choices, using recent, real-world problems based, in part, on the instructor's experience as former Corporation Counsel and senior legal advisor to the Mayor of the City of Chicago. While the course will be conducted in a seminar/discussion format, a significant portion of each class will be devoted to hands-on role-playing in which students will play the role of legal advisors to an elected official, grappling with and proposing solutions to vexing issues of public policy. While this course may be of particular interest to students who are interested in public service and public policy-making, its emphasis on developing students' analytical and problem-solving skills and on providing hands-on, practical experience in advising clients on complex issues should be of benefit to any student, regardless of interests and career objectives. Providing legal analysis and advice and counseling clients are a critical part of almost every legal career, whether as a litigator or transactional lawyer in a private firm or as in-house counsel for a corporation or not-for-profit. Assigned reading will include press articles, proposed legislation, briefs and pleadings, and other materials concerning the case studies/public policy issues that will be examined. Students will be expected to identify and analyze legal issues, competing legal and policy interests, and possible policy alternatives, and advise their ""client"" accordingly. Grades will be based on class participation and performance in role-playing exercises and short (5 page) reaction papers concerning three of the case studies that will be examined.


  • Autumn 2021: Stephen R Patton
  • Autumn 2020: Stephen R Patton
  • Autumn 2019: Stephen R. Patton
  • Autumn 2018: Stephen R. Patton

Law and Social Movements

Movements for social justice have always struggled with law as both a bulwark against change as well as a potential tool for reform or even emancipation. This course explores the complex relationship between social justice movements and law, mostly in the U.S. context. Key themes will include (1) how social movement pressures have shaped doctrinal developments across many areas of law, often in underappreciated ways; (2) debates over the role of litigation and legislation in social movement strategy, as well as civil disobedience and other forms of defying legal authority; (3) the role of lawyers in social movements and questions of leadership and accountability, including common dilemmas in lawyering practice. Case studies will be both historical (e.g., Progressive Era, Civil Rights Movement) and contemporary (e.g., Occupy, Movement for Black Lives). Attention will also be paid to parallels and differences with conservative and right-wing legal movements. Grading will be based on weekly discussion questions, class participation, and a final research paper on a topic of the student's choice (20-25 pages).


  • Winter 2022: Darryl Li

Law and Society

This seminar offers an introduction to the central themes and major debates in the field of Law and Society. The field of sociolegal studies is an interdisciplinary one, and reflecting this, the course will emphasize research in sociology, political science, psychology, anthropology, and legal studies. We will explore classic readings from the Law and Society canon as well as more contemporary research and theory. We will analyze the readings for both their theoretical and empirical contributions, as well as for the methodologies the authors deploy. The themes we will consider over the course of the quarter include the tension between state or "official" law and nonlegal norms for ordering everyday life; the factors that influence who mobilizes the law (and who doesn't); and what it means to use law in contexts other than courtrooms, such as in families, neighborhoods, workplaces, social movements, and mass media. We will explore the debate about the value of rights and litigation strategies in efforts to produce social change, and we'll examine the ubiquitous role of law in popular culture. The course will conclude with a look forward at future directions in law and society research. Final grade will be based on a 20-25 page major paper.


  • Autumn 2020: Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2019: Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2018: Anna-Maria Marshall
  • Autumn 2017: Anna-Maria Marshall

The Law of Police

This course will comprehensively survey the law governing police in the United States, beyond what is already extensively covered in Criminal Procedure I: The Investigative Process (so a student may take both courses). Topics include state and local law creating and empowering public and private police; class action lawsuits to challenge stop and frisk policies under the Fourth Amendment; class action lawsuits to challenge racial profiling under the Equal Protection Clause, especially regarding car stops; Fourth Amendment and state statutory law on police use of deadly force and local use-of-force policies; collective bargaining law regarding arbitration of police discipline and use-of-force policies; the First Amendment and statutory law of policing public protests; section 1983 lawsuits against the police and qualified immunity; federal and state law for prosecuting the police; the law of injunctive relief against police; and the policy choice between reform and abolition. The grade is based on a final examination.


  • Winter 2022: Richard McAdams
  • Spring 2021: Richard McAdams

The Law, Politics, and Policy of Policing

In the wake of several highly publicized incidents of police brutality, the American public is engaged in substantive debate over modern policing strategies and tactics and how best to achieve public safety while respecting the rights and dignity of all citizens. This course will provide an overview of the public safety challenges facing large, urban police organizations. With the legal framework as a foundation, students will discuss the policy and political considerations relevant to key policing strategies. Starting with readings that provide the historical perspective on policing, each week will focus on a distinct policing strategy or policy challenge, including topics such as crisis intervention, national security, and gun violence. Some classes may include invited guest speakers. Students can do an exam and a 10-12 page paper to earn 3 credits, or they can do exam only for 2 credits, or major paper for 3 credits with possible SRP credit. Participation may be considered in final grading. Criminal Procedure is suggested as a pre-requisite, but not required.


  • Autumn 2021: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2020: Sharon R. Fairley
  • Autumn 2019: Sharon R. Fairley

Law, Society and Human Rights in Afghanistan

This seminar will study the intersection between law, society and human rights in contemporary Afghanistan. It will begin with an introductory overview of Afghanistan's cultural landscape, ethno-religious diversity and modern history. Attention will then turn to tracing the genesis of the Afghan state, beginning with the emergence of modern Afghanistan in 1747, the stages of legal reform in the 1900s, and the trajectory of human rights developments. The seminar will spend a substantial amount of time on matters of current concerns, including the Taliban's first spell in power in the 1990s, legal developments over the past two decades (2001-2021), advances in human rights - particularly women's rights - and the legacies that these developments have left behind. Finally, the seminar will study the Taliban's recent return to power and how they approach the issues of law, society and human rights. Particular attention will be given to the Taliban's policies in human rights related matters and to discussing challenges that the Taliban may face as they try to impose these policies in a transformed Afghan society. The class will be of particular interest to students interested in Islamic law, development law, human rights law and comparative law. This class requires a series of reaction papers. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Shamshad Pasarlay

Legal Spanish: Public Interest Law in the US

This course brings students to high-intermediate levels in reading, speaking, and listening, for the practice of public interest law in the US. Learners will build proficiency around relevant topic areas so that they can read, listen, explain, present and solicit information related to rights, procedures, legal actions, etc. Pre-requisite: one year of university-level Spanish or equivalent. Optional proficiency test through the University of Chicago Office of Language Assessment offered at the end of the course that yields a certificate and a proficiency rating on student transcripts. Since this is a class offered by the college, it begins the week of March 28.


  • Spring 2022: Darcy Lear
  • Spring 2021: Darcy Lear


This seminar examines the treatment of gender, sexual orientation and related questions of sexuality and identity in the U.S. legal system. The course emphasizes constitutional jurisprudence and theory with a particular focus on the First Amendment and the equal protection and due process guarantees, and statutory antidiscrimination provisions. Topics covered include marriage rights, student speech, the definition of sex under the equal protection guarantee and statutory antidiscrimination provisions, the rights of students to access sex segregated facilities, public and private workplace concerns, rights of intimate and expressive association, and asserted conflicts between religious liberty, free speech rights, and nondiscrimination principles. This class requires a major paper. Participation may be considered in final grading. The first-class session will be held via Zoom, but all other sessions are in-person.


  • Winter 2022: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2021: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2020: Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2019: Camilla Taylor

Life (and Death) in the Law

This seminar will explore the various definitions and valuations of life across diverse areas of the law. Readings will include seminal cases in reproductive rights, assisted suicide, right-to-die, and capital punishment. Background readings in related areas, i.e., scientific journals, papers, etc. will also be required. The seminar will discuss policy decision-making including actuarial analysis and social, medical and religious values inherent, implicit or ignored in the legal analysis. Students will be required to write three response papers, co-draft a statute in one area of law, and participate in jury deliberations. Grade will also be based on class participation.


  • Spring 2022: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2021: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2020: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2019: Herschella Conyers
  • Spring 2018: Herschella Conyers

Mass Incarceration and Reform

Mass Incarceration and Reform surveys 21st Century movements to achieve criminal reform, with a focus on efforts to reduce racial discrimination and disparities. We will examine state and federal reform movements in the arenas of bail, sentencing, jury selection, discovery, and exculpatory evidence, among others. Our focus will be doctrinal rather than policy-based, emphasizing the legal, constitutional, and legislative underpinnings of these reform efforts. This seminar will highlight the racial equity concerns that animated many of these reform efforts and familiarize students with key constitutional provisions that have served as bulwarks for criminal reform movements. More broadly, this seminar will provide concrete ideas for how lawyers can engage in movement reform and systemic change. Although we'll focus on reform in the criminal legal system, our discussions will provide tools for those interested in reform in other contexts as well. We will look at criminal reform through a uniquely practical lens, talking through strategic mechanisms that advocates use to transform the law, including systemic impact litigation, legislative advocacy, and court-watching. We will investigate the evolution of each law reform, for example, watching how battle-lines were drawn and redrawn by courts during the federal sentencing revolution that began in 2005. We will also discuss the next frontiers for reform. There are no prerequisites. Grading will be based on a combination of class participation and an exam (8 hour take-home), or class participation and a major paper. Students who only take the exam will earn 2 credits. Students wishing to earn 3 credits will write a major paper on a topic of their choosing, with the option of writing a judicial opinion or a legislative proposal enacting a new criminal reform.


  • Spring 2022: Alison Siegler

The New Abolitionists

This seminar will discuss the current movement to abolish police, prisons, and the prison industrial complex more broadly. We will read the work of academics and activists like Mariame Kaba, Allegra M. McLeod, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Angela Davis, and others, who are writing within and about this movement. We will read these works with an eye toward the answers to four broad questions: What is abolition? Why is abolition necessary? How will abolition come about? What does a post-abolition world look like? In seeking answers to these questions, the seminar will consider what role law has to play in either advancing or hindering this modern abolitionist movement.This class requires a series of research papers (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2022: Adam Davidson

Philosophy of Natural Law and Natural Right

The seminar will offer a comparative approach to four classic positions on natural law and natural right: Aquinas, Hobbes, Rousseau, and Kant. Our work is chiefly that of reading and seminar conversation. At the end of the term, we will consider a few post-1945 international human right documents and render a verdict on the relevance of our classic thinkers. On that verdict, there will be a written exercise in fashion of Oxford gobbets. This class has a final take-home exam.


  • Autumn 2020: F. Russell Hittinger

Poverty and Housing Law Clinic

This clinic, conducted over two sequential quarters, exposes students to the practice of poverty law by giving them the opportunity to work on housing cases at Legal Aid Chicago, the Midwest's largest provider of free civil legal services to people who are living in poverty or otherwise vulnerable. Students may be be asked to attend administrative grievance hearings, represent tenants facing unwarranted evictions, and prevent landlords from performing lockouts or refusing to make necessary repairs. All students will be expected to interview clients, prepare written discovery, conduct research, and draft motions. In addition to working 12 hours a week at LAF, students will attend a weekly two-hour class to learn about subsidized housing programs, eviction actions, housing discrimination, representing tenants with disabilities, the intersection between domestic violence and housing, and the extensive and often misunderstood connection between criminal law and housing.


  • Spring 2022: Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2022: Lawrence Wood
  • Spring 2021: Lawrence Wood

Privacy and Modern Policing

Law enforcement in modern criminal investigations uses sophisticated tools to obtain voluminous, often private, information. These tools can include forensic searches of phones and social media accounts; stingrays; precise location information obtained from phones and social media accounts; wiretaps of phone and social media accounts; and network intrusions/hacking. This course will explore the challenges of trying to regulate these cutting-edge methods. Students will become familiar with the tools used, their benefits to law enforcement, and their privacy challenges. We will evaluate the costs and benefits of different approaches to regulating law enforcement's use of these tools-not only to privacy and to law enforcement capabilities but also with respect to separation of powers and other institutional concerns. Students will prepare several short papers, each about 4-5 pages in length, that will require some outside research. Participation will be considered in the final grading.


  • Autumn 2021: Vikas Didwania

Public Corruption and the Law

This seminar will focus on how governments use the law to prevent and catch public corruption, how the law is sometimes used to protect public corruption, and how one should determine the optimal response to corruption and its consequences. We will examine the substantive criminal laws and sentencing schemes used in the best public corruption prosecutions, ranging from RICO and "honest services" fraud to bribery and extortion laws. We will also examine the laws that create, authorize, or prevent the most effective investigative tools used by law enforcement against public corruption, including wiretap laws and related privacy issues. We will study several key topics within public corruption law, including patronage, its effect on democratic institutions, and its status under the First Amendment; campaign finance reform and whether money in campaigns is protected speech or a corrupting influence (or both); and the relationship between transparency, online access to information, and corruption. We will also consider an economic analysis of public corruption, including questions about whether the level of democracy, and the pervasiveness of corruption in the culture, affect the cost-benefit analysis.

Constitutional Law I and II are recommended pre-requisites. Students taking the class for 3 credits write one short reaction paper (or short research paper if appropriate), and one major paper. Those taking it for 2 credits write several short reaction papers.


  • Winter 2022: David H. Hoffman
  • Winter 2020: David H. Hoffman

Race and Criminal Justice Policy

This class will examine issues of criminal justice policy with a lens focused on the problem of racial disparity. We will assess disparities in the application of the law as well as the racially disparate effects of criminal justice-related practices, and we will consider why those practices exist and whether there are viable alternatives to them, taking into account a variety of perspectives. Specific topics will touch on a variety of stages of the criminal justice process, including policing, bail decisions, prosecution and plea-bargaining, sentencing, corrections, parole, and reentry. Students need not have prior training other than introductory Criminal Law. This class has a final exam.


  • Spring 2022: Sonja Starr
  • Spring 2021: Sonja Starr

Racism, Law, and Social Sciences

The domains of racism, law, and the social sciences impact one another in myriad ways. At times, a system of racism is deployed through law, which in turn shapes questions asked in the social sciences. In other instances, the sciences articulate conceptual frameworks that lead to the creation of new forms of racism within society and law. Particular systems of racism have operated across a spectrum from incidents of overt violence to the daily impacts of implicit biases. Our readings and class discussions will consider a sample of case studies from across the globe in addition to past and present dynamics in the United States. Analyses of the social construction of racial and ethnic identities have facilitated studies of the ways in which social differences are created, maintained, and masked. Subjects to be addressed in this course include the interrelation of racial ideologies with other cultural and social dimensions, such as class, ethnicity, gender, political and legal structures, and economic influences. At an international scale, policy makers confront the challenge of balancing calls for multicultural tolerance with demands for fundamental human rights. We will also consider the related histories of biological, genetic, and epigenetic concepts of different races within the human species. This seminar includes a major writing project in the form of a seminar paper (20-25 pages).


  • Winter 2022: Christopher Fennell
  • Winter 2021: Christopher Fennell
  • Spring 2020: Christopher Fennell
  • Spring 2019: Christopher Fennell
  • Spring 2018: Christopher Fennell

Regulating the Mass Public Sphere

As the events of the last few months have made clear, there are serious problems with how the mass public sphere operates in the United States. Lies, conspiracy theories and disinformation circulate widely. Threats and harassment make it difficult for many (particularly women and minorities) to participate freely. Meanwhile the lowering of barriers to entry has encouraged a fracturing of the public conversation. This seminar will explore the extent to which these problems result from and/or might be solved by, regulation. To do so, it will take a deep dive into the regulatory history of the mass public. The seminar will examine the history of federal postal policy, telegraph common carrier laws, twentieth century radio regulation (including the Fairness Doctrine) and the internet platforms. It will also ask students to critically examine some of the reform proposals that have been suggested to correct the problems with the mass public. Knowledge of First Amendment law is recommended but not required. Grades will be based on class participation and a final research paper.


  • Spring 2021: Genevieve Lakier

Regulation of Sexuality

This course explores the many ways in which the legal system regulates sexuality, sexual identity, and gender and considers such regulation in a number of substantive areas as well as the limits on placed on such regulation by constitutional guarantees including free speech, equal protection, and due process. Readings include cases and articles from the legal literature together with work by scholars in other fields. The grade is based on a substantial paper or a series of short papers, with class participation taken into account.


  • Spring 2022: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2021: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2020: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018: Mary Anne Case

Religion, State and Multiculturalism

Religious minorities are seeking accommodations in a variety of forms: exemptions (kosher and halal regulations); recognition (representation quotas); assistance (subsidies, museums); self-government (schools, religious courts, territorial sovereignty) and more. Drawing on the rich experience of countries where such accommodations were granted, the course will inquire into the legitimacy and problems associated with such accommodations. In doing so, the course will draw on modern theories of multiculturalism and religion and state designs. Principal topics will include: Liberal multiculturalism, theory and practice; Group accommodations in a democracy; A survey of religious groups and illiberal practices; Traditional schemes of religious accommodations, with special reference to the Ottoman millet system; The reality of religious accommodations in Western democracies (United States, Canada, France, United Kingdom, Germany); The reality of religious accommodations in the Middle East, with special reference to Israel; the problem of minorities within minorities; essentialism, secularism in divided communities and reform movements. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages).


  • Spring 2022: Michael Karayanni

Responses of Law and Legal Institutions to the Impacts of Racial Segregation in Chicago

Chicago is among the most racially segregated major cities in America and also has one of the greatest disparities in poverty rate by race. Racial segregation in Chicago is the product of governmental policies & socio-economic trends. Such segregation has in turn given rise to many social justice issues that impact Chicago communities.

This three-credit seminar is designed to examine social and legal problems in Chicago that are connected to racial segregation in the city. In doing so, the seminar will provide an opportunity to evaluate how different areas of law interact with and effect a complex web of social problems. This seminar will meet once a week, for two hours.

The introductory sessions will provide an overview of the historic drivers of racial segregation in Chicago, key contemporary racial, socio-economic, administrative and political dynamics in the City. Each subsequent session will be led by a different faculty member or external expert and focused on exploring the ways key laws, policies, and legal institutions within a particular area of law create or exacerbate social ills related to racial segregation. Sessions in prior years have focused on criminal law, policing, environmental justice, human rights, corporate law, education, & housing. Each session will present a tailored mix of legal doctrine, interdisciplinary insights, & practical perspectives on the way law and legal institutions redress or reinforce a particular social challenge in contemporary Chicago. Some sessions will feature guest speakers to convey the real-world effect of legal institutions on a community.

Students will be assessed in the following ways: 1) weekly reactions to the readings in advance of the week's seminar; 2) a final research paper (20-25 pages); and 3) class participation.


  • Winter 2022: Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2021: Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2020: Robert A. Weinstock, Nino Guruli, and Amy Marie Hermalik

Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender

This workshop exposes students to recent academic work in the regulation of family, sex, gender, and sexuality and in feminist theory. Workshop sessions are devoted to the presentation and discussion of papers from outside speakers and University faculty. The substance and methodological orientation of the papers will both be diverse.Students have the option of writing a major research paper for SRP or WP credit or short reaction papers commenting on the works-in-progress presented.


  • Spring 2022: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2021: Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2021: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2020: Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2020: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019: Mary Anne Case
  • Autumn 2018: Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018: Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2018: Mary Anne Case