Family Law, Property Rights, Torts, and Insurance Courses

Professor Mary Anne Case

The courses listed below provide a taste of the Administrative Law courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.

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

Abrams Environmental Law Clinic

Spring 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock

Students in the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic work to address climate change, water pollution and legacy contamination and to protect natural resources and human health. Clinic students engage in a wide variety of activities to learn practical legal skills, such as conducting factual investigations, interviewing witnesses and preparing affidavits, reviewing administrative determinations, drafting motions, working with experts, arguing motions and presenting at trial or an administrative hearing, among other activities. The Clinic generally represents regional and national environmental organizations and works with co-counsel, thus exposing students to the staff of these organizations and other experienced environmental lawyers. In addition to litigation, the Clinic may also engage in legislative reform and rule-making efforts; students interested solely in that kind of work should notify the instructor before joining the Clinic, if possible. While it helps for students to have taken or be taking one or more of Environmental Law, Administrative Law, Evidence, or Intensive Trial Practice, these courses are not pre-requisites or co-requisites. A student should plan to enroll in the Clinic for two credits per quarter, although he or she may enroll for one, two or three credits per quarter after consultation with clinic faculty. Students need to take a substantive environmental law class at some point when they are in the clinic. They are not precluded from taking the class if they have not yet taken Environmental Law when they enroll in the clinic and are not able to do so their first quarter due to when courses are offered. Nonetheless, students do need to take an environmental law class (any of the main stand-up class, climate change, or international environmental law) at some point when they are in the clinic.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2017, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Spring 2017, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Autumn 2017, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock

Advanced Contracts: Sales Law for A Modern Economy

Spring 2017, Lisa Bernstein

This class is an advanced contracts class that focuses on Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. It presents the material from a hybrid jurisprudential, transactional and litigation perspective in an effort to help students integrate what they have learned about contracts in theory, into the types of tasks that they will face as a transactional lawyer. For (almost) every class students will prepare a written exercise (about 2-4 pages) applying the material in the reading, these range from writing letters to clients, to lecturing the loading dock staff of a company, to researching the content of industry norms, to drafting contract clauses to deal with particular transactional realities. During the quarter students will do a mock appellate argument, a negotiation, and will draft a sales agreement. There is no exam. Written assignments and the final contract will count for 60% of the grade, the other 40% will be based on class preparation and participation.

American Indian Law

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

This course will consider two distinct bodies of law regarding the 565 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States. First, we will study the law governing the relation between non-tribal law and tribal law. This is the law of treaties, federal jurisdiction, and sovereignty. The Supreme Court has several cases on tribal issues each year, and with the rise of gaming and natural resources as major sources of wealth, the stakes in these cases for tribe members and non-members is increasing. The materials for the course will be mostly Supreme Court cases, as well as some historical materials necessary to understand the context of the judicial consideration of tribal jurisdiction. The flavor for this part of the course will be international law, although with a decidedly American approach. Second, we will study the law within several prominent tribal areas. The Hopi, for instance, have a court system that is roughly parallel to the American one, but with key differences for handling crimes, contracts, torts, and so on. The flavor for this part of the course will be comparative law, since we will compare how different legal rules develop in distinct but related legal systems. This course is mandatory for students interested in participating in the Hopi Law Practicum (serving as clerks to justices of the Hopi Appellate Court on live cases), but it is open to all students with an interest in tribes, federal jurisdiction, sovereignty, or comparative law.

Animal Law

Autumn 2016, Vincenzo Field

This seminar will explore the treatment of animals in the law. We will cover several areas of the law as they intersect with animal rights and animal welfare issues, including first amendment/constitutional law, criminal law, administrative law, torts, contracts, and consumer protection law. Topics will include: factory farming practices; religious exemptions to animal protection laws; standing and other challenges to litigating on behalf of animals; and evolving theories of economic valuation of animals. Conducted in a discussion format centered around weekly reading assignments, the course will allow students to explore the latest cases, legislation, and legal theories developing in animal law. All perspectives are both welcome and open to critique. Students will be asked to form teams and lead the discussion for a selected week's readings, and to submit a final research paper.

Art Law

Autumn 2017, Anthony Hirschel and William Landes

This seminar examines legal issues in the visual arts including artist's rights and copyright, government regulation of the art market, valuation problems related to authentication and artist estates, disputes over the ownership of art, illicit international trade of art, government funding of museums and artists, and First Amendment issues as they relate to museums and artists. Final grade will be based on: a series of short research papers and class participation.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Anthony Hirschel and William Landes

Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking

Winter 2017, Virginia Kendall

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

Children and the Law: The Restatement Process

Spring 2017, Emily Buss

This seminar combines an introduction to the substantive law of children's rights, and an introduction to the process through which the American Law Institute Restatements are produced. Professor Buss serves as one of the Reporters on the ALI's new Restatement of Children and the Law, and work for this course offers students an opportunity to contribute to that drafting and advising process. After the first few sessions, in which students will gain basic grounding in children's rights and the Restatement process, students will prepare and present draft Restatement portions focused on a topic of their choice, to be discussed and reviewed by their classmates, who will serve in the ALI adviser's role. Possible topics include school speech, search and seizures in schools and elsewhere, rights and limits of religious observance in schools, gender identity rights, rights to access medical and reproductive care, among others. After the seminar concludes, students will submit a final, revised Restatement portion (black letter law, comments, and reporter's notes), which will qualify for SRP credit. Prior enrollment in Con Law VII (Parent, Child & State) or The Constitution Goes to School does not preclude enrollment in this seminar, as student work in the seminar will focus on a specific topic and general discussion will focus on the Restatement process and the particular questions pressed in that context.

The Constitution Goes to School

Spring 2018, Justin Driver

This course will examine how the Supreme Court's constitutional opinions have both shaped and misshaped the nation's public schools. In 1969, the Supreme Court famously declared that students do not "shed their constitutional rights when they enter the schoolhouse gate." Not surprisingly, though, Supreme Court Justices both before and since have bitterly contested the precise scope of students' constitutional rights in the elementary and secondary school contexts. Some Justices, moreover, have concluded that it is typically unwise for the judiciary to enter the educational realm, lest the Supreme Court turn into a schoolboard for the entire nation. Even if such fears are overblown, however, there can be no doubt that the Court's constitutional interpretations have had significant consequences for schools charged with transforming students into citizens. Constitutional topics will include: freedom of speech, establishment of religion, free exercise of religion, searches and seizures, cruel and unusual punishment, due process, and equal protection. Educational topics will include: homeschooling, zero tolerance policies, corporal punishment, school funding, school uniforms, racial desegregation, strip searches, single-sex schools, off campus speech, drug testing, unauthorized immigration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and book banning. There are no prerequisites for enrollment. The student's grade is based on a take-home final examination and class participation. This class is open to non-law students.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, Justin Driver

Constitutional Law VII: Parent, Child, and State

Spring 2018, Emily Buss

This course considers the role that constitutional law plays in shaping children's development. Among the topics discussed are children's and parent's rights of expression and religious exercise; 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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, Emily Buss

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

Winter 2018, Emily Buss

In this seminar, a small number of law students will collaborate with Professor Buss in teaching a course to high school students from the Woodlawn Charter School (and also possible from the Laboratory Schools) on students' constitutional rights in school. Each class will focus on a different case and related doctrine, and will engage the high school students in a discussion of a scenario that asks them to apply the doctrine to new facts. Topics will include student speech and religious exercise, drug testing and locker searches, procedural rights in the context of disciplinary actions, and race and gender discrimination, among others. Before each class students will read an edited version of a Supreme Court case and will prepare to discuss a case study. After each class the high school students will write a brief reflection piece. Each law student will be paired with two high school students, and will interact with those students in and out of class. Law students will check in with the high school students to assist with class preparation, and will review and comment on the students' reflection pieces. During class, law students will help facilitate the small group discussions. Law students will also submit brief weekly reports of their students' class participation and their out-of-class interactions. At some point in or after the quarter (the timing will be at the law students' discretion, within the time frame permitted under the school's paper policy), Law Student's will write a paper that discusses one of the topics we have covered, and that particularly draws on the high school students' perspective, shared in and out of class, to develop a theme relevant to the doctrine in question. Students interested in applying for this class should send a note of interest to Professor Buss ebussdos@uchicago.edu by October 6, 2017.

Divorce Practice and Procedure

Autumn 2017, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh

This is a simulation class providing exposure to the dynamic process of representing clients in dissolutions of marriage and issues related to them. The class will make you aware of the complexities arising whenever the ever changing family unit becomes divided. Topics are covered through an evolving case with you as a practicing lawyer. Issues include interstate and international parental kidnapping, determination of jurisdiction, domestic violence, restraining orders and injunctions, temporary and permanent parenting rights and responsibilities (custody and visitation), temporary and permanent maintenance (alimony), child support, the characterization of property and division of assets and liabilities, premarital and postmarital agreements, ethical issues, federal tax law affecting divorce and the effects of bankruptcy. The class will also discuss same-sex marriage, civil unions and issues unique to LGBTQ relationships. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and argue issues not only with instructors, but also with sitting Illinois Domestic Relations Court Judges, who will interact with the class. Readings will be drawn from case law, statutes, and Court approved forms used in contested proceedings. Two-thirds of a student's grade is based on preparation for and class participation, and one-third on an open book final exam comprised of essay questions.

Employee Benefits Law

Autumn 2017, Charles Wolf

This seminar will provide an introduction to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other federal statutes regulating employee benefit plans in the private sector. The course will cover many types of plans, including defined benefit pension plans, individual account retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans), medical plans, other welfare benefit plans and executive compensation programs. It will provide a basic understanding of fiduciary standards governing plan administration and the investment of plan assets; minimum standards for benefits and funding; benefit claim dispute resolution procedures and standards of judicial review; federal preemption of state laws; and key issues which arise in ERISA litigation. The course is intended for students interested in a broader labor and employment practice; a mergers and acquisitions or general corporate practice; or a civil litigation practice. Although our primary mission will be to prepare students for the practice of law, we also will explore whether the law governing employee benefit plans is operating effectively and in accordance with its stated purposes. Students will be graded on class participation and on a series of short reaction and research papers. There are no prerequisites required for this seminar.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Charles Wolf

Employment Discrimination Law

Autumn 2017, James Whitehead

This course deals with the problem of discrimination in the American workplace and the federal and state statutes that have been enacted to prohibit it. Primary focus will be on the major federal equal employment opportunity statutes (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act), the types of claims that are brought under these laws (disparate treatment, disparate impact, mixed motives, and retaliation claims), and the varying burdens of proof/persuasion, procedural prerequisites, and remedies provided by these statutes, along with current proposals for legislative change. Enrollment will be limited to 20 students. The student's grade will be based on class participation and a final examination.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Jessica Clarke

Employment Law Clinic

Spring 2018, Randall Schmidt

Randall D. Schmidt and his students operate the Clinic's Employment Law Clinic. The Clinic focuses primarily on pre-trial litigation and handles a number of individual cases and class actions. In individual cases, the Clinic represents clients in cases before the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Human Rights Commission and seeks to obtain relief for clients from race, sex, national origin, and handicap discrimination in the work place. In the class actions, the Clinic represents groups of employees in employment and civil rights actions in federal court. Additionally, in its individual cases and law reform/impact cases, the Clinic seeks to improve the procedures and remedies available to victims of employment discrimination so that employees have a fair opportunity to present their claims in a reasonably expeditious way. To accomplish this goal, the Clinic is active in the legislative arena and participates with other civil rights groups in efforts to amend and improve state and federal laws. It is suggested, but not required, that all students in the Employment Law Clinic take the Employment Discrimination Law seminar. It is recommended that third-year students take, prior to their third year, either the Intensive Trial Practice Workshop or some other trial practice course. The student's grade is based on class participation. Academic credit varies and will be awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses as described in the Law School Announcements and by the approval of the clinical faculty. Evidence is a prerequisite for 3L's in the clinic. The Intensive Trial Practice Workshop (or an equivalent trial practice course) is recommended for 3L's in the clinic.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2017, Randall Schmidt
  • Spring 2017, Randall Schmidt
  • Autumn 2017, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2018, Randall Schmidt

Environmental Law

Autumn 2017, Karen Marie Bradshaw

This course surveys the legal landscape of environmental protection in the United States. It focuses cases interpreting the major federal environmental statutes, including the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and Clean Air Act. The course also incorporates economic, scientific, and ethical considerations, with an emphasis on how conflicts are resolved among competing stakeholders within shared policy space.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Michael Livermore

Fair Housing 

Winter 2018, Lee Fennell

This seminar will focus on the law and policy of fair housing, broadly construed. Significant 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 dynamics of segregation and concentrated poverty will be examined, as well as the effects of zoning and other land use controls. Additional topics may include urban squatting, rent control, gentrification, subprime lending, the siting of locally undesirable land uses, and the use of eminent domain in "blighted" areas. The student's grade will be based on class participation and a series of short papers. Students may not take this course pass/fail.

Family Law

Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case

This course will examine the state's role in recognizing and regulating personal relationships between adults and between adults and children. Throughout the quarter we will explore assumptions about family that underlie existing legal regulation, including assumptions embodied in constitutional law. The grade is based on a substantial paper, series of short papers, or final examination, with class participation taken into account. Paper writers require permission of the instructor; ADDITIONAL explicit instructor consent required for paper to be considered for SRP certification.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, Mary Anne Case

Gender-Based Violence

Autumn 2016, Neha Lall

Arrest and criminal prosecution is only one of many potential legal responses to gender-based violence. This course will focus on domestic and sexual violence and the ways in which survivors are affected by the complex intersection of poverty, legal systems, and social service responses. The course will explore the civil legal remedies available to survivors under federal and state laws, including the Violence Against Women Act, as well as the multiple ways survivors are impacted by family law systems and other laws that affect their economic and social stability. Specifically, students will study immigration remedies, housing protections, education complaint procedures, and employment rights available to survivors. Students will assess the effectiveness of these tools through case studies. The students will be evaluated based on class participation and will have the choice of a take-home final exam (for 2 credits) or, with instructor approval, a major final research paper (for 3 credits).

Global Inequality

Winter 2017, Martha Nussbaum and David Weisbach

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, which may qualify for substantial writing credit. Non-law students need instructor consent to enroll.

Greenberg Seminar: Blood, Books, and Guns: Crime and Medical Ethics in Literature

Winter 2017, Alison Siegler and Mark Siegler

This seminar studies selected criminal justice topics and medical ethics issues through the lens of novels, plays, and other primary sources. We also explore the centrality of storytelling in lawyering and doctoring. Professor Alison Siegler and her father, Professor Mark Siegler of the Medical School, bring to this seminar their undergraduate experience as English majors and their respective expertise in criminal defense and medical ethics. Topics include mens rea in Capote; sentencing in Shakespeare; end-of-life decision-making in Tolstoy; and crime, punishment, and ethics in Dylan's music. Graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Alison Siegler and Mark Sielger

Greenberg Seminar: Cheating

Spring 2017, Anthony Casey and Erin Casey

This seminar will explore legal, ethical, and procedural issues inherent in questions of cheating and rule breaking in contexts ranging from sports and academics to private career advancement. We will look at the nature of rules and difficult distinctions that must be drawn such as why some rules are expected to be broken while others are not. We will explore the line between artificial performance enhancement as cheating on the one hand and as positive personal improvement on the other. For example, we will look at the different treatment of performance enhancing drugs in athletics and in performance art. We will also explore how and when law and government should be involved in setting and enforcing rules. Graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Anthony Casey and Erin Casey
  • Winter 2017, Anthony Casey and Erin Casey

Greenberg Seminar: Classics in Law and Development

Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson

This Greenberg will focus on some of the early literature on the relationship of law and economic development. Readings will be drawn from early anthropology and social sciences, starting in the 19th and early 20th centuries, to try to answer an enduring question: why are some countries poor and other countries rich?

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson
  • Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson

Greenberg Seminar: Reimagining Work

Spring 2017, Emily Buss, Amy Hermalik, Rosalind Dixon

This seminar explores what work could look like 50 years from now and whether work "reimagined" could result in a greater good for individuals and society. Using non-fiction books, articles, and television episodes, seminar discussions will be centered on how work might change in the future and, specifically, how work could be re-structured to promote various social goals such as gender equity, work-life balance, and individual and societal health-and well-being. We will focus on economic, technology, and regulatory changes, as well as changing social norms around gender roles, as possible drivers of this change.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Emily Buss, Amy Hermalik, Rosalind Dixon
  • Winter 2017, Emily Buss, Rosalind Dixon, Amy Hermalik

Greenberg Seminar: Sex and Civil Rights

Spring 2018, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey Stone

Interracial sex and marriage were regulated in America for more than three hundred years. After emancipation in 1865, state anti-miscegenation laws became the cornerstone for the postwar world of racial segregation. These laws remained on the books until 1967, when the Supreme Court declared them unconstitutional in the case of Loving v. Virginia. This seminar puts issues of sex, particularly interracial sex, at the center of the story of the modern civil rights movement by focusing on the white supremacist South's foundational fears of sexual danger and the state anti-miscegenation laws that articulated and legitimated those fears. The seminar examines the centrality of sex to each moment in the creation of black rights as well as to the sustained resistance to those rights, and will also address the issue of gay rights in the modern era.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey Stone
  • Winter 2018, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey Stone

Greenberg Seminar: Wine and the Law

Spring 2017, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur

This seminar will consider the law and politics of wine production and regulation in the US and elsewhere. There will be an empirical research component. Places will be reserved for 2 LL.M. students. Graded Pass/Fail.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur
  • Winter 2017, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur

Historic Preservation Law

Spring 2018, Richard Friedman

In this seminar on historic preservation law, we will study the rationale for preserving historic resources; the tension between private property rights under the constitution and the public benefit of preserving our historic heritage; the standards for designating landmarks; federal, state and local laws regulating landmarks; tax and other financial incentives to encourage preservation of historic buildings; and governmental regulation of historic churches. The Law School's historic Eero Saarinen building will illustrate the issues arising in using and rehabbing older structures for modern uses. Prior courses in land use or real estate are helpful. Your grade will be based upon four short reaction papers and your participation and attendance.

Housing Initiative Clinic

Spring 2018, Jeffrey Leslie

The Housing Initiative is a transactional clinic in which students provide legal representation to community-based housing developers, tenant groups, and other parties involved in affordable housing development. Students serve as deal lawyers, advising clients on structuring issues; negotiating, drafting and reviewing construction loan documents, construction contracts, purchase and sale agreements, partnership agreements, and other contracts; securing zoning and other governmental approvals; assisting clients in resolving compliance issues under the applicable state and federal housing programs; and participating in the preparation of evidentiary and closing documents. Some of our work also involves community organizing and legislative and policy advocacy around affordable housing and public housing issues. In addition to working on specific transactions and projects, students in the Housing Initiative Clinic meet as a group in a weekly two-hour seminar in autumn quarter, and in a weekly one-hour seminar during winter and spring quarters, to discuss the substantive rules and legal skills pertinent to housing transactions and to examine emergent issues arising out of the students' work. During the fall quarter seminar, returning clinic students need only attend the first hour; new students should attend for the full two hours. In the winter and spring quarters, all students should attend all the one-hour seminar sessions. Academic credit for the Housing Initiative Clinic varies and is awarded according to the Law School's general criteria for clinical courses as described in the Law School Announcements and by the approval of the clinical faculty.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Jeffrey Leslie
  • Winter 2017, Jeffrey Leslie
  • Spring 2017, Jeffrey Leslie
  • Autumn 2017, Jeffrey Leslie
  • Winter 2018, Jeffrey Leslie

Immigration Law 

Spring 2018, Adam S. Chilton

This course explores the U.S. immigration system. The course will focus on the federal laws and policies that regulate the admission and exclusion of immigrants. Topics covered will include: the visa system, deportation and removal, the law of asylum, the role of the states in regulating migrants, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, Adam S. Chilton

Intellectual Property-based Finance and Investment

Autumn 2017, Michael Friedman

Developed world corporations today are focused on an innovation heavy, tangible asset-lite model while exporting manufacturing, a lower margin enterprise. The trend is demonstrated by increased levels of R&D in innovation-driven industries, a doubling of issued patents outstanding and material, concentrated changes in the underlying IP law. While IP valuation, implementation and technological trends are coming to dominate many forms of investing, optimal risk adjusted returns morph with levels in the equity and credits markets and changes in IP law. This course will review these trends, explain the range of IP investment types (liquid/Illiquid, public/private, cash/derivative) and illustrate how insight into IP can drive investment and capital market decision making. Final grade will be based on a major paper.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Michael Friedman

International Human Rights Law and Advocacy

Autumn 2016, Claudia Flores and Brian Citro

This seminar considers major issues in international human rights law and advocacy. It is designed to introduce students to the promotion and protection of human rights through context-driven advocacy mechanisms and strategies. The seminar will provide an introduction to the history of human rights principles and movements, the development of international human rights norms, and an overview of the international, regional and national institutions that develop, interpret and enforce these norms. The remainder of the seminar will evaluate human rights advocacy tools and strategies applied in various political, social and economic contexts. Through case studies and simulated human rights research and advocacy projects, students will develop the skills to conduct international human rights work, including: performing situational assessments; designing and executing field-work and fact-gathering; report writing; interviewing witnesses and victims of abuses; assessing various litigation and non-litigation strategies; conducting effective legal research using diverse sources; developing cross-cultural and context-driven analysis and advocacy skills; and learning to effectively and realistically evaluate achievements and challenges. Class discussions and readings will expose students to critical perspectives on the international human rights regime, as well as current research methodologies and technologies used to monitor and promote human rights. Grading will be based on class participation, simulations and a series of short assignments. 

Introductory Income Taxation

Spring 2018, Dhammika Dharmapala

This class provides an introduction to federal income tax law. Topics covered in this course include (but are not limited to) what constitutes income; deductions; the tax treatment of gains and losses; realization and timing; tax shelters. The class uses a combination of lectures, class discussion and problems, focusing on the application of the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, cases, and other sources of tax law. Policy issues underlying the tax law will also be analyzed. This class has no prerequisites.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Julie Roin
  • Winter 2017, Daniel Hemel
  • Autumn 2017, Julie Roin
  • Winter 2018, Daniel Hemel

Land Use and Social Policy

Spring 2017, Michael Pollack

This seminar explores the ways in which land use decisionmaking shapes and reflects broader issues of class and social policy. We will cover topics and debates of contemporary significance including development and gentrification, fair and affordable housing, religious freedom, the impacts of landmark or historic preservation districts, the incidence of eminent domain, the burdens of environmental damage and environmental protection, and more. Grades will be based on a series of short reaction papers and class participation (two credits). Students may earn a third credit by writing a 15-page research paper.

Law and Practice of Zoning, Land Use, and Eminent Domain

Autumn 2017, Thomas Geselbracht, Paul Shadle, Theodore Novak

This seminar is a multi-disciplinary, multi-partisan discussion of the balance between private property rights and governmental regulation in land use and development. We primarily address (i) the constitutional bases of private rights and public land use planning; (ii) eminent domain, takings and exactions (including impact fees and regulatory takings); (iii) current manifestations of local and regional planning and zoning, including City of Chicago zoning revisions; and (iv) legal procedures and practical strategies for obtaining public financial incentives, land use approvals, and "relief" for real estate development projects, both large and small. Our discussions are based on case law and our real world experience; active class participation by members of the seminar is essential. "Illinois Zoning, Eminent Domain and Land Use Manual" is used to provide practical answers to the issues presented in the seminar; other case materials are provided by the instructors upon registration. Grades are based on class participation and either a paper addressing a substantive topic or a proctored exam.

Law and the Economics of Natural Resources Markets

Spring 2017, Richard Sandor

Market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading are becoming widely accepted as cost-effective methods for addressing environmental concerns, especially as societies move towards a carbon-constrained future. In the last decade, we have witnessed the expansion of environmental finance to new products - carbon dioxide spot and futures contracts, sulfur dioxide futures and over-the-counter water contracts - that are now fully integrated financial instruments for hedging and speculation. These mechanisms also have potential benefits to address issues in other pressing matters such as water quality, fisheries and biodiversity protection. Non-law students must apply by emailing Curtrice Scott, Esq., Director, Coase-Sandor Institute at curtrice@uchicago.edu.

Law and the Mental Health System

Autumn 2017, Mark Heyrman

The course examines the interrelationship between legal doctrine; procedural rules; medical, cultural, and social scientific understandings of mental disability; and institutional arrangements affecting the provision of services to the mentally disabled. Consideration is given to admission to and discharge from mental health facilities, to competency to consent to or to refuse treatment, to surrogate decision-making for those found incompetent, to the rights of those confined in mental health facilities; to discrimination against the mentally disabled, and to the rights of the mentally disabled in the criminal justice system. Grades are based on a final paper or a final take-home exam, and class participation.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Mark Heyrman

Law, Social Work, and the Legal Regulation of the Social Work Profession

Winter 2018, Israel Doron

In recent years, there has been a general shift towards integration and growing cooperation between lawyers and social workers, both professionally and ideologically. However, there are still tensions and gaps between the ways legal and social work professionals view their inter-relationships. This course will examine the different intersections between law and social work, and the ways the law attempts to regulate the social work profession. The analysis will use both American and Israeli legal examples, and will try to compare the different approaches to the legal regulation of social work in both countries.

LGBT Law

Winter 2017, Camilla Taylor

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 and nondiscrimination principles.

Life (and Death) in the Law

Spring 2018, Herschella Conyers

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.

Oil and Gas Law

Spring 2017, Tom Trott

The course will cover ownership of minerals, conveyance of minerals, the Oil and Gas Lease, and other contracts and transfers concerning minerals and mineral operations. This course is designed to provide an introduction to natural resources law and there will be discussions of other areas of law that impact the oil and gas practice. The Oil and Gas Lease form will be referred to often during the quarter.

Previously:

  • Winter 2017, Richard H. Helmholz

The New Jim Crow

Autumn 2016, Todd Belcore

While lawyers often use their skills to argue facts given the constraints of current law; they too rarely use their skills to actually create or change the laws that constrain them. This course hones students' ability to do both. Students will hone these skills as they learn about, and fight against, the "New Jim Crow," which refers to discriminatory laws, policies and practices that prevent people with criminal records, disproportionately men and women of color, from accessing basic necessities like employment and housing. With that lens in mind, this course will give students an opportunity to: 1 - Engage the men, women and youth impacted by the New Jim Crow in community and class settings; 2 - Research laws, policies, practices and pending legislation relating to the criminal justice system from across the world; 3 - Learn how to craft, draft, and present model legislation and policies designed to eradicate the New Jim Crow; 4 - Convert legal concepts into training materials that are easily digestible by lay-people and present them in a community setting; and, 5 - Write and present a 20-page research paper detailing the students' policy recommendation with appendices that include concise fact sheets relating to the model legislation presented.

Poverty and Housing Law Clinic

Spring 2017, Lawrence Wood

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 LAF, the Midwest's largest provider of free civil legal services to the poor. 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, the intersection between domestic violence and housing, and the extensive and often misunderstood connection between criminal law and housing.

Previously:

  • Winter 2017, Lawrence Wood

Poverty Law

Spring 2018, Andrew Hammond

This seminar offers an introduction to the substantive law and procedure of public benefit programs in the United States. The seminar will identify persistent controversies in poverty law, including means-test design, funding structure, federalism issues, and behavioral rules, as well as how poverty law interacts with immigration enforcement and disability law. Throughout, we will examine to what extent the agencies that administer these public benefits are vulnerable to federal litigation and what remedies may result from such litigation. Final grade will be based on: a series of short reaction papers and class participation (2 credits). Student who wish to earn 3 credits will be writing an additional long paper.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, Miriam Hallbauer

Privacy

Winter 2018, Lior Stahilevitz

This course surveys legal efforts to draw boundaries between the public and private spheres. Substantive topics of discussion may include privacy tort law, the constitutional right to information privacy, financial privacy, Internet and consumer privacy; health privacy; FTC privacy regulations; European privacy law; the relationship between privacy and the First Amendment; the Fourth Amendment and other restrictions on governmental investigations and surveillance. The student's grade is based on an in-class final examination and class participation.

Previously:

  • Winter 2017, Lior Stahilevitz

Project and Infrastructure Development and Finance

Autumn 2017, Martin Jacobson

This seminar is focused on the development and project financing of infrastructure facilities. These transactions feature a wide variety of commercial agreements and financial instruments, legal and financial structuring, and a significant role for lawyers. Public private partnership structures will be examined. Representative transactions, principally in the energy, transportation and public infrastructure sectors, will be selected for analysis and discussion. Infrastructure projects such as these provide a convenient vehicle for discussion of contractual provisions, structuring parameters, financial analysis, and legal practice issues common to a broad range of business and financial transactions. The classes will be discussion oriented; grades will be based on 3-4 short papers, an analytical paper of 10- 13 pages based on a case study and class participation. There are no pre-requisities, although basic corporation law is recommended. The readings will be taken from textbooks, professional journals, and actual commercial and financial contracts. A speaker from the financial community with a wide range of experience is expected. Enrollment is limited to 25 students. Recommended but not required: Corporations or the equivalent.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Martin Jacobson

Public Land Law

Autumn 2016, Richard H. Helmholz

This course introduces the law governing public lands in the United States, including the preservation and the exploitation of the natural resources on those lands. The course deals with the administrative structures and the legal doctrines that have been developed to control use and enjoyment of the public lands. It takes up selected subjects to illustrate how the system works. Among possible subjects for inclusion are: the national parks, timber policy, grazing rights, mining law, protection of wildlife, and wilderness preservation. The choice of subjects to be studied will depend in large part on the interests of the students who enroll.

Real Estate Transactions

Winter 2018, Andrew David Small

Real Estate Transactions will focus on the lawyer's role in structuring and negotiating investments in commercial real estate. The first half of the course will explore legal issues encountered when acquiring, selling and financing commercial real estate investments, including through mortgage and mezzanine debt. The second part of the course will focus on "joint ventures" and other capital aggregation vehicles. For many reasons, including capital requirements, diversification, expertise and resource allocation, it is typical today for an investor to own real estate with one or more other investors in a joint venture. Because decisions about the ownership of an asset necessarily involve information regarding the underlying real estate, and because joint ventures are relationships put in place to work (or not!) for a period of time, studying joint ventures is an ideal way to learn how to become an effective transactional attorney. Our goal in the course is to provide you with an understanding of how an attorney can be most effective in negotiating and documenting sophisticated real estate transactional agreements. Students will learn to look at the motives, goals and roles of each party to a transaction and to make sure that the legal structure most efficiently accommodates the client's business objectives. Final grade will be based on a major paper and class participation.

Regulation of Sexuality

Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case

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, series of short papers, or final examination, with class participation taken into account.

Reproductive Health and Justice

Spring 2017, Lorie Chaiten

This seminar will examine the history and evolution of legal protections for abortion, contraception and other reproductive health care. We will look at state and federal constitutional, statutory and common law theories used to secure and protect these rights. We will explore current threats and growing barriers to access, including ever-expanding assertions of religious beliefs to limit access to reproductive health care. We will also look at advocacy strategies for addressing those threats and barriers. Grades are based on a final paper and class participation.

Retail Law and Transactions

Spring 2018, David Zarfes

This seminar addresses the principal legal issues and commercial challenges facing the retail sector. Particular attention will be paid to relations with vendors and other third-party business associates, and customers, the effect of the evolving economy on these relations, and the challenges and opportunities brought about by globalization, technology, social media, and e-commerce. Students will develop an understanding of key corporate, IP, contracting, sourcing, regulatory and other legal issues and practice pitfalls. The instructors will emphasize the practical interplay and tension between commercial realities and legal requirements, and strive to demonstrate the increasing professional burdens and responsibilities to which "in-house" counsel are subject. At times, the instructors will use a case-study format to emphasize identification and resolution of key issues and risks experienced by retailers, as well as to highlight examples of retailers both thriving and struggling to adapt to change. The instructors also will use actual contracts, retailer policies and practices, litigation materials and internal-investigation documents. The class will participate in multiple role-playing scenarios, including contract negotiations and a crisis management reenactment. Final grade will be based on: substantial out of classroom work, group projects.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, David Zarfes, Tony Bangs, Nathan Lutz, Joshua Avratin

Structuring Financial Instruments

Spring 2018, Jason Sussman

This seminar introduces tax, legal, accounting and economic principles relevant to the structuring of complex financial instruments-from forwards, swaps and options to convertible bonds and other securities with embedded derivatives. Throughout the seminar, different products designed to achieve similar economic goals will be examined to highlight the significance of structuring choices and the range of techniques available. For example, there are various products that can be used to approximate the economics of buying an asset, without an actual purchase of that asset. The seminar will examine how these products are treated differently for tax, securities law, commodities law, bankruptcy, accounting and other purposes, notwithstanding their economic similarity. Students will develop the ability to optimize transactions by selecting among existing financial instruments or inventing new ones. The seminar will also include discussion of policy issues. No specific prerequisites, but introductory income tax recommended, and knowledge of securities law and bankruptcy law helpful. The seminar will be assessed via a) a series of reaction papers (2 credits) or b) via a full-length research paper (3 credits). Class participation and attendance will be considered.

Previously:

  • Spring 2017, Jason Sussman

Trusts and Estates: Wealth Management and Transmission

Autumn 2017, Thomas Peter Gallanis Jr.

This course examines the law and practice of private wealth management and transmission, typically within the family and often across generations. Among the topics covered are: (1) the policy basis of inheritance and the changing character of intergenerational wealth transfer; (2) intestate succession; (3) the evolving definitions of "spouse" and "child" and their effect on the interpretation of wills and trust instruments; (4) the execution and revocation of wills; (5) the rise of will substitutes, including revocable trusts, life insurance, and pension and retirement accounts; (6) the substantive rules of construction governing probate and nonprobate transfers; (7) spousal protection against disinheritance; (8) the creation, modification, and termination of trusts; (9) the particular rules applicable to charitable trusts; (10) the fiduciary duties of trustees, the principles governing trust investments, and the emerging use of directed trusts; (11) the nature of a beneficiary's interest in trust, the range of the trustee's discretion, and the rights of a beneficiary's creditors, with special reference to discretionary, spendthrift, and asset protection trusts; and (12) the substantive provisions of wills and trust instruments, with attention given to recurring problems of interpretation. The provisions of the Uniform Trust Code, Uniform Probate Code, and other uniform laws will be emphasized.

Wine Law

Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg

Wine raises a host of national and international regulatory issues, from importing to trademarks to constitutional federalism. This seminar will work through the basics of Wine law in the United States, with a section on relevant international issues as well. Final grade will be based on: a major paper, a series of short research papers, class participation.

Women's Human Rights in the World

Spring 2018, Claudia Maria Flores

This seminar examines women's human rights from a global comparative perspective. We will explore the concept of substantive equality under international law through a focused inquiry into three areas of women's human rights - violence, reproduction and political participation. We will discuss the evolution of these rights, variations in state interpretation and implementation, and the social, economic, political and cultural factors that impact their realization. Each student is required to write a series of reaction papers throughout the quarter. Grades will be based on these papers as well as class participation. To earn 3 credits, students will be required to write an additional 10-15 page reaction paper.

Previously:

  • Winter 2017, Claudia Maria Flores

Work Law in the New Economy

Spring 2018, Hiba Hafiz

This seminar focuses on how labor law is adapting (or failing to adapt) to changes in the New Economy workplace. It touches on a number of themes. First, it looks at changes in the employment relationship and their implications for labor law and collective organizing. The rise of flexible or "gig" employment in the past decade and movement away from internal labor market job structures and the assumption of long-term, single-firm employment invites broader inquiry into the framework of labor regulation, including collective bargaining law, employer-sponsored benefits, and the social safety net. The seminar examines these changes as well as their broader implications. Second, the seminar considers how the labor law has accommodated the changing dynamics of employment contracting over time as they have differentially impacted women and minorities' experience at work and access to economic opportunities. Finally, the seminar explores the role of law in income inequality more broadly. This section studies the impact of labor regulation on income inequality as well as other elements of our regulatory regime. The seminar will meet weekly, with readings to be assigned. Students will be required to write brief response pieces to four of the weekly readings, and to prepare a research paper on a topic to be selected in consultation with the instructor.

Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender

Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case

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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2017, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case

Young Center Immigrant Child Advocacy Clinic

Spring 2018, Kelly Albinak, Marcy Philips, Maria Woltjen, Jajah Xiaorong Wu

The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights gives students the unique opportunity to work one-on-one with unaccompanied immigrant children who come to the United States without a parent or legal guardian to flee violence, abuse, and/or poverty. Students in the clinic draw upon international human rights law, immigration law, and children's rights, and child welfare law to support their advocacy. Unaccompanied immigrant children come to the U.S. from all corners of the world, on their own. They are apprehended, typically at the U.S./Mexico border, then detained and placed in deportation proceedings. Students serve the most vulnerable of these children, advocating for the best interests of each child on issues relating to care, custody, release, legal relief, and safe repatriation. Because there is no federal law that affords special protections to immigrant children, students enlist state child welfare laws and international human rights instruments to support their advocacy. The Clinic also offers opportunities in legislative and policy advocacy aimed at reforming the immigration system to better protect the rights of children. Each student is trained to serve as federally-appointed Child Advocate (similar to a guardian ad litem role) for unaccompanied immigrant children detained in the Chicagoland area. Students meet weekly with the child, and advocate on behalf of the child with federal officials, including ICE officials, immigration judges, and asylum officers. The Clinic admits both 2Ls and 3Ls. We strongly encourage enrollment in the Fall Quarter, and recommend taking this course for at least two quarters. We do not require students to speak a language other than English, but we encourage students who speak Spanish, French, Mandarin, Romanian, or American Sign Language to apply. Students who enroll in the clinic must: 1. Participate in a 2-day training in October 2017; and 2. Participate in weekly class meetings throughout the course. Please contact the clinicians below if you have any questions, or would like to request an accommodation: Jajah Wu at xjwu@theyoungcenter.org, Kelly Kribs at kkribs@theyoungcenter.org, Marcy Phillips at mphillips@theyoungcenter.org, or Maria Woltjen at mwoltjen@theyoungcenter.org. For more information, visit: www.TheYoungCenter.org

Previously:

  • Autumn 2016, Kelly Albinak, Marcy Philips, Maria Woltjen, Jajah Xiaorong Wu
  • Winter 2017, Kelly Albinak, Marcy Philips, Maria Woltjen, Jajah Xiaorong Wu
  • Spring 2017, Kelly Albinak, Marcy Philips, Maria Woltjen, Jajah Xiaorong Wu
  • Autumn 2017, Kelly Albinak, Marcy Philips, Maria Woltjen, Jajah Xiaorong Wu
  • Winter 2018, Kelly Albinak, Marcy Philips, Maria Woltjen, Jajah Xiaorong Wu