Family Law, Property Rights, Torts, and Insurance Courses
The courses listed below provide a taste of the Family Law, Property Rights, Torts, and Insurance Law courses offered at the Law School, although no formal groupings exist in our curriculum. This list includes the courses taught in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 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 2020, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
Students in the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic fight against water pollution, promote clean energy, protect natural resources and human health, and address legacy contamination. 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. Environmental Law is a co-requisite. A student enrolling in the Clinic for the first time should sign up for two credits; in subsequent quarters, she or he may enroll for one, two or three credits per quarter after consultation with clinic faculty.
- Autumn 2017, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Winter 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Spring 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Autumn 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Autumn 2019, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Winter 2019, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Winter 2020, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
- Spring 2020, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
Advanced Contracts: Sales Law for A Modern Economy
Winter 2019, Lisa Bernstein
This seminar is an advanced contracts seminar 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.
Advanced Trusts and Estates
Spring 2019, Thomas P. Gallanis
The second of two connected courses on the law and practice of private wealth management and transmission, typically within the family and often across generations. This course focuses on the substantive provisions of wills and trust instruments, with concentrated attention being given to recurring construction problems and pitfalls in drafting, the creation and exercise of powers of appointment, the classification (and consequences of classification) of estates and future interests, and the impact of rules of policy restricting the disposition of property, including the rule against perpetuities. The provisions of the Uniform Trust Code, Uniform Probate Code, and other uniform laws will be emphasized. The final examination will be "open laptop" (open book but no internet). Prerequisite: Trusts and Estates: Wealth Management and Transmission..
American Indian Law
Autumn 2019, M. Todd Henderson
This course will consider two distinct bodies of law regarding the 565 federally recognized Indian tribes in the United States. First, we will study the law governing the relation between non-tribal law and tribal law. This is the law of treaties, federal jurisdiction, and sovereignty. The Supreme Court has several cases on tribal issues each year, and with the rise of gaming and natural resources as major sources of wealth, the stakes in these cases for tribe members and non-members is increasing. The materials for the course will be mostly Supreme Court cases, as well as some historical materials necessary to understand the context of the judicial consideration of tribal jurisdiction. The flavor for this part of the course will be international law, although with a decidedly American approach. Second, we will study the law within several prominent tribal areas. The Hopi, for instance, have a court system that is roughly parallel to the American one, but with key differences for handling crimes, contracts, torts, and so on. The flavor for this part of the course will be comparative law, since we will compare how different legal rules develop in distinct but related legal systems. This course is mandatory for students interested in participating in the Hopi Law Practicum (serving as clerks to justices of the Hopi Appellate Court on live cases), but it is open to all students with an interest in tribes, federal jurisdiction, sovereignty, or comparative law.
Autumn 2019, William Landes and Anthony Hirschel
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. A major paper of 20-25 pages is required.
- Autumn 2017, William Landes and Anthony Hirschel
- Autumn 2018, William Landes and Anthony Hirschel
Spring 2020, Laurie Zoloth, Ranana Leigh Dine, Daniel Takarabe Kim, and Miriam Yonati Attia
This lecture course will introduce you to the field of Bioethics. We will use a case-based method to study how different philosophical and theological traditions describe and defend differences in moral choices in contemporary bioethics. This class is based on the understanding that case narratives serve as the motivation for the discipline of bioethics and that complex ethical issues are best considered by a careful examination of the competing theories as they work themselves out in specific cases. We will examine both classic cases that have shaped our understanding of the field of bioethics and cases that are newly emerging, including the case of research done at Northwestern University. Through these cases, we will ask how religious traditions both collide and cohere over such topics as embryo research, health care reform, terminal illness, issues in epidemics and public health, and our central research question, synthetic biology research.
This class will also explore how the discipline of bioethics has emerged to reflect upon such dilemmas, with particular attention to the role that theology philosophy, law, public health, and religious studies have played in such reflection. We will look at both how the practice of different disciplines has shaped the field of bioethics and in particular at how different theological and philosophical claims, methodology, and praxis have continued to shape and inflect bioethics. We will examine the issue of epistemic stance, of truth claims, and of how normative policies are created amid serious controversy. We will explore the nature of the relationship between religion and public policy and study how religious traditions and moral philosophy shape our view of issues as "bioethics controversies" to be addressed.
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
Winter 2020, Anup Malani
This class examines how what decentralized ledgers such as blockchain are, how they work, use cases such as cryptocurrencies, novel methods of financing made possible by blockchain, and legal issues that blockchain raises. We will examine both blockchain and directed acyclic graph ledgers and different consensus protocols, including both proof of stake and proof of work. We will explore the history and evolution of cryptocurrencies, especially through so-called forks. We will examine the use of blockchain not just for payments, but also for tracking financial assets and land, trading computer storage and processing power, and even for game play. We will examine the novel ways in which blockchain startups are funded, including the pre-sale of utility tokens to investors. We will also consider legal issues such as the tax treatment of ICOs and cryptocurrency trades, whether tokens are securities, the fiduciary duties of developers under corporate law, and money-laundering concerns with cryptocurrencies.Students will be expected to either write a white paper, a legal memo, or industry and investment analyses of a firm. Participation may be considered in final grading.
Winter 2019, Anup Malani
Civil Rights Litigation in the Child Welfare Context
Winter 2020, Diane L. Redleaf
Landmark constitutional cases hold that the familial association rights are fundamental, but enforcing that principle through litigation has been challenging for advocates for children and families. In this seminar taught by a civil rights lawyer for families involved in dozens of civil rights cases on behalf of children and families for over 30 years, we will examine cases that have tested the constitutional rights of parents and children in the context of child protective systems intervention that restricts associational, personal integrity and privacy rights, including: family separation/children's removal from homes and hospitals, so-called voluntary removals, investigation tactics including gynecological searches and photographing of nude children, race/national origin discrimination and Native American rights, disability rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of foster care; poverty/homelessness; and the interface between domestic violence and child protection. The course will also consider common obstacles to successful system reform challenges in civil rights litigation, including qualified and absolute immunity, standing, abstention/Rooker Feldman, and mootness.
Students taking the class for 2 credits are expected to write two case comment papers of 4-8 pages, participate in as plaintiff, defendant, or judge in one mock oral argument of a total of 15 minutes length, and participate in a 10-15 minute group presentation about a major systemic reform case involving the child welfare system. In addition to these requirements, students who take the class for 3 credits are expected to also submit a paper of at least 10 pages that expands upon a case comment or addresses one of the topics discussed in class in more depth. Participation may be considered in final grading.
The Constitution Goes to School
Spring 2019, 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.
Constitutional Law VII: Parent, Child, and State
Spring 2019, 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.
- Spring 2018, Emily Buss
The Constitutional Rights of Minors from the Minors' Point of View
Autumn 2019, 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 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 Law 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 email@example.com.
Spring 2020, Lisa Bernstein
This course explore the legal and non-legal provisions and forces that are used to govern contractual performance and encourage innovation in Sales transactions in the modern economy. Emphasis is also placed on how the internal organization of firms effects contracting and the likelihood of different types of innovation. Although theoretically grounded in typical Chicago fashion, the focus is on the practical aspects of contracting, from selecting a supplier, to negotiating a deal, to governing an ongoing relationship, to thinking about the choice of forum for the resolution of different kinds of disputes. Students will have the opportunity to review a contract/s with an actual client and get feedback on the wisdom of their advice. There is no long paper, but rather short papers of various types-such as research a trade usage, commenting on a contract, or structuring a deal. This class will be graded 60% written work, and 40% class participation as this is a skills class.
Divorce Practice and Procedure
Autumn 2019, 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 in the role of 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; also, premarital and post marital 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 discuss and argue issues not only with instructors, but also with one or more sitting Illinois Domestic Relations Court Judges, interacting with the class. Readings will be drawn from case law, statutes, and Court approved forms used in contested proceedings. One half of a student's grade is based on preparation for and class participation and one half on a series of 6 short papers related to class topics of under 5 pages.
- Autumn 2017, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh
- Autumn 2018, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh
Employee Benefits Law
Autumn 2019, Charles Wolf and Philip Luther Mowery
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 short reaction and/or research papers. There are no prerequisites required for this seminar.
- Autumn 2017, Charles Wolf
- Autumn 2018, Charles Wolf
Employment Discrimination Law
Autumn 2019, Suja A. Thomas
This course examines the federal laws pertaining to employment discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, alienage, age, and disability. The course focuses primarily on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. There is limited coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Careful consideration is given to the burdens of proof applicable to employment discrimination suits based upon both individual claims of discriminatory treatment and claims of disparate impact upon protected groups.
- Autumn 2017, James Whitehead
- Winter 2019, James Whitehead
Autumn 2019, James Whitehead
This seminar is designed to provide the student with an overview of the common law principles and leading federal and state statutes that govern the private-sector employment relationship. Among the topics to be covered are (1) the contractual nature of the employment relationship and the employment-at-will doctrine; (2) contractual, tort-based, and statutory erosions of the employment-at-will doctrine; (3) the contractual and common law duties and obligations owed by an employee to the employer; (4) wage and hour and employee leave statutes, including the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); and (5) other employee protective statutes. This seminar supplements, but will not cover the topics presented in, the Law School's courses in Labor Law (Laws 43101), Employment Discrimination Law (Laws 43401), and Employee Benefits Law (Laws 55503), which are not prerequisites to enrollment. Enrollment will be limited to 20 students. The student's grade will be based on a final in-class examination. Students wishing to earn 3 credits for the class may write a 10-12+ page research paper in addition to the final exam.
- Autumn 2018, James Whitehead
Employment Law Clinic
Spring 2020, 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.
- Autumn 2017, Randall Schmidt
- Winter 2018, Randall Schmidt
- Spring 2018, Randall Schmidt
- Autumn 2018, Randall Schmidt
- Winter 2019, Randall Schmidt
- Spring 2019, Randall Schmidt
- Winter 2020, Randall Schmidt
Energy Law Seminar
Autumn 2018, Shelby S. Gaille
The Energy Law Seminar exposes students to current issues facing energy industry practitioners. Topics covered include United States shale developments, international energy projects, facilities procurement/construction, the natural resources curse, energy finance challenges, and energy litigation/arbitration trends. The Energy Law Seminar also includes two competitive simulations: (1) shale/private equity simulation in which students are divided into management and private equity backers and seek to negotiate joint ventures; and (2) West Africa exploration simulation, in which teams bid on real petroleum licenses in West Africa, engage in a multilateral negotiation with other teams to acquire and divest license interests, and then drill wells by rolling dice to determine which of the 50 petroleum prospects are discoveries.The grade is based on in-class participation (including presentations and simulation performance), negotiation sessions between class meetings, written agreements/memoranda, and a final essay (in the form of a blog post).
Autumn 2018, Mark N. Templeton
This course introduces students to the laws, policies and theories related to environmental protection in the United States. No environmental, engineering or science background is required, and it is not necessary to take Administrative Law before or during enrollment in this course. The course reviews different, and often competing, objectives related to the environment: development and use of natural resources, preservation of nature, protection of human health, economic efficiency, and distributional equity. The course explores in depth how the common law and the major federal environmental statues (e.g. the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, etc.) address these objectives. The student's grade is based primarily on a final examination.
- Autumn 2017, Karen Bradshaw
Estate Planning and Drafting
Spring 2020, Thomas Peter Gallanis Jr
This seminar in estate planning and drafting meets the ABA definition of an experiential course. The seminar will give students experience in drafting specific provisions of wills and trust instruments, including provisions relating to the use of class gifts, conditions of survival, and powers of appointment. Students will be graded on a series of drafting exercises and on class participation. Students enrolling for 3 credits rather than 2 will be graded also on the preparation of a will for a live client. Prerequisite: Trusts and Estates: Wealth Management and Transmission (LAWS 45211). Students who took Advanced Trusts and Estates (LAWS 45221) in Spring Quarter 2019 are not eligible to enroll. Participation may be considered in final grading.
Spring 2020, 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. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case
- Autumn 2018, Kristin A. Collins
Winter 2019, Martha C. Nussbaum and David A. 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 (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.
Greenberg Seminar: Global Poverty
Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
This seminar will focus on how legal regimes can be improved to reduce global poverty by promoting economic and social development. For each session, we will watch a documentary film that explores a different issue related to poverty and development around the world. These issues will include topics like migration, housing, health, labor markets, and education. We will focus on discussing how existing laws contributed to the emergence of current problems and how laws can be reformed to promote development. We will also discuss the extent to which the films we watch are successful at identifying and conveying development challenges and opportunities.
- Autumn 2019, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
- Winter 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
Greenberg Seminar: Stories of Migration
Spring 2019, Emily Buss and Claudia M. Flores
People migrate for many reasons. Some search for better lives and opportunities, others flee poverty, violence and political unrest, and still others migrate to join family and build communities. Many family histories include a migration story, and these stories are a central aspect of modern life for people around the world. This seminar will explore these stories, from the decision to leave home, to the journey itself, to the process of finding a temporary or permanent home, through novels and films.Reading and viewing will likely include: Americanah, by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013 novel which tells the story of a young Nigerian woman who emigrates to the United States to attend university); Exit West, by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid (2017 novel focused on themes of emigration and refugees); a selection of short stories from The Refugees (2017), by Vietnamese author Viet Thanh Nguyen; Which Way Home (2009 documentary that follows unaccompanied child migrants on their journey through Mexico toward the United States); and The Joy Luck Club (1993 film telling the story of four Chinese women who immigrated to the United States, and their relationship to their adult daughters who grew up in the United States).
- Autumn 2018, Emily Buss and Claudia M. Flores
- Winter 2019, Emily Buss and Claudia M. Flores
Greenberg Seminar: Wine and the Law
Spring 2019, 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. Graded Pass/Fail.
- Autumn 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur
- Winter 2019, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur
Health Care Policy
Winter 2020, Anup Malani
This class will cover the basics of health economics and U.S. health care policy. We will discuss the value of health, the productivity of health care and the role of health insurance. We will also review the major sources of US health care (physicians, hospitals, and drugs) and health insurance (including Medicaid and Medicare). We will discuss the drivers of health care innovation and health care costs. We will also take up timely policy topics such as Medicare for All, drug pricing, medical bankruptcy, racial disparities in health, and hospital mergers. My aim is to provide a survey of the many views of health care markets and reforms. Participation may be considered in final grading.
Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic
Spring 2020, Jeffrey E. Leslie
The Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic provides legal representation on complex real estate development projects to build affordable housing. Clients include nonprofit, community-based affordable housing developers and housing cooperatives. Students serve as deal lawyers, working with clients and teams of professionals -- such as financial consultants, architects, marketing professionals, property managers, and social service providers -- to bring affordable housing and mixed use development projects to fruition. Projects range from single family rehabs with budgets in the $30,000 to $75,000 range, to multi-million dollar rental and mixed use projects financed by low income housing tax credits, tax exempt bonds, TIF, and other layered subsidies. Students also counsel nonprofit clients on governance and tax issues related to their work. In addition to their client work, students 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 real estate development 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 Transactional 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.
- Autumn 2018, Jeffrey E. Leslie
- Winter 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie
- Spring 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie
- Autumn 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie
- Winter 2020, Jeffrey E. Leslie
Human Trafficking and the link to Public Corruption
Winter 2020, Virginia Mary Kendall
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. This class requires a final paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.
Immigrant's Rights Clinic
Spring 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
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, and brief and argue appeals. 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, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations. Current projects include a first-in-the-nation challenge to immigration detention authority under the PATRIOT Act, a civil rights lawsuit against state troopers for cooperation with federal immigration authorities, and a class action challenge to new naturalization standards for immigrants with intellectual disabilities. As this is the first year of the clinic's operation, students will also have the opportunity to help develop the clinic's docket. Both 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply. Students who enroll in Winter Term will be required to enroll in Spring Term as well. Students with questions may contact Professor Hallett at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
- Winter 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton
This course explores the U.S. immigration system. The course will focus on the federal laws and policies that regulate the admission and exclusion of immigrants. Topics covered will include: the visa system, deportation and removal, the law of asylum, the role of the states in regulating migrants, and proposed reforms to the immigration system. The course will also consider how immigration law connects to both constitutional law and foreign policy.
- Spring 2018, Adam S. Chilton
- Autumn 2018, Allison Brownell Tirres
Spring 2020, Omri Ben-Shahar
This course introduces students to insurance institutions and insurance law, with the ultimate goal of understanding the role of insurance in society. Liability, life, and property insurance will receive the most attention, but we will also discuss health and disability insurance. After taking this course, students will know how to read and analyze a standard form insurance contract, how to work with insurance regulatory materials, how to spot the insurance issues in a wide variety of legal and public policy contexts, and how to think about insurance related issues using conceptual tools from a variety of disciplines. Cross-cutting themes of interest include the effects of insurance on tort law and on litigation, the regulatory function of insurance contracts, and the ways in which various conceptions of justice are achieved through insurance mechanisms as well as insurance regulation. Participation may be considered in final grading.
Intellectual Property-based Finance and Investment
Autumn 2019, Michael D. 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. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2017, Michael D. Friedman
Introductory Income Taxation
Spring 2020, Daniel Hemel
This course provides an introduction to the essential elements of the federal income tax, with a special emphasis on issues related to the taxation of individuals. The topics covered include the nature, timing and measurement of income, the role played by "basis" in calculating gain (and loss) in transactions involving property, the boundary between personal and business expenditures, and the use of the tax system to provide behavioral incentives and disincentives. The course stresses the complex interactions between political and administrative concerns in the tax system.
- Autumn 2017, Julie Roin
- Winter 2018, Daniel Hemel
- Spring 2018, Dhammika Dharmapala
- Autumn 2018, Julie Roin
- Spring 2019, Daniel Hemel
- Autumn 2019, Julie Roin
Labor Law in the Gig, Fissured, and Automated Economy
This course will consider how work relations are regulated-and how they should be regulated-in the increasingly gig, fissured, and automated economy. We will consider who qualifies as an "employee" and an "employer"; what happens to the growing number of workers and firms that fall outside these categories or along their hotly contested boundaries; what new forms of worker organizations are emerging; how law, particularly antitrust law, constrains or facilitates these organizing efforts; and what possible law reforms are warranted in the wake of fissuring and given a future of increased automation. Our focus will primarily be U.S. law but we will also look elsewhere for comparative perspective.This class has a final take-home exam. Participation may be considered in final grading. This is a short class meeting Mon/Tue March 30/31 (6:10-8:10 p.m.), Thursday 4/2 (6:10-8:10 p.m.), Friday 4/3 (1:30-3:30 p.m.), and Monday 4/6 (6:10-8:10 p.m.)
Spring 2020, Richard A. Epstein
Few areas of law have as immediate an impact on our lived environment than the law of land use. This course will provide a broad introduction to the theory, doctrine, and history of land use regulation. Topics will include zoning, homeowners' associations, nuisance, suburban sprawl, eminent domain and regulatory takings. Throughout, we will discuss the ways land use regulation affects land use patterns, economic efficiency, distributive justice, social relations, and the environment. The grade is based on a final in-class examination.
Law and Economic Development
Spring 2020, Anup Malani
Why do some nations perform better than others, whether measured by income, happiness, health, environmental quality, educational quality, freedom, etc.? What can be done to help the world's poor?
We explore the proximate causes of inequality across countries, including the role of human capital, natural resources, technology and market organization. We also explore the root causes of long term differences in wealth, including the role of geography (e.g., location in tropical areas) and technological development (e.g., the impact of plow agriculture). We spend a substantial amount of time on the role of institutions, broadly defined, on development. We will explore the value of democracy, the common law, and state capacity generally. We will study the impact of disruptions such as the slave trade, colonialism and war. Ultimately, we will try to understand the implications of each explanation for development policy. Importantly, we will also consider how the lessons law and economics offers for countries with weak state capacity and limited rule of law differ dramatically from those it offers for countries such as the US. This class requires a major paper of 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Anup Malani
- Spring 2019, Anup Malani
Law and the Economics of Natural Resources Markets
Spring 2020, 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. Given recent events including worldwide concerns about climate change, extreme weather, and drought, this important course is even more timely with the current focus on pandemics and environmental determinants of health. Students will have a unique opportunity to interact with leaders in this field through weekly guest presenters. In years past, speakers have included venture capital fund directors, leading environmental attorneys, c-suite executives from the largest utility companies in the United States, and the S&P DJI's Chief Commercial Officer. Non-law students must apply by emailing Morgen Miller, Research Professional, Coase-Sandor Institute at email@example.com or Jake Kramer, Research Specialist, Coase-Sandor Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org. This class requires a series of research papers totaling 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2019, Richard Sandor
Law and the Mental Health System
Autumn 2018, Mark J. 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 (20-25 pages) or a final take-home exam, and class participation.
- Autumn 2017, Mark J. Heyrman
Spring 2020, James Whitehead
This course covers the law governing labor-management relations in the private sector of the U. S. economy. Subjects that will be addressed include the historical background and coverage of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and the Labor-Management Relations Act (LMRA), the organization of and procedures before the National Labor Relations Board, the rights and protections created by Section 7 of the NLRA, unlawful employer and union interference with such rights and the remedies available for such unlawful conduct, the procedures for the selection of union representation, the collective bargaining process and the obligation to bargain in good faith, the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements, the regulation of strikes and other concerted union activities, the union's duty of fair representation, the preemption of state laws and state law-based claims by the NLRA and the LMRA, and 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 in-class examination.
- Winter 2019, Camilla Taylor
- Winter 2020, Camilla Taylor
Life (and Death) in the Law
Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn 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.
- Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
- Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
Oil and Gas Law
Winter 2020, Richard Helmholz
The basic law relating to the exploration, production, and development of oil and gas. The principal topics covered are: (1) ownership interests in natural resources, (2) leasing and field development, (3) the classification and transfer of production interests, and (4) regulation of field operation -- pooling, unitization, and environmental controls. Taxation and post-production marketing controls are not covered.
- Winter 2018, Richard Helmholz
Poverty and Housing Law Clinic
Spring 2020, 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 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.
- Winter 2019, Lawrence Wood
- Spring 2019, Lawrence Wood
- Winter 2020, Lawrence Wood
Spring 2019, Andrew S. 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.
- Spring 2018, Andrew S. Hammond
Autumn 2019, Lior Strahilevitz
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; and 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.
- Winter 2018, Lior Strahilevitz
Project and Infrastructure Development and Finance
Autumn 2019, Martin Douglas 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 at least 10- 13 pages based on a case study and class participation. There are no pre-requisites, 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. Recommended but not required: Corporations or the equivalent. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2017, Martin Douglas Jacobson
- Autumn 2018, Martin Douglas Jacobson
Property and Land Use: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives
Spring 2019, Daphna Lewinsohn-Zamir
The right to private property is a fundamental right, necessary for the safeguarding of personal freedom and autonomy, and for human flourishing. Land is one of the most important assets that an individual may own, both economically and personally. In the course, we will discuss several issues involving property rights and land use - such as the good faith purchase doctrine, the numerus clausus principle, land-use deregulation, takings compensation, buildings' conservation, encroachments, dead hand control, property exempted in bankruptcy proceedings, landlord and tenant law, and rent-control - from analytical, theoretical, and comparative perspectives. The theoretical analysis will include, among other things, subjective and objective theories of welfare, economic analysis of law, game theory, the personhood theory, libertarianism, behavioral law and economics, and theories of distributive justice. The comparative analysis will include common law legal systems (such as the United States and England), civil law systems (such as Germany) and mixed legal systems (such as Israel). The course will introduce the students to the relevant theories in philosophy, economics, and psychology. No prior knowledge is necessary. All comparative reading materials will be in English.Pre-requisites: Property; Contracts
Public Land Law
Autumn 2018, Richard 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 2020, Andrew 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 (20-25 pages) and class participation.
- Winter 2018, Andrew Small
- Winter 2019, Andrew Small
Regulation of Sexuality
Spring 2020, 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 paper and class participation taken into account.
- Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
Reproductive Health and Justice
Winter 2019, 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 of 20-25 pages and class participation.
Responses of Law and Legal Institutions to the Impacts of Racial Segregation in Chicago
Winter 2020, Robert A. Weinstock, Nino Guruli, and Amy Marie Hermalik
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 and socio-economic trends. Such segregation has in turn given rise to many social justice issues that impact the Chicago communities that surround the Law School.
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 session 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. After that introductory meeting, each subsequent session will be led by a different faculty member 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 focused on criminal law, policing, environmental justice, human rights, corporate law, education and housing are anticipated. Each session will present a tailored mix of substantive legal doctrine, interdisciplinary insights, and practical perspectives on the way law and legal institutions redress or reinforce a particular social challenge in contemporary Chicago. Many sessions will feature either a skills-based component, to present how the law operates in reality, or a guest speaker, to convey the real-world effect of legal institutions on a community.
Students will be assessed in the following ways: 1) weekly blog-style reactions to the readings in advance of the week's seminar; 2) a final research paper of 20-25 pages; and 3) class participation.
Retail Law and Transactions
Spring 2020, David Zarfes and Joshua Evan Avratin
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. Participation may be considered in final grading.
- Spring 2018, David Zarfes
- Spring 2019, David Zarfes
Structuring Financial Instruments
Spring 2019, 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 of 20-25 pages (3 credits). Class participation and attendance will be considered in the final grading.
- Spring 2018, Jason Sussman
Trusts and Estates: Wealth Management and Transmission
Winter 2020, Thomas P. Gallanis
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 execution and revocation of wills; (4) the rise of will substitutes, including revocable trusts, life insurance, and pension and retirement accounts; (5) spousal protection against disinheritance; (6) the creation, modification, and termination of trusts; (7) the particular rules applicable to charitable trusts; (8) the fiduciary duties of trustees, the principles governing trust investments, and the emerging use of directed trusts; and (9) 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. The provisions of the Uniform Trust Code, Uniform Probate Code, and other uniform laws will be emphasized. The final in-class examination will be "open laptop" (open book but no internet). Participation may considered in final grading.
- Autumn 2017, Thomas P. Gallanis
- Winter 2019, Thomas P. Gallanis
Women's Human Rights in the World
Autumn 2019, Claudia M. Flores
This seminar examines women's human rights from a global comparative perspective. We will explore legal concepts under international and domestic law that impact gender equality such as formal vs. substantive equality, non-discrimination vs. equality and inclusion vs. transformation. We will engage in a focused inquiry into areas impacting women's human rights including violence, reproduction and political participation. We will discuss the evolution of women's rights, variations in state interpretation and implementation, and the social, economic, political and cultural factors that impact their realization.
Students will have the choice to take the seminar for two credits and write 3 reaction papers or three credits and write a longer paper at the end.
- Spring 2018, Claudia M. Flores
- Winter 2019, Claudia M. Flores
Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender
Spring 2020, 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.Participation may be considered in final grading. Students have the option of writing a major paper (20-25 pages) for SRP credit
- Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case
- Autumn 2018, Mary Anne Case
- Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
- Winter 2020, Mary Anne Case