Family Law, Property Rights, Torts, and Insurance Courses

Professor Mary Anne Case

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 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Not all of these courses are offered every year, but this list will give you a representative sample of the variety of courses we might offer over any two-year period. Other new courses will likely be offered during your time at the Law School.

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

Abrams Environmental Law Clinic

Students in the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic promote clean energy, fight against water pollution, protect natural resources and human health, and address legacy contamination. Students 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. The Clinic represents regional and national environmental organizations and individuals and often works with co-counsel. 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. While the course does not have any pre-requisites, students are strongly encouraged to take Environmental Law, Energy Law, and/or Administrative Law courses at some point during their time in the clinic.  A student enrolling in the Clinic for the first time should sign up for two credits; in subsequent quarters, the student may enroll for one, two or three credits per quarter after consultation with clinic faculty. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2021, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Autumn 2020, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Spring 2020, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2020, 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
  • Autumn 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Spring 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Winter 2018, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock
  • Autumn 2017, Mark N. Templeton and Robert A. Weinstock

American Indian Law

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


  • Autumn 2019, M. Todd Henderson

American Indian Tribal Law

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


  • Spring 2021, Elizabeth Anne Reese

Art Law

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.


  • Autumn 2019, William M. Landes and Anthony Hirschel
  • Autumn 2017, William M. Landes and Anthony Hirschel
  • Autumn 2018, William M. Landes and Anthony Hirschel


This course concerns the law and finance of corporate bankruptcy. The course reviews the fundamentals of debt contracting, including the role of events of default, debt priority, and security interests. Students will learn about various aspects of the bankruptcy process, including the automatic stay, the avoidance of prebankruptcy transactions (e.g. fraudulent conveyances and preferences), the treatment of executory contracts, the debtor's governance structure during bankruptcy, the financing of operations and investments in bankruptcy, sales of assets during bankruptcy, and the process of negotiating, voting, and ultimately confirming a plan of reorganization. This course has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Joshua C. Macey


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.


  • Spring 2020, Laurie Zoloth, Ranana Leigh Dine, Daniel Takarabe Kim, and Miriam Yonati Attia

Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

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 2020, Anup Malani
  • Winter 2019, Anup Malani

Civil Rights Litigation in the Child Welfare Context

Landmark constitutional cases hold that the familial association rights are fundamental, but enforcing that principle through litigation has been challenging for advocates for children and families. In this seminar taught by a civil rights lawyer for families involved in dozens of civil rights cases on behalf of children and families for over 30 years, we will examine cases that have tested the constitutional rights of parents and children in the context of child protective systems intervention that restricts associational, personal integrity and privacy rights,  including:   family separation/children's removal from homes and hospitals, so-called voluntary removals,  investigation tactics including gynecological searches and photographing of nude children, race/national origin discrimination and Native American rights,  disability rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of foster care;  poverty/homelessness; and  the interface between domestic violence and child protection.  The course will also consider common obstacles to successful system reform challenges in civil rights litigation, including qualified and absolute immunity, standing, abstention/Rooker Feldman, and mootness.  

Students taking the class for 2 credits are expected to write two case comment papers of 4-8 pages, participate in as plaintiff, defendant, or judge in one mock oral argument of a total of 15 minutes length, and participate in a 10-15 minute group presentation about a major systemic reform case involving the child welfare system.  In addition to these requirements, students who take the class for 3 credits are expected to also submit a paper of at least 10 pages that expands upon a case comment or addresses one of the topics discussed in class in more depth.  

Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2020, Diane L. Redleaf

Constitutional Law VII: Parent, Child, and State

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


  • Spring 2021, Emily Buss
  • Spring 2019, Emily Buss
  • Spring 2018, Emily Buss

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

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


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

Contract Governance

This seminar explores the legal and non-legal provisions and forces (including norms, networks, and ancillary contract administration programs and documents) that are used to govern contractual performance and encourage innovation in contracts in the modern economy. 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 dealing with crisis management, to governing an ongoing relationship, to thinking about the choice of forum for the resolution of different kinds of disputes. Students will work both individually and in teams, and attention will be paid to how to organize and motivate team work, a key skill in the modern law firm.

Students will have the opportunity to get feedback on their work from both the professor and outside visitors. They will review their work on crisis management with a leading consultant and former general counsel of a large company. They will advise a live client on a contract and get feedback on the wisdom of their advice. There is no long paper, but rather short assignments of various types. This class will be graded 60% written work, and 40% class participation as this is a skills class.


  • Autumn 2020, Lisa Bernstein
  • Spring 2020, Lisa Bernstein

Divorce Practice and Procedure

This is a simulation class providing exposure to the dynamic process of representing clients in dissolution of marriage cases and issues related to them.  The class will make you aware of the complexities arising when the ever-changing family unit becomes divided.  Topics are covered through an evolving case, with each student 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. A series of reaction papers will be required. Participation may be considered in final grading. There are no required prerequisites, but experiencing a basic family law course would be helpful.


  • Autumn 2020, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh
  • Autumn 2019, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh
  • Autumn 2018, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh
  • Autumn 2017, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh

Education Law & Policy

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


  • Spring 2021, Susan Rochelle Epstein

Employee Benefits Law

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 2020, Charles Benno Wolf
  • Autumn 2019, Charles Benno Wolf and Philip Luther Mowery
  • Spring 2019, Charles Benno Wolf and Philip Luther Mowery
  • Autumn 2018, Charles Benno Wolf and Philip Luther Mowery

Employment Discrimination Law

This course will examine employment discrimination law beginning with the legislative history of employment discrimination leading to the passage of Title VII and continuing to other limitations on the employment-at-will doctrine. Types of discrimination examined will include race, sex, religion, disability, age, color, national origin and sexual orientation. Emphasis will be placed on race discrimination as an example of how discrimination is proven and defended in litigation. Individual and class claims will be discussed. Special emphasis will be placed upon such pragmatic topics as corporate internal investigations, handling agency and administrative charges of discrimination, the impact of insurance coverage, federal litigation, along with the increasing use of private mediation and arbitration. Final grade will be comprised of a research project conducted by small groups of students. Students are expected to write a 20-30 page research paper.

Participation may be considered in final grading.

Possible topics for research projects include:

  • Whether current standards of proof of discrimination are sufficient or appropriate.
  • Whether whistleblowers should be identified and compensated similar to SEC whistleblowers.
  • How the ""pipeline"" may lead to discriminatory decisions in hiring and promotions.
  • Are victims of discriminatory terminations fully compensated after losing employer-based medical coverage?

A key theme of the course will be to identify changes to anti-discrimination laws, which changes would be designed to more effectively reduce discrimination.


  • Spring 2021, Martin Peter Greene
  • Autumn 2019, Suja A. Thomas
  • Winter 2019, James Whitehead
  • Autumn 2017, James Whitehead

Employment Law

This seminar is designed to provide the student with an overview of the common law principles and several of the 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; and (4) wage and hour and employee leave statutes, including the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 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 take-home 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 2020, James Whitehead
  • Autumn 2019, James Whitehead
  • Autumn 2018, James Whitehead

Employment Law Clinic

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. Students will be evaluated on their written and oral work on behalf of the Clinic's clients. Participation may be considered in final grading. 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.


  • Spring 2021, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2021, Randall Schmidt
  • Autumn 2020, Randall Schmidt
  • Spring 2020, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2020, Randall Schmidt
  • Autumn 2019, Randall Schmidt
  • Spring 2019, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2019, Randall Schmidt
  • Autumn 2018, Randall Schmidt
  • Spring 2018, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2018, Randall Schmidt
  • Autumn 2017, Randall Schmidt

Energy Transactions Seminar

The Energy Transactions 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). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Shelby Scott Gaille
  • Autumn 2018, Shelby Scott Gaille (as Energy Law Seminar)

Environmental Law: Air, Water, and Animals

This survey course explores the major domestic policies in place to protect the environment, with a focus on clean air and water and animal conservation (e.g., the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act). The course is a complement to Professor Templeton's Toxic Torts and Environmental Justice course; neither is a prerequisite for the other, and the two share little overlap. We'll spend some time on the regulation of climate change and will discuss issues of environmental justice embedded in each of the major topics. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Hajin Kim

Environmental Transactions and Bankruptcy

This seminar will provide an overview of environmental transactional and environmental bankruptcy topics. Environmental issues often play a critical role in business and corporate transactions. This class will provide practical skills development focusing on the environmental aspects of transactions, with a core emphasis on the identification, management and allocation of environmental liability risks in many different types of transactions. In the bankruptcy arena, this course will provide an understanding of key environmental bankruptcy concepts, how to harmonize the conflicting goals of bankruptcy and environmental law, and how environmental liabilities are managed during the bankruptcy process. Students will gain practical experience in learning how environmental bankruptcy cases are handled. A series of reaction papers is required for this class. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Tobias D. Chun and Jeanne Terry Cohn

Estate Planning and Drafting

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. The seminar also will give students the experience of drafting a will for a live client. Students will be graded on a series of experiential assignments, including the will-drafting project, and on class participation. 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.


  • Spring 2021, Thomas Gallanis Jr.
  • Spring 2020, Thomas Gallanis Jr.

Fair Housing

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


  • Spring 2021, Lee Fennell

Family Law

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.


  • Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Autumn 2018, Kristin A. Collins

Global Inequality

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


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

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

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

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


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

Greenberg Seminar: Cheating

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.


  • Spring 2021, Anthony Joseph Casey and Erin Mary Casey
  • Winter 2021, Anthony Joseph Casey and Erin Mary Casey
  • Autumn 2020, Anthony Joseph Casey and Erin Mary Casey

Greenberg Seminar: Global Poverty

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.


  • Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
  • Winter 2020, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani
  • Autumn 2019, Adam S. Chilton and Anup Malani

Greenberg Seminar: Migration, Labor Mobility, and Economic Development

Finding ways to facilitate migration will be one of the most pressing policy problems of the 21st century. This is in part because finding ways to move workers to where they are more productive-for instance, people from rural settings to urban settings or people from poor countries to rich countries-is the most effective way to reduce global poverty. Additionally, major global trends like climate change, sustained regional conflict, and declining birth rates in developed countries are also making finding ways to ease migration more important than ever. But at the same time there is increased need for migration, the combination of growing populism around the world and the COVID pandemic are leading countries to erect new barriers to movement. This seminar will explore this topic by watching a series of documentary films that explore different issues related to migration and labor mobility. We will also discuss the extent to which the films we watch are successful at identifying and conveying these issues to the broader public.


  • Autumn 2020, Anup Malani and Adam S. Chilton
  • Winter 2021, Anup Malani and Adam S. Chilton
  • Spring 2021, Anup Malani and Adam S. Chilton

Greenberg Seminar: Troubled Cities

*All meetings will take place in Winter and Spring quarters of 2021.* We can start with discussing the movie American Factory (available on Netflix), about the re-opening, but then the clash between management and workers, of a factory closed by General Motors in Dayton, Ohio, but then purchased by a Chinese company determined to re-purpose its workforce. We will then discuss The Poisoned City, and the story of Flint Michigan's troubled water supply, and Why Nations Fail, a more academic book considering the larger question of the rise and fall and rise again of conglomerations of people. We might also talk about The Rise of the Creative Class, a book that suggests that the cities most of you yearn to live in, are not made great by people like us but rather by off-beat artistic types. We are open to suggestions for a different book or film. Graded Pass/Fail.


  • Spring 2021, Saul Levmore and Julie Roin
  • Winter 2021, Saul Levmore and Julie Roin

Health Care Policy

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.


  • Winter 2020, Anup Malani

Historic Preservation Law

This seminar explores the roots of historic and cultural preservation, examines the question of why (or whether) cultural artifacts should be preserved and looks at the current federal and local laws affecting historic and cultural artifacts. We will look at our own Saarinen-designed Law School building in this context. We will reexamine the validity of the Penn Central v. City of New York decision as a rationale for preservation and its impact on private property rights. Finally, we will try to understand how changing societal values influence the selection and preservation of historic artifacts. Grade is based on four short papers, preparation and class participation.


  • Autumn 2020, Richard F. Friedman

Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic

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. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Winter 2021, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Autumn 2020, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Spring 2020, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Winter 2020, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Autumn 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Spring 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Winter 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Autumn 2018, Jeffrey E. Leslie

Human Trafficking and the Link to Public Corruption

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


  • Winter 2021, Virginia Mary Kendall
  • Winter 2020, Virginia Mary Kendall

Immigrants' Rights Clinic

The Immigrants' Rights Clinic provides legal representation to immigrant communities in Chicago, including individual representation of immigrants in removal proceedings, immigration-related complex federal litigation, and policy and community education projects on behalf of community-based organizations. Students will interview clients, develop claims and defenses, draft complaints, engage in motion practice and settlement discussions, appear in federal, state, and administrative courts, brief and argue appeals, and engage in media advocacy. In the policy and community education projects, students may develop and conduct community presentations, draft and advocate for legislation at the state and local levels, and provide support to immigrants' rights organizations. The seminar will meet for two hours per week and will include classes on the fundamentals of immigration law and policy as well as skills-based classes that connect to the students' fieldwork. Both 2L and 3L students are encouraged to apply. Students must enroll for either 2 or 3 credits each quarter and must enroll for all three quarters.  Instructor note: while many clinic activities can be conducted remotely, there may be some fieldwork activities, such as client interviews and court hearings, that must be conducted in-person. Students who will not be geographically located in Chicago for some or all of the year should speak with Professor Hallett before bidding. Students with questions may contact Professor Hallett at to learn more. Participation may be considered in final grading.

Students will be evaluated on the fieldwork portion of course on the basis of whether they:

  • Fulfill professional obligations to clients
  • Work diligently and zealously towards accomplishing the clients' goals
  • Collaborate with team members and supervisor effectively
  • Show willingness to learn new skills and confront new legal problems
  • Show improvement in legal writing, oral advocacy, and other lawyering skills
  • Willingly incorporate feedback into your work
  • Use reflection to learn from clinic experiences
  • Display responsibility, collegiality, and professionalism
  • Meet internal and external deadlines
  • Attend class prepared to discuss readings and regularly participate in classroom discussions
  • Practice excellent file management and time-keeping


  • Spring 2021, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2021, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Autumn 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Winter 2020, Amber Nicole Hallett

Immigration Law

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


  • Spring 2021, Amber Nicole Hallett
  • Spring 2020, Adam S. Chilton
  • Autumn 2018, Allison Tirres
  • Spring 2018, Adam S. Chilton

Insurance Law

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. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Omri Ben-Shahar
  • Spring 2020, Omri Ben-Shahar

Intellectual Property-based Finance and Investment

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 (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2020, Michael Friedman
  • Autumn 2019, Michael Friedman
  • Autumn 2017, Michael Friedman

Introductory Income Taxation

This class provides an introduction to the design and operation of the federal income tax. Topics covered in this class include the definition of income, deductions, the tax treatment of gains and losses generated by sales and other dispositions of assets, realization and other timing issues, and tax shelters. The class uses a combination of lectures, problems, and class discussions to teach students about the interplay of the Internal Revenue Code, regulations and other agency interpretations of the Code, and judicial opinions in the administration of tax law. This class will also look into the policies underlying the design of the tax system. There are no prerequisites for this course. This class has a final take-home examination.

*Depending on the enrollment outcome, this course may qualify to be all in person.


  • Autumn 2020, Julie Roin
  • Spring 2020, Daniel Hemel
  • Autumn 2019, Julie Roin
  • Spring 2019, Daniel Hemel
  • Autumn 2018, Julie Roin
  • Spring 2018, Dhammika Dharmapala
  • Winter 2018, Daniel Hemel
  • Autumn 2017, Julie Roin

Labor Law in the Gig, Fissured, and Automated Economy

This course will consider how labor 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 organizing are emerging and how law constrains or facilitates these new organizing efforts; and what possible law reforms are warranted. This is a short class that will meet on April 28,29, and 30 and May 5 and 6. This class has a final exam. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Kate Andrias
  • Spring 2020, James Whitehead

Land Use

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.


  • Spring 2020, Richard A. Epstein

Law and Economic Development

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.

A major paper (20-25 pages) is required. Students will be required to complete a review and critical analysis of the literature on a specific topic in development. The topic must be approved by the professor. Participation may be considered in final grading. This class begins the week of January 4.


  • Winter 2021, Anup Malani
  • Spring 2020, Anup Malani
  • Spring 2019, Anup Malani
  • Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Anup Malani

Law and the Economics of Natural Resources Markets

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 or Jake Kramer, Research Specialist, Coase-Sandor Institute at This class requires a series of research papers totaling 20-25 pages. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2020, Richard Sandor
  • Spring 2019, Richard Sandor


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. This class requires a major paper (20-25 pages). The paper will be a mock appellate brief.

Participation may be considered in final grading. A constitutional law course is recommended but not required prior to taking this class.


  • Winter 2021, Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2020, Camilla Taylor
  • Winter 2019, Camilla Taylor

Life (and Death) in the Law

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


  • Spring 2021, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2020, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2019, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers
  • Spring 2018, Herschella Juanita Glenn Conyers

Oil and Gas Law

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 2020, Richard H. Helmholz

Poverty and Housing Law Clinic

This clinic, conducted over two sequential quarters, exposes students to the practice of poverty law by giving them the opportunity to work on housing cases at Legal Aid Chicago, the Midwest's largest provider of free civil legal services to people who are living in poverty or otherwise vulnerable. Students may be be asked to attend administrative grievance hearings, represent tenants facing unwarranted evictions, and prevent landlords from performing lockouts or refusing to make necessary repairs. All students will be expected to interview clients, prepare written discovery, conduct research, and draft motions. In addition to working 12 hours a week at LAF, students will attend a weekly two-hour class to learn about subsidized housing programs, eviction actions, housing discrimination, representing tenants with disabilities, the intersection between domestic violence and housing, and the extensive and often misunderstood connection between criminal law and housing. A 10 page paper is required. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Spring 2021, Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2021, Lawrence Wood
  • Spring 2020, Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2020, Lawrence Wood
  • Spring 2019, Lawrence Wood
  • Winter 2019, Lawrence Wood

Privacy Law

This seminar 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; California privacy law; European privacy law; the relationship between privacy and competition and privacy and innovation in digital markets; 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 a series of bi-weekly reaction papers, one of which will require outside research, and class participation.


  • Spring 2021, Filippo Maria Lancieri
  • Autumn 2019, Lior Strahilevitz (as Privacy)
  • Winter 2018, Lior Strahilevitz (as Privacy)

Project and Infrastructure Development and Finance

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; there will be be 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. Enrollment is limited to 20 students.

Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Autumn 2020, Martin Jacobson
  • Autumn 2019, Martin Jacobson
  • Autumn 2018, Martin Jacobson
  • Autumn 2017, Martin Jacobson

Property Theory

This seminar will survey many of the most important contributions to property law scholarship. The readings will consist of classic law review articles that have helped define the discipline as well as articles by leading contemporary academics. The seminar will explore key themes in real property, such as the relationship between formal rules and informal social norms, the role of information and transaction costs, the moral significance of commodification, and the distributional and efficiency implications of different property arrangements. This seminar is ideally suited to students who might want to become law professors in the future. Students will be evaluated on the basis of a series of brief reaction papers, a short final paper that sketches out a roadmap for an article-length piece of property scholarship, and class participation. While seminar students will not produce a substantial piece of scholarship during the seminar itself, the seminar's goal is to help students identify promising ideas for such scholarship that can be pursued during a subsequent quarter, or independently in the case of graduating students. Prerequisite: Property.


  • Spring 2021, Lior Strahilevitz

Public Land Law

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. This class has a final take-home examination.


  • Autumn 2020, Richard Helmholz
  • Autumn 2018, Richard Helmholz

Real Estate Transactions

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. A series of reaction papers is required for this class. Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2021, Andrew D. Small
  • Winter 2020, Andrew D. Small
  • Winter 2019, Andrew D. Small
  • Winter 2018, Andrew D. Small

Regulation of Sexuality

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


  • Spring 2021, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case

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

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

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

The introductory session will provide an overview of the historic drivers of racial segregation in Chicago, key contemporary racial, socieo-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 in prior years have focused on criminal law, policing, environmental justice, human rights, corporate law,  education, & housing.  Each session will present a tailored mix of legal doctrine, interdisciplinary insights, & practical perspectives on the way law and legal institutions redress or reinforce a particular social challenge in contemporary Chicago.  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. This year, we will follow a similar format, but focus on events from the past year.

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; and 3) class participation."


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

Retail Law and Transactions

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, e-commerce, and changing consumer tastes.  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." 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 2021, Peter Afendoulis
  • Spring 2020, David Zarfes and Joshua Evan Avratin
  • Spring 2019, David Zarfes
  • Spring 2018, David Zarfes

Toxics, Toxic Torts and Environmental Injustice

This course will expose students to common law and administrative approaches for addressing actual and potential public health and environmental harms from toxic substances.  The course will begin by examining common law approaches, including theories of liability, causation, admissibility of evidence, proximate cause, damages, defenses, apportionment among multiple parties, and procedural issues.  The course will then look at regulatory approaches to risk assessment and risk management and at specific federal laws to address toxic exposures in the workplace (OSHA), of hazardous waste (RCRA and CERCLA (Superfund)), and of potentially toxic products (FIFRA, TSCA).  Throughout the course, students will learn about how individuals and groups, including low-income and people-of-color communities, have sought redress for the toxic exposures they have faced.  The course is a complement to Professor Kim's Environmental Law: Air, Water, and Animals course; neither is a prerequisite for the other, and the two share little overlap. A series of research papers is required (20-25 pages). Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2021, Mark N. Templeton

Trusts and Estates: Wealth Management and Transmission

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 examination will be "open laptop" (open book but no internet).

Participation may be considered in final grading.


  • Winter 2021, Thomas P. Gallanis
  • Winter 2020, Thomas P. Gallanis
  • Winter 2019, Thomas P. Gallanis
  • Autumn 2017, Thomas P. Gallanis

Women's Human Rights in the World

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.


  • Autumn 2019, Claudia M. Flores
  • Winter 2019, Claudia M. Flores
  • Spring 2018, Claudia M. Flores

Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender

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


  • Spring 2021, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2021, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2020, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2019, Mary Anne Case
  • Autumn 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Spring 2018, Mary Anne Case
  • Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case