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 2017-18 and 2018-19 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 2019, 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.

Previously:

  • 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
  • Winter 2019, 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..

Art Law

Autumn 2018, 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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, William Landes and Anthony Hirschel

Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

Winter 2019, 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 nature of, decision-making in and the merger or acquisition of firms funded by issuing utility tokens, whether tokens are securities, and money-laundering concerns with cryptocurrencies. This class requires a 20-25 page paper. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

Child Exploitation, Human Trafficking & the Supply Chain

Winter 2019, Virginia M. Kendall

This seminar provides a comprehensive, practical introduction to the history and present-day reality of child sexual exploitation and trafficking, as well as to the interconnected web of domestic and transnational federal laws and law enforcement efforts launched in response to this global challenge. The class will use a text written by the professor and a colleague who have the distinctive perspective of two individuals who have spent their careers in the trenches investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating these intricate and commonly emotional cases. The class will offer open debate about child sexual abuse by stripping it of its unhelpful, constricted definitions, and by candidly discussing the state of the law, the criminal justice process, and the treatment of offenders and victims. The seminar examines today's system of federal anti-exploitation laws including the arrival of commercial supply chain laws; the connection between modern communications technologies, such as the Internet, and the rise in U.S. and foreign child exploitation; the unique challenges posed by transnational investigations; organized crime's increasing domination over the commercial sexual exploitation of children; the current state of the U.S. government's transnational anti-trafficking efforts; the myriad international legal instruments designed to enhance transnational enforcement efforts; how, during investigations and trials, to avoid re-injuring the child-victims; the hallmarks of an effective trial strategy; the most promising investigative and trial avenues for the defense; and, what contemporary research tells us about charging and sentencing-related issues, including victimization and recidivism rates. Taught by federal district court judge, Hon. Virginia M. Kendall. Final grade will be based on a major paper of 20-25 pages. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Virginia M. Kendall

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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Emily Buss

Divorce Practice and Procedure

Autumn 2018, 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. Two-thirds of a student's grade is based on preparation for and class participation including 2 short papers, and one-third on an open book final exam comprised of essay questions.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Donald Schiller and Erika Walsh

Employee Benefits Law

Autumn 2018, Charles Wolf

This seminar will provide an introduction to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and other federal statutes regulating employee benefit plans in the private sector. The course will cover many types of plans, including defined benefit pension plans, individual account retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans), medical plans, other welfare benefit plans and executive compensation programs. It will provide a basic understanding of fiduciary standards governing plan administration and the investment of plan assets; minimum standards for benefits and funding; benefit claim dispute resolution procedures and standards of judicial review; federal preemption of state laws; and key issues which arise in ERISA litigation. The course is intended for students interested in a broader labor and employment practice; a mergers and acquisitions or general corporate practice; or a civil litigation practice. Although our primary mission will be to prepare students for the practice of law, we also will explore whether the law governing employee benefit plans is operating effectively and in accordance with its stated purposes. Students will be graded on class participation and on short reaction and/or research papers (20-25 pages). There are no prerequisites required for this seminar.Students must submit either: a) a series of short reaction and research papers which must total at least 20-25 pages, including at least one research paper of 10 or more pages or b) a major research paper of at least 20-25 pages.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Charles Wolf

Employment Discrimination Law

Winter 2019, James Whitehead

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

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, James Whitehead

Employment Law

Autumn 2018, 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 examination. Students wishing to earn 3 credits for the class may write a 10-12+ page research paper in addition to the final exam.

Employment Law Clinic

Spring 2019, Randall Schmidt

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

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2018, Randall Schmidt
  • Spring 2018, Randall Schmidt
  • Autumn 2018, Randall Schmidt
  • Winter 2019, 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).

Environmental Law

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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Karen Bradshaw

Fair Housing

Winter 2018, Lee Fennell

This seminar will focus on the law and policy of fair housing, broadly construed.  Significant attention will be devoted to antidiscrimination laws in housing, including the federal Fair Housing Act. We will also explore existing and proposed policies for improving access of lower-income people to housing.  The dynamics of segregation and concentrated poverty will be examined, as well as the effects of zoning and other land use controls.  Additional topics may include urban squatting, rent control, gentrification, subprime lending, the siting of locally undesirable land uses, and the use of eminent domain in "blighted" areas.  The student's grade will be based on class participation and a series of short papers. Students may not take this course pass/fail.

Family Law

Autumn 2018, Kristin A. Collins

This course will explore legal issues relating to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of family relationships. Topics include (1) the changing social and legal definitions of the family; (2) the legal formation of traditional and non-traditional adult intimate relationships; (3) legal parentage and adoption; (3) dissolution of family relationships and obligations at divorce; (4) and constitutional issues arising out of government regulation of family relationships.  Special attention will be paid to the interaction between law and social change, including changing social norms concerning extra-marital sex, women's increased participation in the workforce, the rise of non-traditional families, and advances in reproductive technology.  Grading is based on a final examination and class participation.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Mary Anne Case

Global Inequality

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

Winter 2018, Alison Siegler and Mark Siegler

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

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Alison Siegler and Mark Siegler

Greenberg Seminar: Classics in Law and Development

Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and James Robinson

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

Previously:

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

Greenberg Seminar: Sex and Civil Rights

Spring 2018, Jane Dailey and Geoffrey R. Stone

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

Previously:

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

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).

Previously:

  • 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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur
  • Winter 2019, Thomas Ginsburg and Jonathan Masur

Historic Preservation Law

Spring 2018, Richard F. Friedman

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

Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic

Spring 2019, 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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2018, Jeffrey E. Leslie
  • Winter 2019, Jeffrey E. Leslie

How Law & Legal Institutions Address (Or Fail to Address) the Impacts of Racial Segregation in Chicago

Spring 2019, Robert A. Weinstock

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 two-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 focused on criminal law, policing, environmental justice, human rights, corporate law, immigration, 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.  In particular, each session will feature either a skills-based component, to present how the law operates in reality, or a presentation conveying 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 short reaction paper; and 3) class participation.

Immigration Law

Autumn 2018, Allison Brownell Tirres

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

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Adam Chilton

Intellectual Property-based Finance and Investment

Autumn 2017, 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.

Introductory Income Taxation

Spring 2019, 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.

Previously:

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

Law and Economic Development

Spring 2019, Anup Malani

Why do some nations perform better than others, whether measured by income, happiness, health, environmental quality, educational quality, freedom, etc.?  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 welfare.  We will consider the role of geography (e.g., location in tropical areas) and technological development (e.g., the impact of plow agriculture) on welfare.  We will spend a substantial amount of time on the role of institutions, broadly defined, on development.  We will explore the value of state capacity, democracy, and the common law.   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.  Time permitting, we will also consider consider optimal, second-best rules for countries with weak state capacity and limited rule of law.Students will be required to complete a review and critical analysis of the literature on a specific topic in development (20-25 pages).  The topic must be approved by the professor.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Thomas Ginsburg and Anup Malani

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

Autumn 2017, Thomas Geselbracht, Paul Shadle, and Theodore Novak

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

Law and the Economics of Natural Resources Markets

Spring 2019, Richard Sandor

Market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading are becoming widely accepted as cost-effective methods for addressing environmental concerns, especially as societies move towards a carbon-constrained future. In the last decade, we have witnessed the expansion of environmental finance to new products - carbon dioxide spot and futures contracts, sulfur dioxide futures and over-the-counter water contracts - that are now fully integrated financial instruments for hedging and speculation. These mechanisms also have potential benefits to address issues in other pressing matters such as water quality, fisheries and biodiversity protection. Non-law students must apply by emailing Curtrice Scott, Esq., Director, Coase-Sandor Institute at curtrice@uchicago.edu. A series of research papers is required totaling 20-25 pages. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

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.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Mark J. Heyrman

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

Winter 2018, Israel Doron

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

LGBT Law

Winter 2019, Camilla Taylor

This seminar examines the treatment of gender, sexual orientation and related questions of sexuality and identity in the U.S. legal system. The course emphasizes constitutional jurisprudence and theory with a particular focus on the First Amendment and the equal protection and due process guarantees, and statutory antidiscrimination provisions. Topics covered include marriage rights, student speech, the definition of sex under the equal protection guarantee and statutory antidiscrimination provisions, the rights of students to access sex segregated facilities, public and private workplace concerns, rights of intimate and expressive association, and asserted conflicts between religious liberty and nondiscrimination principles.A major paper of 20-25 pages is required for this class. Class participation may be considered in final grading.

Life (and Death) in the Law

Spring 2019, Herschella G. 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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Herschella G. Conyers

Oil and Gas Law

Winter 2018, 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.

Poverty and Housing Law Clinic

Spring 2019, 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.

Previously:

  • Winter 2019, Lawrence Wood

Poverty Law

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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Andrew S. Hammond

Privacy

Winter 2018, 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; 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.

Project and Infrastructure Development and Finance

Autumn 2018, Martin Jacobson

This seminar is focused on the development and project financing of infrastructure facilities. These transactions feature a wide variety of commercial agreements and financial instruments, legal and financial structuring, and a significant role for lawyers. Public private partnership structures will be examined. Representative transactions, principally in the energy, transportation and public infrastructure sectors, will be selected for analysis and discussion. Infrastructure projects such as these provide a convenient vehicle for discussion of contractual provisions, structuring parameters, financial analysis, and legal practice issues common to a broad range of business and financial transactions. The classes will be discussion oriented; grades will be based on 3-4 short papers, an analytical paper of 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 25 students. Recommended but not required: Corporations or the equivalent.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Martin 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 2019, 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 series of short reaction papers and class participation.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Andrew Small

Regulation of Sexuality

Spring 2019, 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 of 20-25 pages, series of short papers, or final in-class examination, with class participation taken into account.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, 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.

Retail Law and Transactions

Spring 2019, David Zarfes

This seminar addresses the principal legal issues and commercial challenges facing the retail sector. Particular attention will be paid to relations with vendors and other third-party business associates, and customers, the effect of the evolving economy on these relations, and the challenges and opportunities brought about by globalization, technology, social media, and e-commerce. Students will develop an understanding of key corporate, IP, contracting, sourcing, regulatory and other legal issues and practice pitfalls. The instructors will emphasize the practical interplay and tension between commercial realities and legal requirements, and strive to demonstrate the increasing professional burdens and responsibilities to which "in-house" counsel are subject. At times, the instructors will use a case-study format to emphasize identification and resolution of key issues and risks experienced by retailers, as well as to highlight examples of retailers both thriving and struggling to adapt to change. The instructors also will use actual contracts, retailer policies and practices, litigation materials and internal-investigation documents. The class will participate in multiple role-playing scenarios, including contract negotiations and a crisis management reenactment. Final grade will be based on: substantial out of classroom work, group projects. The faculty will allow students to earn 3 credits with additional writing.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, 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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Jason Sussman

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.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Justin Driver

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

Autumn 2018, Emily Buss

 In this seminar, a small number of law students will collaborate with Professor Buss in teaching a course to high school students from the Woodlawn Charter School and 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 ebussdos@uchicago.edu.

Previously:

  • Winter 2018, Emily Buss

Trusts and Estates: Wealth Management and Transmission

Winter 2019, 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 examination will be "open laptop" (open book but no internet). Class participation may all be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Autumn 2017, Thomas P. Gallanis

Wine Law

Winter 2018, Thomas Ginsburg

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

Women's Human Rights in the World

Winter 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 of 20-25 pages at the end. Class participation may also be considered in final grading.

Previously:

  • Spring 2018, Claudia M. Flores

Work Law in the New Economy

Spring 2018, Hiba Hafiz

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

Workshop: Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender

Spring 2019, 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. Students have the option of writing a major paper of 20-25 pages for SRP credit.

Previously:

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