Course Descriptions

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Fall 2017 Class Descriptions

Tax I (LWAA590)

Instructor(s): Dennis Lilly, Herbert Lazerow

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation

Tax I provides students with an understanding of the basic principles of federal income tax, including gross income, deductions, tax accounting, capital transactions, and income shifting. Required for upper-class students.

Tax Litigation (LWTE565)

Instructor(s): Richard Carpenter

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation, LLM in Taxation

This course provides a comprehensive review of prelitigation IRS administrative procedures, practical analysis in the selection of a choice of forum to litigate a federal tax dispute, pre-trial practice and case analysis, trial techniques and strategies when litigating a federal tax dispute before the U.S. Tax Court, and a review of refund litigation. 

Tax Planning Lab (LWTE568)

Instructor(s): Paul Yong

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation, Business and Corporate Law, LLM in Taxation, LLM in Business and Corporate Law
Prerequisite(s): Tax I, Corporate Tax

The course will be held on select Fridays and Saturdays during the spring semester. Students will work in teams on simulated tax planning exercises with lawyers from Sempra Energy & KPMG. Exercises will include planning, counseling, and negotiating on matters related to mergers & acquisitions, corporate tax, international tax, and financial statement impact. Federal Income Tax and Corporate Tax are required pre-requisites. The course is open to both JD and LLM students. Grades will be assessed based on group projects, written work, and participation.

Tax Policy & Research (LWTE570)

Instructor(s): Staff

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Taxation, LLM in Taxation
Prerequisite(s): Tax I

This course will offer an introduction to the principal policy considerations raised when creating a tax system. Topics will include the merits of different tax systems (such as income and consumption taxes), questions of tax administration and legal complexity, the efficiency implications of taxation, and distributional implications. It will consider how well current legislation addresses these various issues and consider whether there are ways that they might be better addressed. The class will be conducted as a seminar and will likely include guest experts who will join us in discussions of particular topics. Tax I is a prerequisite for this course; other tax courses, especially Corporate Tax, would be useful, but are not required. This courses fullfills the written work requirement. 

Tax Practice & Penalties (LWTE574)

Instructor(s): Ronson Shamoun

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation, LLM in Taxation
Prerequisite(s): Tax I

This course will examine the range of penalties that must be considered when advising on transactional tax and tax controversy matters, and it will provide a thorough background for preparing opinion letters in an effort to prevent and defend against penalties. Both transactional tax advisers and tax controversy attorneys must have a comprehensive knowledge of these penalties in order to satisfy their professional obligations. Transactional tax advisers must consider penalties when structuring business deals and will need to reference them when preparing opinion letters. Tax controversy attorneys will need to understand and be able to adequately defend against the assessment of penalties to effectively represent their client in settlement and court proceedings.

In this class we will examine relevant statutes, regulations, and case law. The class will focus on substantive and procedural law and on practical legal strategies when confronted with these issues. We will examine the statutory, regulatory, and ethical standards governing those who practice in the tax field, including the applicability of Circular 230 and other state rules regulating an attorney’s professional conduct. There will be a few guest speakers throughout the course from various firms and agencies who will discuss the application of tax penalties to their practice and work along with examples of current cases they are working on. Nearly every class will touch on a tax practitioner’s ethical obligations as they pertain to Circular 230. In addition to the statutes and opinion letters, we will also be discussing methods of proof and defenses of penalties, which are crucial to successfully representing a client.

Torts (LWAA540)

Instructor(s): Chris Wonnell, Steven Smith, Miranda McGowan

4 credit(s), Letter Graded

An exploration of the principles involved in determining whether an injured person should be compensated for harm caused by another, including such diverse topics as intentional harms, negligence, and strict liability.

Transitional Justice (LWIC590)

Instructor(s): Dustin Sharp

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): International Law, LLM in International Law, Public Interest Law, Criminal Litigation, Children's Rights

“Transitional Justice” is an emerging field of policy, practice, and study that focuses on the moral, legal, and political dilemmas encountered as individuals, communities, and nations attempt to grapple with historical legacies of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other large-scale human rights violations. In such circumstances: Who must be punished and who may be pardoned? Do vigorous efforts to promote legal accountability jeopardize the emerging and fragile peace? What is the proper role and responsibility of the so-called international community? In this class, we will examine the complementarity and conflict between the often overlapping demands that nations face in the wake of large-scale human rights abuses, including retribution, reconciliation, restitution, memory, and other forms of accountability. This will include study of the traditional range of transitional justice tools and interventions that have evolved, including international tribunals from Nuremburg to the ICC, truth commissions, reparations programs, public memorials, vetting and lustration initiatives, and broader institutional reform. Along the way, we will probe the blind spots, assumptions, and limitations of varying transitional justice mechanisms, together with the transitional justice project in general. Course grades will be determined on the basis of class participation, short reaction papers, a group oral presentation, and a final research paper. Please be advised that this course does not fulfill the law school’s written work requirement.

This class starts on Thursday, January 26, 2017. 

Trial Advocacy (LWLP550)

Instructor(s): Monique Carter

3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
Concentration(s): Criminal Law, Criminal Litigation, Civil Litigation

This is an upper class course focused on the skills of case analysis and oral presentation of those cases to judges and juries in trials. The Fall course will focus on a piece of criminal litigation and will include developing skills used in a criminal jury trial as well as preliminary phases of criminal cases, including motions in limine, preliminary hearings and plea bargains. The course is specifically designed to expand the skills introduced to the student in Experiential Advocacy and Legal Research & Writing. The course methodology combines lectures, demonstrations and individual student performances in small groups with extensive critique and feedback by small group instructors who are experienced practitioners. The course culminates in a mock trial. The course is graded on a 4-tier Pass/Fail basis.

Note: Students may only elect this course or Practicum--Civil to count toward the Civil Litigation Concentration (JD).

Trusts & Estates (LWTE555)

Instructor(s): Adam Hirsch

3 credit(s), Letter Graded

This survey course provides an introduction to non-tax aspects of estate planning and the law of gratuitous transfers, including inter vivos gifts, intestate succession, wills, will substitutes, trusts, fiduciary administration, and future interests.