Course Descriptions

Spring 2014 Class Descriptions

Media Law (Junichi P. Semitsu)

3 credit(s)
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property (JD), Intellectual Property Law (MSLS)

This course presents the legal and policy overview of the key cases, legislation, and technologies affecting communications in the United States. Students will be exposed to a survey of five major areas of media law: governmental speech regulation (e.g., obscenity, prior restraint, indecency), defamation, privacy torts, news gathering rights, and copyright and fair use. But this course can also be seen as an advanced First Amendment course concentrated on the interplay between “new” media, cutting-edge technologies, privacy, and other civil liberties. While most of the assigned cases focus on print and broadcast media, discussion topics will run the gamut from Wikileaks to TMZ, from crush videos to baseball cards, and from Nicole Richie’s fleeting expletives on Fox to Courtney Love’s disparaging rants on Twitter, leaving time to canvass the legal pitfalls awaiting YouTube when a user uploads an excerpt of the German film Downfall with the subtitles modified to suggest that Adolf Hitler is enraged about Jeremy Lin’s success. One oft-explored question will be whether today’s communication laws—some established before most Americans had a home computer or cable television—hold up in the face of emerging technologies and media platforms. By analyzing Pamela Anderson’s privacy rights, Gizmodo bloggers’ news gathering rights, and Voyeur Dorm’s speech rights, students will learn to help clients with communications and media issues in the post-Facebook era. While there are no formal prerequisites for the course, a prior knowledge of torts, constitutional law, and some basic intellectual property concepts might be helpful. The final course grade will be based on a final exam and class participation.

Mediation Internship (Agustin Lopez)

1 credit(s)
Requirement(s): Skills

The Mediation Internship course is a clinical opportunity for “hands on” experience working directly with litigants by helping them to resolve their pending court case using mediation. Students work with seasoned, mentor mediators from the National Conflict Resolution Center at the Kearny Mesa San Diego Superior Court, Small Claims Division, mediating real cases, including commercial contract, landlord-tenant and consumer-merchant disputes. An excellent opportunity to engage with clients seeking justice from the courts and exercise the techniques and process learned in the Mediation Skills Course. Students must commit to a standing schedule during the semester to coincide with the Department calendars, meet with the internship supervisor in two group sessions during the semester, and attend bi-weekly TWEN sessions. The semester Mediation Skills course and the Mediation Internship are separate, though linked, course offerings.

Mediation Skills (Lisa Maxwell)

1 credit(s)
Requirement(s): Skills

Mediation is a process by which a trained and impartial third party helps others resolve a dispute. Lawyers use mediation extensively, both as advocates and as neutrals. This course consists of a twenty-seven hour basic mediation sills training. Participants will learn to mediate a variety of disputes, using the methodology developed by San Diego's National Conflict Resolution Center. They will receive a certificate of participation upon their successful completion of the training. Participants must commit to attending each of the training sessions as a condition of enrollment. The course is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis.

Multistate Bar Exam Review (Ted Sichelman)

2 credit(s)

The MBE is given as part of the bar exam in all U.S. jurisdictions. USD has licensed every published MBE question from previous examinations. Students in this course will take these MBE questions using customized online software (also accessible from tablets and smartphones), which tracks each student’s strengths and weaknesses in every substantive area of the bar exam (constitutional, criminal, real property, torts, contracts, and evidence). The online software will provide real-time review material for each area of the law. Each class session will cover test-taking techniques and the substantive law for one of the six areas of law. Please note that BARBRI, Kaplan, and most other bar exam review courses do not provide access to all of the previous real exam questions from the MBE. The course will be graded pass/fail. Students must complete all of the online modules by answering at least 85% of the questions in each module correctly (approximately 5-8 hours per week of work) to pass the course. Only students planning to graduate in May 2014 may register for this course.  This class is graded pass/fail.

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