Course Descriptions

Spring 2015 Class Descriptions

Family Law (Paul Horton)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

This open-enrollment course surveys the constitutional and legislative doctrine and the adjudication frameworks related to traditional family-law topics: marriage and divorce; marital property regimes; parent and child, including child custody, termination of parental rights, and adoption; family support rights; and rights of children. The course will be organized generally in relation to the California Family Code. The informational component of the course is important, and the course will feature weekly short in-class exams testing on the week's assignment; no final exam will be offered.

Federal Courts (Steven D. Smith)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Public Interest Law (JD), Civil Litigation (JD)

This course is best described as advanced constitutional law focusing on the power of the federal courts, particularly with respect to the states and the other branches of the federal government. It is essential for anyone planning to clerk for a federal judge, or to perform public interest work in a variety of areas involving constitutional claims or governmental litigants. In practical terms, the materials concern who may bring suit in federal court, against whom, and under what circumstances. Specific topics include interpretation of Article III, justiciability (including standing and the "political question" doctrine), congressional power over the jurisdiction of the federal courts (including the extent to which civil rights suits and "enemy combatants" may be excluded from federal court), the immunities from suit enjoyed by state governments and public officials (such as police officers), and habeas corpus. Those interested may peruse Hart & Wechsler's The Federal Courts and the Federal System for a further indication of course content. Prior completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, Constitutional Law II is very strongly advised. The course materials assume a working knowledge of due process, equal protection, and state actor doctrine.

Federal Crimes (John J. Rice)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

This course will focus on the unique characteristics of Federal Criminal law. Attention will be paid to the jurisdiction of the Federal Government over criminal law as well as the individual statutes that are employed by Federal prosecutors in prosecuting a wide range of offenses. Federal prosecutions will be considered from the investigative stage, including the use of the grand jury, through the charging, plea-bargaining, trial, sentencing and appellate stages. Special consideration will be given to the increasing role of the Federal Government in prosecuting state and local corruption. This course will be especially beneficial for those students considering a career in criminal law as either prosecutors or criminal defense lawyers.

Federal Tax Clinic (Richard Carpenter)

1-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I - can take concurrently

This is a hands-on clinical course for students who wish to develop tax controversy skills. Students working under the supervision of the Tax Clinic supervising attorney will represent low income taxpayers in resolving their tax disputes with the IRS. Students will learn client interviewing skills, how to interact with IRS personnel, and how to effectively resolve a client’s federal tax dispute. Students must also be available to participate in Tax Clinic Outreach presentations at various community locations and times. The clinic is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis. 

Fundamentals of Bar Exam Writing (Linda McCloud, Allison Simkin)

1 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded

The course covers the fundamentals of bar exam essay writing and performance test writing. The first class is an introduction to bar exam components and topics. The next several classes focus on the details of essay exam writing and performance test drafting. Students will receive substantial feedback on their written work, and participate in small group sessions, self and peer review, and professor-student conferencing. Grading is on the H/P/LP/F scale. Students may be withdrawn from the course and/or given a failing grade for missing more than one class, failing to turn in any written assignments on time, or failing to complete any practice examination. 3L & 4E students only.

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