Course Descriptions

Spring 2017 Class Descriptions

Latin American Law & Institutions (Horacio Spector)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): International Law (MSLS), LLM in International Law (LLMI), International Law (LLMC), International Law (JD)

Over the last decade Latin America has been one of the fastest growing regions in the world, with foreign demand and investments boosting an unprecedented pace of prosperity and social inclusion. Though growth has declined since the global crisis, Latin America’s huge potential is awaiting a new trend of rapid expansion. American lawyers have a key role to play in the development of business strategies in the region, but training alertness is advisable. In fact, common law education is not self-sufficient for understanding the subtleties of Latin American law, and many American corporations and investors face difficulties for lack of expert counseling concerning domestic legal risks and problems.

The general goal of the course is to allow students to start becoming bijural by training them to communicate well with Latin American peers. We plan to achieve this goal by training students in various areas of Latin American variety of Civil Law: the Civil Law tradition in Latin America, constitutional law, human rights in national and Inter-American law, agrarian reforms and Indian peoples’ rights, civil and commercial codes, civil law remedies, civil procedure, and business law. Besides practical and professional concerns, the course will also be a rewarding intellectual experience, as students will progressively understand that there are few universal legal truths and that legal reasonableness is to a great extent relative to culture and historical accident.

We will focus on Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Puerto Rico (unincorporated US territory), and other Latin American and Caribbean nations. We will not assume that students have a command of Spanish or Portuguese, though some idiomatic background is obviously advantageous. Each student will be required to write a research paper of 20 pages in length in English. Successful completion of this course satisfies the written-work requirement.

Legal Writing & Research II (Staff)

2 credit(s)

Legal Writing and Research (LWR) II introduces students to persuasive legal writing and oral argument. Through a series of assignments, students focus on the analytical, research, and writing skills required to produce effective legal briefs. Students are also trained in the art of oral advocacy and required to deliver an oral argument based on their legal briefs before a panel of attorneys. The course is offered in small sections with very low student-faculty ratios so that faculty may provide individualized and frequent feedback on student work. Required for first-year students.

Legal Writing & Research, LLMC (Gail Greene)

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

This course, which is offered only to students in the LLM in Comparative Law program, focuses on providing students with: (1) a broad overview of the structure of the U.S. legal system; (2) techniques for successful research , writing and practice of law in the U.S. courts; (3) an introduction to the objective analytical skills that promote success in coursework and in the profession; (4) an introduction to persuasive writing techniques; and (5) techniques for success in class and examinations. The course has a very low student-faculty ratio and faculty carefully review each student’s research and writing assignments. Students are provided opportunities to meet with their professor and revise their written work.

Legislation (Mila Sohoni)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Public Interest Law (JD), Environmental and Energy Law (JD), Children's Rights (JD), Environmental and Energy Law (MSLS), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMG), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMC)

The course examines the increasingly important role of statutes in the American legal system. A substantial part of the course will discuss statutory interpretation - an essential tool for lawyers that is not sufficiently covered elsewhere in the curriculum. The course will also address various aspects of the legislative process, such as campaign finance, lobbying, initiatives and other forms of direct democracy, and term limits.

Legislation in the Modern State (Gail Heriot)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Public Interest Law (JD)

This intensive two-week course will be focused in part on how our governmental institutions are constructed to ensure that Congress and state legislatures pass, and that other branches of government implement legislation in a manner that is in the public interest. Attention will also be given to how Congress in particular drafts laws knowing those law will ultimately be implemented by others-whether the President, administrative agencies, private litigants, courts or some combination of these. Several case studies will be examined. Although this is not a course on legislation generally nor administrative procedure generally, it has some elements of each as well as elements of public choice theory. It will feature a final examination. This class will begin on Monday, January 3, 2017 and end on Friday, January 13, 2017. Class times will be 9:00am-12:00 noon Monday through Thursday plus one make-up class on a Friday from 1:00-4:00 p.m. The final exam will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 6:30pm. Students must attend all classes. Due to the intensive nature of the course, students will be expected to complete a significant amount of course readings before the class starts and there will be several interim quizzes throughout the two weeks. The quizzes will account for approximately 30% of the grade and the final exam for approximately 70%. The course will be graded on a letter grade scale. This course is open only to students enrolled in the Washington, D.C. Externship Program.

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