Course Descriptions

Fall 2015 Class Descriptions

Tax I (Jordan M. Barry, Howard Abrams)

3/4 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)

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 Practices & Penalties (Ronson J. Shamoun)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)
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.

Taxation of International Finance (John I. Forry)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), International Law (MSLS), LLM in International Law (LLMI), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC), International Law (LLMC)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I or Corporate Finance

This course derives – from alternative approaches to capital investment neutrality and governmental benefit – the competing national bases for income, asset transfer and value added taxation of cross-border activities. The current importance of transfer pricing among related parties and the mitigation of multiple national taxation by unilateral national measures, tax treaties and EU directives are discussed and illustrated by examples. The course then applies these key tax concepts in structuring cross-border financing, including international project finance, securitization, capital markets equity and debt financing, and the use of international investment funds. Early in the course, students are assigned to teams. Each team is provided with a brief case study, makes a presentation in the final sessions of the course and afterwards provides a paper covering the key issues of its case study. In addition, each student’s course grade may be increased (but not decreased) based upon classroom performance by one grade level (e.g., from B to B+). Prerequisite: Tax I or Corporate Finance. 

Taxation of Property Transactions (Phillip L. Jelsma)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I (LLM students may take this concurrently)

This course examines practical planning opportunities involving closed sales, open sales, deferred payment reporting, installment sales elections, imputed interest, cost recovery reporting, two-way and three-way real estate exchanges, all-inclusive trust deeds, subordinated financing, midpoint refinancing, and negative basis. Considerable emphasis is placed on understanding interest concepts such as mortgage annual constant percentages, lump sum and annuity present value analysis, and real rate of return (after inflation) analysis.

Tech Entrepreneurship Law Clinic (Ted Sichelman)

3 credit(s), P/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Business and Corporate Law (LLMC), LLM in Business and Corporate Law (LLMB), Intellectual Property (JD), Business and Corporate Law (JD)

This course places students at local law firms to provide legal assistance to local technology startups in the areas of intellectual property prosecution and licensing, corporate formation and transactions, contracts, employment, and related areas. Students will be supervised by attorneys at local law firms as well as the professor. The course will begin with 5-6 weeks of class sessions covering the core types of transactions encountered in technology startups. There are no scheduled classes during the remainder of the semester; instead, students will work with the companies and supervising lawyers each week, and meet one-on-one with the professor on a regular basis. An application process will be used to select students for the course. Students who registered for the course during 2014-15 may not apply for the course for 2015-16. Students may only begin the course in the fall semester, and may continue in the spring semester, but are not required to do so. Students interested in IP issues may apply to both the Technology Entrepreneurship Clinic and the IP Law Clinic, but will be selected for only one clinic. 

Note: There are limitations on JD concentration eligibility. Please check the JD concentration web pages for more information. Contact Law Student Affairs to find out if your work in this clinic qualifies for the concentration.
Additional Information:JD Concentrations Web Page, Email Law Student Affairs

Tech Transfers Legal Practice (Elisabeth Eisner)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (MSLS), Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property (JD)

The distribution of goods and the provision of services in the global economy – and hence the production of revenue – frequently involves technology transfer. A grasp of the law of technology transfers, and the application of that law into practice are essential tools of a practicing business lawyer. This course will focus on the law and practice of development and exploitation of proprietary technology as well as the commercialization of that technology through the manufacture and distribution of products and provision of services. We will review the intellectual property law underpinnings of a technology transfer practice, including copyrights, patents, trade secrets and know-how, and trademarks, and then focus on how technology transfer agreements differ depending on the underlying intellectual property rights. We will review the basic building blocks of intellectual property agreements, and then together write software license agreements, patent license agreements, independent contractor agreements and terms and conditions of sale. Drafting skills will be developed using both lecture and practical training methods (hypothetical business scenarios coupled with drafting exercises based on those scenarios). This course will be practical in its orientation, with an emphasis on drafting documents customarily encountered by lawyers practicing in the technology transfer space. Students must have taken a course in some area of intellectual property, or have work experience in the field, to register for the course.

Torts (Staff)

4 credit(s), Standard 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.

Trademark Law (Lisa P. Ramsey)

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

This course provides an overview of trademark and unfair competition law. We will discuss the purpose of these laws, the requirements for trademark protection, and the scope and enforcement of trademark rights. Specifically, we will cover the concepts of distinctiveness, functionality, and use of a trademark; the procedural and substantive aspects of trademark registration; geographic limits on trademark rights; trademark infringement, dilution, cybersquatting, counterfeiting, false advertising, false endorsement, and the right of publicity; and defenses and remedies in trademark actions. 

Trial Advocacy (Linda L. Lane)

3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Criminal Law (LLMG), Criminal Law (LLMC), Criminal Litigation (JD), Civil Litigation (JD)

This is an upper class course focused on the skills of case analysis and oral presentation of those cases to judges and juries on civil or criminal trials. The course also includes developing skills used in the discovery phase of civil cases, especially depositions. The course is specifically designed to expand the skills introduced to the student in 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 (Adam Hirsch)

3 credit(s), Standard 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.

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