Course Descriptions

Spring 2018 Class Descriptions

Family Law (Margaret A. Dalton)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Children's Rights (JD)

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.

Note: This is a required course for the Children's Rights Concentration (JD).

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.

Fundamentals of Bar Exam Writing (Alison M. Brown, Taylor Israel, Allison Simkin)

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

This course is designed to help graduating students transition to bar study. The course addresses both the performance test portion of the exam and the essay portion. Students will learn studying techniques and strategies that will help them in their bar studies. Students will improve their skills in analyzing and solving bar essays and performance tests and communicating legal analysis in writing. However, this course is not a substitute for a commercial bar review course.

Exam taking is a conglomeration of different skills, which can be taught, practiced, and learned. The bar exam is fundamentally different from law school exams and requires particularized skills—among them the ability to study and retain multiple subjects simultaneously. This course is therefore designed to help students transition into bar study, prepare students to respond appropriately to bar exam questions, and reinforce students’ legal reasoning and writing skills.

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