Course Descriptions

Spring 2015 Class Descriptions

Latin American Law & Institutions (Horacio Spector)
LWIC559

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.

Law & Economics (Mark Lee)
LWPP550

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Prerequisite(s): none

This course introduces the student to the burgeoning field of legal thought on the intersection of law and economics. It will equip the student to use the fundamental analytical tools of microeconomics to analyze law and the legal system and their impact on human behavior. We will use these tools to analyze behavior regulated by a wide variety of laws, including property, contract, tort, criminal law, corporate law, and family law. Much of our analysis will be predictive which will require a focus on the incentives provided by law. But we will also use the tools of microeconomics to shed light on the desirability of changing the law. Both will require consideration of the behavior of voters, campaign contributors, and elected officials, and government bureaucrats. There are no prerequisites for this course. Grade based on two short analytical writing assignments (20% to 25% of your course grade) an all-essay, open-book, take-home final exam administered via TWEN (75% of your course grade), and your net intellectual contribution to class (which may raise your course grade by one grade increment, but will not lower it).

Law of the Sea (Jorge A. Vargas)
LWIC560

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Environmental and Energy Law (LLMC), Environmental and Energy Law (JD), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMG)

Instruction concentrates on the origins and development of the legal regime applicable to the uses and resources of the oceans. Special consideration is given to the formulation and codification process of this dynamic branch of public international law, in particular the work and final outcome of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. Topics for analysis also will include fishing activities, maritime delimitation, pollution, marine scientific research, and U.S. policy regarding law of the sea matters. A research paper will be required.

Legal Drafting (Elaine Edelman)
LWGC563

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Business and Corporate Law (MSLS), Business and Corporate Law (LLMC), LLM in Business and Corporate Law (LLMB), Business and Corporate Law (JD)

Transactional drafting is crucial to the legal profession. It refers to the process of creating documents to formalize agreements between parties. This course trains students to be able to use the process comfortably. You will learn to structure agreements, and express them in clear and concise language that will benefit clients and maximize the likelihood of favorable interpretation. The course emphasizes both cooperative and individual drafting work. Each week in class, you will focus on selected components of the drafting process, and prepare a document or exercise requiring you to practice what you learn. You will receive immediate feedback on that day’s drafting activity, and written comments on individual weekly homework assignments. Visits by attorneys who draft contracts in their practice will provide a view of how the legal profession depends on this skill. This class will use various types of contracts that touch on various areas of substantive law: contracts for the sale of goods, business or property (contract law, commercial transactions); residential and commercial leases (landlord-tenant and real estate law); settlement agreements (torts); employment, non-disclosure and non-compete agreements (employment law); retainer agreements (legal ethics); intellectual property rights (intellectual property); corporate acquisitions (corporations, securities law); entertainment contracts (entertainment law); vendors’ contracts (sports law). Grades are based on the scores on individual weekly assignments. Students may only enroll in two of the following during their law school career: Advanced Legal Writing OR LWR III: Lit & Judicial Drafting OR LWR III: Legal Writing OR Legal Drafting. Students desiring to add the second class in this series must receive a signature on their add/drop form from the Office for JD Student Affairs, and provide the form to the Registrar office (that is, students cannot add the second class themselves online.)

Legal Writing & Research, LLMC (Gail Greene)
LWGC560

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 in the Modern State (Gail Heriot)
LWPP549

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

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 5, 2015 and end on Thursday, January 15, 2015. Class times will be 9:00am-12:00 noon Monday through Thursday. The final exam will be held on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 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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