Course Descriptions

Spring 2016 Class Descriptions

Immigration Clinic I (Sandra M. Wagner)

1-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Public Interest Law (JD)

Students gain practical experience through interviewing, counseling, and representing clients with immigration-related problems. Students have the opportunity to assist clients with a range of immigration issues such as naturalization, lawful permanent residency, derivative citizenship, deferred action, and U-visa and VAWA for domestic violence and abuse victims. Students may attend U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services interviews related to their client’s applications. Students may also attend and participate in community immigration outreach. Weekly meetings are held with the clinic supervisor and other interns to discuss immigration law, practical application and casework. The clinic is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis. No Prerequisites.

Students must attend a mandatory orientation on Friday, January 15, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in WH 3B.

Immigration Clinic II (Sandra M. Wagner)

1-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Public Interest Law (JD)
Prerequisite(s): Immigration Clinic I

Clinic II interns refine their skills, working on complex cases and cases already begun as Clinic I interns. Students may mentor first time clinic participants, serve as lead attorney on cases, and have additional opportunities to appear in court or administrative proceedings. Supervising attorneys/adjunct professors provide individualized coaching, based on the Clinic II interns’ needs and interests. Prerequisite: Successful completion of Clinic I in the same clinic.

In-House Corporate Counseling (Stephen C. Ferruolo)

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

In-house lawyers practice in the law departments of for-profit business entities, non-profits, and in government at the federal, state, and local levels. (It is estimated that 20 to 30% of all lawyers will practice in-house at some time in their careers.) This course will be conducted by Dean Stephen C. Ferruolo with experienced corporate counsel from San Diego based corporations. Topics to be addressed include: The Roles of the In-house lawyer; Professional Responsibility Issues for In-house Lawyers; Practicing Preventive Law; Corporate Business Ethics Programs; Compliance Programs and Internal Investigations; Corporate Governance Best Practices; Risk Management and Crisis Management; Why and How to Teach Your Clients Contracts 101; Litigation Outside Counsel Management; Trade Secrets and Intellectual Property; International Operations and Transactions; Counseling the Public Company Board and Officers, Shareholder Meetings, and Compliance with Federal and State Securities Laws. The class will also discuss what In-House lawyers should know about labor and employment law, and accounting and finance.

Income Tax of Trusts & Estates (Ann Harris)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I, Trusts & Estates

The federal income taxation of trusts, estates, and their beneficiaries; distributable net income; distribution deductions for simple and complex trusts and estates; grantor trusts; income in respect of a decedent; and throwback rules. 

Students who completed the three credit Tax I course must obtain professor approval using the form at

Intellectual Property Law Clinic (Ted Sichelman)

3 credit(s), P/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property (JD)

This course places students at local law firms to provide legal assistance to a wide variety of technology companies, independent inventors, artists, musicians, and others in need of pro bono IP work in the areas of patent and trademark prosecution as well as licensing and litigation in all IP fields. Students will be supervised by attorneys at local law firms as well as the professors. 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 clients and supervising lawyers each week, and meet one-on-one with the professors on a regular basis. An application process will be used to select students for the course. Students may only begin the course in the fall semester, and may continue in the spring semester, but are not required to do so. Interested students may also apply to both the Technology Entrepreneurship Clinic, but will be selected for only one clinic.

Note: There are limitations on JD concentration eligibility. Please check the Intellectual Property Concentration web page for more information. Email to see if your work qualifies.
Additional Information:Intellectual Property Concentration

International Arbitration (David W. Brennan)

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

The New York Convention establishes a framework for international arbitration. More nations have acceded to the New York Convention than any other treaty in the history of the United Nations. This class will explain the system of international arbitration which has become the preferred method of dispute resolution among businesses throughout the world. The class will feature power point presentations, including photos and music from around the world. We will conduct a mock arbitration based upon a fact pattern of two USD law students who take a trip to Buenos Aires, then build a business extending from San Diego to Argentina, Brazil and beyond. LLM students will learn about an international legal structure and acquire practical skills which will be applicable when they return home (wherever that maybe). 2L and 3L students will learn arbitration law reaching from San Diego, California and the United States into the international arena. Students are graded by the standard letter grading system.

International Business Transactions (Ralph H. Folsom)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): International Law (MSLS), Business and Corporate Law (MSLS), LLM in International Law (LLMI), International Law (LLMC), Business and Corporate Law (LLMC), LLM in Business and Corporate Law (LLMB), International Law (JD), Business and Corporate Law (JD)

This is an introductory course on international business law. The course book employed is problem-oriented, focusing student attention on practical problem solving. The course coverage is global, and may include problems related to international sales transactions, letters of credit, customs, import and export trade law, technology transfers across borders, foreign investment law, and international business dispute settlement. Grading is by exam and/or problem sets.


Note: This is a required course for the International Law Concentration (JD).

International Intellectual Property (Lisa P. Ramsey)

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

This course examines international protection of intellectual property. We will discuss international treaties, trade agreements, and dispute resolution systems relating to trademarks, patents, copyrights, and related rights. The course will also cover acquisition and enforcement of intellectual property rights in foreign markets. Prerequisites: None

International Labor Law (Lance Compa)

3 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded
Concentration(s): International Law (JD), Employment and Labor Law (JD), Employment and Labor Law (LLMG)

This course examines “hard” and “soft” legal efforts to regulate labor standards in the global economy. Subjects covered include standard-setting and enforcement by the ILO, the OECD, the World Bank, the UN and other international organizations; labor standards in trade agreements such as NAFTA and the new Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic negotiations; codes of conduct and other voluntary corporate initiatives on labor conditions in global supply chains; lawsuits in U.S. federal and state courts on behalf of foreign worker plaintiffs; labor rights campaigns aimed at governments and companies by trade unions and non-governmental organizations; and treatment of migrant labor, child labor, and women workers in the global economy. Grades will be based on a take-home final exam.

International Legal Research (Melissa Abernathy)

1 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Skills
Concentration(s): International Law (MSLS), LLM in International Law (LLMI), International Law (LLMC), International Law (JD)

This course is designed to introduce students to basic concepts, sources, and specialized research tools used in foreign and international legal research. This course will include segments on researching international treaties, international courts and tribunals, United Nations documents, the European Union, as well as foreign legal systems.

There will be three research assignments and three CALI lessons assigned during the first six classes in the semester; they are due at the beginning of class. In addition, a final capstone project will require each student to research a foreign or international law topic (approved by the instructor) and present a written research plan and oral report to the class. 

International Redress for Human Injustice (Roy L. Brooks)

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

Introduced into the law school curriculum in 1999, this seminar is based on the classic study of atrocities, When Sorry Isn’t Enough: The Controversy Over Apologies and Reparations for Human Injustice (1999), written by Professor Brooks. Today, the subject matter of this seminar is taught in various forms (e.g., small or large classes as well as seminars) under various titles (e.g., “Transitional Justice,” “Atrocities,” “Reparations”) in schools across the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, and the Commonwealth countries. Professor Brooks continues to teach the seminar at USD, and in recent years has added as one of its topics “modern slavery”(defined by international conventions and U.S. domestic law as “human exploitation over a period of time effectuated through coercion, fraud or trickery”) Yet, the main portion of the seminar, like all spinoffs of the seminar, continues to be on post-conflict justice. What does justice demand in the aftermath of atrocities like the Holocaust, Apartheid, and genocides in Armenia, Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, and America? This question is framed by the international redress movement (consisting of scholars, activists, and government officials) in which Professor Brooks has played a key role. The focus of the movement is on claims from around the world that seek redress for human injustice under post-Holocaust conditions. Hence, in addition to studying the aftermath of modern slavery in Africa involving the “child soldiers” and in Thailand for sexual slaves liberated from bondage, the seminar studies issues of post-conflict justice involving Nazi persecution, Japan’s "comfort women" system, Apartheid in South Africa, and our own country’s internment of Japanese Americans (why was there no internment in Hawaii where many more Japanese Americans lived?), genocidal treatment of Native Americans, and enslavement of African Americans. We shall draw on legal and political analyses, government documents, personal testimonies, and historical narratives. The seminar meets one time each week. A paper is required. Successful completion of this course satisfies the written-work requirement.

International Sales (William H. Lawrence)

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

This course focuses on the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods (CISG), with comparisons to domestic law (the UCC in particular). Considerable time is devoted to the application of the CISG to problems that typically arise in international sales transactions. The course does not include an exam. Students instead prepare written memos that reflect the type of assignments they can expect in practice with a law firm.

Intro to US Law (Michael Devitt)

2 credit(s), Standard Letter Graded

Introduction to United States Law is a required course for Master of Comparative Law students. No other students may enroll. This course comparatively introduces distinctly American approaches to law, lawyering and legal processes. Special emphasis is placed on the common law tradition.

Note: This course is for LLMC students only.

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