Course Descriptions

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Fall 2018 Class Descriptions

Law & Economics (LWPP550)

Instructor(s): Chris Wonnell

3 credit(s)

This course introduces the student to the burgeoning field of legal thought on the intersection of law and economics. It analyzes a wide variety of legal institutions, including property, contract, tort, criminal law, corporate law, and antitrust, from the perspective of the incentive structures that are created by these institutions. In that sense, economic analysis is a value-neutral scientific exploration of cause and effect. However, we will also use economics to ask important normative questions about the legal fields we study. Do the legal rules in these areas result in activity that is privately profitable but socially wasteful? Would alternative legal rules more efficiently coordinate private activity in the service of the public good? There are no prerequisites for this course.

Law Journal Editing and Research (LWWI542)

Instructor(s): Richard Pinto

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

This course is offered only to students who are editorial board members of Law Review, International Law Journal, and Journal of Climate and Energy Law. This course provides students with an understanding of editorial and publication processes through faculty supervised training. Topics include editing, editorial research, article selection, and other aspects of journal operations. The course is taught by a USD faculty member who meets regularly with students, provides them with specific and individualized feedback on their contributions, and provides guidance on journal operations. 

Students will be graded on the basis of class attendance and participation, and performance on class assignments and a final exam.  The final exam will be held on the last class date.

Legal & Constitutional Challenges in the Middle East (LWIC563)

Instructor(s): Staff

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

The Middle East is in turmoil. The course will focus on the ways in which legal systems in the Middle East face the challenges of the region with a special focus on constitutional law. Several challenges are common to the different legal systems in the Middle East. First is the tension between traditionalism and progress, which is reflected, amongst others, in the highly contentious relationship between state and religion in the countries of the region. Second is the issue of constitutional change, and constitutional revolution - the Arab Spring has witnessed the downfall of regimes and the rise of new ones, a process usually accompanied by constitutional conventions, and sometimes, as in Egypt, by multiple constitutional conventions. Iraq is another example of rapid constitutional change. Third are issues relating to security threats and the fight against terrorism. And fourth are issues of multiculturalism and ethnic and cultural diversity. Israel, shares all these challenges but in different ways owing to its own special place in the Middle East. A special emphasis will be given in the course to Israeli law and Israeli constitutional law. Beyond attending class and reading the class materials, each student will be required to conduct a short research on the constitutional system of a particular country in the Middle East, or on a particular aspect of a countries' constitutional system, and present it in class during in the second half of the course. The presentation should highlight the main constitutional characteristics of the chosen country (history, text, judiciary.) Your final grade will be based on a final exam and on class presentations.

Legal Writing & Research I (LWAA545)

Instructor(s): Elisa Brandes, Lisa Cannon, Gail Greene, Wendy Garewal

2 credit(s), Letter Graded

Legal Writing and Research (LWR) I is the first part of a two-semester program introducing students to the tools lawyers use to analyze, research, and frame legal positions and communicate them in predictive office memoranda. Students practice and actively learn legal writing and research skills by creating multiple drafts of office memoranda and conducting both print and computer-assisted legal research. 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 (LWGC560)

Instructor(s): Staff

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.

Legislative Advocacy & the Law (LWPP566)

Instructor(s): Orde Kittrie

3 credit(s), Letter Graded

This course is designed to teach students legislative lawyering and advocacy skills. These skills include identifying and assessing issues susceptible to being addressed by legislation; analyzing and selecting legislative options for addressing such issues; drafting statutory and other legislative materials; and developing a coalition-building and media strategy for advocating adoption of the proposed legislative solution. Readings and guest speakers will focus on advanced and problem-focused discussion of such topics as Congressional powers, legislative process (including the functions of legislative committees), relevant ethics issues (including the regulation of lobbying), Presidential vetoes and signing statements, statutory interpretation, as well as case studies in successful legislative advocacy campaigns.
Students will be required to draft a set of written materials which will include a final paper containing analysis of a problem susceptible to being addressed by legislation, discussion of potential legislative options for addressing it, selection of a preferred option, and strategies for advocacy (including coalition-building and media). Students may also be require to draft and submit some or all of the following: proposed statutory language; talking points; fact sheets; and testimony. The final grade will consist of the following components: 1) written assignments - 80%, 2) class participation – 20% (to include assigned class presentations). Classes start on Wednesday, September 5 and end on December 12, 2018.

This class is required for students attending the Washington D.C. Externship Program.


Note: This class is restricted to students admitted to the Washington DC Externship Program