Course Descriptions

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Fall 2018 Class Descriptions

Tax I (LWAA590)

Instructor(s): Miranda Perry Fleischer

3-4 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), 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 Litigation (LWTE565)

Instructor(s): Richard Carpenter

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC)

This course provides a comprehensive review of prelitigation IRS administrative procedures, practical analysis in the selection of a choice of forum to litigate a federal tax dispute, pre-trial practice and case analysis, trial techniques and strategies when litigating a federal tax dispute before the U.S. Tax Court, and a review of refund litigation. 

Tax Planning Lab (LWTE568)

Instructor(s): Paul Yong

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (MSLS), Business and Corporate Law (MSLS), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (LLMC), Business and Corporate Law (LLMC), LLM in Business and Corporate Law (LLMB), Business and Corporate Law (JD)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I, Corporate Tax

The course will be held on select Fridays during the fall semester. Students will work in teams on simulated tax planning exercises with lawyers from Sempra Energy & KPMG. Exercises will include planning, counseling, and negotiating on matters related to mergers & acquisitions, corporate tax, international tax, and financial statement impact. Federal Income Tax and Corporate Tax are required pre-requisites. The course is open to both JD and LLM students. Grades will be assessed based on group projects, written work, and participation.

Note: The initial class meeting will be held at USD. All other sessions will be held at Sempra.

Tax Practice & Penalties (LWTE574)

Instructor(s): Ronson Shamoun

2 credit(s), 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.

Torts (LWAA540)

Instructor(s): Miranda McGowan, Steven Smith, Edmund Ursin

4 credit(s), 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.

Trade Secrets (LWIP575)

Instructor(s): David McGowan

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

This course provides an introduction to trade secret law. Subjects include the definition of trade secrets, the means by which trade secret protection is distinguished from copyright and patent law, and issues in enforcing trade secret protection. We will study the federal Defend Trade Secrets Act, the Uniform Trade Secrets Act, and California trade secrets law, as well as the relationship between trade secrets protection and California's policy against enforcing non-compete agreements. This class will have a take-home midterm and final exam administered on TWEN.

Trademark Law (LWIP580)

Instructor(s): Lisa Ramsey

3 credit(s), 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. 

Transitional Justice (LWIC590)

Instructor(s): Dustin Sharp

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): International Law (MSLS), LLM in International Law (LLMI), International Law (LLMC), Public Interest Law (JD), International Law (JD), Criminal Litigation (JD), Children's Rights (JD)

“Transitional Justice” is an emerging field of policy, practice, and study that focuses on the moral, legal, and political dilemmas encountered as individuals, communities, and nations attempt to grapple with historical legacies of war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and other large-scale human rights violations. In such circumstances: Who must be punished and who may be pardoned? Do vigorous efforts to promote legal accountability jeopardize the emerging and fragile peace? What is the proper role and responsibility of the so-called international community? In this class, we will examine the complementarity and conflict between the often overlapping demands that nations face in the wake of large-scale human rights abuses, including retribution, reconciliation, restitution, memory, and other forms of accountability. This will include study of the traditional range of transitional justice tools and interventions that have evolved, including international tribunals from Nuremburg to the ICC, truth commissions, reparations programs, public memorials, vetting and lustration initiatives, and broader institutional reform. Along the way, we will probe the blind spots, assumptions, and limitations of varying transitional justice mechanisms, together with the transitional justice project in general. Course grades will be determined on the basis of class participation, short reaction papers, a group oral presentation, and a final research paper. Please be advised that this course does not fulfill the law school’s written work requirement.

This class starts in September. 

Trial Advocacy - Criminal (LWLP550)

Instructor(s): Monique Carter

3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
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 in trials. The Fall course will focus on a piece of criminal litigation and will include developing skills used in a criminal jury trial as well as preliminary phases of criminal cases, including motions in limine, preliminary hearings and plea bargains. The course is specifically designed to expand the skills introduced to the student in Experiential Advocacy and 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 (LWTE555)

Instructor(s): Adam Hirsch

3 credit(s), 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.