Course Descriptions

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Spring 2021 Class Descriptions

Immigration Clinic I (LWVL530)

Instructor(s): Sandra Wagner

2-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
Concentration(s): International Law (JD), Public Interest Law (JD), International Law (LLMC), LLM in International Law (LLMI)

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.


Immigration Clinic II (LWVL531)

Instructor(s): Sandra Wagner

1-4 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
Concentration(s): International Law (JD), Public Interest Law (JD), International Law (LLMC), LLM in International Law (LLMI)

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. The clinic is graded on a 4-tier Pass-Fail basis. 

In-House Corporate Counseling (LWBC567)

Instructor(s): Staff

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

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 Amanda Keton, currently General Counsel of Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia. Guest speakers will include experienced corporate counsel across the country and in San Diego. Topics to be addressed include: The Roles of the In-house lawyer; Professional Responsibility Issues for In-house Lawyers (including privilege); Cybersecurity and data privacy issues; Compliance Programs and Internal Investigations in the #MeToo era; 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 related areas of law--i.e., labor and employment, accounting and finance, etc.

Income Tax of Trusts & Estates (LWTE536)

Instructor(s): Ann Harris

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): Taxation (LLMC), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), Taxation (MSLS)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I, Trusts & Estates
Recommended Class(es): Federal Estate & Gift Taxation

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. 


Insurance Law (LWGC525)

Instructor(s): Michael Kelly

3 credit(s), Letter Graded
Prerequisite(s): Contracts

This survey course introduces the range of issues that surround insurance policies. The course emphasizes the business forces insurance companies confront and how those forces affect the drafting, interpretation, and regulation of policies. In addition to industry-wide issues, the course will address topics specific to several types of insurance, including property insurance, life insurance, liability insurance and reinsurance.

Intellectual Property Law Speaker Series (LWIP555)

Instructor(s): Shawn Miller

1 credit(s), P/F Graded
Concentration(s): Intellectual Property (JD), Intellectual Property (LLMC), Intellectual Property Law (LLMG), Intellectual Property Law (MSLS)
Prerequisite(s): See course description

The IP Law Speaker Series will feature nine distinguished speakers, typically leading practitioners and academics, during the course of the semester. The speakers will address a variety of topics in patent, trademark, copyright, and trade secret law. Attendance at all speaker sessions is required. Students will draft a 1-2 page comment for seven of the nine speakers, which will be graded pass/fail. Students must have taken a course in some area of intellectual property, or have work experience in the field, to register for the course. 

Intellectual Property Survey (LWIP550)

Instructor(s): Lisa Ramsey

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

This course provides a broad overview of intellectual property law. After discussing the policies underlying the protection of intellectual property rights, we will cover trade secret, patent, copyright, and trademark law, and related doctrines such as the right of publicity. These topics will be examined with a focus on new technologies, but a science or technical background is not required. This course provides a foundation for advanced intellectual property courses and is also appropriate for students who seek only a general understanding of intellectual property law. 

International Arbitration (LWIC530)

Instructor(s): David Brennan

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

The course covers all aspects of international arbitration from drafting of the arbitration agreement through initiating and conduct of the arbitration proceeding that results in a binding and enforceable award. The class encourages students’ pro-active participation in a sequence of written submissions for the arbitration proceeding based on a fictional rolling fact-pattern problem. This practicum allows students to work in teams or individually presenting arguments during class sessions in a mock-arbitral tribunal setting to address a spectrum of arbitration and procedural issues. The course objectives are to provide a thorough knowledge of international arbitration laws, and an understanding of the procedural and practice requirements, and to acquire the ability to perform the steps and strategies to effectively conduct an arbitration case on behalf of a client. The UNCITRAL Model Law (2006) will be a primary focus of the study. California’s Arbitration Act is similar to the Model Law so the course information is useful for future domestic arbitrations. The final grade is based on a combination of the class work and the practicum with a take-home final examination. The class-related work counts for 35% and the take-home exam for the other 65% of the grade.

Note: This class is the equivalent of LWYL 545

International Criminal Justice (Washington DC) (LWIC535)

Instructor(s): Staff

3 credit(s), Letter Graded

This course will be taught by a former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, who also served as a prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia and for the European Union. The course will examine the development of the field of international justice, the political and policy context in which transitional justice mechanisms are created and operate, and the record and jurisprudence of the various institutions established since the 1990’s when the modern era of international justice commenced. In addition to the classroom instruction and discussion, students will select a country or region that has confronted transitional justice challenges and will analyze whether the approaches employed to deliver justice have been successful and what alternative approaches, if any, might have produced better results. This course will be graded based on a paper that is not eligible for USD written work credit.


International Environmental Law (LWIC539)

Instructor(s): Catherine MacKenzie

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Requirement(s): Writing
Concentration(s): Environmental and Energy Law (JD), International Law (JD), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMC), International Law (LLMC), Environmental and Energy Law (LLMG), LLM in International Law (LLMI)

This course introduces students to international environmental law and considers how law may be used to enhance international environmental protection. It commences with an overview of the international legal system in the context of environmental protection. It then discusses the history, development, sources and principles of international environmental law and reviews the role of the UN and other international agencies in the context of international environmental law-making. Next, it considers issues of particular interest to the United States. These may include climate change, energy, biodiversity and biotechnology, transboundary water, forests and protected areas, and environment and trade. It concludes by considering the resolution of international environmental disputes including international responsibility, the role of international courts and tribunals and the quantification of environmental harm.  

International Estate Planning (LWTE538)

Instructor(s): Patrick Martin, Raul Villarreal Garza

2 credit(s), Letter Graded
Concentration(s): International Law (JD), International Law (LLMC), Taxation (LLMC), LLM in Taxation (LLMT), LLM in International Law (LLMI), Taxation (MSLS)
Prerequisite(s): Tax I

The course will address U.S. federal taxation issues (both income and transfer taxes) for multi-national families in this modern day of global living, investment and travel. A detailed review of the income tax rules under Subchapter J and the transfer tax rules for persons who are not U.S. persons will be addressed. Additionally, strategic planning considerations will address pre-immigration and emigration taxation and estate/wealth planning. Grades will be based on quizzes, take home assignments/projects and a final exam.

International Human Rights (Washington DC) (LWIC543)

Instructor(s): Staff

3 credit(s), Letter Graded

This class will provide an overview of the international human rights law system. We will examine the primary substantive standards that comprise the core of international human rights law, such as rights to a fair trial and to be free from genocide, torture, summary execution, arbitrary arrest and detention, and discrimination. We will also examine so-called “second-generation rights,” such as economic, social, and cultural rights. We will study the primary institutions and processes for the enforcement of such rights: treaty monitoring bodies, the regional human rights courts and commissions, the United Nations institutions, including the Human Rights Commission and the Security Council, domestic implementation through legislative and judicial mechanisms, as well as through inter-governmental diplomacy, reporting, and the mobilization of shame by non-governmental organizations. And, we will examine the explosion of international criminal tribunals, beginning with an examination of the Nuremberg trials, then a look at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and the new International Criminal Court. This course will be graded based on a paper that is not eligible for USD written work credit.


International Migration Law & Policy (LWIC545)

Instructor(s): Horacio Spector, Staff

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

This course includes elements of public international law and comparative law in the emerging area of international migration. The international normative system on forced migrations is interpreted and implemented in different ways by the States members of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, which gives rise to a rich array of international and comparative precedents. Students will learn the international norms relating to forced migrations and the rulings of American and European courts that apply those norms to particular controversies. Class discussions will focus on various alternatives to redesign the international system and propose an alternative structure that be capable of providing fairer and more efficient solutions to this serious problem.�Successful completion of the paper will fulfill the law school�s written work requirement.

International Negotiation (LWIC548)

Instructor(s): Herbert Lazerow

3 credit(s), H/P/L/F Graded
Requirement(s): Experiential
Concentration(s): Civil Litigation (JD), International Law (JD), International Law (LLMC), LLM in International Law (LLMI), International Law (MSLS)

The course will include specific materials and skill-building exercises on cross-cultural aspects of the bargaining process. Participants will include lawyers from other nations who are enrolled in USD\'s LLMC program, and upper class American JD students. Four-tier Pass/Fail grading.

Note: Students may only elect this course, Alternative Dispute Resolution or Negotiation to count towards the Civil Litigation Concentration (JD).
Additional Information: Civil Litigation Concentration

International Trade & Investment (LWIC558)

Instructor(s): Ralph Folsom

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

This course will provide a conceptual perspective on international economic relations by analyzing the role played by legal systems. To do so, it will assess critical legal, policy, and commercial issues intrinsic to international trade and investment, with an emphasis on the World Trade Organization, its institutional history, and the rights and responsibilities of its Member States. The challenges encountered by national governments attempting to regulate international trade and investment will be closely examined. Additional topics will include legal aspects of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the European Union (including the Brexit process) as well as the most prominent United States laws and government bodies associated with international trade and investment. Substantial emphasis will be placed on matters of prevailing interest and controversy, including the global impact of regional and bilateral trade agreements, the prominence of China in global trade, and the major legal challenges to prevailing systems of international economic interactions. Throughout this course, the functions and attributes of legal counsel will be explored. The grade will be entirely based on a research paper suitable for USD written work requirements.

In the Spring of 2021, this course will be taught remotely.

Intro to US Law (LWGC530)

Instructor(s): Horacio Spector

2 credit(s), 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.