|Civil Procedure I
|Civil Procedure II
|Constitutional Law I
|Constitutional Law II
|Law & Justice
|Lawyering Process I
|Lawyering Process II
|Legal Reasoning I
|Business Organizations I
|Business Organizations II
|Commercial Law/UCC I
|Conflict of Laws
|Federal Tax/Tax I (Personal)
|Wills and Estates
|Advanced Criminal Procedure
|Advanced Legal Research
|Advanced Legal Writing
|Alternative Dispute Resolution
|Bankruptcy and Debtor-Creditor Law
|Civil Rights in the 21st Century Externship
|Civil Rights in the 21st Century Seminar
|Criminal Justice, Social Justice, and Community Justice
|Death Penalty Law/Wrongful Convictions
|Environmental Law & Policy
|Essay Writing for the Bar
|Gender & Sexual Orientation
|Gender & Sexual Orientation Seminar
|Health Law Seminar
|Immigration Law Practicum
|Immigration Law Seminar
|Intellectual Property Law
|International Human Rights Seminar
|International Law Seminar
|Katrina and Beyond
|Law Office Management
|Legal & Bar Success Foundations
|Legal Reasoning II
|Mass Communications Seminar
|Race and the Law Seminar
|Race and the Law
|Race and the Law Practicum
|Reproductive Rights Law & Justice/Seminar
|Rights of Persons with Disabilities
|Service-Learning Practicum & Seminar
|Special Problems in Criminal Law & Criminal Procedure
|State & Local Government Law
|System Change: Theory & Practice
|Tax Practice & Procedure
|Veterans Benefits Law
|Veterans Benefits Law Seminar
|See the Student Handbook for complete degree requirements.|
||Torts I (3 credits)|
This is a survey of basic tort law, including topics such as intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, and causation.
||Civil Procedure I (3 credits)|
This course focuses on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure with particular attention to pleading, motions to dismiss and summary judgment, remedies, discovery, sanctions, and the effect of prior judgments on litigation.
||Criminal Law (3 credits)|
In this course, students are introduced to topics that include mens rea and actus reus, the elements of common law felonies and misdemeanors, and the principal defenses to criminal charges.
||Contracts I (3 credits)|
The required first semester Contracts I course covers key common law concepts including offer and acceptance, bargained for exchange, enforcement of promises on the theories of reliance and unjust enrichment, defenses to contract, conditions and terms, anticipatory repudiation and breach, and remedies. The course also introduces students to core competencies such as analyzing cases and applying narrow holdings to new facts.
||Contracts Lab (0 credits)|
Contracts Lab is a required non-credit, pass-fail course for first-semester 1L students. This course links the oral, written and legal analysis skills associated with the core competencies to the substantive law that is taught in Contracts I. The lab sessions focus on skills needed for success in law school, including class preparation (reading and briefing cases and statutes, strategies for understanding legal terminology, note-taking and the importance of reflection; and exam preparation (synthesizing, preparing an outline and a problem-solving attack plan, and written communication skills such as responding to essay questions).
||Lawyering Process I (3 credits)|
This course begins with an intensive look at the skills entering students need to learn faster and more effectively in the law school classroom. Students learn about the legal system, the lawyer's role in that system, case briefing, case and statutory analysis, case synthesis, class preparation and note taking. In addition, students complete several writing assignments that enable them to receive early critical feedback. The course provides an in-depth understanding of legal reasoning, research and writing.
||Law & Justice (1 credit)|
This intensive one-week course is offered prior to the start of first year classes. The course addresses issues of justice, poverty law, affirmative action and other critical issues. At the conclusion of the Law & Justice Course, students provide 40 hours of community service in group or individual projects, under the supervision of faculty advisors.
||Civil Procedure II (3 credits)|
This course focuses on the Federal Rules of Civil and Appellate Procedure as they relate to appeals as well as joinder of parties and causes of action in complex litigation. It also focuses on jurisdiction and the meaning of completed adjudication. Prerequisite: Civil Procedure I.
||Criminal Procedure (3 credits)|
This course introduces students to the individual rights created by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution and to the enforcement of those rights by means of the exclusionary rule.
||Contracts II (3 credits)|
In the second semester, Contracts II introduces students to analysis of statutory law through intensive study and application of Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, the primary law governing contracts for the sale of goods in the United States. The course also touches on Article 2A (Leases) and the Convention on the International Sale of Goods. Prerequisite: Contracts I.
||Lawyering Process II (2 credits)|
This course continues the development of the legal reasoning, research and writing skills introduced in Lawyering Process I. Frequent writing exercises emphasize the kinds of research and writing tasks lawyers must do every day, such as client letters, opinion letters, office memoranda, pleadings, motions, contracts and briefs. Students also are given opportunities to develop their advocacy skills through the argument of a simulated motion exercise and their bargaining skills through a simulated negotiation exercise. Prerequisite: Lawyering Process I.
||Legal Reasoning I (2 credits)|
Legal Reasoning is a first year, second semester course that explicitly examines the analytic processes needed to solve legal problems. The course focuses on components of legal argument and reasoning, including formulation, articulation, and synthesis of rules from statutes and cases; formulation of legal theories; categorization of facts in terms of concepts or language of the law; application of law and facts using analogical and deductive reasoning; and using legal principles, policies, and conventions to make persuasive arguments. This course is required for first year students with a grade point average below 2.3, but may be taken as an elective by others if seats are available.
||Constitutional Law I (4 credits)|
This course is designed to introduce students to the structure, text, history and application of the U.S. Constitution. The course covers the nature and scope of judicial review, legislative and executive power, and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.
||Evidence (4 credits)|
This course surveys key provisions of the Federal Rules of Evidence, including relevance, hearsay, impeachments, and authentication of documents. It also looks at common law privileges. The course emphasizes conveying to students a functional knowledge of the rules of evidence.
||Professional Responsibility (2 credits)|
This course examines the ethical problems implicit in the role of the legal profession in a democratic society governed by the rule of law. Topics include the lawyer-client relationship, duties to the court, conflicts of interest, confidentiality, delivery of legal services, and disciplinary rules and mechanisms. Students may take this course as a second- or third-year student.
||Property I (3 credits)|
This course is an introduction to the law of property, both personal and real. Topics include rights to lost or mislaid personal property, estates in land and future interests, zoning, easements, landlord-tenant relations, covenants, and equitable servitudes.
||Constitutional Law II (4 credits)|
In this course, students will examine the sources, history and applications of the major areas of constitutional law which involve our "rights and liberties." These areas of law include Equal Protection, Substantive Due Process and fundamental liberty interests, Procedural Due Process, and the First Amendment. The course uses a combination of methods, including a modified Socratic method, lectures, and class discussions; classes involve recitations by students of fact patterns, holdings, and implications of assigned case readings in give and take interchanges with the instructor.
||Property II (3 credits)|
This course focuses on those aspects of American property law associated with real estate transactions, the purchase and sale of real estate and the restrictions placed upon property. Topics include: conveyancing issues (contracts for sale of land, deeds, mortgages); recording systems (race, notice, and race-notice); private restrictions on land use (easements, profits, licenses, covenants and equitable servitudes); and public restrictions on land (zoning, eminent domain). This course is intended to complement and complete the introductory course in Property. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations. Prerequisite: Property I.
||Torts II (3 credits)|
Torts II continues the basic survey of liability for civil wrongs other than breach of contract. Students will study the reasons why and the circumstances under which courts will hold manufacturers and merchants liable for harms caused by products and services. The survey will also include study of such torts as misrepresentation, invasion of privacy, and civil rights violations. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations. Prerequisite: Torts I.
||Moot Court (2 credits)|
This course covers the appellate process and continues the development of legal research, analysis, and writing skills begun in the Lawyering Process courses. Students are provided with a case on appeal and prepare a written appellate brief for one side. At the end of the semester, they present an oral argument in that case. Prerequisites: Lawyering Process I and II.
|Students are required to choose at least three courses from the following Core courses. See Section 3.4.2 of the Student Handbook for details.|
||Business Organizations I (3 credits)|
This course focuses primarily on the organization, operation, and dissolution of unincorporated business entities. It covers the basic legal and economic principles governing the law of agency-principal relationships, partnerships, limited partnerships, joint ventures and limited liability companies. NOT a prerequisite for Business Organizations II.
||Business Organizations II (3 credits)|
This course continues the study of business relationships begun in Business Organization I. It focuses on the basic legal and economic principles related to the organization, operation, and dissolution of corporations, with a significant emphasis on issues and problems of closely held corporations and federal corporate law issues. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations. Business Organizations I is not a prerequisite, but is recommended.
||Administrative Law (3 credits)|
This course examines the role of the administrative branch of government in the legal system. In particular, it explores the nature and scope of the power of administrative agencies and the restraints on administrative power imposed by the Constitution, statutes and the common law. Topics include the delegation of power to administrative agencies, administrative investigations, the right to be heard, formal and informal decision making processes and procedures, administrative adjudication and rule-making, and judicial review of administrative actions.
||Wills and Estates (3 credits)|
This course examines the rules governing intestate and testate distribution of property and the execution, alteration and revocation of wills. The course also covers the creation of both public and private trusts, rights of beneficiaries, and responsibilities of fiduciaries. Students also are exposed to the modern alternatives of the living trust and the living will. Prerequisite: Property I.
||Commercial Law: Secured Transactions and Payment Systems (4 credits)|
This course presents an integrated study of the law governing modern commercial transactions under the Uniform Commercial Code, with emphasis on non-sales related UCC subjects. It covers a variety of topics, including Articles 3 and 4 (negotiable instruments) and Article 9 (Secured Transactions). This course does not cover the sales-related subjects examined in Contracts II. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations. Prerequisites: Contracts I and II.
||Federal Tax/Tax I (Personal) (3 credits)|
There are a multitude of circumstances that cause one to ask, what are the tax consequences of this transaction? Many of the questions and answers have social, economic, and political considerations. In this course, the tax system is studied with emphasis on basic concepts rather than computations. Significant attention is given to the public policy served by various provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. The course covers the taxation of individuals, including income, exemptions, deductions, gains and losses. Emphasis is given to reading the Internal Revenue Code and Regulations and applying the code to real life.
||Family Law (3 credits)|
This course examines relationships of adults and children from political, economic, and social welfare perspectives. Students will analyze a wide variety of subject areas with a view towards understanding the balance between state involvement and the individual's or family's rights to privacy in the areas of domestic relations. The course surveys developments in the law relating to marriage, divorce, child custody and support, alimony, division of property, and other issues affecting familial relationships. In addition course materials address the relationships between children, adults and the state concerning domestic violence, child neglect and abuse, adoption, the foster care system, kinship care, reproductive rights, nontraditional family relationships, and new biomedical technologies. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations.
||Federal Courts (3 credits)|
This course addresses the constitutional and statutory provisions--as well as the jurisdictional doctrines and concepts--that shape and limit the role played by the federal courts in the American legal system. Subjects covered include the origins of federal judicial review, Congressional power to curtail federal jurisdiction, limitations on the ability of the federal courts to enjoin state court proceedings, and requirements for U.S. Supreme Court review of lower federal and state court judgments. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations.
||Remedies (3 credits)|
This course is organized as a case survey and study of various remedies available to those who have suffered wrongs for which others are held civilly liable. Students examine a range of topics: monetary remedies; the various means of measuring money damages; injunctive, declaratory remedies; and restitutionary claims and remedies. The course covers the availability of such remedies in a variety of tort, contract, and property contexts. This course may be required for eligibility for a bar review scholarship.
||Conflict of Laws (3 credits)|
Three main areas are covered in this course: 1) jurisdiction; 2) choice of law; and (3) enforcement of judgments. Jurisdiction addresses the authority of the forum court to issue binding decisions against or for out-of-state parties. Choice of law concerns determination of which state's or country's laws must apply in a multi-state or international dispute. Finally, enforcement of judgment deals with the effect of a judgment rendered in one jurisdiction beyond the boundaries of that jurisdiction. These subjects are tested on many bar examinations and are also of practical importance in civil litigation practice.
|Students, please see Clinic Guidelines for each clinic's prerequisites, conflict of interest and student practice rules.|
||Housing and Consumer Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
This clinic introduces students to civil and administrative litigation in the housing and consumer areas. Students act as counsel in administrative forums. Advanced students may appear in court. Students must be eligible for court certification.
||Low Income Tax Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
The Low Income Tax Clinic (LITC) provides students with hands-on experience representing taxpayers in disputes with the IRS regarding federal income tax liability before the IRS and U.S. Tax Court. Students represent low-income D.C. residents who are referred to the clinic by the IRS and non-profit and other advocacy organizations because the clients have no right to court-appointed attorneys and cannot afford to hire private counsel. The tax controversies include such matters as those in which the IRS challenges either the client's tax return or the failure of the client to file a return. The most common controversies involve a taxpayer who has claimed a right to the Earned Income Tax Credit or a low-income spouse whom the IRS is pursuing based upon the failure of the other spouse to pay taxes. The classroom work will include coverage of relevant tax doctrine. LITC faculty will provide doctrinal material and address the practical aspects of tax controversy cases in order to prepare students to interview and counsel clients and to represent them effectively in these cases. Participation as a student in the LITC will be good preparation for a poverty law practice, a general law practice, or future work in tax law.
||Juvenile Law Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
Students represent children in special education cases and in delinquency matters. Students handle all aspects of educational advocacy and a client's delinquency case; court-certified students make court appearances.
||Government Accountability Project (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
This clinic introduces students to the law and skills required to provide representation to government whistleblowers who expose waste, corruption, and fraud within the government and to obtain court ordered remedies against retaliatory firings, demotions, and transfers. The clinic involves students in work on administrative hearings, trials, appeals, congressional testimony, and media involvement.
||Legislation Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
This clinic exposes students to the processes by which legislation is enacted and interpreted. Students will have the opportunity not only to learn about the development and research of legislative histories and about legislative drafting techniques but also to work in legislative offices. In the federal arena, students have worked on preparing comments on proposed federal regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and on legislative proposals to enact a Civil Rights Act of 1991.
||Community Development Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
The Community Development Law Clinic focuses on transactional (or non-litigation based) advocacy skills. The clinic's clients are organizations involved in affordable housing development, small business development and community services, such as childcare. In their field work, students will serve in the capacity of corporate counsel to the clients, advising and assisting them in a wide range of concerns, which may include choice of entity, organizational structure, tax status, fiduciary duty of corporate officers and directors, regulatory compliance, government programs, financing and contractual relations. The clinic emphasizes transactional-based lawyering skills, including problem solving, client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, legal research and legal drafting. Trial practice skills are not addressed in this clinic. The clinic will also cover substantive law and policy related to the subject matter presented by the cases.
In the small business component of the clinic, students represent small D.C. business enterprises in need of free legal services. Students advise clients on business structures, prepare articles of incorporation, bylaws, advise clients regarding basic tax law, zoning, licensing requirements; and mediate business disputes.
||Immigration & Human Rights Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
Participants in the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic will learn about the specialized area of immigration law and other areas of law (such as employment law and civil rights law) that frequently concern representation of noncitizens and immigrants’ rights more generally. Students will represent clients under the supervision of the clinic director and the graduate student instructor. In addition to attending the required twice-weekly seminar, students will meet individually with their supervising attorney and participate in case rounds.
Students may have the opportunity to represent clients at interviews with immigration officials and/or to litigate in Immigration Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, state court, United States District Court or the United States Court of Appeals, depending on the type of case assigned and the scope of representation. Assignments may include applications for Cancellation of Removal; challenges to indefinite detention, via either administrative review petitions or the filing of writs of habeas corpus; bond hearings for detained noncitizens (Joseph hearings); appeals of removal orders for detained noncitizens by the Immigration Court to the Board of Immigration Appeals and/or the Circuit Courts of Appeals; representation of low-wage immigrant workers with employment related issues, such as failure to receive minimum wage and unemployment compensation denials; and creating and conducting "Know Your Rights” presentations for noncitizen residents of the District of Columbia.
||Criminal Law Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
The Criminal Law Clinic is a one-semester clinic in which student advocates represent low-income criminal defendants. It is taught in collaboration with the D.C. Law Students in Court Program (LSIC) criminal division, a unique consortium program with students from several D.C. area law schools participating. Students in the criminal division defend the constitutional rights of adults charged with misdemeanors and juveniles charged with any offense except a few of the most serious felonies. In addition to defending the rights of those charged with crimes, students frequently are called upon to defend the Fifth Amendment rights of witnesses in court proceedings and before a grand jury.
Students are responsible for all aspects of client representation: they conduct fact investigation and legal research, write and argue motions, engage in pretrial discovery, try cases, negotiate plea agreements and assist clients with probation and parole revocations, where applicable. Under the guidance and supervision of experienced trial attorneys, students become litigators while working on cases for clients to whom they are assigned. Though a supervising attorney is directly involved in each case, the student attorney has primary responsibility – representing his or her client in all phases of litigation from the initial interview, fact investigation , motions, through to plea or trial, sentencing, and any post-conviction and appellate matters.
||General Practice Clinic (7 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
The General Practice Clinic is a one-semester clinic in which student attorneys represent
low-income clients in such areas as family law, health, public benefits, and wills. Student attorneys use a range of legal skills on behalf of clients in settings that may include administrative tribunals and trial and appellate courts in the District of Columbia. Student attorneys represent low-income clients in two-person or three-person teams.
All students attend a seminar, which covers topics such as client-centered representation, interviewing, theory of the client, fact investigation, counseling, and negotiation. Student attorneys will share developments and issues in their cases with other students during
||Independent & Elective Clinics (1-2 credits) (ALWR Opportunity*)|
Independent & Elective Clinics for one or more credits may be arranged based upon completion of an Elective Clinic form and approval by the faculty member and the Clinic Director. Tuition for any Summer Term Elective Clinics will be assessed on a per credit basis. Elective Clinics are in addition to the mandatory Clinics I and II and do not satisfy UDC-DCSL's two clinic requirement. Students should refer to the Student Handbook regarding enrollment of additional/non-required clinic credits.
|Elective courses may not be offered each year. See Section 3.4.2 of the Student Handbook for more information.|
||Legal Reasoning II (2 credits)|
Legal Reasoning II is designed to help students refine and apply their research, analytical and legal writing skills. The course uses a problem-solving approach built around the substantive knowledge learned in first year courses. Weekly oral and written assignments include doctrinal outlines; short bar exam type essays; practice exam answers; and a short research memorandum. Class attendance and participation account for a significant portion of the grade. Specific competencies that will be addressed include the following:
Legal Analysis: (1) formulation, articulation, and synthesis of rules from statutes and cases; (2) determination of rules of law relevant to framing legal issues; (3) formulation of legal theories; (4) categorization of facts in terms of concepts or language of the law; (5) application of law to facts using analogical and deductive reasoning; and (6) use of legal principles, policies, and conventions to make persuasive arguments.
Written and Oral Competency: (1) expression of thoughts in an organized manner; (2) writing (speaking) appropriately to an audience; and (3) writing (speaking) so as to advance immediate and long-term objectives.
Legal Research: (1) identification and diagnosis of a problem in terms of concepts or language of the law; (2) development of a research strategy needed to clarify alternative definitions of the problem; and (3) implementation of the research strategy and development of alternative solutions to the problem.
This course is required for second-year students with a cumulative first year grade point average below 2.3. If space is available, it is open to other upper level students with the permission of the professor. Interested students should attend the first class session.
||Tax Practice & Procedure (2 credits)|
The course is designed to develop analytical, advocacy and communication skills in order to represent clients who are involved in federal tax controversies. The topics include the organizational structure of the IRS, access to information, rulemaking, filing of returns and the statute of limitations, the examination and appeals process, the judicial process including the Tax Court and refunds, penalties, interest and additions to tax, collection matters, and the 1998 Restructuring Act.
The methodology will be lecture, and class discussion of court cases and problems assigned. The discussions will focus on the application of concepts and theories to practical real-world situations.
||Bankruptcy and Debtor-Creditor Law (3 credits)|
In a changing economic climate, individuals and businesses are likely to find themselves becoming either creditors owed money by others or debtors owing them. This course deals with the legal relationships between debtors and creditors, including their rights and remedies against one another. It focuses particularly on the primary law governing their relations, the law of bankruptcy. In addition to a brief discussion of non-bankruptcy debtor-creditor law, the course surveys the most significant portions of the federal bankruptcy code and their application to debtors ranging from low-income individuals to multinational businesses. Specific topics of coverage include the nature of the bankruptcy estate, the automatic stay, priority of claims, and specific aspects of Chapter 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcies. The course structure reflects the practical features of bankruptcy law in action, illustrating it through a variety of problems based on common situations a bankruptcy attorney might encounter.
||Forensic Evidence (3 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
The objective of the course is to go beyond the rudimentary rules covered in the required survey course on the law of evidence in order to provide students with a more intensive focus on science and the legal process and to give them more in-depth knowledge of the scientific methodologies that have become a regular feature of current-day civil and criminal litigation, as well as the evidentiary principles that govern the use of scientific technologies in the courtroom. Click here for a detailed course description (in .pdf).
||Immigration Law (3 credits)|
This course covers basic immigration law through the casebook method. Interwoven with the casebook approach is a substantial amount of lecturing devoted to the practical aspects of practicing immigration law. Historical perspectives relating to policies and legislation are provided. Depending on the semester, students enrolled in Immigration Law may have the option of enrolling in an additional one-credit practicum.
||Immigration Law Practicum (1 credit)|
The Immigration Law Practicum is available to a limited number of students enrolled in the Immigration Law course. The goal is to allow students to gain practical experience applying the legal principles they learn in the classroom. To supplement students’ understanding of immigration law, students will attend a half-day orientation in addition to a professional training each month.
Each student participating in the practicum will have at least one assignment in each of the following areas: intake and interviewing, preparing applications, and research and writing. Over the course of the semester, students will spend an average of 2-3 hours each week assisting clients with immigration matters, including conducting intake, collecting evidence and preparing applications, preparing clients for their hearings, interviewing clients for personal statements, and drafting legal memoranda and court briefs. Students may also accompany the managing attorney to immigration hearings as appropriate.
The immigration law practicum offers students an excellent opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge of immigration law while providing service to low-income immigrant residents of Washington, DC. Enrollment in the practicum portion of the Immigration Law course is limited.
||Immigration Law Seminar (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This seminar provides a survey of immigration law to encourage critical thinking about what our immigration policies should be. Topics are presented primarily from a practitioner's perspective to provide a concrete understanding of the immigration process. These issues concern not only whom we should welcome but whom we should expel and the procedures by which the government seeks to remove them. Students will complete this seminar with an understanding of nonimmigrant visas, family-based and employment-based immigration benefits, and naturalization. Additional focus will be placed on humanitarian immigration programs such as asylum, the U.S. Refugee Program, and trafficking-related benefits. The syllabus and discussions may be adjusted to respond to current events, such as legislative developments regarding immigration reform, and the expressed interests of the students. The readings, exercises, and discussions are also designed to provide background and to generate ideas for the writing of an original paper. This paper will provide the student with an opportunity to undertake research, engage in critical legal thinking, analysis, and drafting. The completion of a paper, which can be certified for the Research and Legal Analysis Writing Requirement (RALWR), is a goal of the seminar.
||International Law Seminar (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course will examine the nature and sources of international law, the law of treaties, the role of international law in municipal law, international dispute settlement, the status of individuals and states in international law, and the role of the United Nations and international organizations.
||Labor Law (3 credits)|
Students will attain a basic familiarity with the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Emphasis will be placed on the legal concepts that underlie the main provisions of the Act.
||Law Office Management (2 credits)|
This course is designed to help soon-to-be solo practitioners and attorneys in smaller firms, bridge the gap between studying law and practicing law. The class is designed to cultivate proficiency in two practical areas of attorney development, which are typically learned over time rather than formally taught: (A) how to actually practice law, and (B) how to build and manage a law practice. The course covers topics such as how to get started, where to locate a law firm office, how to get your office equipped, how to secure clients, how to set fees, and detailed information about the nitty-gritty of running a small firm. While particularly relevant to solo practitioners and associates at small firms, the concepts discussed in this course will benefit new attorneys in all types of private and public sector organizations.
||Environmental Law (3 credits)|
The goals of this course are to expose students to (1) the creation and development of environmental justice theory; (2) the major legal issues in environmental justice advocacy; and (3) case studies revealing the pros and cons and successes and failures of various approaches to environmental justice advocacy.
||Environmental Law & Policy (3 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course provides an introduction to the legal and policy issues of environmental protection and decision-making, including study of common law approaches to pollution control, and to the theories and approach to federal laws governing environmental regulation.
This is a survey course designed to give students a broad, practical understanding of some important federal environmental statutes and case law, and introduce students to the fascinating variety of important environmental challenges addressed by environmental laws, the difficult policy issues surrounding environmental problems, and the legal complexities of environmental regulatory and administrative schemes. Environmental laws can be extremely complex. No one person can master them all, nor can a single semester course provide a detailed review of all (or even very many) of the federal environmental statutes. This course, however, gives students the foundation by covering the "fundamentals” of environmental law. Students also will develop some critical analytical and research skills (such as analyzing problems and reading statutes) that are transferable to all areas of environmental law.
||Intellectual Property Law (3 credits)
This course will focus on the four core types of intellectual property: copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. The course will provide an understanding of the fundamental principles of these bodies of law, their underlying policies, and their real-life applications. Technological advancements and public policy considerations that impact intellectual property law will also be discussed. The course also examines the substantive and procedural elements of infringement actions and their defenses.
||Advanced Criminal Procedure (2 credits)|
This course follows the procedures of a criminal case from arrest to appeal. Particular emphasis is given to grand jury, joinder and severance, refinements of double jeopardy, and jury deliberation. Strongly recommended for third-year students only. This area of law is tested on many bar examinations. Prerequisites: Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.
||International Human Rights Seminar (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course will examine the nature and sources of international human rights law; its interrelation to international law; the law of treaties; international conventions and covenants; and the role of the United Nations and international organizations in the protection of human rights. The syllabus and discussions may be adjusted to reflect current events shaping international human rights such as the detention of foreign nationals or death penalty issues. The culminating exercise of this course will provide the student with the opportunity to conduct research, legal analysis, critical thinking, and the drafting of a paper, which can be certified for the Research and Legal Analysis Writing Requirement (RALWR).*
||Alternative Dispute Resolution (3 credits)|
This course will introduce and critically examine the theoretical and historical underpinnings of the major dispute resolution alternatives to conventional litigation and adjudication, with primary concentration on negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. Through the use of written and experiential exercises, simulations, and role-plays, students will be exposed to the skills and practices employed in the implementation of these processes. Issues of ethics, law and policy that are implicated and involved in the choice and implementation of these alternative processes also will be examined.
State & Local Government Law (3 credits)
This course examines the legal relationships among the states, local governments, their citizens, and the federal government. The emphasis will be on the law of area jurisdictions, including comparisons and contrasts between the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
||Non-profit Law (3 credits)|
This course addresses basic non-profit corporation law, including the legal restraints on and legal ramifications of the governance, operation, and tax-exempt status of non-profit corporations. It addresses the historical development of non-profit and tax-exempt organizations, various rationales for their existence, and certain state law issues concerning organization of a non-profit entity and the entity's solicitation of funds.
The bulk of the course involves a review and analysis of the many statutory laws (tax and non-tax) affecting non-profit, tax-exempt organizations including public benefit organizations (commonly called 501(c)(3)'s), private foundations (a special type of 501(c)(3)), and mutual benefit organizations (certain non-profits that are not 501(c)(3)'s).
Specific federal income tax implications for the tax-exempt entity (the unrelated business income tax) and its donors (the charitable contributions tax deduction) are discussed along with other state issues related to non-profit status, e.g., charitable solicitations, raffles, and fund raising restrictions.
Students should leave this course with a comprehensive theoretical and practical vision of non-profit and tax-exempt organizations law and the vital role such organizations play in the quality of life in communities across this nation.
||Advanced Legal Writing (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course will reinforce and deepen students' understanding of the research, writing and analysis "basics" gleaned from Lawyering Process and Moot Court, and it will require students to exercise critical thinking skills by engaging in substantial depth of analysis, reflection and revision through a series of discrete, rigorous writings.
Students will prepare writings such as letters to clients (or opposing attorneys or third parties), office memoranda, and court memoranda. The evaluation of these writings will focus upon principles of organization, analysis and style. The syllabus of the course may also incorporate significant amounts of drafting, including documents such as statutes and regulations, contracts, interrogatories, and wills. The class size will be limited to provide opportunities for individualized attention, meaningful oral and written feedback on assignments, and heightened peer interaction.
Some assignments will be rewritten, and some will be submitted in various forms, (such as outline, summary, first draft, and final draft). Students may also be required to submit research journals, although the journals will not necessarily be graded. The course will employ individual in-class exercises, collaborative group work, and role-playing. The rhetorical situation will also be emphasized, with students focusing on the audience, purpose, and tone appropriate to the different types of legal writing. Enrollment is limited to 15 students; preference given to third-year students. Prerequisites: Lawyering Process I and II, Moot Court.
||Mass Communications Seminar (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This seminar course explores issues in Mass Communications law. The course commences with an overview of the philosophical and constitutional foundations of free expression and examines areas such as defamation, privacy, various newsgathering and related torts, access to government information, and the role of media in a democratic society. Enrollment is limited.
||Criminal Justice, Social Justice, and Community Justice (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This seminar examines recent developments in criminal justice policy and practice. Seminar students will research and discuss issues such as restorative justice, specialty courts, victims’ rights, immigration enforcement, jury nullification, juvenile justice, community policing, indigent defense, "innocence projects,” the collateral consequences of incarceration, the role of prosecutors and defense lawyers, and other subjects that explore the impact of criminal justice policies on society. The course explores both the role of legal institutions in incorporating a vision of social justice, as well as examines the lawyer’s role as a social justice advocate within the criminal justice system. The goal is that by the end of the class each student should have an understanding of the developing issues in criminal practice as well as a solid grounding in the interaction between criminal law and public policy. Enrollment is limited. The seminar provides the opportunity to conduct research, legal analysis, critical thinking and reflection, and the writing of a paper that can be certified for the Research and Legal Analysis Writing Requirement (RALWR).
||Death Penalty Law/Wrongful Convictions (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
The course will examine the administration of capital punishment in the United States and the systemic problems that lead to wrongful convictions. The course will also examine policy reforms to prevent wrongful convictions creating a more fair and accurate criminal justice system.
||Employment Discrimination (3 credits)|
The Employment Discrimination Law course exposes the student to the broad set of legal restraints that have been placed on an employer's basic personnel decisions (hiring, promotion, compensation, discipline, and termination).
||Veterans Benefits Law (3 credits comprised of a 2 credit seminar and a required 1 credit practicum)|
This course covers the laws and procedures for helping veterans and their families obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. For the practicum component, students will be placed with a major service organization (The American Legion, The Military Order of the Purple Heart or Vietnam Veterans of America) to work on administrative appeals or with the National Veterans Legal Services Program to work with staff attorneys on appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
|Veterans Benefits Law Seminar (2 credits) |
This course is comprised of the seminar only and covers the laws and procedures for helping veterans and their families obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
||Appellate Advocacy (3 credits)|
This course covers both appellate procedure and practice. Students will receive a thorough grounding in appellate procedure, including the federal rules of appellate procedure. Students will also prepare a brief or a petition for certiorari on a case currently pending in the Supreme Court and present argument to the class on behalf of the "party they represent."
||Race and the Law Seminar (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course examines the political, economic, and social history of racism and the impact of racism on the development of American law. Contemporary efforts to enhance equal opportunity for African-Americans in such areas as housing, voting, education, the criminal justice system, and employment are also explored. Judicial, legislative and community action are each examined as alternative means to accomplish the goal of racial equality in American society. Enrollment is limited.
||Race and the Law (3 credits)|
This course examines the political, economic and social history of racism and its impact on American law. Although the scope encompasses traditional areas (eg. Reconstruction and Civil Rights), there is a substantial emphasis on modern and emerging paradigms including, but not limited to, the Prison Industrial Complex, Critical Race Theory and a Hip-Hop Theory of Justice. Depending on the semester, students enrolled in Race and the Law may have the option of enrolling in an additional one-credit practicum.
||Race and the Law Practicum (1 credit)|
The Race and the Law Practicum component provides an opportunity for students to pick a topic of their choosing and work with an organization or individual on a current or emerging issue. One goal of the field work is student application of theoretical knowledge to shape and influence pending or new legislation on the selected topic.
||Rights of Persons with Disabilities (3 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
Learn about disability rights from the original author of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The course provides an introduction to the body of law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability. After preliminary sessions focusing on types of disabilities, the history of unequal treatment afforded individuals with disabilities, and legal definitions of disability, class sessions will examine the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and other federal laws addressing disability discrimination in areas such as employment, education, public accommodations, transportation, housing, residential institutions, and access to medical services. Each student will research a selected topic, produce a legal research paper, and present the student’s analysis and conclusions to the class.
||Education Law (3 credits)|
This course is designed to explain the legal aspects of some of the complex, intricate issues faced by institutions of higher education that influence the operations and policies of those institutions. The right to privacy under FERPA and the limitations of those rights create legal hurdles often pitting individual rights against perceived and real security issues. How has USA Patriot's Act influenced the operations of a university? Does Homeland Security play a role in how tuition dollars are spent? In the aftermath of Sarbanes-Oxley, what are governance restrictions, if any, on Boards of Trustees especially in the non-profit universe?
Other areas to examine are the legislative and administrative influences from federal, state and local governments, Freedom of Information Act and confidentiality, EEO, ADA and Title IX compliance all come into play in the determination of priorities on universities. "Helicopter parents" may be changing the tide back to in loco parentis even though the concept was rejected in the 1970s. Time permitting, you will examine due process for students and also NCAA and its attenuating requirements.
Compliance comes at a cost. Priorities have to be set. This course will view all the issues through a looking glass of operating a non-profit business whose value often exceeds one billion dollars.
||Health Law Seminar (2 credits)|
This seminar examines pressing issues at the intersection of health care and law. The subject matter will touch on legal rights as well as bioethical and public policy concerns. Topics such as informed consent, health care access, surrogacy and fetal rights, and medical malpractice liability will be discussed. This seminar provides a foundational understanding of how health law and policy is formulated and the application of health law and policy in present practice. At the weekly meetings, the class will discuss selected cases in depth in order to gain a legal framework for addressing persisting challenges in the health care field.
||Gender & Sexual Orientation Under the Law (3 credits and opportunity for 1 additional credit practicum) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course examines the role and impact of Gender and Sexual Orientation in American law by employing a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates, inter alia, economics, history, anthropology, and sociology. Doctrinal themes include U.S. Constitutional issues, examples of topics likely to be covered are: gay marriage, adoption/family formation issues, and military service. The optional practicum component provides an opportunity for students to pick a topic of their choosing and work with an organization or individual on a current or emerging issue. One goal of the field work is student application of theoretical knowledge to shape and influence pending or new legislation on the selected topic.
||Gender and Sexual Orientation Under the Law Seminar (2 credits)|
This course will focus on how the law treats issues concerning gender and sexuality. The doctrinal themes that will be explored include constitutional notions of privacy/liberty, equality and expression as applied to categories based on gender, sexuality and/or sexual orientation. For example, topics might include the right to sexual privacy (including access to birth control and abortion); discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation (including sodomy laws and same sex marriage); evolving theories of sexuality (including the rights of transgendered persons and intersexuals; transsexuals, and the gay gene); identity speech and the First Amendment (including the gay prom case and sexual harassment cases); military exclusions; and the privatization of family law and family formation. The course will examine the relationship between gender and sexuality, based on a multi-disciplinary approach informed by history, medicine, science and broader social and political theories.
||Katrina and Beyond: Reclaiming Rights and Restoring Communities in the Face of Disasters (3 credits comprised of a 2 credit seminar and required 1 credit service-week component during Spring Break)|
This course examines the government’s role and the legal issues that arise from disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the flooding of New Orleans, and the BP oil spill disaster. Click here for a detailed course description (in .pdf).
||Reproductive Rights Law and Justice Seminar (3 credits/ 2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
This course will offer students the opportunity to explore a wide spectrum of issues within the framework of Reproductive Justice. Reproductive Justice encompasses the right to have children, the right not to have children, and the right to parent. We will address dynamic topics in social justice, human rights, and civil liberties as they intersect with reproductive justice, such as racial and environmental justice; LGBTQ liberation; freedoms of speech, religion, and association; freedom from illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment; rights to privacy, bodily autonomy, and equality; and birthing, parenting, and family formation rights.
||Special Problems in Criminal Law & Criminal Procedure (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
The Special Problems in Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure course is an advanced writing course. Students analyze problems in this subject area by completing frequent in-class and take-home writing assignments. The focus is on written and analytical skills. Students develop their writing and analytical skills in a number of ways, including professor-guided exercises, collaborative learning exercises, individual exercises, self-editing exercises, and peer-editing exercises. Students will also receive thorough and timely feedback on their writing assignments from the professor. The course satisfies the Research and Legal Analysis Writing Requirement (RALWR).
||Whistleblower Law (3 credits)|
This survey course is an introduction to the legal foundation for a social phenomenon known as "whistleblowing” – the exercise of free speech rights, to challenge abuses of power that betray the public trust. Employees exercising this freedom of speech this way have made a difference repeatedly in changing the course of history, and their impact is becoming steadily more significant. The course covers the cultural context for blowing the whistle; the extent of an ongoing revolution in whistleblowers’ legal rights; and the tactics for activists to turn whistleblowers’ information into power when challenging abuses of power.
Four decades ago whistleblowers did not have any viable legal rights, and were generally outcasts perceived either as traitors or unstable personalities. In 1959 the legal revolution began as corporate employees were first enfranchised to sue for damages in state common law when California courts established the "public policy exception” to the "at will” doctrine of employment law. Now 44 states and the District of Columbia recognize the public policy exception. In 1974 Congress enacted the first federal statutory whistleblower rights to protect employees in the nuclear power industry. Now there are 46 federal whistleblower statutes covering virtually the entire private sector. The Supreme Court began extending free speech rights to government employees in 1968, and Congress followed suit in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. In 2013 Congress unanimously passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act to solidify and expand those rights. Throughout this cycle, whistleblowers have become increasingly popular as they successfully challenged and sparked public campaigns stopping abuses of power by government and corporate bureaucracies. Their traditional stereotypes as traitors and kooks has been replaced by their new identity as profiles in courage who risk their careers to act as the public’s eyes and ears when the truth is covered up.
By the end of the class each student should have a solid understanding of this phenomenon, the legal right available to whistleblowers, and the tactics to maximize their impact by turning truth into power through partnerships between whistleblowers and activists.
||Trial Advocacy (4 credits)|
This hands-on course covers problem analysis and strategy as well as courtroom presentation. Students practice basic trial tasks of opening statement, direct examination, cross examination, offers of exhibits, objections, and closing argument in two mock trials and in weekly in-court sessions. They also practice use of tools such as refreshing recollection and impeachment by different methods. Enrollment is limited; preference is given to third-year students. Prerequisite: Evidence.
||Essay Writing for the Bar (2 credits)|
This is an essay writing based-course which focuses on heavily tested areas of the bar exams. The course adopts a 'writing across the curriculum' approach designed to increase a student's ability to express well-reasoned and organized essays across a number of substantive areas. The course will include a substantive review of basic multi-state subjects such as Torts, Contracts, Real Property, Criminal Law and Procedure and Constitutional Law, followed by certain non-MBE subjects such as Family Law and Civil Procedure which are heavily tested on many bar exams.
The course will focus heavily on tested areas of the Maryland Bar and the Multi-state Essay Exam that is used in the District of Columbia. There will be in-class writing exercises and opportunities for home writing assignments, which will be graded by professors on a weekly basis. The grading will be calibrated along the method by which bar exams are graded. The course will also offer instruction in test-taking skills for the Multi State Performance Exam and the MBE multiple-choice test, which is required in almost all jurisdictions. This course may be required for eligibility for a bar review scholarship. Limited to third-year students who have accrued a minimum of 63 credits by the end of the preceding fall semester.
||Legal and Bar Success Foundations (3 credits)
This is a comprehensive course for graduating students in their final semester of law school. The course is focused directly toward driving student achievement on the bar exam by working to build critical exam skills. The course will be delivered in a series of focused lessons which include a brief refresher on a subject followed by a skills workshop on that topic. Students will learn through practicing essays and multiple choice exam questions, and will receive detailed written feedback on their answers.
||Service-Learning Practicum & Seminar (2 credits)
The Service-Learning Practicum & Seminar is a two credit course consisting of a seminar and a spring break service trip. The seminar will meet once a week for four or five sessions before the spring break and several sessions after the spring break. Both participation in the spring break trip and the seminar are required. Students will also produce and conduct a school-wide "report back” session after the spring break experience, and reflect on their service-learning experiences through journaling or film making.
This course is a spin-off from the original Katrina and Beyond: Disaster Prevention and Recovery, Social Justice and Government Accountability, in which UDC law students and professors traveled to post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, to volunteer on disaster recovery, beginning shortly after the disaster. The focus of this course is more directly on various service-learning experiences in stressed or historically under-represented communities, and not as much on a specific disaster. Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community and humanitarian service with instruction and reflection, thereby enriching the learning experience. By combining hands-on social action with skills-learning and problem-solving, the course is like a short-term, concentrated domestic legal Peace Corps for our law students.
In the Seminar sessions we will address different models of social justice lawyering, professional ethics, the role of lawyers in assisting challenged and underrepresented communities, as well as specific legal topics that we will be working on. During the spring break, students will participate along with professors in one of several volunteer service trips to different areas of the country. These practicums and their locations might change from year to year. But they will all be in areas where long-term social justice problems need addressing, whether from a recent disaster or due to a history of poverty and civil rights abuses.
||Advanced Legal Research (2 credits)|
This course is intended to develop mastery of the lawyering skill of legal research. It will offer students an opportunity to gainhands-on, supervised legal research experience in class using and comparing a range of primarily digital legal research tools, as well as some traditional print sources. Before each class, students will view brief, online tutorials and complete an online legal research lesson. In class, under the guidance of instructors, students will perform legal research for problems and projects based on the subject matter of some of the law school’s clinics, including federal, state and D.C. law. The course reviews primary and secondary sources, legislative history, administrative law, practice materials, some specialized topical resources, and advanced training on Bloomberg Law, LEXIS and WESTLAW. Upon completion of this course, students should be able to evaluate alternative research resources and strategies, make choices that best suit a particular legal research situation, and develop efficient online research skills.
||Independent Study (1-2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
Students may register for Independent Study by submitting an Independent Study Registration Form and a detailed proposal for approval to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The proposal must describe the work that will be done, the material that will be studied, the means of evaluation, and the name of the faculty member who has agreed to supervise and evaluate the work and award the grade. A student may earn a maximum of four credits in independent study over the course of the Juris Doctor program and may register for a maximum of two credits in any one semester. See Section 3.6 of the Student Handbook for more information.
||System Change: Theory & Practice (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity for one additional credit*)|
This seminar will focus on: (1) documented system failure with a particular focus on system failure for youth of color; (2) remedying system failure: theories and approaches; (3) from theory to practice: effecting system change in the Juvenile Justice system. When we look at those human service systems that have been created by government and foundations to rebuild community, we ask why do they fail? Why has the missing ingredient consistently been participation by the very groups we seek to benefit? Is there any validity to McKnight's critique of those programs and those professionals as "systems in need of need" which purport to fix a problem but actually are designed to produce continuous dependency in order to exact revenue?
At the cutting edge of social change, and dedicated to changing the way that professionals work in welfare and philanthropic institutions, Co-Production is the term applied to those practices undertaken by social welfare and human services institutions so that the clientele or community being served ceases to be mere passive consumers and instead becomes active partners, co-workers or "co-producers" in addressing a specific social problem. Co-Production, understood as a partnership between the Core Economy and the monetary economies, provides a corrective to service systems that fail to live up to their raison d'etre. This course examines ways in which that partnership can be made operational to address critical social problems. Enrollment is limited to 12 students; preference given to third-year students.
||Externship (4 or 8 credits)|
The goals of the externship program are to provide law students with expanded opportunities for 1) Developing and improving their legal skills; 2) Bridging the gap between legal studies and legal careers; 3) Exploring career areas of particular interest to them; and 4) Engaging in critical reflection, professional responsibility issues, and legal analysis.
The Director of the Externship Program places students with judicial, governmental, or non-profit entities and teaches a weekly tutorial throughout the semester. The Director works closely with field placement supervisors to ensure that students receive valuable substantive experience, effective supervision, and appropriate academic evaluation.
In the field placement component of the program, students spend a minimum of 200 hours (4 credits) or 400 hours (8 credits) at the externship site. Students may not receive a salary, stipend, or other form of compensation from the externship site.
In the contemporaneous tutorial component, students examine the broader social, political, economic, and policy-related ramifications of the work they are doing in the field as well as a variety of issues connected with the practice of law, including the role of lawyers in shaping public policy, the practice of public interest law, and the diversity of legal careers. Students in the tutorial are graded on the basis of class participation and attendance, written assignments such as journals of action and legal memoranda, and class presentations.
Externship is graded on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory basis. Enrollment is limited to 20 students. This course may not be taken concurrently with Clinic. Prerequisite: Successful completion of three semesters of law school.
||Civil Rights in the 21st Century Externship/Field Placement (4 or 8 credits)|
Gain great legal experience, build your resume and inspire your career choice. Opportunities include: Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, International Human Rights Law Group, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, EEOC, National Women's Law Center. Externship students must attend a weekly tutorial. Students may add the Civil Rights in the 21st Century Seminar for 2 additional credits.
||Civil Rights in the 21st Century Seminar (2 credits) (RALWR Opportunity*)|
Share the foresight of a renowned civil rights leader. Weekly two-hour seminars address the most pressing social issues of today-and tomorrow. Topics include: racial profiling, racism and the death penalty, voting rights, equal protection of gays and lesbians, immigrant detention/asylum, and rights of children and people with disabilities. May be taken independently of the Externship.
* See Section 1.5 of the Student Handbook for information on the Research and Legal Analysis Writing Requirement (RALWR) and Applied Legal Writing Requirement (ALWR).