Academics

Academics

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Academic Advising

The Office of Student Affairs through the Assistant Dean for Academic Advising provides academic advisement in the following areas:

  • Curriculum planning
  • Degree progress
  • Degree requirements
  • Examination issues
  • Law School regulations and policies
 

New & Notable Courses

Collective Decisions and Individual Well-Being: An Introduction to Social Choice Theory

Social choice theory is the systematic study of how to synthesize individual preferences, or some other measure of individual well-being, into a collective ranking. Although scholars have worried about this problem for centuries, most intellectual progress in social choice theory has occurred in the last century—with Arrow’s stunning “impossibility theorem,” and the development of the notion of the “social welfare function.” This latter construct serves as the foundation for many disciplines within economics (such as optimal tax theory or the economics of climate change). It also provides a rigorous and comprehensive framework for thinking about cost-benefit analysis—currently the dominant policy tool in the U.S. government.

Complex Civil Litigation

This is an advanced civil procedure class taught in the Moot Courtroom for those interested in large scale litigation, with an emphasis on practical application and stand-up courtroom 3-minute "mini- oral arguments" on many of the key cases. The course will focus on the problems of large multi-party and multi-forum civil cases and how courts and litigants deal with them. Coverage will include the practical steps litigators need to take as well as decision points at the outset of litigation, joinder devices, especially (but not only) class actions; federal multi-district transfer and consolidation; litigation over the appropriate federal or state forum, coordination among counsel in multi-party cases, ethical issues, big-case discovery problems; ad hoc federal-state litigation coordination; judicial case management techniques and issues; and ways of accelerating or terminating potentially or actually protracted cases, including settlement, alternative dispute resolution, representative trials, mini-trials and claims processing facilities.

Constitutional Law II: The Scope and Limits of Presidential Authority

By most measures, the president of the United States is the single most visible and most powerful individual actor in American government. It can be surprising, as a consequence, to recall that the text of the Constitution says relatively little about the powers and responsibilities of the chief executive. This course will explore the constitutional role of the president by reading primary sources, including Supreme Court and Justice Department opinions, and secondary literature on the scope of executive authority, the power of Congress to limit and direct the exercise of presidential authority, and the difficult legal issues that arise in the conduct of foreign policy and the preservation of national security where judicial review and even judicial precedent are often limited or absent. An examination will be required.

Corporate Finance

This course is designed to familiarize law students with the principles of corporate finance. In the world of corporate finance, the distinction between lawyers and investment bankers has become blurred. Whether negotiating a merger agreement, acquisition or divestiture, rendering a fairness opinion, preparing for an appraisal hearing, litigating securities class action or derivative suits, issuing new securities, taking a firm private via an LBO or public via an IPO, corporate lawyers and investment bankers work side-by-side, and lawyers without an appreciation of the basics of corporate finance are at a distinct disadvantage. Moreover, this course will provide important tools for litigators in working with financial expert witnesses and calculating damages. Even students who do not plan to venture into the corporate world will benefit from this course. The financial principles covered are essential for lawyers intending to do estate or tax planning, litigate divorces, or draft the governing documents or compensation agreements for business entities of all types. This course serves as a prerequisite for Corporate Restructuring and Venture Capital and Private Equity, two courses offered at the Fuqua School of Business and cross-listed in the Law School.

Identity, Politics and the Law; Colloquium

This seminar will explore the current state of thinking about the relationship between identity, politics and legal regulation. In particular, attention will be paid during this first semester to the relationships between racial and gender identity and the politics of the workplace. Within that context, the impact of Title VII over the past fifty years will be discussed. The instructors for this course plan to invite seven or eight of the leading scholars on this topic to present their current work. This year, because of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, there is a great deal of new work that is being done that reflects on both the impact of the Act, but also on the type of legal regulation that is needed to tackle identity based discrimination in the future.

International Human Rights Clinic

The International Human Rights Clinic provides students with an opportunity to critically engage with human rights issues, strategies, tactics, institutions, and law in both domestic and international settings. Through the weekly seminar and fieldwork, students will develop practical tools for human rights advocacy—such as fact-finding, litigation, indicators, reporting, and messaging—that integrate inter-disciplinary methods and maximize the use of new technologies. Students will also develop core competencies related to managing trauma in human rights work, as well as the ethical and accountability challenges in human rights lawyering. Types of clinic projects include those that: apply a human rights framework to domestic issues; involve human rights advocacy abroad; engage with international institutions to advance human rights; and/or address human rights in U.S. foreign policy. Students work closely with local organizations, international NGOs, and U.N. human rights experts and bodies. Some travel will likely be involved. Student project teams will also meet at least once a week with the clinic instructor. Students work on clinic projects approximately 10-12 hours a week, for a minimum of 125 hours of clinical work during the semester. Students must be at least in their second semester, second year to take this clinic. This course may not be dropped after the first class meeting

Originalism and Its Discontents

Originalism is a major school of constitutional interpretation and a growing field of academic study. Originalist arguments, as well as criticisms of originalism, commonly feature in public discourse as well as legal practice. To engage these arguments, lawyers and citizens must be able to weigh the merits of a diverse set of originalist theories. This course will acquaint students with the variety of originalist and nonoriginalist arguments; give them an opportunity to sharpen their views on the topic; and enable them to judge for themselves the strengths and weaknesses of each. Students will consider a variety of originalist theories (original intentions, original meanings, original methods, etc.), the various forms of argument used to support or oppose them (conceptual, normative, positive), and the different emphases in originalist argumentation over time (the “old” originalism vs. the “new”).

State and Local Government Law

Much of the business of governing takes place at the state and local level, rather than on the federal level. Competent attorneys must consider the role that various state and local actors will have on their clients’ interests, whether they represent large corporations, small franchises, or individuals. This course is designed to offer an overview of the issues concerning state and local governance from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The course will acquaint students with the broad issues surrounding state and local government, rather than focus on any particular state or municipality. Among the topics to be discussed: state constitutional law, structure, and rights; distribution of authority between federal, state, and local governments; federal, state, and local government coordination and conflict; issues surrounding state and local provision of services and employment; state and municipal governance and oversight, and the role of localism and direct democracy in our constitutional structure. Evaluation will be based on class participation, class exercises, and an examination. 3 Hours.