Prior Course Titles >

Prior Course Descriptions


Family Law This course examines the relationship between family and law. Topics addressed include legal definitions of "family" taking into consideration both the marital and non-marital family; rights and obligations among family members; the federal and state government's role in family life as well as the constitutional limits on government involvement; dissolution of family including issues of property distribution, alimony/support, and the implications of children; jurisdiction; and the role of the attorney in family formation and disputes.
Federal Courts & Jurisdiction This course focuses on the role of the federal courts under the American system of dual (national and state) sovereignty and divided national governmental power among the branches. More specifically, we will study: (a) the constitutional allocation of power and responsibility to enforce federal rights between federal and state courts; (b) the power of Congress to control jurisdiction over federal claims; (c) the sovereign immunity of state governments; (d) Article III limitations of federal judicial power; and (e) the conditions under which federal courts abstain from deciding cases within their jurisdiction.
Federal Pension Rights This simulation course focuses on the pre-trial stages of a hypothetical ERISA case in federal district court. Although some aspects of substantive ERISA law will be addressed, the chief aims of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to improve their writing, oral advocacy, and negotiation skills and to consider the strategic, political, and ethical dimensions of federal court litigation. Each student will be required to write several briefs and to present at least one oral argument. In addition, each student will draft a complaint or an answer, draft a discovery plan, prepare for a pre-trial conference, and engage in settlement negotiations. This is a Restricted Withdrawal class which means that a student enrolled in the class may not withdraw subsequent to the second class of the semester (see, Academic Standards Part A, VI, B). Enrollment limited to 24 students.
Federal Tax Practice & Procedure This course will include the study of the U.S. tax system, the administration of the Internal Revenue Code by the Internal Revenue Service, procedural Problems in requests for administrative rulings, the handling of audits, the treatment of tax deficiencies and tax penalties, closing and compromise agreements, statutes of limitations, hearings before the Appeals Office, litigation in the U.S. Tax Court, the Federal District Court, and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, collection matters, and criminal and civil aspects of fraud. Prerequisite: LAW 555 Income Tax I.
First Amendment Rights This course is a basic introduction to the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment. Among the topics to be studied are the special problems of particular kinds of speech, including advocacy of violence as a political solution, libel, obscenity, profanity, hate speech, commercial speech, and symbolic speech such as flag burning. The course will also examine techniques employed by the government to censor speech, such as prior restraints and time, place, and manner regulations, as well as rights of access to public property such as streets and parks to engage in expressive activities.
Forensic Evidence This course will examine the evidentiary foundations necessary for the introduction and use of forensic evidence in both criminal and civil trials. Special emphasis will be placed on the practical application and use of complicated scientific evidence including medical evidence, DNA, ballistics, arson, fingerprints, toxicology and psychological/psychiatric testimony. The frame work around which these issues will be discussed are the Daubert/Lannigan cases and their progeny. It is highly recommended that students have completed a course in basic evidence Law 553 prior to enrollment.
Franchise Law Even in these challenging financial times, distribution through franchising continues to be a vital engine driving the U.S. consumer economy. An estimated ten percent of the gross output of the private sector is related to franchised business. In this course, we will create competing virtual franchises that will explore the areas of the law that define and shape franchising: trademarks, contracts, state and federal laws & regulations, antitrust and conflict resolution.
Gender & Criminal Justice In Spring 2013, Professor Shay will be offering the Gender & Criminal Law course in an "Inside-Out" format. "Inside-Out" is a national program based at Temple University that trains professors nationwide to offer courses in which half of the participants come from their home academic institution and half are residents or inmates of correctional facilities. The goal is to produce a transformative educational experience for both sets of participants; to engage in meaningful dialogue about criminal justice and social issues; and to break down barriers and stereotypes. You can read more about Inside-Out at This spring WNE's "Inside-Out" class will be held in conjunction with the Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center a minimum security residential treatment facility located on Howard St. in Springfield, MA Your classmates will include men and women who are completing their sentences at Howard St. working on their recovery and return to the community. The course will cover law reform movements in the areas of rape and domestic violence, as well as gender issues in sentencing, corrections, and reentry. Most of our classes will be held on Friday mornings at the Howard St. facility, although some might be at WNE. This course will be especially valuable for those who hope to work in the criminal justice system, as prosecutors, defense attorneys, lawyers for correction agencies, civil rights attorneys, or legal services lawyers. However, other students will also benefit from the unique educational experience. Enrollment will be limited. Applicants will need to undergo a background and criminal records check, and to submit a 250 word statement of interest to Professor Shay. You must submit the 250 word statement of interest to Professor Shay and be selected for the program before you can register with the Registrar's Office. Participants will also need to commit to adhering scrupulously to the rules of the program, which Professor Shay will outline during the initial class sessions. If you have questions, please feel free to contact Professor Shay at
Gender & the Law This course examines issues of gender in the law from the standpoint of feminist legal jurisprudence, particularly the way it is affected by and constructs gender in our society. Topics may include the law of sexual harassment, sexual autonomy and reproductive choice, workplace discrimination, legal regulation of welfare and low-income women, and the way in which a legal definition of sex (or the lack of it) influences law and social policy.
Genetics The course will include reading assignments and class discussion on the following topics: Scientific overview, ethical and legal aspects of genetics research, genetic testing and screening, reproductive technology and genetics, germ line therapy and enhancement, behavioral genetics, privacy and confidentiality, discrimination, and forensic applications of genetic technology. All students enrolled in the seminar will be required to complete a substantial, original research paper on a topic of their choice. Limited to 15 students.
Housing Clinic Students in the Housing Clinic will be representing tenants with complaints against landlords in the Western Massachusetts Housing Court. The Housing Clinic is currently cooperating with the Massachusetts Justice Project (MJP). Through MJP, students will acquire clients who have cases pending in the summary process (eviction) session of the Hampden County session of the Western Massachusetts Housing Court. Under the supervision of the Clinic's Supervising Attorney, students will represent tenants in the prosecution and litigation of their cases. Students will handle all phases of the case evaluation, client interviewing, negotiation of possible settlement, legal research and factual development of the claims, and representation of the litigants in court proceedings. If the case does not settle, trials are before a single justice of the Housing Court. Trial may include direct testimony of the witnesses, cross-examination, opening statements and closing arguments and introduction of evidence. Students are expected to commit between 12 and 20 hours per week to the fieldwork which includes being available to attend court on Thursday mornings. (This is when the Western Massachusetts Housing Court conducts its summary process session). In addition to the fieldwork, there will be regularly scheduled seminar meetings and training sessions in which students will engage in discussions and simulation exercises to develop the professional skills and perspectives which are essential to such a litigation practice. Students enrolling in this Clinic must be willing to return to school in advance of the official start of the semester to participate in a mandatory orientation. This course continues to be intensive during the first several weeks of the semester. Thereafter, the class will meet regularly for the balance of the semester. Prerequisites: The clinic is open to students who have successfully completed 32 hours of law studies and have successfully completed Law 553, Evidence. Evidence may be taken concurrently with the Clinic. A student is required to be SJC Rule 3:03 eligible. A student may not simultaneously enroll in more than one clinic, more than one externship, or a clinic and an externship. (Formerly Consumer Protection Clinic)
Immigration Law This course will explore the American immigration system from constitutional, statutory, and policy perspectives. Topics considered include the source and scope of congressional power to regulate immigration, standards and procedures for entry, exclusion, and deportation, illegal migration, and the acquisition and loss of American citizenship.
Income Tax I A study of the codified law as it relates to the federal taxation of the income of individuals. This course emphasizes the concepts of gross income, taxable income, and deductions. Special emphasis is given to the federal tax policy considerations inherent in resolving tax issues. A survey of selected topics such as the tax consequences of divorce and administrative practice before the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Court may be included in the course. (Required Course)
Income Tax II A continuation of the study of the law as it relates to the federal taxation of the income of individuals. This course explores the tax concepts of realization and recognition of income, the character of gains and losses from the disposition of property, and tax accounting methods. The course also explores the role of debt in property transactions and may include a discussion of assignment of income principles. Prerequisite: Law 555 Income Tax I.
Independent Study In this form of independent study from one to three students can engage in tutorial study with a faculty member on a mutually agreed upon subject area. Typically the subject studied will not be covered in depth in a regularly scheduled law school course and the students shall have the necessary background knowledge to engage in specialized study in the area. A full-time faculty member with expertise in the area to be studied must agree to be the tutorial instructor. Although a tutorial may have a one to one student/teacher ratio, at the discretion of the faculty member up to three students may enroll in a tutorial. The one to three students will meet with the instructor for weekly or bi-weekly sessions to discuss substantive issues that the student(s) are studying based upon outside reading or research assignments. One or more papers related to the subject matter of the tutorial shall be written by each student during the semester. In cases where more than one student is enrolled in a tutorial, the instructor shall have the discretion to require that each student write separate paper(s) or to allow each student to do a substantial part of a larger project. The faculty member shall decide the grading policy for the Tutorial Study and that policy shall be communicated to the student. The faculty member must choose either a numerical (55-99) or pass/fail grading system. Requirements: A student who has successfully completed 43 credits of law studies may take a Tutorial Study course with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. A Tutorial Study Form must be completed and signed by the faculty instructor and approved by the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs before registration in a Tutorial Study. Each Tutorial Study, including its scope, coverage, credit hours (from 1 to 3 credits), course guidelines, and method of grading must be approved by the faculty instructor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs after full disclosure by the student(s) of the content and scope of all prior independent studies (LAW 951 and LAW 952) undertaken by the student(s). A student may take up to 3 independent study courses at the Law School (including both LAW 951 and LAW 952). No more than 2 of the 3 may be taken in any one semester, and no more than 1 of the 3 may be taken under the sole instruction of any one faculty member.
Insurance Law This course provides students with a working knowledge of fundamental legal principles concerning insurance policy and coverage issues. Legal issues regarding the regulation, and underwriting of insurance will be reviewed as well as claims handling, good and bad faith, and punitive damages. The course will also examine life, disability, property and casualty, automobile, health, and various professional liability insurance coverage issues. At the conclusion of this course the student should have a basic understanding of how insurance coverage in general is created, regulated, interpreted, applied, and enforced, as well as the application of basic principles to several different types of insurance coverage.
International Business Transactions This survey course will consider some of the major private and public law issues involved in international trade and investment. The emphasis of the course will be on the private, transactional aspects of International Business Transactions. In particular, we will examine typical legal arrangements for (i) the international financing and sale of goods (including extensive coverage of the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International sales of Goods - CISG), (ii) the non-establishment forms of foreign investment employed by market participants in order to generate business internationally (including licensing of intellectual property rights, international distributorship contracts, transfer of technology agreement, etc.), and (iii) the foreign direct investment of capital through the establishment of business operations abroad (both within the European Union and China). We will also discuss selected issues crucial to the avoidance and resolution of international business disputes. The pedagogical approach will involve the discussion of problems and the study of judicial and quasi-judicial decisions, regulations, statutes, and international agreements. Although Public International Trade Law is not the emphasis of this course, an overview of the structure and operation of both international and regional trade organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO) and The North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), will also be provided.
International Criminal Justice In this course we will discuss the application of domestic and international law to questions of jurisdiction over international criminal activities, international cooperation in criminal matters, substantive international law contained in multilateral treaties concerning war crimes and terrorism, and the permanent International Criminal Court. The course consists of a series of topics, organized around the principles and offenses of international criminal law, including: nature and sources of international criminal law; nature and elements of responsibility and defenses against responsibility; basis of jurisdictional competence of states under international law; methods for obtaining persons abroad; attempts over time, including through international tribunals, to secure punishment for international crimes; offenses against peace; war crimes; crimes against humanity; genocide; terrorism; and the intersection between international crimes and human rights.
International Human Rights In this course, students work collaboratively on projects with domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, grass-roots organizations, solidarity networks, attorneys, stakeholders, and other institutions engaging in human rights work, to advance political, economic, social and cultural human rights across borders. Students are expected to commit at least 16 hours per week to the fieldwork. In addition to the fieldwork, there will be regularly scheduled seminar meetings and coursework. Enrollment is limited each semester to 8 students who have been selected through the clinic application process.
International Human Rights Clinic A student must successfully complete 32 hours of law studies before enrollment in a clinic. A student may not simultaneously enroll in more than one clinic, more than one externship, or a clinic and an externship.
International Law This course provides an overview of international law with attention to legal aspects of current international controversies. The course will examine how the doctrines, institutions and methodologies of international law have developed in recent years. The structure, goals, processes and institutions of international law will be examined through detailed consideration of issues such as human rights, jurisdiction, environmental law, and international criminal law. A final examination will be the primary basis for each student's grade in the course.
International Military Conflict This course conducts a critical analysis of how military justice and the law impact the core values of a society both during periods of relative peace as well as periods of domestic and international conflict. While there is a focus on current US structures, comparisons with other systems including China, East Timor, Latin America and Russia are included. There will be a review of the history of military law as well as the structure and roles within court-martial proceedings. The validity of limitations on U.S. service members’ constitutional rights including freedom of speech, religion and association will be explored. The course will include study of military justice in operational settings to include the interaction of domestic law with the law of armed conflict as well as the implementation of military commissions and tribunals. The course is in no way limited to students interested in military law careers, but rather presented under the premise that the more lawyers, judges, legislators, public officials and citizens who educate themselves on this important aspect of domestic and international law, the better. The course will be presented in an online format.
Internet Law This course will examine how the law is responding to the various challenges posed by the internet. It will look at the application of various sources of law to the internet, including the United Stated Constitution, state and federal statutes, and common law principles, as well as a variety of proposals for new or revised laws to regulate this means of both communication and commerce. The course will examine the differing legal treatment of various participants in the online world including internet service providers vs. creators of online content. Topics to be discussed include sovereignty and jurisdiction over cyberspace, censorship of internet content, online defamation and other forms of tortuous conduct, the regulation of intermediaries such as internet service providers, and the legal status of domain names. The course does not require any technical expertise, but instead will focus on the way in which the legal system responds to the creation of new technology either by reasoning by analogy and applying existing legal principles or by creating new legal categories and regulatory techniques.
IP Law: Product Design This course will cover topics in copyright law, trademark law and design patent law respecting the legal protection of industrial design. More specifically, the course will cover how copyright law distinguishes between the protectable and unprotectable elements of such items as furniture, appliances, and other household goods, how trademark law provides limited protection to the shape of useful articles under the doctrine of trade dress, and how the United States Patent Office determines whether or not to grant design patent protection to similar products. This course provides students who have taken one or more of the basic Intellectual Property courses an opportunity to explore these three topics in depth and comparatively. The course also allows students who have not taken the basic courses to get an introduction to three different areas of Intellectual Property Law.
Judicial Externship This course is the seminar component that accompanies a judicial externship placement that a student has been selected for through the externship application process. Students work 12-15 hours a week for a total of 168 semester hours engaging in a variety of legal work under the supervision of a judge. Students may not receive compensation for work done in an Externship. Externships include varied levels of research, writing, and observation depending on the student's placement. Seminar assignments and readings are designed to complement the individual work experience by providing structured reflection on many aspects of the roles of courts, judges and lawyers in society. Students are required to maintain weekly time sheets and journals and complete a paper and presentation. Students may take no more than two externships for a maximum of six academic credits during law school. The externship placements must be substantively different. A student must successfully complete 32 hours of law studies before enrollment in an externship. A student may not simultaneously enroll in more than one clinic, more than one externship, or a clinic and an externship. Other requirements and further information about this course are available from the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of Externship Coordinator. A 4 credit Externship Form must be completed for enrollment in the 4 Credit Judicial Externship Seminar. The Mandatory orientation for all students doing an externship in the spring semester is Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Jurisprudence Survey This course examines the various schools of legal thought that have both influenced and criticized American law and decision-making. After discussing theories and characteristics of various schools, we will read legal opinions that reflect these schools, as well as writings that critique particular cases or legal rules. The schools of thought that we will consider include the Formalist, Legal Realist, and Legal Process schools, as well as contemporary critiques, such as Critical Race Theory, Feminist Theory, and Gay Legal Theory. *Occasionally offered as a QWC.
Juvenile Justice This course concentrates on juvenile delinquency proceedings from pretrial procedure through trial and the occasional transfers of juvenile offenders to the adult criminal system. Developments in the area of due process for young people (United States Supreme Court cases) and effective client advocacy are stressed. Prerequisite: Law 505 Criminal Law.

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