Prior Course Titles >

Prior Course Descriptions
2010-2013

P-Z:

Patent Law This course introduces the basic concepts of patent law - a system involving a government grant of limited proprietary rights in inventions in exchange for full disclosure of the invention. Areas to be examined include requirements for patentability, procedures for obtaining patents, interrelationships with trade secrets, rights to employee inventions, patent assignments and licensing, and a brief overview of patent litigation. Students should have an Engineering degree or a strong scientific educational background.
Payment Systems Payment Systems is a general introduction to commercial transactions. It covers various ways of making payments (checks, credit cards, debit cards, letters of credit, wire transfers, and electronic payment devices), transactions for borrowing money (notes and guaranties), and also negotiable instruments and securitization. Doctrinally, it covers Articles 3, 4, 4A, 5, 7, and 8 of the Uniform Commercial Codes, as well as (among other things), major provisions of the Expedited Funds Availability Act, the Truth-in-Lending Act, and the Electronic Fund Transfers Act.
Post Conviction Rights This course will examine state and federal rights and procedures to which a state criminal defendant is entitled after conviction. Topics will include state direct appeals, collateral challenges to convictions, and challenges to state convictions in federal court. Areas of study will also include applicable standards of appellate review, preservation and exhaustion doctrines, and raising constitutional issues during post-conviction proceedings. Prerequisite: Law 501 Constitutional Law.
Products Liability This course presents an analysis and discussion of the American law of products liability. The focus of the course is on the major theories of liability with respect to injuries caused by the use of defective consumer products. We will cover the requirements of each of the major causes of action in product litigation, together with appropriate defenses and damages related to those causes of action..
Professional Responsibility This course examines the ethics of lawyering and the various roles of the lawyer. We will discuss the nature and scope of the attorney's responsibilities and obligations to clients, society, the administration of justice, the profession, and the self. It covers legal and ethical standards and aspirations relevant to regulating the conduct of lawyers and the development of professional ethics. (Required Course)
Property Starting with the historical evolution of the concepts involved in real and personal property, this course will study the rights and duties of owners and possessors of property, priority of possession or property, and present and future interests in property. This course will also consider issues in landlord and tenant law, evidence of ownership or right to possession, methods of title assurance, commercial and noncommercial transfers of interests in property, the rescission, modification, interpretation and performance of transfer agreements and documents, and private controls on the use of property. This course may also explore conflicts between private ownership of property and community needs, the nature and purposes of types of shared ownership of property, and public controls on the use of property. (Required Course)
Public Interest This course is the seminar component that accompanies a public interest or government 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 an attorney. Students may not receive compensation for work done in an Externship. Externships develop students' lawyering skills through participation in activities such as legal research and writing, client interviewing and counseling, factual investigation, development and implementation of case theory and strategy, negotiation, mediation, litigation and other forms of advocacy. Externships experiences will vary depending on the student's placement organization. Seminar assignments and readings are designed to complement the individual work experience by providing structure 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 or Externship Coordinator. A 4 credit Externship Form must be completed for enrollment in the 4 Credit Government and Public Interest Externship Seminar. There will be a mandatory orientation meeting for all students participating in externships.
Public Sector Law This course will examine the regulation of labor/management relations in public employment, with emphasis on distinctions from the private sector model. It will cover such areas as the historical development of public sector labor unions, the right to join unions, the collective bargaining relationship, union security, mandatory subjects of bargaining, settlement of impasses, enforcement of the agreement and constitutional rights of public employees.
Real Estate Development This course will focus on the practical aspects of representing clients developing subdivisions and condominium projects. Through the use of existing Massachusetts subdivisions and condominium projects and guest lecturers you will be brought through the process from the planning stage to sale of the units or lots. The final exam shall be several take home development problems. Enrollment limited to 24 students. *occasionally offered as a Professional Skills Course.
Real Estate Drafting This course will focus on fundamental drafting concepts and skills in the context of real estate transactions, both residential and commercial. Working individually and in teams, students will draft a variety of documents, ranging from purchase and sale agreements, boundary line agreements and easements to mortgage commitment letters, mortgage terms, commercial leases, construction contracts, and guarantor and indemnity agreements. There will be regular written homework assignments as well as in-class drafting exercises. Negotiations and ethical issues in transactional law practice will also be covered. LAW 730 Land Finance and Transfer is a prerequisite for the course. LAW 694 Conveyancing is recommended but not required.
Real Estate Planning This course will focus on real estate planning using the development of a shopping center as the paradigm. In the course, we will take the development project from the acquisition of land, through financing and construction of the shopping center, and finish with the leasing of stores in the shopping center. Students will be assigned to law firms of two or three students each and over the course of the semester each firm will negotiate with another firm three separate aspects of the development process. For example, students in a firm may negotiate a long term ground lease, the construction financing of the shopping center, and an anchor tenant lease. The firms will also draft all of the documents appropriate to those transactions, prepare brief memos journaling their experience, and make short presentations on them in class. Course grade will be based on the document drafting, journal memos, and presentation. Enrollment limited to 16 students. Preference will be given to students who have not taken 657 Real Estate Development. Prerequisite for this class is Law 730-01 Land Finance & Transfer
Real Property Practice In the Real Estate Practicum, students experience the world of real estate practice and real estate practitioners and discuss and reflect on those experiences and observations in a weekly seminar, all with the goal of helping each student to prepare for the practice of law. To accomplish this goal and to provide this experience, the practicum has three required segments: an initial training, an externship and a seminar. 1) Initial Training: In preparation for the externships, the first two weeks of the semester involve hands-on training, homework and simulations in title examination and residential real estate closings. 2) Externships: The externship involves placements with real estate professionals and requires a commitment on 10 hours per week (two sessions of 5 hours). You do your externship as a member of a two-person team. One member of the team is initially placed with a real estate attorney specializing in residential real estate, the other with an attorney at a title insurance company. Each team member works for six weeks with one attorney or the other and then switches right before spring break. In both placement, you will work on a variety of title, closing, contract and related problems and will observe the operation of a law office and the interaction with clients, staff and other real estate professionals (brokers, lenders, appraisers, surveyors). As indicated on the List of Pairings, two team placements are in Springfield; two are in Connecticut (Windsor Locks and Hartford); one is split between Springfield and Hartford. 3) Seminar: The seminar component consists of a weekly 2-hour seminar meeting, with required readings and discussions structured and led by the two faculty members and frequently featuring presentations by experts in different aspects of real estate transactions. As prerequisites for the course, students must have taken 2 or more of the following 6 courses: land Finance and Transfer, Conveyancing, Real Estate Transactions, Taxation of Property, Land Use and Landlord-Tenant. The more prerequisites you have taken, the better, and Professors Baker and Stonefield strongly urge students to take (and will give preference in selection to students who have taken or will take) Land Finance and Transfer or Conveyancing. Enrollment is limited to 10 students in the spring semester only who have been selected through the clinic application process. 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.
Regulations of Hazardous Substances The course considers tort law, as well as some important state and federal statute law, that regulates harms to persons and property from toxic substances. Much, though not all of this law, is strict liability law. Causation is a central legal issue of the course. In addition, the course devotes some attention to theory that shapes this lawmaking, as well as to the application of toxic substances law to problems.
Religion & the Constitution This course examines the First Amendment's Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The two Religion Clauses have been and continue to be a focus of extensive controversy in the legal and political arenas. The course will examine Supreme Court opinions interpreting the Religion Clauses. Topics arising under the Establishment Clause include prayer in public school classrooms, religious symbols on public property, and government funding of parochial school education. Topics arising under the Free Exercise Clause include the rights of religious objectors to be exempt from a vaccination requirement, the rights of members of religion to engage in animal sacrifice as part of a religious ritual, and the rights of employees to refuse to work on religious holy days. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. The reading material for the course has been prepared by the instructor. The specialized nature of the course subject matter allows students to gain expertise in the area by reading extensively in this one area of constitutional law rather than by surveying a variety of areas.
Remedies This course will survey the law of remedies in civil litigation. Students explore the principal forms of legal and equitable relief available to civil litigants. Throughout the term, the course will afford multiple opportunities for students to receive formative assessment, including practice in answering typical bar exam questions. This course has limited enrollment; permission of the professor is required. Students taking this course may not take LAW 761 Remedies: Injunctions.
Representing Children This course will review children's constitutional rights followed by a study in non-delinquency matters in which children are parties (Care and Protections, Children in Need in Services, etc.). Special emphasis will be placed on counsel's role in communicating with child clients and selecting litigation options (class actions, tort actions) to protect children's rights. Child-abuse matters and state's failure to provide children's services will be emphasized.
Sales In this course students will study contract law in commercial settings governed primarily by Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Classroom discussion will focus on problem and case analysis and statutory interpretation, as well as practical problems in drafting, negotiating and enforcing agreements. (Taught by Prof. Reich-Graefe in Fall)
Secured Transactions Secured Transactions is an intensive study of consensual security interests in personal property under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. The course also involves a cursory examination of relevant provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, and side-glances at other Articles of the UCC.
Securities Litigation From the billion dollar lawsuits that threaten Wall Street titans to claims by "mom and pop" investors that their broker sold them a bad stock, securities litigation has become big business for lawyers of all walks of life. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, investment-related litigation has exploded, dominating media headlines and court dockets. At the same time, as America's baby-boom generation approaches retirement relying on stock portfolio nest eggs, investor-related disputes have the potential to affect virtually all future lawyers' clientele. This course is intended to provide an introduction to securities litigation, not only for students who are interested in developing a practice in the area, but also for those who plan to practice business law and those that simply seek a sufficient knowledge base to competently advise clients who present problems regarding their investments. The course will also explore topics concerning disputes common to the owners of small businesses organized as closely held corporations, limited partnerships and limited liability companies, providing students with an overview of the typical issues arising in resolving internal business disputes. Expected topics include federal securities claims, shareholder derivative litigation, litigating state "Blue Sky" claims, internal corporate governance issues and broker-dealer investor litigation. There are no prerequisites but students are strongly encouraged to have completed the required course in Law 551 Business Organizations prior to enrolling. Limited to 20 students.
Securities Regulation This course is a study of the law relating to the basic structure of the system by which dealings in securities are regulated. The course will focus on the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as they relate to fundamental regulatory issues, such as what constitutes a security, the nature of controls over the distribution and trading of securities and exemptions from those controls, as well as liability for misconduct. Prerequisite: LAW 551, Business Organizations, completed or currently enrolled. Prerequisite or take concurrently: Law 551Business Organization
Sexual Orientation & Law This course is an examination of the legal and policy issues surrounding state and private attempts to regulate and/or discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Topics covered in the course include (1) the due process right to privacy, (2) equal protection analysis (addressing current challenges to the military’s exclusionary policy s well as some states’ per se ban on adoptions by gay men and lesbians), (3) the right of free expression and association (e.g., the challenge to the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay members as well as on-going challenges to university non-discrimination policies by the religious right), (4) employment discrimination, with particular emphasis on possibilities to pursue non-discrimination law by transgender people (5) sexual orientation and gender expression as gender discrimination, and (7) family law issues affecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people such as the rights to marry, to child custody and visitation, to adopt and to provide foster care.
Skills This Skills Lab is designed to provide first-year students with an introduction to the practical skills that are an important part of the lawyer's role. The course will help students appreciate the relationship between the course content of the doctrinal courses they are studying and the practice of law. The course begins with a simulation exercise in which students represent a client. Students will need to evaluate the client's interests. The Skills Lab will also include other lawyering skills such as translating the elements of a tort into a complaint filed to commence a lawsuit, resolving a legal dispute through settlement negotiations, constructing a discovery plan, drafting a contract, and arguing a motion. Students will also be introduced to the ethical rules that govern the practice of law. This course will meet once a week throughout the year. It will be taught by various faculty members. It is a not-for-credit element of the first year curriculum that will contribute to assuring that students become ready for the practice of law while in law school.
Small Business Clinic The Small Business Clinic will provide selected students with the opportunity to handle legal matters for small business clients under the supervision of the professor. Students work on transactional legal matters that are typical in the start-up phase of a business. The goal of the clinic is to expose students to the methodology and mindset of business lawyering. Law students work with the entrepreneurs to identify the legal issues new businesses confront. The course will consist of two full days of a mandatory orientation (prior to the start of the semester), weekly seminar classroom meetings, weekly one-on-one meetings with the professor, meetings with clients (often in the evenings) and participation in walk-in legal assistance. The clinical component will involve client interviewing, assessment and intake, along with legal research, drafting, and counseling as the situation requires. In an effort to operate the clinic as close to an actual law firm as possible, students are required to maintain client billing records through use of the clinic's time/document management software. Client work will require a minimum of 16 hours of work per week and other course commitments will require an additional four to five hours per week. The seminar portion of the course incorporates business and legal practitioners from the local area. Prerequisites: LAW 551, Business Organizations, LAW 553, Evidence. Evidence may be taken concurrently with the Clinic. A student is required to be SJC Rule 3:03 eligible. Enrollment is limited each semester to 8 students who have been selected through the clinic application process. 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.
Title IX: Sex Discrimination In Education Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions receiving federal funds. In the course, students will examine Title IX's applications in the context of athletics, curriculum, single-sex education, sexual harassment, pregnancy and parenting, and employment of teachers and coaches. Students will be invited to analyze and evaluate the statute's efficacy at securing gender equality in education, both in absolute terms and relative to other sources of law such as the federal and state constitution equal protection clauses, and state and local antidiscrimination statutes. Title IX will also serve as a lens through which students will engage with broader topics such as statutory and regulatory interpretation, damages and immunity, feminist legal theory, and cultural studies.
Torts This is a course concerning civil liability for harm inflicted on another. Topics studied may include negligent, reckless and intentional acts that inflict harm; defenses to claims of liability; the liability of owners or occupiers of land; and strict liability. (Required Course)
Toxic Torts This course will examine how the pre-trial stages of a complex environmental toxic tort case unfold. The course will develop students’ written and oral advocacy skills by requiring them to research and draft two client-focused briefs, two judicial bench memoranda, and to engage in simulated oral argument. This course will use actual cases to illuminate key phases of the litigation process including pleadings, management of complex document discovery, and the intricacies pre-trial advocacy and advanced application of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The interplay between environmental statutory regulation and the common law will be explored, as will the unique challenges presented by trial management and the settlement of toxic tort litigation.

Enrollment limited to 16 students. This course requires an even number of students and 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). At the end of summer school registration, before the schedules are finalized, there will be a lottery if there is an odd number below the 16-person limit. A student who is randomly dropped from the course will have the option to find a partner and re-enroll in the course. This course can be used to satisfy the Qualified Writing Requirement or the Professional Skills Requirement.
Trademark Law This course surveys the legal rules and policies governing how producers of goods and services use trademarks, logos, product designs, and other devices to identify the source of their goods and services in order to protect their good will and prevent confusion in the marketplace. The course focuses primarily on the federal trademark statute and its recent amendments, as applied in both the traditional and electronic marketplaces.
Transactional Lawyering This course emphasizes that thought processes and legal skills involved in the practice of transactional law. In this simulation course students will be broken up into "law firms" and will provide legal counsel to a party in a business transaction. One half of the class will represent one side of the transaction and the other half will represent the other side. Using a simulated transaction as the reference point, students will acquire an understanding of the lawyer's role in business transactions and will develop an appreciation of the business and legal issues that arise in transactional practice. As part of the simulation students will be required to interview a client, draft deal documents, and negotiate some deal points. Prof. Gouvin will use this course as the basis for selecting students to participate in the Transactional Law Meet Competition in the spring.
Trial Methods This course utilizes a clinical approach to trial advocacy. Emphasis is given to the two complementary abilities necessary for effective trial advocacy - preparation and execution. Students will learn effective methods for analyzing and preparing a case for trial. In addition, students will practice the technical skills necessary to present their side of a case persuasively during a trial, including tactics and strategy in the courtroom, opening statements and closing arguments, examination of witnesses, admission and exclusion of evidence, questions of burden of proof, and preservation of rights on appeal. Prerequisite: LAW 553, Evidence. Enrollment limited to 20 students per section.
Trusts & Estates This course is a study of the inter-vivos and testamentary gratuitous transfer of property, including intestate succession, wills, and trusts. Also discussed are the duties and liability of the fiduciary, the use of charitable donations, and the raising of constructive and resulting trusts. Prerequisite: Law 511 Property.
White Collar Crime This course offers an overview of the law of business (white collar) crime. Topics include: individual and corporate responsibility for malfeasance; complicity; conspiracy; mail fraud; public corruption; RICO; securities fraud; perjury and false statements; obstruction of justice; the 5th amendment protections for business speech and documents. Completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, LAW 551 Business Organizations and LAW 505 Criminal Law are prerequisites to enrollment in this course.