Administrative Law, Legislation, and Governance

LAW 025 v00 Administrative Law

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course considers the constitutional, statutory, and other legal limitations on what government agencies can do and how they can do it. What constraints govern the power of agencies to make law, decide cases involving private parties, and investigate citizens? How much "due process" must government agencies give citizens whose lives they affect; what limits has Congress imposed on the procedures for agency decision making; and to what extent can people call on courts to check what they regard as abuses of governmental power? These are among the questions addressed in the course, which draws together problems ranging from the legitimacy of New Deal institutions to the dramatic procedural innovations of recent federal administrations and problems created by renewed Congressional interest in the details of agency decision making.

Recommended: For Professor Nager's section: Prior or concurrent enrollment in Constitutional Law I: The Federal System.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the first-year elective by the same name or the first-year course, Government Processes.

LAW 025 v06 Administrative Law

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

This course is designed to introduce you to the core institutions and processes of the modern administrative state.  You will come to understand the tremendous power exercised by administrative agencies as well as the significant constraints under which they operate.  You will learn the procedures governing the key categories of administrative action; the doctrine governing judicial review of administrative action; and non-judicial mechanisms of agency control within the Constitution’s separation-of-powers framework.

Learning Goals: By the end of the semester, you should be able to:

(1)  Identify the legal framework (statutory, constitutional, doctrinal) that applies to a particular issue of administrative action;

(2)  Apply the relevant legal framework to a given set of facts; and

(3)  Evaluate the merits of the legal framework against a variety of normative goals.

You should also (4) be conversant in contemporary debates about the administrative state and be able to articulate and justify your views.  

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for this course and the upperclass course with the same title.

Note: This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.

LAW 025 v08 Administrative Law

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

Virtually all areas of law today involve a substantial element of administrative law.  This course introduces you to the role of administrative agencies and how law and political factors shape their powers and work.  This includes materials on how they are empowered and constrained by the Constitution, Congress, presidents, and the courts.  We also study ways in which agencies generate law and develop policies.  This class coverage includes, among other topics, materials on citizens’ abilities to petition, shape, and litigate over agency actions; changing views of presidents’ roles and powers over agencies; and statutory factors and doctrine shaping judicial review of agency law interpretation, reasoning, responsiveness, policy shifts, and engagement with science and facts.   

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the first-year elective by the same name or the first-year course, Government Processes.  

LAW 1349 v00 Administrative Law

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

There is no more fundamental course in law school than administrative law. This course introduces you to the modern administrative and regulatory state. You will come to understand both the tremendous power exercised by administrative agencies and the significant constraints (legal and political) under which they operate. You will learn to identify the design features that might make an agency constitutionally problematic, the factors that make one type of decision-making framework more appropriate than another, the prerogatives and limits of agencies in interpreting the statutes they are charged with administering, and agencies’ prerogatives and limits in adjudicating facts and exercising policymaking discretion. You will also learn to identify the factors that affect the availability and timing of judicial review of agency action.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the first-year elective by the same name or the first year electives, The Regulatory State or Legislation and Regulation, or Government Processes, or Legislation and Regulations: Law, Science, and Policy.

LAW 1349 v01 Administrative Law

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

There is no more fundamental course in law school than administrative law. This course introduces you to the modern administrative and regulatory state. You will come to understand both the tremendous power exercised by administrative agencies and the significant constraints (legal and political) under which they operate. You will learn to identify the design features that might make an agency constitutionally problematic, the factors that make one type of decision-making framework more appropriate than another, the prerogatives and limits of agencies in interpreting the statutes they are charged with administering, and agencies’ prerogatives and limits in adjudicating facts and exercising policymaking discretion. You will also learn to identify the factors that affect the availability and timing of judicial review of agency action.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the upperclass course with the same title. 

Note: This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.

LAW 1611 v00 Administrative Law and Public Administration Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

Administrative law scholars have observed an increasing disconnect between the legal framework and doctrine governing agencies, on the one hand, and the way that the administrative state actually operates, on the other.  For example, administrative law tends to concern itself with external sources of control over agencies, while in fact most of the work of the administrative state takes place in day-to-day internal operations.  In this seminar, we use administrative law as a jumping off point to study a complementary set of frameworks and practices that govern and explain the operation of the administrative state: those drawn from public administration and political science.  Lawyers who understand these complementary tools will be better prepared to advise clients on their interactions with institutions in the administrative state; to work within the institutions of the administrative state themselves; and to design and reform those institutions in the first instance. 

This course is also a writing-intensive class that satisfies the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.  To that end, each of you will devote a considerable amount of time this semester to developing a paper proposal about a conflict, crisis, or controversy within the operations of a government institution; researching your idea in depth; and both drafting and revising a substantial paper of at least six thousand words (exclusive of footnotes) that meets the different elements of the Writing Requirement.  The last month of the semester will be devoted to workshopping these papers—that is, giving feedback to and receiving feedback from your colleagues. 

Learning goals:

By the end of the course, students will be able to describe and discuss the core insights of the texts we will read; to assess the merits of these insights; and to apply these insights to everyday situations relevant to the institutions of government in D.C. and beyond.  Students will also have written a paper of publishable quality analyzing and assessing a conflict, crisis, or controversy within the operations of a government institution using the lens of the tools we have studied. 

Prerequisite: Administrative Law (1L elective or upper level course) or Legislation and Regulation.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 029 v00 Advanced Environmental Law: Climate Change (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum (cross-listed) | 4 credit hours

In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professor. This project-based practicum course will focus on the evolving legal and policy developments concerning global climate change, and provide students the opportunity to engage in hands-on work with policymakers in addressing the issue. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out ten hours/week of project work including regularly scheduled meetings with professor and Georgetown Climate Center attorney advisors.

SEMINAR: This seminar covers the current understanding of climate change science and impacts, international and domestic policy approaches, technological and adaptation responses, and legal and regulatory cases and developments. Class participation and attendance will be graded.

PROJECT WORK: Students will prepare papers and make presentations in class and to outside “clients” on topics being analyzed for state and local governments through the work of the Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown Law. Students work with professor and advisors to develop professional-quality work products that can be shared with outside "clients." The Center works with states and communities on crafting policy strategies to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and to adapt to the consequences of climate change.

Prerequisite: Environmental Law. J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not take another practicum course or a clinic at the same time as a project-based practicum course. Students may enroll in an externship at the same time as a project-based practicum course.

Note: This course may be suitable for evening students who can regularly attend class and participate in calls or meetings during the day as students interact with professors, advisors, and/or clients.

This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits for approximately ten hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar portion and the project work will be graded.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and students are required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, project work, a meeting or a deliverable, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible (ideally beforehand) to discuss the absence or missed assignment. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 1604 v00 Affordable Housing Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 3 credit hours

The goal of this seminar is to expose you to the policy, law and practice concerning the prevision and preservation of affordable housing and its relationship to personhood, to community, and to society as a whole.  Specifically, we will examine the problems caused by the absence of a sufficient number of safe, sanitary, decent, and affordable units for households of low and moderate income. We will look at aspects of federal and local housing policy from both a current and an historical viewpoint.  We will place particular emphasis on issues of poverty and race.    Your paper can examine any element of affordable housing regardless of whether it is covered in class.

LAW 065 v02 Alternative, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine, The Legal Issues Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

Alternative, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine ("non-traditional medicine") ("CAM") is the fastest-growing sector of American Health Care and is one of the fastest growing fields in the United States. Presently, at least 50 percent of Americans are using some form of alternative and complementary therapy such as acupuncture, nutritional supplementation, herbs, massage, yoga, chiropractic or homeopathy. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1997, visits to alternative health care practitioners exceeded total visits to all conventional primary care physicians. The number of clinics and hospitals that integrate some modalities of CAM alongside conventional medicine is growing rapidly. The Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, has held recent conferences on the values of both CAM and Integrative Medicine. The NIH is using significant resources to fund research in this area.

This development, of course, is raising legal issues. There is a growing but still unsettled body of law on this subject. Some but not all CAM modalities are now licensed and regulated by at least some states. Federal regulatory bodies, such as the FDA and FTC are trying, within the limits of their statutory authority, to protect what they perceive to be the interests of the public. Yet, they come at the problem through conventional, rather than alternative, eyes. Conventional law is based upon protecting the public from purveyors of the proverbial "snake oil" frauds. And to an extent this law is being used to keep out alternatives to the established health-care modalities. This seminar studies the tensions, legal, economic, and social, of this struggle as it unfolds. This seminar covers several areas of law including administrative law, medical malpractice, informed consent, FDA/FTC law, licensure, among others. This seminar discusses the balancing of paternalism vs. individual rights. A paper meeting the upperclass legal writing requirement is required.

LAW 1107 v00 Analytical Methods

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

Lawyers in every type of practice (corporate, litigation, government, public interest, etc.) routinely deal with problems that require a basic understanding of concepts and methods from economics and statistics. This course provides an introduction to these subjects and their application and relevance to law and legal practice. Topics covered include decision analysis, game theory, probability, and statistics. Grades will be based on a graded problem set and a take-home final examination. No prior background in economics or statistics is required; however, we will regularly use elementary algebra and geometry. Students with strong backgrounds in economics, mathematics, or statistics should consult with the professor before enrolling in the course.

Course Objective and Learning Outcomes: The objective of the course is to enhance students' ability to give sound legal advice and make effective legal arguments by introducing them to selected concepts and methods from economics and statistics that are relevant to numerous areas of law and legal practice. These concepts and methods include: decision trees, expected value, sensitivity analysis, risk aversion, present value; Nash equilibrium, game trees, backward induction, subgame perfection, moral hazard, adverse selection; probability, conditional probability, independence, Bayes' rule; descriptive statistics (including measures of central tendency and variability), hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, statistical significance, type I and type II errors, and regression analysis.

By the end of the course, I expect students to have a good understanding of these concepts and methods and to be able demonstrate a basic proficiency in applying them to: (i) unpack complex decisions of the kind that lawyers and their clients often encounter in litigation and transactions; (ii) analyze situations involving strategic interactions (i.e., situations where the outcome depends on the strategies and actions of multiple parties) of the kind that lawyers and their clients often encounter in litigation and transactions; and (iii) engage in probabilistic and statistical reasoning and evaluate probabilistic and statistical evidence of the kind that courts and lawyers often encounter in litigation.

LAW 050 v01 Aviation Law

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The course, taught by practitioners in the field, covers contemporary and cutting-edge aviation topics such as international commercial aviation, aviation security, and the integration of unmanned aircraft systems (i.e., drones) into the national airspace. The course material will encompass most aspects of aviation law, including the law of international civil aviation, the economic and safety regulation of air transportation, aircraft registration and certification, aircraft accidents, airport law, government immunity from tort liability, and airline liability for the carriage of passengers and cargo domestically and internationally under the Montreal Convention. Students are exposed to a range of materials, including cases, treaties, executive agreements, and regulations, with a view towards imparting practical skills that can be applied to any field of law.

LAW 611 v17 Big Data, Face Recognition and the Limits of the Legislature: A Bill Negotiation Simulation

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

If you have ever taken advantage of basic government services, your personal information is part of a massive trove of data that local, state and federal agencies share with one another through a variety of overlapping networks, databases and bureaucratic collaboratives. This infrastructure has been built over the course of the last 20 years, for the most part without any oversight or accountability, let alone transparency to the public.

Some policymakers–-pushed by civil rights advocates and grassroots organizations-–have begun to try to check the exponential growth in government power that these technologies have made possible. Last year, the Washington Post reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was running face recognition searches on Maryland’s driver information databases. Community groups, including one group represented by Georgetown’s own Federal Legislation Clinic, demanded that legislators take action.

In this course, students will simulate the actual bill negotiation that took place last year in the Maryland State legislature. Using a fact pattern based on what unfolded, but fictionalized to protect client confidentiality, students will assume coalition roles to broker, draft, amend, and advocate for their own privacy bill from the perspective of those assigned roles.

Learning Objectives:

Through this course, students will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn the legal, political and technological frameworks around government use of face recognition.
  • Gain a basic understanding of the databases, networks and information sharing partnerships that pervade government bureaucracy.
  • Practice legislative drafting and bill amendment.
  • Create a bill pitch and deliver it for feedback to a panel of advocates and academics with first-hand knowledge of the Maryland bill.
  • Devise and execute a political strategy to build an advocacy coalition and navigate their bill through the legislature.
  • Draft hearing testimony and participate in a mock committee hearing.

Note: This course is mandatory pass/fail, and does NOT count against the 7-credit pass/fail limit for J.D. students.

This optional, elective course is for first-year J.D. students only, who will enroll via the Live Registration process.

ATTENDANCE AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS IS MANDATORY. All enrolled and waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to be eligible for a seat in the class and must attend each class session in its entirety. For more information, please see the Week One website.

Due to the intensive nature of the course, the small-group, team, and individual work that is involved, and the preparation that is necessary to ensure a positive student experience, students who wish to drop the course after they have accepted a seat must drop by Monday, November 30, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. After that point, students must receive permission from both the course professor and Assistant Dean for Experiential Education to drop the course. Permission will only be granted when remaining enrolled in the course would cause significant hardship for the student. Students who are enrolled but do not attend the first class session will be withdrawn from the course.

LAW 1620 v00 Campaigning for Public Office

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

This simulation course will provide students with the fundamentals of organizing, managing, and executing an effective campaign for political office, within a bipartisan context grounded in ethical public service. Each enrolled student must identify a local, state, or federal public office that they plan to run for (plans to run for this office can be tentative and prospective). Students will then learn campaign basics, message development and delivery, fundraising strategies, communication and media strategies, applicable campaign finance and election laws, and debate preparation. Students will prepare and give “stump” speeches and participate in a simulated candidate forum. Students will also develop policy platforms and learn how to assess and respond to the needs of a constituency and the public.

Note: FIRST CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist.

LAW 500 v00 Center for Applied Legal Studies

J.D. Clinic | 10 credit hours

See the Center for Applied Legal Studies website for more detailed information about the clinic.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Center for Applied Legal Studies PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 528 v02 Civil Rights Clinic

J.D. Clinic | 12 credit hours

Please see the Civil Rights Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Civil Rights PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 3078 v00 Commercial Space Law

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course will provide an overview of U.S. domestic legal regimes that govern commercial spaceflight activities, including those managed by the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Commerce, U.S. Defense Department and State Department. The course will examine existing regulations and statutes as well as current discussions about changes to policy and law to address the evolving nature of the space industry and U.S. national space priorities. Examples include the Space Force, space traffic management, and oversight of non-traditional commercial activities in light of international treaty obligations. 

Recommended: Prior or concurrent enrollment in administrative law, regulatory law or international law

LAW 528 v01 Communications and Technology Law Clinic (IPR)

J.D. Clinic | 12 credit hours

Please see the Communications and Technology Law Clinic (IPR) website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Communications and Technology Law Clinic (IPR) PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 950 v01 Complex Securities Investigations

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The course is designed to provide a practical survey of a complex white-collar (securities, commodities, and other financial frauds) investigation from inception through the Wells process, civil and criminal charging decisions, and trial. Representing a public company, its officers, employees, or directors requires a thorough understanding of the tools and strategies employed by criminal prosecutors and civil regulators. We will consider a variety of common practice issues including managing concurrent SEC and DOJ investigations; structuring and conducting the internal investigation; responding to SEC document subpoenas; conducting witness interviews; and, the application of various privileges. The course will cover substantive legal issues related to securities fraud, market manipulation, cryptocurrency regulation, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), among others. Further, students will gain practical knowledge of the issues and opportunities arising through interaction and negotiation with the SEC and DOJ during the investigative process, and the strategic decisions of waiver and cooperation to achieve the optimal result for the client.

Recommended: Criminal Justice (or Democracy and Coercion) or Criminal Procedure or a course in White Collar Crime

LAW 611 v12 Congressional Hearing Simulation: Updating the Fair Labor Standards Act for Today's Economy

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 “the most far-reaching, far-sighted program for the benefit of workers ever adopted in this or any other country." The historic FLSA established the minimum wage, created a standard workweek, outlawed child labor, and instituted certain work safety protections for minors. Over eighty years later, many argue that the law is too rigid for today’s 21st-century workplace and the gig economy. Others contend that the law must be strengthened to better protect workers, many of whom face job insecurity; wage theft; or lack of health, retirement, and unemployment benefits. Most agree that the law needs to be updated -- but how?

In this dynamic and realistic Week One simulation, students will prepare for and conduct a Congressional hearing on updating the FLSA. Working in teams, students will gain experience in the key components of preparing for and conducting a hearing including writing, delivering, and responding to opening statements, testimony, and questions. Students will play the roles of witnesses such as Department of Labor leadership, business leaders, worker advocates, and others, as well as Democratic and Republican Congressional Members of Congress/staff. Additional Members of Congress will be played by outside experts. Upperclass teaching fellows will help guide student preparation for the hearing and serve as Members of Congress in the simulation.

Note: This course is mandatory pass/fail, and does NOT count against the 7-credit pass/fail limit for J.D. students.

This optional, elective course is for first-year J.D. students only, who will enroll via the Live Registration process.

ATTENDANCE AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS IS MANDATORY. All enrolled and waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to be eligible for a seat in the class and must attend each class session in its entirety. For more information, please see the Week One website.

Due to the intensive nature of the course, the small-group, team, and individual work that is involved, and the preparation that is necessary to ensure a positive student experience, students who wish to drop the course after they have accepted a seat must drop by Monday, November 28, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. After that point, students must receive permission from both the course professor and Assistant Dean for Experiential Education to drop the course. Permission will only be granted when remaining enrolled in the course would cause significant hardship for the student. Students who are enrolled but do not attend the first class session will be withdrawn from the course.

LAW 1717 v00 Congressional Procedure

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

There are many procedure courses in law schools.  There is civil procedure, a required course.  There is administrative procedure, widely seen as an important course.   Congressional procedure does not receive enough attention in law schools.  This course is an introduction to that procedure and its importance for lawyers and leaders.     Today, we live in a Republic of Statutes.  The common law, learned in the first year, has largely been supplanted by statutes at both the state and federal levels.  To interpret statutes, whether one is in a court or an agency, or just reading the newspaper, one must understand the process by which the statute is made.  One cannot intelligently read a trial transcript without understanding basic trial process.   The same is true of statutes.   The purpose of this course, then, is not to consider congressional procedure for its own sake, but as a means to understand difficult problems in statutory interpretation.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for this course and Legislation taught by Professor Nourse, Congress and the Administrative State or Congressional Procedure and Statutory Interpretation Seminar.

LAW 1609 v00 Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

Analyzing text is a deeply important part of legal practice in public law, whether statutory or constitutional law.  It cuts across a wide variety of subject matter areas, from very basic aspects of the Constitution to any statutory topic imaginable. Whatever the subject matter, whether health care law, presidential emoluments, or internet privacy, certain problems of legal analysis recur.  How should courts analyze legal texts?  Where should judges go to look for meaning when the text is vague or ambiguous?  Should texts be updated to reflect current norms?   What does it mean to look for the drafter’s intent?   Should approaches toward statutory and constitutional text be symmetrical or not?  This seminar will introduce students to these problems and provide essential skills for reading both constitutional and statutory text.   Materials will be provided by the instructor or invited guests. Students will be graded on short reaction papers due every two weeks.   Given the theoretical nature of the topic, law review students are especially encouraged.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 1795 v00 Critical Race Theory

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

Critical Race Theory places race and racism at the center of American law. This course will describe the origin story of Critical Race Theory along with the current anti-Critical Race Theory backlash. It will examine the role that race plays in creating legal doctrine. The course will examine racial biases in judicial decision making in many courses covered in the first year of law school, but not exclusively those courses. Legal doctrines covered in the following subjects will be analyzed: Civil Procedure; Torts; Contracts; Criminal Procedure; Criminal Law; Property; Legislation, and Tax. The course will also consider whether Critical Race Theory has influenced judicial precedent and what Critical Race Theory judicial opinions might look like.

COURSE GOALS

By the end of the semester, students will:

  1. Understand the role that racism has played in shaping American Legal doctrine in first year subjects.
  2. Be equipped to critically evaluate the role of racism in shaping other areas of law.
  3. Enhance their critical reading skills.
  4. Enhance their critical thinking skills.
  5. Enhance their research and writing skills.
  6. Enhance their ability to have difficult conversations about racism in a productive manner. Self-reflection is a key ingredient here.

Note: This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.

LAW 1551 v00 Decarbonizing the Energy Sphere: A Federal Regulatory Approach

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Burgeoning climate concerns, abetted by technological advances, have permitted new federal regulatory strategies to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sphere. Relying mostly on precedents less than four years old, this course will explore environmental policy involving wholesale energy sales, transmission of electricity, and transportation of natural gas. This course will apply the legal framework of statutes organic to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a starting point to examine incentives and impediments to new wind and solar generation, the federal role regarding the use of carbon pricing, and federal jurisdiction to promote demand response, among other controversies. The operation and continuing relevance of the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act in competitive wholesale markets with also be examined. The course will further address how seemingly local concerns, such as rooftop solar, inextricably implicate federal energy regulation and policy interests. Turning to pipelines, we will examine how National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, and Clean Water Act requirements affect authorization of new construction, applied concepts of environmental justice, law and policy regarding export of liquified natural gas, and potential remedies for pipeline construction subsequently found to have been unlawfully authorized, among other topics.

Decarbonizing the Energy Sphere: A Federal Regulatory Approach will provide students the foundation to critically assess the balance of environmental values and ubiquitous consumer energy needs, such as reliability and affordability. Case readings will be paired with a policy text to undergird discussions of means within the broader investment and technological context to achieve environmental objectives. Finally, prospective plans, based in part on anticipated technologies, will be surveyed to preview potential regulatory developments. By gaining exposure to major environmental controversies in federal energy regulation, students will gain deep practical knowledge and develop insights into the formulation of decarbonization strategies.

To provide opportunities to apply course concepts and materials, students will participate during class time, and with ample advance notice, in oral argument or judging. By creating an outline in support of scenario-based legal positions and arguing for them in a supportive environment, or reaching a determination on the merits in the context of a well-defined legal controversy, students will gain experience in the advocacy and evaluation of complex, contemporary legal issues where federal energy and environmental law intersect.

Recommended: Administrative Law.

LAW 1182 v00 Election Law (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 4 credit hours

In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professors. This project-based practicum course will focus on election law. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professors.

SEMINAR: The seminar portion of this course will focus on voting rights law--including the Voting Rights Act, constitutional protections on the right to vote and redistricting law--and will also cover some related areas of law, including regulation of campaign finance. In the area of voting rights, the course will specifically examine the state of voting rights law and litigation in the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court decision in Shelby County V. Holder. The course will cover issues such as voter ID laws and other burdens on the right to vote, felon disenfranchisement, racial and partisan gerrymandering, and other voting-related topics based on current events. In the area of campaign finance, the focus will be on the law governing limits on contributions to candidates and the disclosure of funds contributed or spent to influence elections. Cases challenging these regulations as violative of the First Amendment have proliferated in the post-Citizens United world. Throughout the semester, students will be assigned several writing assignments that may include: complaints for potential federal lawsuits alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act and/or the United States Constitution; briefs or motions in pending voting rights cases; and other legal documents directly related to ongoing work in the voting rights and campaign finance fields. This practicum course will give students the opportunity, among other things to explore and weigh the governmental interests involved in voting and campaign finance restrictions against the rights those laws may infringe.

PROJECT WORK: Students in this practicum will have the opportunity to draft legal papers and/or briefs in current election law matters. Assignments will be based on pending cases and matters, but will involve a wide range of election law issues raising important questions of constitutional and statutory interpretation.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Recommended: Prior enrollment in Constitutional Law II.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email the Office of the Registrar (lawreg@georgetown.edu) to request admission.

This practicum course is suitable for evening students who can attend seminar and participate in 10 hours/week of project work.

This is a four-credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits will be awarded for approximately 10 hours of project work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks. Both the seminar and the project work will be graded.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and project components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and project components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 195 v05 Election Law: Voting, Campaigning and the Law

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

This course examines federal and state law regulating the conduct of elections and the financing of campaigns. Included are aspects of federal and state constitutional law on speech, association, and equal protection; and particularly problems of apportionment, gerrymandering, race-conscious districting under the Voting Rights Act, and barriers to voting. With respect to campaign finance, we consider how much and what kinds of legal regulation are constitutionally appropriate regarding parties, candidates, independents, political action committees, corporations, unions, and individuals.

LAW 1472 v00 Energy Law and Policy

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course will present the framework for the governance of energy production, distribution and use in the United States, and provide a foundation for future coursework on these subjects. While the course will focus primarily on U.S. law, it will address some international subjects and examples. Topics will include the evolving U.S. fuel mix and market dynamics, utility restructuring and grid modernization, roles of state and federal governments, the role of different policymakers and regulatory bodies in overseeing U.S. energy systems, relevant environmental laws, and emerging policy issues. There are no prerequisites, although experience with administrative law or environmental law would be beneficial.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Substantive expertise
    • The physical nature of the energy system (how it is produced, distributed, and used)
    • Common terminology and acronyms related to energy and its regulation
    • Key statutes and regulations applying to energy production, distribution and use, and key cases interpreting this legal framework
    • Current issues being debated in energy law
  2. Understanding of governance structure
    • The roles and responsibilities of different policymakers and regulators (e.g., economic regulators, environmental regulators, natural resource managers, legislators) and how they relate to each other
    • State and federal responsibilities in overseeing the energy system
  3. Legal and policy skills
    • How to explore questions of regulatory authority by state and federal agencies
    • How to write analytically about legal and policy questions

Recommended: Administrative Law, Environmental Law.

LAW 142 v02 Energy Problems Seminar: Climate Change and Other Energy Issues

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This seminar considers economic, political, and legal aspects of current problems in the petroleum, natural gas, electrical, nuclear, coal and alternative energy industries with particular focus on global warming and the impact of climate change policies on energy use in the United States and abroad. In addition to the connection between global warming and energy, the seminar will examine: (1) the nexus between U.S. energy policy and Middle East wars and diplomacy; (2) the future of energy deregulation; (3) tensions between state and federal efforts to address energy issues; and (4) the problems and prospects of introducing new fuels and fuel sources, including nuclear, hydrogen, and renewables, into the U.S. and world economies. As these subjects sweep across the entire economy, they touch upon several fields of law: administrative law, antitrust, constitutional law, environmental law, oil and gas law, public utility regulation, and international law (both public and private).

Note: This seminar requires a paper. Students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The 3 credit section is open to J.D. students only and non-degree students may not enroll.

LAW 2009 v01 Energy Trading and Market Regulation

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Energy markets are dynamic and growing rapidly, creating new business opportunities and legal challenges not only for traditional energy companies such as utilities, pipelines, natural gas producers and independent power producers, but also for newer market entrants including investment banks, demand response providers, smart grid and renewable energy companies, storage providers, hedge funds, and large industrial and commercial consumers of natural gas and electricity. The course will focus on the economic regulation of physical energy markets by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), primarily the regulation of transmission, price and competition in the electric and natural gas markets. We will examine six main areas: (i) restructuring and deregulation under the Federal Power Act and Natural Gas Act; (ii) the current model of energy market enforcement and compliance derived, in large part, from securities market regulation; (iii) the legal, regulatory and market responses to ongoing challenges, including market based pricing, market structure and the prevention of market manipulation and market power abuse; (iv) foundational laws and policies governing energy markets and non-discriminatory transmission by wire and pipeline of the electricity and natural gas commodities; (v) “hot topics” such as carbon pricing in organized wholesale electricity markets, the shale gas revolution, the impact of subsidies for certain resources, pipeline and electric transmission infrastructure development and cost allocation, and integrating demand resources and renewables; and (vi) the constant interplay among Congress, federal and state energy regulatory agencies and market participants. Students will gain an appreciation for the legal and market challenges confronted by market participants. Some sessions will feature guest lecturers. There will be no final examination. Instead, each student’s grade will be based on a final paper that takes a position on a key legal or policy issue and defends that position persuasively, two quizzes during the semester, and class participation.

LAW 528 v03 Environmental Law and Justice Clinic

J.D. Clinic | 12 credit hours

Please see the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Environmental Law and Justice Clinic PDF.

For information about clinic registration, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 3144 v00 Federal Advocacy in Technology Law and Policy

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Students who take this course will better understand stakeholder politics; federal legislative, regulatory, and enforcement processes; and the advocacy skills needed to achieve policy outcomes in the interrelated fields of technology, telecommunications, and media (“TTM”). Students will gain hands-on experience practicing technology advocacy. The course first reviews key issues in technology policy and advocacy, such as competition, content moderation, net neutrality, privacy, AI & bias, and cybersecurity.

Armed with the basics of current technology policy issues, students then learn advocacy tools to “make” technology policy. Students will review and draft collateral materials used for technology policy advocacy, including white papers, talking points, comments, “op/eds,” earned media coverage, and more, gaining an appreciation for the differences from, and complementary relationship with, traditional legal materials and legal practice. Students will be introduced to the legislative process (committee hearings and markups, bicameral action, budget procedure); independent agency rulemaking and adjudication (comments, ex parte presentations, Administration and congressional input); relevant enforcement proceedings (Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission merger review); and related advocacy in the courts (amicus briefs).

This is a skill-intensive course with writing assignments, workshops, presentations, peer support, and simulations. It will have a final assessment with a written and oral component. There are no prerequisite courses required. Classes will incorporate pre-class preparations and in-class skill-building exercises.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Technology Policy and Practice.

LAW 193 v03 Federal Banking Regulation: Modern Financial Institutions and Change

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 4 credit hours

Banking Regulation today is at the cutting edge of federal power and regulatory experimentation. The financial collapse of 2008 was a near-death experience for federal banking regulators. We approach the subject with an intense focus on the dynamics of three critical pieces of the recent financial crisis: first, the development and growth of private markets for financial products; second, experimental regulatory strategies for controlling private risk taking and its effects on the integrated global financial system; third, the reemergence of areas of unique forms of hybrid power that combines private markets and government regulation.

This course examines the regulation of financial intermediaries. The stated goal of regulation is to ensure systemic stability and to pursue consumer protection. We will ask how well the balance between systemic stability and consumer protection had been maintained before the crisis of 2008. The course is devoted to federal regulation of banks, bank holding companies, financial holding companies and their affiliates. Topics include restrictions on activities of banks, holding companies and their affiliates, the history of and policy rationales for geographic restrictions on banking; special antitrust regulation of banks, debates about the role of capital adequacy requirements, community reinvestment requirements, bank supervision, and failed banks. With the market and legal changes of the past decade, the traditional market barriers between commercial banks and other financial institutions were largely dismantled. We will ask, did the federal response to the crisis produce a new paradigm for financial regulation? If it did not, why not?

The global financial crisis of 2008 provides a fertile laboratory for examining the fractured financial regulatory system, and the proposals for reform. The course will examine selected topics from the legislative agenda for reforming the financial regulatory system. These topics include among others, the role of subprime home mortgage lending and mortgage-backed securities in creating systemic risk, the consumer regulatory responsibilities of the Federal Reserve. We will identify some questions arising from the role of private credit rating agencies and securitizations in precipitation the financial collapse. and the competing claims of fairness, executive compensation and systemic risk, global financial responses.

The course begins with the basic overview of concepts applicable to financial intermediaries and ends with an assessment of the framework for future reform. We will pay special attention to the role of predatory consumer lending in sparking the collapse of banks. We will look at the fate of proposals to create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, with independent rule making authority.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Financial Services: Regulation in the Age of Disruption or Banking and Financial Institutions Regulation or Financial Regulation and Financial Crises.

Note: All students are expected to attend class regularly.

LAW 193 v05 Federal Banking Regulation: Modern Financial Institutions and Change

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 4 credit hours

Regulation of financial institutions today is at the cutting edge of federal power and regulatory experimentation. The financial collapse of 2008 was a near-death experience for federal banking regulators. We approach the subject with an intense focus on the dynamics of three critical pieces of the recent financial crisis: first, the development and growth of private markets for financial products; second, experimental regulatory strategies for controlling private risk taking and its effects on the integrated global financial system; third, the reemergence of areas of unique forms of hybrid power that combines private markets and government regulation.

This course examines the regulation of financial intermediaries. The stated goals of regulation is to ensure systemic stability and to pursue consumer protection. We will ask how well the balance between systemic stability and consumer protection had been maintained before the crisis of 2008, and whether post-crisis reform has done a better job. The course is devoted to federal regulation of banks, bank holding companies, financial holding companies and their affiliates. Topics include restrictions on activities of banks, holding companies and their affiliates, the history of and policy rationales for geographic restrictions on banking; special antitrust regulation of banks, debates about the role of capital adequacy requirements, community reinvestment requirements, bank supervision, and failed banks. With the market and legal changes of the past decade, the traditional market barriers between commercial banks and other financial institutions were largely dismantled. We will ask, did the federal response to the crisis produce a new paradigm for financial regulation in the United States, Europe, and the rest of the world? Where it did not, why not?

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Financial Services: Regulation in the Age of Disruption or Banking and Financial Institutions Regulation or Financial Regulation and Financial Crises.

Note: All students are expected to attend class regularly.

LAW 530 v00 Federal Legislation Clinic

J.D. Clinic | 10 credit hours

Please see the Federal Legislation Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Federal Legislation PDF.

For information about clinic registration, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 1166 v00 Federal Litigation Practice: Litigating Challenges to Federal Agency Decisions

J.D. Seminar | 3 credit hours

The majority of civil cases involving the federal government arise from challenges to agency decisions ranging from contractor selection by government procurement officials to project approvals by both civilian and military agencies under various regulatory schemes implementing the nation’s laws, such as health, finance, and environmental laws. This class will provide students with the opportunity to learn in a variety of factual contexts how to litigate federal cases challenging agency decision-making on the administrative records prepared by agencies to support their decisions. Each class will focus on a particular stage in the litigation process. Students will be given reading and related litigation exercises that will be carried out in class. The class will culminate in arguing a motion for summary judgment on the administrative record.

Over the course of this class, students, in teams or individually, will present three oral arguments to the professors, who will role-play as judges, based on a briefing from real district court cases. The arguments will take place in a federal courtroom and will simulate as closely as possible real-world federal court hearings. Some arguments will be filmed so that students may review their oral argument performance. The professors will provide students with critique and feedback after each oral argument, with the goal of improvement over time.

This class is designed for students interested in gaining practical experience in litigation for or against the federal government. Through this course, you should:

  • Understand the basic stages of litigating federal cases involving federal agencies;
  • Become familiar with key administrative law concepts and how those concepts apply in a litigation setting;
  • Refine critical reading skills, including recognizing rules, facts, and analysis that are both helpful and harmful to your client’s interests;
  • Understand how crucial facts are in litigation, and how to tie those facts to a legal argument that benefits your client;
  • Demonstrate an ability to translate detailed arguments presented in legal briefs to clear, concise, and persuasive oral arguments before the court;
  • Gain experience presenting arguments orally in a formal, courtroom-like setting;
  • Demonstrate an ability to engage in effective legal analysis and advocacy through polished, readable, and concise written product;
  • Practice how to research, analyze, and write about legal issues under time constraints.

Prerequisite: Civil Procedure (or Legal Process and Society).

Recommended: Administrative Law.

Note: Students may not withdraw from this class after the add/drop period ends without the permission of the professor.

LAW 635 v00 Federal Money: Budget Process and Appropriations Law

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

The federal budget is where the nation’s priorities are expressed.  It allows the federal government to operate and shapes what the government will do.  It is also an important source of revenue for state and local governments and thus affects their own policy choices.  This course provides an introduction to the laws, rules, and practices that govern how the federal budget is put together and how the budget is executed.  We will study both traditional “regular order” and contemporary realities.  We will pay particular attention to sites of contestation and control with respect to the key institutional players of the legislative branch (including different committees within both the House and Senate, party leadership, the Congressional Budget Office, and the Government Accountability Office) and the executive branch (including the President, the Office of Management and Budget, agencies, and inspectors general).  We will also study the role of the courts in appropriations law. 

Note: No accounting or budget background is needed.

LAW 1631 v00 Federal Practice Seminar: Contemporary Issues

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

This seminar will explore selected topics in Civil Procedure, Federal Courts, and Administrative Law in depth.  The seminar will focus on topics that have recently gained attention in the Supreme Court or that may arrive in the Supreme Court in the near future.  Each class will relate to only one or two such topics.  Examples of possible topics include nondelegation, federal preemption, arbitration clauses and the Federal Arbitration Act, personal jurisdiction, Chevron or other doctrines of deference to agencies, congressional power over Tribes and/or States, Dormant Commerce Clause limits on congressional power, class action scope and limits, and the major questions doctrine.  Depending on the topic, we may read Supreme Court decisions, scholarly literature, or Supreme Court briefs.  There will be one major writing assignment: a paper of approximately 20-25 pages in length that addresses a topic in civil procedure, federal courts, or administrative law.  The grade in the course will be based substantially on the final paper, but may be adjusted upward or downward one-half grade based on class participation.  We recommend but do not require completion of or simultaneous enrollment in Administrative Law or Federal Courts.  (NB: This two-credit course does not fulfill the J.D. Writing Requirement.) 

LAW 1514 v00 Federalism in Practice: The Role of Governors and State Executives in Advancing Public Policy (Fieldwork Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 5 credit hours

In fieldwork practicum courses, students participate in weekly seminars and conduct related fieldwork at outside organizations. This fieldwork practicum course explores the legal and practical dimensions of policy making at the state level, with a focus on the role of governors and other state executives (e.g., attorneys general, legislators, secretaries of state). Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and also undertake 15 hours/week of fieldwork with the National Governors Association, National Association of Attorneys General, National Conference of State Legislatures, or other state and local stakeholder group.

SEMINAR: This seminar will provide an overview of the constitutional underpinnings of federalism and the legal frameworks applicable to policy development and implementation (e.g., in healthcare, homeland security, emergency response, infrastructure and transportation); case studies on the challenges and opportunities of federal, state, and local cooperation; and practical guidance on the operation of governors’ offices and state agencies. It will also examine the role of the “Big Seven” associations in driving state and local interests at the federal level, and in facilitating the adoption of best practices across government. Students will be trained in written and oral communication for an audience of policymakers, and become skilled at distilling complex legal issues into actionable recommendations for executives. During the semester, students will hear from guest speakers who serve or have served in governors’ offices and state agencies, or who otherwise offer unique insight and expertise in topical issues. By the end of the course, students will understand how “good” public policy (ethical and effective) happens in the real world and the practical ways in which research/science, politics, ideology, tradition, and the law help to shape it.

FIELDWORK: Depending on students’ interests and the organization’s needs, students may be placed in NGA’s Center for Best Practices (Homeland Security & Public Safety Division) or one of the other “Big Seven” state/local associations, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures, National Association of Attorneys General, National District Attorneys Association, or Council of State Governments. Students will work with the organization’s staff and state officials to resolve legal questions and develop recommendations for state policymakers, such as: (1) writing a model cyber vulnerability disclosure policy for state agencies; (2) providing guidance on the legal implications of health reform; (3) constructing a model framework for addressing citizen privacy in homeland security policy; (4) updating legal and procedural guidance for governors’ legal counsel; and (5) developing advocacy strategies for federal legislation that affects state interests.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Recommended: No other courses are required, but background coursework in constitutional law, administrative law, and statutory interpretation may be helpful.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship or a clinic or another practicum course.

Note: This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email the Office of the Registrar (lawreg@georgetown.edu) to request admission.

This course is suitable for evening students who can attend the weekly seminar and conduct 15 hours of fieldwork/week during normal business hours.

This is a five credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and three credits for approximately 15 hours of fieldwork per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The fieldwork must be completed during normal business hours. The two-credit seminar portion of this practicum will be graded. The three credits of fieldwork are mandatory pass/fail. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as this practicum.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and fieldwork components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and fieldwork components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 193 v04 Financial Regulation and Financial Crises

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

The global financial crisis of 2008 resulted in massive human suffering—9 million unemployed in the U.S. alone, and millions lost their homes. It also fundamentally altered financial regulation and American politics and reshaped social and economic dynamics—for example, the crisis led to the formation of the Tea Party, contributed significantly to political polarization and increased economic inequality.

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic, which has caused even greater human suffering, triggered economic and financial consequences that almost led to another financial crisis. The reforms implemented after 2008, as well as the implementation of emergency programs used in 2008, were likely the reasons we did not have another financial crisis.

Why did the 2008 crisis happen?   Why, throughout our history, have we periodically experienced financial crises?  What does this history teach us about the adequacy of financial regulation, and whether regulatory failures contribute to financial crises?

We will begin by briefly reviewing the historical development of the United States banking industry, and the regulatory structure governing it, to get an appreciation of the economic and political forces that have shaped the regulation of our financial system. This will include reviewing past financial crises—the Panic of 1907 and the Great Depression and the responses to them, including the development of the Federal Reserve System, deposit insurance and other major reforms.

We will then focus on the 2008 financial crisis. We will examine the forces that produced the complex financial system of the early 21st century, including the rise of the shadow banking industry and the growth of derivatives. We will examine the response to the crisis, which included drawing on emergency powers that were first created by Congress in response to earlier financial crises, as well as new authorities created in response to the events of 2008.  We will look at some of the difficult choices faced by government officials in responding to the crisis, as well as the role of individual accountability for behavior that contributed to the crisis.   We will also examine the reforms implemented as a result of the crisis.  

We will then turn to the pandemic, and look at its economic and financial consequences.  Why was there a risk of another financial crisis?  Did the reforms of 2008 help prevent a crisis?  How was the government’s emergency response to the financial stresses similar to or different from the 2008 response?

Finally, having started the course with a look at the beginnings of the American financial system, we will end with what many predict is the future:  cryptocurrencies and central bank digital currencies, the development of which has been accelerated by both the 2008 crisis and the pandemic.   Will central bank digital currencies replace cash?   If so, will they make our financial system more or less stable?  Can they make it more inclusive?

The course will include sessions with guest speakers who have been responsible for some of the critical policy decisions that we will discuss. 

Strongly Recommended: Corporations.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the J.D. courses, Federal Banking Regulation: Modern Financial Institutions and Change or Financial Services: Regulation in the Age of Disruption.

LAW 193 v01 Financial Services: Regulation in the Age of Disruption

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This two-hour lecture and discussion course covers regulation of financial services providers, from traditional banks to fintechs, cryptocurrencies, DeFi, stablecoins and other challengers. The course provides a grounding in money and payments and how banks are structured and regulated: the balance sheet, the role of insured deposits, and the purpose of capital and liquidity. We review regulations designed to promote safety and soundness, privacy and cybersecurity, consumer protection, and international consistency. We then examine how fintechs, cryptocurrencies, stablecoins and money market funds all attempt to disintermediate traditional banks, and the regulatory challenges they pose. We examine the 2007-09 Global Financial Crisis and the economic effects of the 2020 global pandemic, and the lessons learned from each. Grades in this course are determined by class participation and a final take-home examination.

Recommended: Prior or concurrent enrollment in Administrative Law and Corporations.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Federal Banking Regulation: Modern Financial Institutions and Change, or the LL.M. course, Financial Regulation and Financial Crises.

Note: This course is part of the following graduate programs: Securities and Financial Regulation LL.M.

LAW 1744 v00 FinTech and Financial Democratization Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

“Fintech” often refers to the use of modern technologies and novel methods in offering financial services. This bourgeoning sector has significantly disrupted the financial marketplace, challenging the conventional roles of banks, other financial institutions, regulators, and policymakers. Legal scholars often evaluate how the novelties of Fintech fit or do not fit within existing legal regimes, and how such regimes should be modernized in response. Fewer scholars examine what might be the most transformative promise of Fintech – whether it does or can democratize the financial marketplace and how the law might facilitate (or frustrate) that aim. This seminar examines just this.

Seminar readings will illuminate the relationship between the financial marketplace and oft-marginalized communities and allow students to assess whether effective solutions to certain inequities lie in Fintech, fundamental policy reforms, or both. This course covers topics such as payment systems, credit markets, financial advising, savings, and security investing. It focuses on the U.S. marketplace, but will occasionally reference trends in international markets for comparative analysis. Readings are primarily drawn from legal, economic and sociological research, regulatory and legislative reports, cases, and popular news media.

The goal of this seminar is for students to develop views on the purpose and role of Fintech, the objectivity of financial markets and regulation, and whether financial democratization is a necessary or achievable aim for market providers. Students will further hone their critical analysis, research and writing, and public speaking skills.

Note: ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist. All enrolled students must attend each class session in its entirety. Failure to attend the first class session in its entirety will result in a drop; failure to attend any subsequent class session in its entirety may result in a withdrawal.

This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 1442 v00 Fintech Law and Policy

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Technology-driven disruption has upended many industries – retail, entertainment, transportation, to name just a few – and now we are seeing it redefine financial services. The rise of Fintech is perhaps the most interesting industry transformation to study from a legal perspective because of the way it impacts complex financial services regulations. Regulatory frameworks that were created decades ago are being challenged by the rise of Internet and mobile-driven financial services providers. This course will hone in on a few areas where the US financial regulatory structure is being challenged by technological innovation and may require fresh thinking.

Financial services can be broken down into three distinct subsectors: 1) Insurance; 2) Retail Banking; and 3) Investment/Advisory Banking. This course will focus on how technology is transforming both retail and investment/advisory banking. Retail banking law was designed for a world of brick and mortar banks that accepted deposits and leveraged those deposits to provide commercial and personal loans. Investment/advisory banking law was designed for a world of a relatively small number of sophisticated investors. This traditional schema is being transformed, rapidly.

The smartphone is replacing the retail bank as the method by which a small business or consumer conducts their day-to-day banking activity. A 2015 report by Goldman Sachs found that 33% of millennials do not think they will need a traditional bank in the next five years. In fact, 73% of millennials reported that they are more excited about new offerings in the financial services space from the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon.

Moreover, in the financial services industry lines are blurring – financial tech companies are expanding financial services ecosystems and traditional financial services companies are expanding their digital capabilities. New business models are being created that leverage the data and capabilities afforded by the Internet, and seemingly diverse industries ranging from telecom to traditional banks are competing over similar financial services activities.

Crowdfunding, mobile payments, online lending, robo-advisors, and Bitcoin are new phenomenon that challenge existing regulatory structures. The SEC, Treasury Department, Office of Comptroller of Currency, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Federal Deposit Insurance Commission, Federal Reserve Bank, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Federal Trade Commission are just a few of the regulatory bodies that are increasingly exploring Fintech developments. Moreover, the courts have been faced with challenges to several federal and state laws that were written before modern technological innovations took hold and challenged existing concepts of Federalism. This class will focus in on these particular challenges, will question existing regulatory bodies, approaches and standards, as well as discuss the practicalities of alternative regulatory structures and rules.

The class will proceed in 4 parts. Part 1 will be an introduction to retail banking law and disruptions that are occurring due to Fintech. Part 2 will be an introduction to investment/advisory banking law and disruptions that are occurring due to Fintech. Part 3 will address cross-cutting horizontal disruptions. And, finally Part 4 will involve a high-level assessment of regulatory structures and approaches for Fintech. After this course, students should have a strong baseline knowledge of the myriad of legal and policy issues that exist in the Fintech arena.

LAW 1208 v00 Food Law Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This seminar introduces students to the laws and regulations that govern our food. The seminar will focus mostly, but not exclusively, on the federal regulatory framework for food. Topics will include the legal definition of food, rules on food labeling, standards for food safety, provisions for food security, and regulation of the environmental consequences flowing from the agricultural practices that produce our food. Beyond the law itself, we will consider the scientific, economic, and ethical principles implicated by legal decisions concerning food.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 202 v00 Government Contracts

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course analyzes the basic considerations in contracting with the federal government, including the sovereign's power to contract, the applicable statutes, regulations and executive orders, and sovereign immunity. Material covers methods of acquisition: sealed bidding or negotiation (competitive proposals); requests for quotations; Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracting; the problems of offer, acceptance, and consideration; as well as the authority of government agents to contract. The materials also focus on the problems of contract performance, including changes; delays and suspensions of work; contract termination either for contractor default or for government convenience; and equitable adjustments and allowable costs. There is emphasis throughout the course on the practical as well as the substantive problems, including the dispute procedures before the boards of contract appeals and appeals to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, as statutorily mandated by the Contract Disputes Act of 1978; extraordinary rights and remedies, including recovery for defective pricing and Public Law 85-804 requests; and bid protest proceedings before the agencies, Government Accountability Office (GAO), and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The course also includes a discussion of the changes to the government contracting process, to allow for "commercial item" contracting, as a result of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 and the Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996.

Prerequisite: Contracts (or Bargain, Exchange, and Liability).

LAW 1028 v00 Health Care Fraud and Abuse Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

One-fifth of the U.S. economy centers around health care industry sectors. This seminar examines criminal, civil and administrative tools used by federal and state enforcement authorities to police the U.S. healthcare system. We will focus on cases brought under federal and state False Claims Acts (FCA), the Anti-Kickback Statue (AKS), Stark laws, Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The seminar provides a survey of the enforcement activities of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of Inspector General at Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units (MFCUs) in matters against pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies, physicians, hospitals, clinical practices, nursing homes, laboratories, and others. The seminar materials thoroughly cover the statues, safe-harbors, and regulations that govern the health care industry. We will also discuss risk mitigation strategies and compliance program best practices across industry sectors to provide insight into the impact enforcement has on (1) clinical decision-making, (2) costs to providers, payers, and patients, (3) patient safety, and (4) quality of care. In an effort to maintain a broad perspective with the diverse and frequently changing legal landscape in the area, in addition to the case book, materials discussed and presented in this course draw from news reports, trade publications, and U.S. government agency materials.

The class requires a paper of approximately 20-25 pages in length.

Recommended: Criminal Justice (or Democracy and Coercion) or Criminal Procedure.

LAW 3140 v00 Health Equity and Social Justice

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course will examine the social, legal, and economic systems in the United States that have precipitated health inequities for different populations throughout history. Students will develop an intense understanding of U.S. public health law and policy constructs and the varied social determinants of health that affect public health outcomes by exploring how past and current U.S. law and policy perpetuate disparities. This course will also explore how legal and policy reform can be utilized to promote health equity and eliminate injustices across populations. Topics covered in the course include health disparities in the U.S. among LGBTQ, immigrant, rural, and minority populations; substance use policy; maternal and child health; and environmental health. The course will utilize various learning modalities such as research review, discussion, case studies, and guest lecturers. By the conclusion of the semester, students will be equipped with tools to leverage the law to improve health outcomes and the skills necessary to become successful practitioners working at the intersection of public health administration and law.

LAW 627 v00 Health Justice Alliance Law Clinic

J.D. Clinic | 10 credit hours

Please see the Health Justice Alliance Law Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Health Justice Alliance Law Clinic PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 1793 v00 Housing Law and Policy Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

In 1949, Congress enacted a broad Housing Act with the goal of providing “a decent home and a suitable living environment for every American family.” In this course we will examine the laws and policies that have both advanced and impeded the United States’ achievement of this goal.  While the course focuses on the effects of housing laws and policies on low-income households and communities of color, we examine these effects with sharp attention paid to the ways in which housing laws and policies have privileged higher income households and white communities.  Through historical, sociological, political, and legal lenses, we examine housing law and policy holistically from Reconstruction to the present. Throughout the course, we will consider the role of affected communities in advocating for and/or resisting the laws and policies adopted.

Three broad themes animate this course.  First, we consider the question of a “right to housing,” including the extent to which such a right has been recognized, and the ways in which the absence or recognition of such a right has influenced law and policy.  Second, we discuss and debate the relative roles of the free market, regulation, and subsidization in expanding access to safe and affordable housing.  Third, we study the centrality of race to housing law and policy in the United States, including the historical and present role of racism in shaping housing outcomes.  Specific class topics include, among others, federal public housing and housing subsidies, exclusionary and inclusionary zoning, federal fair housing/antidiscrimination law, homeownership, homelessness, eviction, and substandard housing condition regulation. Across this range of topics, we will engage in both doctrinal and policy analysis.

Learning Objectives: By the end of this course, I hope you will be able to describe and discuss the major federal laws and policies that have shaped housing outcomes in the United States. I further hope that you will gain an understanding of the socio-political context in which such housing laws and policies developed, and that you will be able to describe the role of grassroots advocacy in pushing forward and/or resisting particular policies. Throughout this course, you will also gain a critical understanding of the role of race and racism in shaping housing law and policy.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 1603 v00 How to Regulate

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

Regulation is pervasive.  But, governments routinely over-regulate in some areas, under-regulate in others, and also mis-regulate -- by using solutions that really don’t “fit” the underlying problem, or cause more problems than they solve.  When it comes to regulation, design details matter – and so does implementation.  The result is that not all regulation is good – and some of it ranges from bad to awful.  Simply stated, markets fail, but so does regulation.  This course systematically evaluates these issues, using a wide array of real-world examples.  

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for this course and the first-year elective by the same name.

LAW 037 v00 Immigration Law and Policy

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course will examine the U.S. immigration system through legal and policy perspectives. We will explore the source, scope and constitutional limits of congressional power to regulate immigration; the executive branch implementation of immigration legislation, particularly procedures for entry and removal, and the extent of, as well as constitutional constraints on, Presidential power; and the administrative and judicial review of executive branch action. Close attention will be paid to how membership laws and policies are established and implemented: What laws and policies govern U.S. citizenship? Who is eligible to become a legal immigrant? How are annual admissions numbers set? How and why are family and employment priorities created? How does the U.S. protect refugees? With respect to the arrival of unaccompanied children from abroad, we will consider the laws and policies that govern how the U.S. government treats them. Unauthorized migration will also be examined to understand why some migrants do not use the legal route into the U.S. and what laws and policies the U.S. has in place to deter such unlawful movements at the border and control unlawful presence in the interior. We will analyze the impact of the major 1996 immigration control legislation and its implementation, with particular attention to detention and removal. We will closely examine the role of the Justice Department’s Immigration Courts, with special attention to access to justice issues. We will explore the extraordinary need for, and challenges of, immigration law reform, as well as the particular situation of the Dreamers, children without lawful immigration status brought to and raised in the United States by their parents. Finally, we will assess the various changes implemented by the Trump and Biden Administrations, particularly in connection with the treatment of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, the resettlement of refugees from abroad, and the removal of unauthorized immigrants.

LAW 037 v02 Immigration Law and Policy

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This class will cover the constitutional and political framework for the U.S. Immigration System, enforcement and adjudication agencies, immigrants, nonimmigrants, removals and deportations, detention and bond, immigration hearings, judicial review, grounds for removal and inadmissibility, “crimmigration,” immigration reform, “Chevron” deference, refugee and asylum status and other international protections. It will also include reading and analyzing major immigration cases like INS v. Cardoza-Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421 (1987) (well-founded fear) and Matter of Kasinga, 21 I&N Dec. 357 (BIA 1996) (female genital mutilation).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and National Security Law Through an Immigration Framework.

Note: Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

LAW 1519 v00 Immigration Policy across the Branches

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

Who can enter the United States as a visitor or an immigrant? Who will get asylum? Who will wait in a detention center? And when, according to immigration laws passed by Congress, over ten million migrants in the United States are unauthorized, who will actually be deported? American immigration law is the product of presidential policy, Congressional command, and various discretionary decisions made by executive officials including immigration judges and Border Patrol officers. This course will examine the relationships between these various decision-makers. We draw on examples from immigration policy throughout the years--from the Chinese Exclusion Act to former president Trump’s travel ban--to illustrate these issues. We also use case law from the Supreme Court, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and various federal circuits to understand how courts have evaluated these issues. Finally, secondary sources from historians and legal scholars help illustrate how various players the immigration system interact in practice. We will use this information to assess critiques of the immigration system and proposals for reform. These readings also introduce students to immigration related legal concepts including asylum, mandatory detention, and the use of the categorical approach to determining the significance of a migrant’s criminal history. Students will develop a familiarity with immigration practice as well as a more nuanced understanding of the legal and political issues that vex immigration law scholars.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop a better understanding of the historic development of immigration law and policy.

  • Become familiar with legal concepts concerning asylum, immigration detention, and executive power over admissions and removal.

  • Understand different policy-making options and the tension between discretionary decision-making and compulsory enforcement.

  • Appreciate the choices and limitations facing various decision-makers in the immigration context, as well as the experience of migrants and asylum seekers in the immigration system.

  • Assess separation of powers concerns using examples from the immigration field.

  • Make a nuanced assessment of popular news stories and debates about immigration law, paying special attention to the role of various decision-makers at play.

  • Summarize and critically analyze various proposals for reform of the immigration adjudications, deportation proceedings, and the asylum process.

  • Master a substantive legal issue related immigration by producing a paper and/or presentation on a legal debate in the area. Develop writing and presentation skills by participating in this exercise.

  • Practice critical reading of law review articles and cases.

Recommended: Immigration Law and Policy.

Note: This course requires a paper. Students must register for the 3 credit section of this course if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 3145 v00 Indigenous Health Law and Access to Health Care

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

Internationally the United Nations recognizes indigenous peoples and their special rights associated with identity and culture. Many countries have formal systems intended to support indigenous peoples with instruments of law, policy, and custom. This course will examine those international instruments, treaties, court cases, and Congressional acts to explore what it means for the Right to Health to exist, the ways that right is recognized among indigenous peoples, and major shortfalls in achieving equity through these paths. American Indians and Alaska Natives (AIAN) experience serious health disparities in key morbidity/mortality indicators. AIANs are also a bell-weather subgroup in the US for unusual disease such as bubonic plague or the rapid dissemination of novel infectious disease such as happened among tribes in the covid-19 pandemic. In addition to risk and vulnerability that contribute to health disparities, sovereign nation status of the 573 federally recognized tribes in the US and the Indian Health Service that serves them are particular structures shown to mitigate despair and promote future well-being in remarkably difficult circumstances. There are unique laws, operations, and tensions that undergird these structures. Recent actions to strengthen treaty obligations and extend equity movements to indigenous peoples are gathering energy to address health and justice disparities.

This course focuses on the laws and systems foundational to access to care and health services for Indigenous peoples in the US. The course will include discussions on self-determination, sovereignty, funding, social determinants of health, inter-generational trauma and additional elements of Indigenous health law in the US and compare these to other Indigenous health systems particularly those in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The course is designed to provide practical skills for students interested in health equity and justice,  Indigenous access to care, Indigenous health law, and policy implementation. The course illuminates, in particular, outcomes of shared American history and distinctive obligations, systems, and opportunities to address ethnic disparities.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and interpret relevant authorities and limitations that underpin Indigenous access to health care
  • Identify and understand specific regulations, guidance, and laws applicable to providing health care to US tribal governments
  • Gain knowledge on the right to self-determination
  • Master vocabulary and terminology associated with Indigenous rights and health law
  • Understand the linkage of national health systems to the United Nations including the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Compare and analyze legal instruments and structures from other countries, including New Zealand, Australia, and Canada with the United States

Recommended: Administrative Law; Federal Indian Law.

LAW 2021 v00 International Oil & Gas Industry: Legal and Policy Seminar

LL.M Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

The scramble to secure steady supplies of inexpensive energy to generate electricity and to power industry and transport has defined much of the twentieth and, thus far, twenty-first centuries. Climate change and renewable energy (appropriately) dominate the discussion today, particularly in the developed world, but, absent a major unforeseen technological breakthrough, non-renewable sources such as oil and natural gas are still expected to meet the majority of the world’s energy needs for decades to come (according to the US Energy Information Administration, 82% of energy consumed worldwide will still come from non-renewable sources in 2050).

The oil and gas industry lies at the intersection of global business, international law, geopolitics, the environment and particularly in the developing world, economic development. This seminar will address the international legal norms and public policy principles that have shaped, and continue to guide, this industry. It is designed for students interested in careers in energy, energy policy, project finance, international arbitration, environmental regulation or development – whether for a law firm, energy company, NGO, international organization or government – as well as students simply interested to learn more about an industry that impacts our daily lives in countless ways. 

Note: FIRST CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist.

Enrolled students will have until the beginning of the second class session to request a drop by contacting the Office of the Registrar; a student who no longer wishes to remain enrolled after the second class session begins will not be permitted to drop the class but may request a withdrawal from an academic advisor in the Office of Academic Affairs. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

This course is mandatory pass/fail and will not count toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit for J.D. students.

LAW 1813 v00 Keeping Government Honest

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

This course will explore the role and responsibilities of inspectors general and other government oversight entities in promoting accountability and effectiveness in government operations.  Students will first examine the history of inspectors general, their role and responsibilities, their legal authorities, and their relationships with their agencies and other branches of government.  Students will also explore the role of other government oversight entities, such as the Office of Special Counsel, the Government Accountability Office, and congressional committees, in pursuing government accountability.  Students will evaluate the relationship between inspectors general and these other entities, and the challenges in providing independent oversight of government operations.  Students will hear from current and former inspectors general and leaders of oversight organizations about the challenges they faced, as well as the satisfaction and benefits of public service.

LAW 199 v03 Law and Regulation of Drugs, Biologics and Devices

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This course explores the legal, regulatory and policy issues that shape the research, development, and commercialization of drugs, biologics, and medical devices in the United States. We will consider the history and role of federal regulation of medical technologies; legal and ethical issues in the development and testing of new therapies; managing incentives for innovation, including patent, regulatory and data exclusivity; tort liability and its function in the regulation of the life sciences industry; and other issues. We will explore these issues using real-world examples, including the government and industry response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended: Prior or concurrent enrollment in Administrative Law.

Note: This is a required course for the Food and Drug Law Certificate.

LAW 304 v06 Legislation

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

In the first-year curriculum, you are taught to “think like a lawyer.” Because of the predominance of common-law subjects in your first year, this means you are generally taught to think like a “common-law lawyer.” Moreover, you are taught to think this way at the same time that you are also trying to learn the doctrine in those particular areas.

In upper-level courses, however, you will likely turn from common law to law based in statutes and regulations. From tax law to the criminal code, virtually all of modern American law is based on materials produced by legislatures and agencies. Reading and interpreting these materials also requires you to “think like a lawyer,” but like a different lawyer—a “statutory lawyer.”

This course is about the method of statutory interpretation generally. You will not learn the doctrine of any specific type of law in this class. You will learn the process of how to approach a piece of statutory text, how to diagnose the interpretive problem in the text, and how to answer that problem. You will practice the observant reading of text; you will get a framework for breaking down and thinking about a legal question in any statutory case; and you will practice deploying interpretive tools to answer a question in the way that best “zealously advocates” for your client. This course will prepare you for summer legal work, as well as for upper-level courses that rely extensively on statutory law (such as tax, securities, environmental law, labor law, health law, copyright law, etc.)

The course has three overall goals:

1) To provide you with an understanding of the relationships among legislatures, courts, and agencies. The course will include some basic information on how legislation and regulations get created and on the ways in which power is shared in the “making of law.”

2) To teach you the full toolkit of statutory interpretation so that you can diagnose any interpretation question and bring the right tools to bear on answering that question. This toolkit includes elements of the plain text, canons of interpretation, analysis of intent and purpose, and deference to agencies. By unpacking and analyzing these tools used by courts in various decisions, you will learn how to wield them yourself in order to reach different results.

3) To expose you to the theoretical debates around statutory interpretation. The tools that a judge chooses to use often depend on the judge’s theoretical position on statutory interpretation. Starting with materials that will frame the theoretical debate early in the semester, you will return periodically to questions about theory as you become more proficient in the toolkit.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the upperclass course or the first-year elective, Lawmaking: Introduction to Statutory and Regulatory Interpretation, or the first-year elective, The Regulatory State, or the upperclass course, Statutory Interpretation. Students MAY receive credit for this course and Lawmaking and Statutory Interpretation Seminar.

LAW 304 v07 Legislation

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

Much of the “law” that lawyers work with is statutory.  This course will examine both how legislatures go about doing their work (that is, legislative process) and how courts and others utilize legislative output (that is, statutory interpretation).  We will begin with legislative process, focusing both on how laws are enacted and on the rules structuring legislative debate and behavior, including campaign finance regulation, lobbying regulation, the conduct of legislative oversight, and issues of “due process of lawmaking.”  We will then devote substantial attention to theoretical and practical issues in statutory interpretation, including theories of interpretation generally, the canons of construction, and the use of legislative history.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for this course and the first year elective course by the same name.

LAW 304 v08 Legislation

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

Lawyers spend a lot of their time analyzing – and sometimes drafting -- statutes. In this class, we will focus on the actual process of how a bill becomes a law (e.g., legislative process) but also how those laws are reviewed by courts and other actors (e.g., statutory interpretation). Starting with legislative process, we will take a deep dive into how legislatures go about their work, including the procedural rules that govern debate, with an eye to how laws are enacted and the rules structuring legislative debate and conduct.  In addition, the course will examine campaign finance and lobbying rules as well as the “due process of lawmaking.” Later in the course, we will turn to both theory and practice in statutory interpretation, including theories of interpretation generally, canons of construction, and the debate over legislative history. I plan to interweave some of my empirical observations from a career on Capitol Hill, on campaigns, as a lobbyist, and commentator on politics and policy.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for this course and the first year elective course by the same name.

LAW 1326 v00 Legislation and Regulation

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

Virtually all contemporary law involves statutes enacted by legislatures and regulatory law produced by administrative agencies.  Whatever the body of law—securities, tax, anti-discrimination, telecommunications, consumer protection, intellectual property, employment, education, environmental, energy, labor, tax or criminal justice, to name a few—statutes and regulations provide much if not most of the law.  Few constitutional law and federalism issues arise without a regulatory element.  Facility with legislation and regulation is hence essential for any lawyer. 

The course starts with exploration of why regulation is enacted, the diversity of forms of regulation, and how legislation and regulation relate to law created through the common law process. The course then breaks into three basic units, all of which examine legislation and regulation primarily (but not exclusively) through federal law. The first unit examines congressional process, reasons interpretive challenges arise, and the diversity of interpretive methods and strategies wielded in disputes over statutory meaning.  The second unit turns to the pervasive role administrative agencies play in interpreting, implementing and enforcing statutes.  This includes coverage of their procedural options, judicial review of agency process, reasoning, and responsiveness, as well as discussion of the role of cost-benefit analysis and White House review in the regulatory process. The last unit links the first two, examining statutory interpretation in the administrative state.  The course closes with analysis of regulatory innovations, possible coverage of recent major regulatory developments, and review problems.   

The class will use the Manning and Stephenson casebook, Legislation and Regulation (3nd edition) (2017) and supplemental materials.  Class method will involve a mix of lecture, questions and answers (via volunteers, questions I’ll direct at particular students, and questions students raise), and problem-based analysis.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Administrative Law with Professor Heinzerling (LAWJ-1349). Students may take other sections of Administrative Law in the upperclass curriculum.

Note: This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.

LAW 1739 v00 Legislation Colloquium: Advanced Topics in Statutory Interpretation

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

This colloquium provides an exciting opportunity for students to engage with the theoretical debates and methodology underlying the judicial interpretation of statutes.  As students in the survey Legislation course learn, the tools that a judge chooses to use when construing a statute often depend on the judge’s theoretical position on statutory interpretation.  In this colloquium, we will explore in depth different scholarly takes on how courts should interpret statutes, including but not limited to critiques of the U.S. Supreme Court's current approach to statutory interpretation and suggestions for how that approach could be improved.

After roughly two introductory classes discussing the themes of the course, the professor will invite six outside legal scholars to present papers.  For each presentation, some or all of the class will write short “reaction papers” analyzing the presenter’s work.  Students will also work on an independent research paper of their own involving a statutory interpretation topic of their choosing.  Please note that the reading load for the course is significant, and students must be prepared for every class session – but it is also a rewarding and fun experience.

Prerequisite: Legislation, Statutory Interpretation, or the first year elective, Legislation & Regulation.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 324 v00 Maritime Law

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course surveys various principles and aspects of admiralty and maritime law of the United States, including: the historical and constitutional bases for its existence; the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the courts; the substantive law of maritime contracts and maritime torts; the application of criminal law at sea; the laws governing carriage of goods and passengers by sea; the public order of the oceans at the national and international levels; protection of the marine environment; and federal-state maritime issues. Consideration is given not only to the current state of the law in these areas, but also to related U.S. government policies and international and comparative law issues.

LAW 3053 v00 Money Managers as Fiduciaries

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Money Managers -- investment advisers, broker-dealers and the like -- serve an important role in not only the financial system of the United States, but also the financial operations of institutions and the financial lives of individuals. The amount of money overseen by those professionals is huge. A very significant segment of  money managers, those subject to the oversight of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), for example, advise individual and institutional clients (including mutual funds) having aggregate assets under management in excess of $100 trillion.

This course focuses on an essential legal obligation placed on money managers in providing services to their clients and prospective clients: complying with a broad variety of fiduciary duties. The course begins with a consideration of the common law concept of a fiduciary and the manner in which the concept has become imbedded in U.S. federal laws applicable to money managers. The course then turns its attention to the connection between fiduciary duties and the concept of fraud as defined in, and interpreted under, the U.S. federal securities laws and how the concept has been employed and expanded by the SEC to, in essence, set standards for money managers registered under the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (the “IAA”).

The common law, the IAA, select sections of the U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “ICA”), and portions of the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (“ERISA”), will be the principal substantive provisions around which the course will be centered. A number of classes during the semester will be devoted to detailed study of fiduciary-related interpretations of consequence under the IAA, the ICA and ERISA articulated by courts in decided cases and by the SEC and the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), which is responsible for the administration of the fiduciary provisions of ERISA, in published guidance, rules and enforcement actions.

The last two classes of the semester will be devoted to applying concepts learned over the first 11 classes in analyzing “hot fiduciary topics” of significant current interest in the U.S. money management business.

Note: This course is part of the following graduate programs: Executive LL.M. in Securities & Financial Regulation Securities & Financial Law Certificate Securities and Financial Regulation LL.M.

First class attendance is strongly encouraged for all enrolled and waitlisted students.

LAW 508 v02 Policy Clinic (Harrison Institute for Public Law)

J.D. Clinic | 8 or 14 credit hours

Students in the Policy Clinic provide services to make democracy work several policy themes. Recent projects include:

  • Community equity – Combat gentrification and displacement in low-income communities of color, develop a community support fund, develop a community resilience hub.
  • Health and food – Organize a consortium to improve working conditions in university food supply chains, expand access to oral health services, reinvent a better food chain for institutions (universities, hospitals, schools, and shelters), analyze social determinants of health (housing, food security, etc.) for state health officials.
  • Labor and human rights – Organize a consortium to improve working conditions in university food supply chains (same as health above), protect worker rights in global supply chains for the FIFA World Cup and other mega-sporting events.
  • Trade and climate – Develop mutually supporting climate and trade policies, develop options for international cooperation on climate policies through “climate clubs,” recommend strategies to decarbonize steel production without violating WTO rules, and identify strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while preserving manufacturing jobs.

Please see the Policy Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Policy Clinic PDF.

For information about clinic registration generally, please see the Clinic Registration Handbook.

Learning outcomes for this clinic: Students are supervised, evaluated and graded on three skill sets, each of which has specific evaluation criteria in the Policy Clinic Operations Guide.

  1. Management and professionalism – includes “managing up” with supervision meetings, initiating self-evaluation, managing effort and deadlines, collaborating, and expectations in a professional culture.
  2. Analysis and strategy – covers legal, policy and strategic analysis.  It includes identifying issues that require analysis, learning the context efficiently, using diverse sources to avoid bias, explaining analytic methods, using a logical framework, and drawing conclusions that meet client needs.
  3. Communication, writing and speaking – includes organizing documents and presentations, meeting audience needs for context and decision-making, relating analysis through stories and examples, presenting visual information, and editing for plain language, clarity, and English style.

Recommended: Legislation and Administrative Law. Also, for climate projects: Local Government Law; and for trade or human rights projects: International Law I, International Trade (various titles), World Trade Organization: Law, Policy and Dispute Settlement, and International Human Rights.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this clinic and an externship or a practicum course.

LAW 408 v03 Poverty Law and Policy (Fieldwork Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 8-10 credit hours

In fieldwork practicum courses, students participate in weekly seminars and conduct related fieldwork at outside organizations. This fieldwork practicum course is designed for students who wish to work for a public interest law organization that deals with issues connected to poverty. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar (in both the fall and spring semesters) that focuses on the framework, history, and current issues related to American poverty. Students will also work for a public interest law organization that works on issues connected to poverty; students may work for either 10 or 15 hours/week in both the fall and spring or 30 hours/week in one semester only.  In addition, students may work for 10 hours/week in the fall and 15 hours/week in the spring or vice versa.

SEMINAR: Classes in the fall will cover the definition of poverty, the history of antipoverty policy, welfare, work supports, and safety net issues. Spring classes will feature guest lecturers covering education, health, housing, homelessness, juvenile justice, and child welfare. Students will be involved in participatory exercises in the course of both semesters: in the fall, mock press conferences, testimony to Congress, and meetings with public officials; and in the spring, a group project on developing a plan for neighborhood transformation, using materials studied through the year. A final paper will be required. Students will earn four graded credits for the seminar (two credits each semester); one grade will be provided at the end of the year.

FIELDWORK: In the four, five, or six-credit, mandatory pass-fail, fieldwork portion of the practicum, students will work with a public interest law organization that deals with issues connected to poverty. Students may work for either 10 or 15 hours in both the fall and spring, 10 hours in the fall and 15 hours in the spring or vice versa, or 30 hours/week in one semester only. The host organization may work from either a national or a local perspective on issues connected to poverty. Placements might involve a focus on poverty per se or “poverty and…” e.g., civil rights, women, education, housing, health, juvenile and criminal justice, child welfare or immigration. Depending on the organization, activities at placements could include litigation and/or policy advocacy, including governments on all level and in either the executive branch or the legislative. Students may propose and arrange their own placements; these must be approved by Professor Edelman. Alternatively, Professor Edelman is available to assist in finding and setting up the placements. Depending on the number of hours worked, students will earn four, five, or six pass/fail credits for the fieldwork; one grade will be provided at the end of the year.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship or another practicum course. If students complete their fieldwork hours for this practicum entirely in one semester, they may be eligible to enroll in a clinic for the other semester.

Note: This course is open to J.D. students only.


This course may be suitable for evening students who can attend seminar and participate in fieldwork during business hours.


Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and fieldwork components and may not take either component separately. A student wishing to withdraw from the course will be withdrawn from both the seminar and fieldwork components.


Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar, or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work, may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 1803 v00 Practitioner’s Perspective on Banking Structure and Regulation

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

A real world, practitioner’s perspective is critical to understanding the complexities of practice as a banking lawyer.  The law governing the regulation and supervision of banks and their affiliates is constantly developing and is one of the most intricate and interesting areas of U.S. law.  This two-hour lecture and discussion course is designed to provide students with the tools to develop a career in banking law and will explore a broad range of topics of interest to lawyers practicing banking law. 

Key topics include an introduction to the U.S. regulatory agencies involved in the supervision and regulation of banks, the powers and activities of banks and their affiliates, the important role of Federal deposit insurance, and the special procedures for resolving a failed bank.  In addition, the course will cover the special manner in which anti-trust laws apply to mergers and acquisitions involving banks and their affiliates, and review the process for chartering new financial institutions, such as fintechs and minority-owned depository institutions.  

The course will emphasize the unique regulatory framework applied to banks and the importance of racial equity in our financial system, including a focus on the Community Reinvestment Act and the policy response to address historic inequities in financial services.  The course will also explore a variety of hot topics in banking, such as digital currency, the rise of fintech companies, and the growing importance of environmental, social, and governance and other cutting-edge issues.

Recommended: Administrative Law; Corporations.

Note: This course will have a mid-term take-home exam. 

LAW 1548 v00 Race and Democracy: Voting Rights in America

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

Race and Democracy: Voting Rights in America assesses the impact of white supremacy ideology on American Democracy. The course uses the struggle for Black voting rights as the primary framework for exploring this relationship.

Over the course of the term, students 1) develop a working knowledge of how the ideology of white supremacy has impacted voter registration, participation, and representation 2) acquire critical tools to identify, analyze, and dismantle narratives, policies, and practices rooted in the history of white supremacy and 3) develop an appreciation for the role social movements have played in both reenforcing and disrupting the structural and systemic barriers to a multiracial and multicultural democracy.

Recommended: There are no prerequisite requirements for this course, although courses in constitutional law can be helpful.

Note: NOTE FOR THE SUMMER 2021 SECTION: The professor will teach this course virtually via Zoom. Students may choose to participate from the classroom or via Zoom while the professor is participating remotely. Students who want to participate in person must be in the University’s COVID testing protocol and follow all other safety measures.

Students may not withdraw from this class after the add/drop period ends without the permission of the professor.

LAW 960 v00 SEC Enforcement Process

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course examines all aspects of the SEC’s enforcement process, from the opening of an investigation through its resolution, whether by settlement, litigation, or closure without enforcement action. We consider strategic considerations from both the SEC's and defense practitioner's perspective at every critical juncture of an investigation, including whether to self-report and cooperate, whether to assert and how to protect privileges, and how to engage with the SEC before, during, and after the Wells process. We also discuss the overlapping roles of federal and state criminal and civil regulatory authorities. We examine internal investigations, whistleblowers, the ethical obligations of counsel, and review the SEC’s current areas of enforcement focus --insider trading, financial fraud, investment advisors, gatekeepers, Ponzi and pyramid schemes, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We survey the various contexts in which claims under the securities laws may be pursued, including litigation with the SEC and other regulators and class and derivative actions. We use important historical precedents as well as current SEC enforcement developments as the basis for class discussion.

Strongly Recommended: Previous or concurrent registration in Securities Regulation is strongly recommended.

LAW 406 v00 Space Law Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 3 credit hours

This seminar addresses the international and domestic laws governing outer space. Class discussion will include issues such as: liability for damage caused by space objects, use of outer space resources, rescue of astronauts and return of objects launched into outer space, environmental issues in outer space, and other more specific topics such as NASA and the International Space Station, commercial space operations, U.S. Government agencies involved in outer space, and the role of the United Nations in outer space.

Strongly Recommended: International Law I.

Note: Students may not withdraw from this class after the add/drop period ends without the permission of the professor.

LAW 1525 v00 Special Topics in Immigration

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

This course will give students an in-depth look at rapidly developing areas in immigration law. Students will become familiar with the variety of adjudicators in the immigration system, navigating the relationship between Asylum Officers, Immigration Judges, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the federal courts. We explore legal topics that often arise before these adjudicatory bodies, focusing on those that generate the most frequent—and complex—litigation. Specifically, we focus on detention and bond, corroboration requirements for asylum seekers, and “categorical approach,” under which adjudicators determine whether a criminal conviction renders a respondent removable and ineligible for relief. Students will also become familiar with constitutional challenges to immigration statutes or procedures as they appear in immigration courts and the extent of executive authority under the immigration laws. Finally, we introduce students to judicial review under the Immigration & Nationality Act, the immigration rule of lenity, and the role of deference doctrines in immigration cases.

This course also provides experiential training in the field of appellate immigration practice. Instead of writing a final paper or exam, students will participate in a moot court exercise. Each student will draft the pleadings and prepare arguments for an immigration-related case currently pending in a court of appeals. During this process, the professors provide each student with individualized feedback on her brief-writing and oral advocacy.

Learning Objectives:

Through this course, students will:

  • Better understand judicial review under the immigration laws and the immigration adjudication procedures.
  • Develop familiarity with asylum law, exclusion and removal grounds, and detention under the immigration laws.
  • Gain knowledge of administrative legal practice, including concepts like administrative exhaustion requirements, administrative appeals procedures, and judicial review.
  • Become familiar with appellate practice, including concepts like standard of review and findings of fact.
  • Develop oral advocacy skills, including the ability to respond to present a legal argument and respond to questions from appeals judges.
  • Prepare pleadings in an immigration case at the appellate level, including researching relevant caselaw and succinctly stating the facts of the case.

Recommended: Immigration Law and Policy.

LAW 410 v07 State and Local Government Law

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

States are the “laboratories of democracy” Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, and contemporary theories of localism argue that policy change can be driven by innovation at the municipal level.  Each state has its own Constitution, its own court system, and its own legislative process. States and local governments enjoy substantial law-making and regulatory authority; bear significant responsibility for the financing and provision of most domestic public goods and services; and are key sites for political participation.  This course surveys the legal environment, political values and policy debates that shape state and local governments in the United States. After completing the course, students will be able to identify many of the key doctrinal principals and analyze how they apply to the socio-economic context of federalism today. Some of the topics for discussion include (1) the allocation of power between states and their local governments and the role of state and local governments in the federal system; (2) distinctions between state constitutions and the US Constitution in form and powers including elected judiciaries, legislative procedure, line item vetoes, direct democracy and fundamental rights; (3) the Tenth Amendment, cooperative and coercive federalism, and the role of states as a counterweight to federal power; (4) the pivotal role of local government in the regulation of private land use; (5) state and local sources of revenue, balanced budget provisions, and limits on borrowing; (6) recent trends in blight, suburbanization, sprawl and redevelopment; (7) federal pre-emption of state authorities, and the conflict between plenary state power and local autonomy; and (8) inter-local cooperation and regional governments. The course will examine the role of governors and mayors as policymakers, and how horizontal federalism serves as a driver of national policy in areas including civil rights, immigration and climate change. The course also will challenge students to explore the tension between the historical movement toward greater local home rule and the modern trend to regional solutions. Finally, the course will enable students to exercise and develop skills of particular relevance to state and local decision-making: statutory interpretation, working effectively in groups, and understanding the dynamics and procedural context of state and local government proceedings.

Learning Objectives:

This course aspires to empower its students to:

  • Recognize and apply several core legal doctrines that enable and constrain state governments and various local government entities.
  • Describe how several prominent threads of American political theory have guided the historical development of state and local government law.
  • Apply several constitutional principles and legal standards that regulate state and local government
  • Explain the predominant funding mechanisms for state and local governments, and analyze how state and local policies can affect the viability of local government.
  • Identify several state and federal policies that can impair the sustainability of local government; and federal policies that constrain the autonomy of states in performing their core functions.
  • Develop and deliver principled arguments about how socio-economic policy issues relate to legal doctrine, intra-regional wealth, housing and land use policy and alternatives to local government.

Recommended: Although no prerequisites are required for this course familiarity with constitutional law, property law and administrative law are helpful.

LAW 1524 v00 Statutory Interpretation

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

This three-credit course, taught by a U.S. District Judge (and 1990 Georgetown University Law Center alumnus), provides instruction and in-class exercises in statutory interpretation, with emphasis in three areas:

  1. practice (how it is done by courts, and by lawyers who advocate in court and before administrative agencies);
  2. theory (how those practices are explained, both descriptively and normatively); and
  3. doctrine (the textual and substantive canons of statutory construction).

Offered for several years at Boston area law schools by the judge, the course is designed to be both intellectually engaging and highly practical.

While much of the first year law school curriculum focuses on “common law reasoning” (identifying applicable judicial precedent and, if necessary, distinguishing the case at hand), most of modern law practice involves applying statutory law produced by the Congress and state legislatures, as well as administrative law in the form of rules and regulations. “Thinking like a lawyer” involves mastering the practices and doctrines of statutory interpretation.

This course covers those practices, the doctrines that govern them, and the theories that (purportedly) explain or justify them: purposivism, intentionalism, textualism, and pragmatism in its various forms.

You’ll learn some substantive law, but the class won’t focus on it. Instead you’ll encounter text, figure out the interpretive problems the text presents, and learn how courts, advocates and academics have approached those problems.

Learning Objectives:

The course has three overall goals:

  1. Enabling you to recognize the “moves” undertaken by courts and advocates in interpreting statutes and regulations, and to make and oppose the arguments underlying those moves. 
  2. Mastering a reasonable number of canons of statutory construction (both textual and substantive), as well as other related tools such as “ordinary” and “plain” meaning, legislative intent, statutory purpose, and deference to administrative agencies.
  3. Exposing you to the theoretical debates that inform and animate statutory interpretation. A judge’s theoretical understanding of statutory interpretation may affect the judge’s decision making and opinion writing (which are two different things) in statutory cases. This may help you form your own theoretical position on statutory interpretation, which may in turn inform your view of the origin, nature and functions of law.

Recommended: Administrative Law; Constitutional Law I: The Federal System.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Legislation, or Lawmaking: Introduction to Statutory and Regulatory Interpretation, or The Regulatory State.

Note: NOTE FOR THE SUMMER 2021 SECTION: The professor will teach this course virtually via Zoom. Students may choose to participate from the classroom or via Zoom while the professor is participating remotely. Students who want to participate in person must be in the University’s COVID testing protocol and follow all other safety measures.

This class is designed to be both highly practical and theoretical. It should help you refine your thinking on the nature and purpose of the law in general, and statutes in particular.

This course will enroll via waitlist.

LAW 1784 v00 Statutory Interpretation

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

description forthcoming. 

Note: This course is a first-year elective. First-year day students select an elective offered in the spring.

LAW 1782 v00 Statutory Interpretation Theory Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This seminar will introduce students to the deeper theoretical questions and debates surrounding statutory interpretation:  How should courts analyze statutory text?  What interpretive tools should judges use to determine statutory meaning?  Should those tools change when the text is vague or ambiguous?  What role, if any, should legislative process materials or realities play in the interpretation of statutes?  What is textualism and how has it changed over time?  What are the most salient interpretive trends on the modern Supreme Court?

Students taking the two-unit version of the class will be graded on seven short reaction papers.  Students taking the three-credit version must provide three reaction papers and satisfy the Law Center’s writing requirement.  Given the theoretical nature of the topic, law review students are especially encouraged.  

Learning Objectives:  By the end of the semester, students in the course should understand and be able to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of different interpretive methodologies and tools, such as corpus linguistics, legislative history, semantic canons, etc.  They should also be able to describe and critique the U.S. Supreme Court’s current interpretive methodology.  Last, students should have a strong understanding of how to use the different interpretive tools and canons to argue in favor of or against a particular statutory reading.

Strongly Recommended: A basic introductory course in Legislation is highly recommended, but not required.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 856 v00 Tax Practice and Procedure (Administrative Practice)

LL.M Course | 2 credit hours

Examines the administration and enforcement of the Internal Revenue Code, including types of guidance, preparation and filing of returns, audit procedures (including centralized partnership audit procedures), administrative appeals, deficiencies, assessments, closing agreements, collection, civil penalties applicable to taxpayers and practitioners, criminal tax penalties, interest, refund claims, statutes of limitations, and practice before the IRS.

Prerequisite: Federal Income Taxation (formerly Taxation I).

LAW 1625 v00 Technology Policy and Practice

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

Discover what it means to "practice" technology policy through an innovative and experiential class using cutting-edge technology issues to teach practical writing, legal, legislative and policy making skills that can be applied to any legal and policy matter (e.g., competition, national security, health, tax policy).

Students can expect to leave with an understanding of key technology legal and policy issues and having acquired “skills of the trade” for legislative advocacy, including: persuasive advocacy for policy issues, formation of policy campaigns, legislative strategic planning, drafting of policy documents, and stakeholder politics. Specifically, students will develop practical legal and policy making skills, such as drafting talking points, creating a strategic legislative campaign, and learning the art of an elevator pitch. Students will learn skills that can help them pursue a wide-array of careers, from a law firm to the White House.

There is no prerequisite course required. Each class will incorporate pre-class preparations and an in-class skill building exercise.

Learning Objectives:

Goals:

  • Receive substantive knowledge of legal issues related to technology

  • Develop skills for successful legislative advocacy and policy making with a focus on stakeholder perspectives and tech policy issues

  • Develop legislative strategy skills needed for planning and implementing legislative advocacy/policy campaigns

  • Develop oral and written skills specific to policy making

Outcomes:

  • Students will gain substantive knowledge of technology policy issues.

  • Students will develop practical written advocacy skills through drafting advocacy papers, talking points and testimony to Congress.

  • Students will develop practical written advocacy skills for drafting testimony from the perspective of a Congressperson or policy maker.

  • Students will develop legislative strategy skills - such as how to coalition build, critically review a lobbying strategy plan, evaluate a media plan and other crucial aspects of policy campaign.

  • Students will develop oral advocacy skills for delivering prepared testimony to Congress.

  • Students will develop oral advocacy skills for delivering an elevator pitch.

  • Students will develop oral advocacy skills for preparing and implementing an effective meeting for policy making.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and Federal Advocacy in Technology Law and Policy.

LAW 1099 v00 The Art of Regulatory War Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This seminar will focus on “the art of regulatory war.” How can and do lawyers and other private and governmental actors and stakeholders working at the regulatory intersection of law and politics gain advantage, use their different sorts of legal artillery and strength, and push regulatory disputes and tool choices into venues, modes, and postures that favor their or their clients’ interests and broader policy goals? What changes are underway regarding the nature of regulation, attitudes about the role of the administrative state, and ways regulatory wars are fought?

Subject to adjustment in light of legal developments and student interest, the seminar meetings will be organized around a mix of case studies and cross-cutting regulatory topics. Topic-based classes will likely select from among the following: critiques of assumptions of regulatory overreach and empire building; debate over the values and functions of preemption, and rationales for various federalism-utilizing allocations of authority; theories of regulation and regulatory reform proposals; recent presidential and agency deregulatory and policy change efforts and judicial and scholarly responses; debates and shifting doctrine regarding deference regimes; the shift to market-based and experimental “rolling rule” modes of regulation; “sound science” and “bought science;” behavioral economics and regulatory design; and “impact” litigation strategies. Case study subjects will likely include a mix of the following: my own research into the 1971-85 battles over the multi-billion dollar Westway project defeated by a small number of citizens; climate change regulatory and legislative proposals and battles; battles over COVID vaccine mandates and what they reveal about the future of the administrative state and judicial review of agency judgments; and court, regulatory and legislative battles over protecting “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Readings will include diverse materials to illuminate the art of regulatory war, including court decisions, briefs, congressional testimony, regulatory materials, statutory provisions, and scholarship. Students will before each class submit a few brief comments or questions about the readings, with class discussion building on those areas of interest. Students will have broad latitude to develop related paper topics of interest to them as long as they are original work for the seminar and have a link to constitutional, statutory, regulatory, regulatory design, or administrative law issues. During the last few weeks of the semester, we will conclude with students sharing and leading discussion of their draft papers. There are no seminar prerequisites, but students interested in administrative law, constitutional law, economic and risk regulation, environmental law, energy law, legislation, law and politics, law and economics, litigation and other areas of public law should find the material of interest.  

Note: FIRST CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY.  Enrolled students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain enrolled. Waitlisted students must be in attendance at the start of the first class session in order to remain eligible to be admitted off the waitlist.

This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 3134 v00 The Intersection of Employment and National Security Law

LL.M Course (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

Federal employees and contractors safeguard our nation’s most sensitive information and secrets. However, many do not consider that national security is a major consideration when employing civil servants or making decisions regarding their continued employment.  As of 2017, over 4.3 million Americans possess a security clearance and even more have access to sensitive, unclassified information. Security clearances and suitability reviews assess the reliability, trustworthiness, and character of prospective employees. 

Because security clearance and suitability adjudications often determine whether a person is hired - and in some cases, fired - they invoke the application of employment protections under laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008. The decision to deny employment based on a security clearance or suitability decision is considered an adverse action. While some actions are subject to judicial and/or administrative court review, others are not.  Therefore, executive orders, federal regulations, and agency guidance are necessary to ensure that vetting is both thorough and fair. In the last decade, courts and agencies have grappled with issues ranging from discrimination to the stigmatization of mental health issues in security clearance and suitability adjudications.

This course will examine the intersectionality of national security issues and employment; specifically, how national security concerns shape vetting in federal employment from security clearances to suitability reviews. Moreover, it will serve as an introduction to understanding the interplay of federal case law, executive orders, federal regulations, and agency guidance in this area.

LAW 1526 v00 The Law of Autonomous Vehicles

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours

Autonomous vehicles are roiling industries as diverse as retail, food delivery, trucking, and personal transportation. Although there is a rising consensus that autonomous, networked cars could save tens of thousands of lives, there is a similar consensus that they also will create tens of thousands of accidents that human drivers would not. Although the technology for autonomous vehicles is already on the roads, the law, ethics, and policy governing these machines is late evolving. This course will examine alternatives for regulating autonomous vehicles, including topics such as which parties should bear responsibility for the actions of autonomous vehicles, how theories of responsibility will change over time, as well as the appropriate modes and agencies of regulation. Paper required.

Recommended: Property (or Property in Time), Torts (or Bargain, Exchange and Liability), and Criminal Law.

LAW 1019 v00 The Law of Public Utilities: Bringing Competition to Historically Monopolistic Industries

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

Our major infrastructural industries—electricity, gas, telecommunications, transportation and water—were historically controlled by monopolies. Since the 1980s, efforts to introduce competition into these industries have met obstacles. Battles before legislative bodies, regulatory agencies and courts, at the state and federal levels, have produced a distinct body of law. That body of law—the law of introducing competition into historically monopolistic industries—is the subject of this course.

From the principles learned in the course, students have written papers on such diverse topics as renewable energy, internet, movie production, chicken slaughtering, student loans, pharmaceutical research, Uber, Flint's water crisis, utility corporate form, law school admissions, farms seeds and insecticide, Youtube, private space travel, rare minerals used in solar and wind facilities, Facebook, cloud storage, electric storage, and telemedicine at the VA. Some of these papers have made their way into professional journals or law journals.

Regardless of the industry or era, the regulation of infrastructural monopolies and their competitors has  five common elements: its mission (to align business performance with the public interest); its legal principles (ranging from the state law on exclusive monopoly franchise to federal constitutional protection of shareholder investment); policy flexibility (accommodating multiple public purposes, from service reliability to environmental accountability to protection of vulnerable citizens); reliance on multiple professional disciplines (law, economics, finance, accounting, management, engineering and politics); and formal administrative procedures, such as adjudication and rulemaking.

Today, political challenges are causing policymakers to stretch regulation's core legal principles. Four examples of these challenges are: climate change (e.g., To what extent should we make utilities and their customers responsible for "greening" energy production and consumption?); universal service (e.g., Should we bring broadband to every home, and at whose cost?); privacy (How do regulators induce personal changes in energy consumption while protecting the related data from public exposure?); and protection of our infrastructure from hackers, terrorists and natural catastrophes.

Complicating these political challenges are two sources of constant tension: ideology (e.g., private vs. public ownership, government intervention vs. "free market"); and state-federal relations (e.g., Which aspects of utility service are "national," requiring uniformity; and which are "local," warranting state experimentation?).

This field has many jobs, as new issues emerge and as baby boomers retire. Lawyers play varied roles. They advise clients who are suppliers or customers of regulated services, represent parties before regulatory tribunals, advise those tribunals or their legislative overseers, and challenge or defend those tribunals on judicial review.

Note: The 3-credit Writing Requirement section of this course is restricted to J.D. students only. The 2-credit Paper section of this course is restricted to LL.M. students only.

LAW 1768 v00 The Temporal Dimensions of Governmental Powers Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 2-3 credit hours

This course will study the respective temporal reaches of, and restrictions on, the legislative, judicial, and executive powers of American governments.

It is almost universally now thought that “retrospective laws are . . . generally unjust . . . and . . . neither accord with sound legislation nor with the fundamental principles of the social compact.” Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, §1398 (3d ed. 1858). But legislatures nonetheless do sometimes enact retroactive laws, and sometimes for quite benign and legitimate reasons. Furthermore, judicial and executive adjudicatory actions have retroactive effects; and, as with retroactive legislation, some of those adjudicatory actions may establish the legal basis for retroactive restrictions on conduct about which the regulated persons did not have prior notice – such as when the adjudicators construct manifestly new, yet binding, interpretations of ambiguous laws (i.e., when they “make” or “declare” law that will serve as “precedent”). Concomitantly, although often thought of as necessarily being retroactive, judicial and executive adjudicatory powers are sometimes exercised with only future effects – such as when courts or agencies have declined to apply their new interpretations of law retroactively, or have awarded relief that has only prospective effects (e.g., an injunction, a writ of mandamus, a declaratory judgment).

This course will explore these temporal issues. We will examine what legally differentiates “prospective” from “retroactive” governmental actions. We will study the presumption that legislation looks forward, not backward, as well as several of the constitutional constraints on retroactive legislative actions. From there, we will explore both the content of and rationale for the contrasting presumption that judicial action is retroactive in perspective and effect; and we will study the controversy about whether and when a judicial decision announcing a new principle of law – such as a judicial decision overruling an interpretation of law announced in a prior decision – may properly be applied only to conduct or events occurring after the date of that judicial decision. Finally, we will examine whether and how temporal limitations apply in the context of the exercise of executive powers (state and federal) and, concomitantly, how the discretion of the executive and its agents is often temporally insulated – through limits on the writ powers, the doctrine of qualified immunity, etc. – when there is not yet “clearly established” law on an issue.

Our goal is to better understand how the temporal reaches of, and limitations on, the separate powers of government inform the Rule of Law and American constitutional democracy. Such an understanding is relevant and important not only to those who want to study the operation of government and the constitutional limitations on government, but also to those who on behalf of clients – private, public interest, or governmental – seek to influence the temporal application or imposition of new legal restraints.

Prerequisite: Constitutional Law I: The Federal System and Administrative Law.

Note: This seminar requires a paper. J.D. students must register for the 3 credit section of the seminar if they wish to write a paper fulfilling the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement. The paper requirements of the 2 credit section will not fulfill the J.D. Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement.

LAW 1600 v00 Toxic Chemical Law and Advocacy (Fieldwork Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 4 credit hours

In a fieldwork practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and conduct related fieldwork at an outside organization focused on toxic chemical law. For example, have you ever wondered what is in the food and drink we consume besides the raw agricultural products such as coffee beans or milk? In this course, students will explore the how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act and other statutes, and the the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) under the Consumer Product Safety Act work together (or don’t) to regulate toxic chemical products in consumer products that are consumed or used in the U.S. every day such as coffee, soft drinks and yogurt. Students will develop real-world lawyering skills such as fact gathering, legal research, drafting, developing guidance or advice, crafting advocacy strategy and more. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and also undertake 10 hours/week of fieldwork at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public-interest nonprofit that advocates on behalf of consumers, and other non-governmental organizations.

SEMINAR: The authority of the FDA, EPA and CPSC to regulate the safety of toxic chemicals in consumer products has evolved as the manufacturing of everyday products has become increasingly industrialized and affected by an array of new technologies that cause the food and drink we regularly consume to contain potentially harmful chemicals. This seminar will utilize legislative and administrative materials as well as case law to enable students to critically evaluate the processes by which the federal government regulates toxic chemicals in consumer products and compare and contrast regulatory schemes for different consumer products. The course will also touch on related topics such as the role of the Federal Trade Commission in the regulation of marketing trade practices related to chemicals in consumer products.

FIELDWORK: In the fieldwork component of this course, students will be assigned to projects at the Environmental Working Group or a similar non-governmental organization. They will have an opportunity to learn how such institutions play a role in representing consumer interests in product safety issues being debated in both the administrative and legislative processes, and in matters subject to litigation.

Prerequisite: J.D. students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).

Recommended: Administrative law, as well as food and drug law, and environmental law-related courses, are recommended but not required.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship, a clinic, or another practicum.

Note: This practicum course is open to LL.M. students, space permitting. Interested LL.M. students should email the Office of the Registrar (lawreg@georgetown.edu) to request admission.

This course is suitable for evening students who can commit to attending class and working 10 hours/week (during business hours) on site at their field placements.

This is a four credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and two credits for approximately 10 hours of fieldwork per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The fieldwork must be completed during normal business hours. The two credit seminar portion of this practicum will be graded. The two credits of fieldwork are mandatory pass/fail. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as the field work.

Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and fieldwork components and may not take either component separately. After Add/Drop, a student who wishes to withdraw from a practicum course must obtain permission from the faculty member and the Assistant Dean for Experiential Education. The Assistant Dean will grant such withdrawal requests only when remaining enrolled in the practicum would cause significant hardship for the student. A student who is granted permission to withdraw will be withdrawn from both the seminar and fieldwork components.

Default attendance rule for all practicum courses (unless the professor indicates otherwise): Regular and punctual attendance is required at all practicum seminars and fieldwork placements. Students in project-based practicum courses are similarly required to devote the requisite number of hours to their project. If a student must miss seminar, fieldwork, or project work, he or she must speak to the professor as soon as possible to discuss the absence. Unless the professor indicates otherwise, a student with more than one unexcused absence from the practicum seminar (out of 13 total seminar sessions), or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork or project work (out of a total of 11 weeks of fieldwork or project work), may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

Full-time and Visiting Faculty

Victoria A. Arroyo
Hope Babcock
William W. Buzbee
J. Peter Byrne
Sheryll D. Cashin
Peter B. Edelman
Vicki W. Girard
Lisa Heinzerling
Emma Coleman Jordan
Anita Krishnakumar
Jonathan T. Molot
Victoria Nourse
Eloise Pasachoff
Dave Rapallo
Tanina Rostain
Andrew I. Schoenholtz
Philip G. Schrag
Girardeau A. Spann
Robert K. Stumberg
David A. Super
David C. Vladeck
Timothy M. Westmoreland