Law and Other Disciplines

LAW 508 v01 Affordable Housing Transactions Clinic (Harrison Institute)

J.D. Clinic | 14 credit hours

Please see the Affordable Housing Transaction Clinic website for more detailed information about the program.

For registration-specific supplemental materials, please see the Affordable Housing Transactions 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 1754 v00 Africana Legal Studies

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

Western law—like Western religion, Western fashion, Western individualism, and Western education—has been imposed on African people enslavement, colonialism, and imperialism. But the history of African people and their thinking on “law” or rules for social living does not begin with these atrocities. This is the central, initial recognition of “Africana Legal Studies.” This seminar focuses on the indigenous African ways of knowing “law” and governance constructs. It will explore the need for application of an Africana Studies lens to legal scholarship, the tenets of Africana Studies, and the contours of Africana Legal Studies. The course will explore a theoretical framework for how to identify and distill precolonial, pre-enslavement (“pre-Maafa”) ways of knowing law. It will include an examination of how Africana legal frameworks have evolved in the face of Western colonialism, European enslavement, and other externally-imposed social structures and how Western law interrupted and interfered with Africana legal frameworks. From participating in this African-centered exploration of “law,” governance, and persistence, students may derive insights and strategies for addressing the issues of today, legal and beyond. The writing requirement offers students an opportunity to write on a topic of their choice pertaining to Africana legal frameworks.

Learning Objectives:

Students successfully completing this course will be able to (1) identify the Africana Studies conceptual framework, (2) de-center the West in their thinking about “law” and indigenous ways of knowing governance, (3) identify methods for researching and identifying Africana “legal” frameworks, (4) through class readings and discussions, analyze avenues of inquiry surrounding the relationship between Africana “legal” frameworks and other frameworks of governance, and (5) discuss and consider ways that American jurisprudence and statutes interfere(d) and interact(ed) with Africana governance protocols. The primary course evaluation is by the traditional two-draft seminar paper.

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 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 1329 v00 Art Law Seminar: Images, Objects, and Culture

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

This course will examine major intersections of law and art in the United States, focusing on cases and legislation in light of social, political, and art historical influences. We will consider questions implicated by art law’s myriad incarnations, such as why art receives special legal treatment, how law defines art, and who benefits. Ongoing themes will be the dissonances of existing law with twenty-first century culture and digital technology, and new developments. Areas include freedom of expression, copyright, moral rights, authenticity, the right of publicity, authorship, museums, and the art market, with visits by outside speakers on selected topics.

All students taking the course will be expected to develop original papers reflecting substantial critical engagement with an art law topic of their choice, in satisfaction of the Upperclass Legal Writing Requirement for J.D. students. Participation will also play a significant role in the course, including discussion of assigned readings and short reflection pieces. Classroom time in the latter part of the semester will be devoted to student presentations and feedback.

Learning goals for the course:

Developing skills in critical analysis and scholarly writing; developing proficiency in a body of law and relevant policy concerns; expanding knowledge of doctrinal analysis through close reading of cases, legislation, and related authorities, along with the influences of cultural and historical context.

Recommended: Prior course work in copyright law.

Note: THIS COURSE REQUIRES PROFESSOR PERMISSION TO ENROLL. Please submit a brief statement of interest in the seminar by 5:00 pm on Monday, June 4, 2018, to Professor Bonneau (sonya.bonneau@georgetown.edu). Art-related background is not required but may be included in the statement. Professor Bonneau is making her decisions and filling the open slots in the seminar on a rolling basis.

LAW 104 v02 Behavioral Law and Economics

J.D. Course (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

The economic analysis of law has predominated much of legal analysis for the past few decades. Within this framework, rational choice theory has taken central stage as the key model used in order to predict human behavior. In recent years, however, researchers both in economics and in psychology have demonstrated that people systematically deviate from the predictions set forth by the rational choice model. The goal of this course is to incorporate these findings into legal analysis. In doing so we will first examine traditional economic analysis of law in the areas of property, contracts and torts, and then explore how the conclusions of this analysis are altered when behavioral insights are incorporated into it.

Learning Outcome Goals:

Primary Goals

At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in the core concepts of rational choice theory and alternative behavioral theories.

At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of and/or facility in the implications of behavioral findings on legal analysis.

Secondary Goals

At the end of the course, students will have acquired understanding of the methodological framework underlying behavioral economics.

Note: Laptop computers are not permitted in class without the permission of the instructor.

LAW 1536 v00 Bioethics and Social Justice

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

This seminar explores legal, ethical, and social issues raised by developments in health, medicine, and the biological sciences at the U.S. and global levels. It first provides an overview of the normative theories that inform the development of the field of bioethics, as well as connects these theories to legal and social dynamics that continue to shape discussions of equity and justice. It then considers a spectrum of priority topics and themes, through both a theoretical and practical lens, such as end-of-life issues, reproductive rights, human subjects research, access to medicines, and vaccines. Students will develop an in-depth perspective on how law and ethics overlap and shape the discourse on these priority topics. This seminar will be especially informative for students looking to obtain a practical view into how the law interacts with ethical dilemmas in health, medicine, and science.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the normative theories that inform the development of the field of bioethics and the role that the law has played in this evolution
  • Describe practical examples of legal and ethical dilemmas that arise across multi-disciplinary topics in health, medicine, and the biological sciences
  • Articulate the ethical arguments on often opposing sides of priority bioethical issues, understanding the varied levels of nuance involved
  • Analyze the role of legal institutions and law and in creating a framework to address the ethical, legal, and social issues that arise in the fields of health, medicine, and the biological sciences

LAW 1536 v01 Bioethics and Social Justice

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

This seminar explores legal, ethical, and social issues raised by developments in health, medicine, and the biological sciences at the U.S. and global levels. It first provides an overview of the normative theories that inform the development of the field of bioethics, as well as connects these theories to legal and social dynamics that continue to shape discussions of equity and justice, including on the global stage. It then uses several in-class simulations to explore the practical challenges—both legal and ethical—that arise for counsel practicing in this field. The simulations are designed for students to “step into the shoes,” as it were, of different actors, from in-house counsel at an academic medical center to the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, to gain practical insight into real-world situations. This seminar will be especially informative for students looking to obtain a practical view into how the law interacts with ethical dilemmas in health, medicine, science, and politics.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the normative theories that inform the development of the field of bioethics and the role that the law has played in this evolution
  • Describe practical examples of legal and ethical dilemmas that arise across multi-disciplinary topics in health, medicine, and the biological sciences
  • Articulate the ethical arguments on often opposing sides of priority bioethical issues, understanding the varied levels of nuance involved
  • Analyze the role of legal institutions and law and in creating a framework to address the ethical, legal, and social issues that arise in the fields of health, medicine, and the biological sciences

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

LAW 284 v01 Bioethics and the Law Seminar

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

This seminar investigates legal, ethical, and social problems raised by developments in health, medicine and the biological sciences through the study of selected subjects that vary from year to year. Issues covered might include death and dying, genomics, reproductive technologies, fetal treatment and research, experimentation with human subjects, and societal controls on scientific advances.

LAW 1468 v00 Business and Financial Basics for Lawyers

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

This course covers basic business concepts that are useful across many areas of legal practice. First, it introduces financial accounting, with a focus on understanding and using financial statements. Second, it deals with core financial concepts, such as the time value of money, risk versus return, and methods for valuing assets. Third, the course discusses the basic categories of financial instruments: debt, equity, and derivatives. Although these topics all inevitably involve numbers, mathematical complexity is kept to a minimum. Much of the reading consists of excerpts from case law, which illustrate business concepts and their relation to legal practice.

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

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 1037 v01 Catholic Social Thought and the Law Seminar: The Work of Pope Francis

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

This course aims to help students develop critical skills to identify the ways in which varying frameworks, including those informed by personal and religious values, might shape perceptions of law. The focus will be on Catholic social thought, a corpus of theological and philosophical reflection on the social and economic order dating back to 1891; with a particular focus on the recent commentary of Pope Francis. The materials in the first three weeks aim to help students understand and thoughtfully engage the philosophical underpinnings and core concepts of Catholic social thought. The next two blocks focus on the topics to which Pope Francis has devoted the most extensive attention (thus far)—the alleviation of poverty and care for the environment. The last block takes up the commentary on specific themes, including the exercise of “soft power” in global politics; how reflections might inform discussion of marriage and family law; and other bioethics questions.


This seminar requires a series of short reflection and reaction papers which aim to facilitate thoughtful student participation in seminar discussions throughout the course. The final paper is not a research project, but a short engagement (about 8 pages) with a particular set of issues arising from across the range of topics covered in the course. This course does not satisfy the JD Upper Level Writing Requirement.

LAW 1040 v01 Civ Tech: Digital Tools and Access to Justice (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 professors. This project-based practicum course will expose students to the varied uses of computer technologies in the practice of law, with an emphasis on technologies that enhance access to justice and make legal services more affordable for individuals of limited means. 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 the class is devoted to two topics: the access to justice crisis and the role of digital tools in bridging it. Among the issues we will discuss throughout the semester are: the extent of the justice gap, the economic and regulatory barriers to access, and the problem of resource constraints. We will also discuss how legal technologies are altering the landscape for persons of limited means and empowering disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and communities. The second topic is learning to design and develop legal expert systems. To create our systems, we use a software platform that does not require a coding background.

PROJECT WORK: Students will work in small teams for a legal service organization to develop a platform, application, or automated system that increases access to justice and/or improves the effectiveness of legal representation. These organizations include civil rights organizations, direct service providers, and other public interest organizations. The course culminates in a design competition: The Georgetown Iron Tech Lawyer Competition. Along the way, students learn systems logic, teamwork, and visual literacy skills. By the end of the semester, each team will have built a functional app intended for adoption by the participating legal services organization to put into use for its clients.

No programming background is required. Students are not required to have coding experience and will not be expected to learn to write software.

Students are encouraged to check out these apps created by Georgetown Law students in earlier semesters and in use at various organizations. They are also encouraged to contact Professor Rostain at (tr238@law.georgetown.edu) with questions.

Prerequisite: 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 course and a clinic. Students who wish to concurrently enroll in this course and another practicum course may only do so with the permission of the Assistant Dean of Experiential Education (lawexp@law.georgetown.edu), Professor Rostain (tr238@law.georgetown.edu), and the professor of the second practicum. Students may concurrently enroll in this practicum course and an externship.

Note: This course is suitable for evening students; project work does not need to be completed during business hours.

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 supervised 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.

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 611 v19 Communication Design & Law: Re-Designing Legal Information

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

This is a Week One, project-based simulation course.

Communication is at the heart of law. As lawyers, we capture and share our work through briefs, memos, reports, legislation, contracts, presentations, articles, and email.

The core idea driving this course is that lawyers can have a bigger impact if they create written work that more people can understand.

This class will help you do that through the lens of communication design. Legal writing is often opaque, dense, and intimidating. Communication design is the theory and craft of transforming this into something that is approachable, actionable, and empowering.

Over four fast-paced, intense days, you will:

  • Learn about the principles of communication design
  • Practice evaluating design and giving feedback
  • Redesign a complex document into something understandable using the document design and plain language.

We include several small-but-meaningful in-class challenges to illustrate key concepts.

The class culminates with an overarching communication design project. Some examples of this final project may include re-designing:

  • The Supreme Court opinion
  • A legal contract
  • The sign-up process for a government benefit.

By the end of the course, you will share your work with the class for shared feedback.

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 29, 2021 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 611 v08 Communications Skills Boot Camp

J.D. Course | 1 credit hour

As new lawyers enter the workforce, often they are not just new to the law, but new to the world of business. As the market for legal services becomes increasingly more competitive, each of us needs to distinguish ourselves not just regarding the services we provide, but in the way we provide them. Successful service providers constantly interact with colleagues and clients. Therefore, superior communication skills become essential. The Communication Skills Boot Camp is a Week One simulation course designed to help law students rethink how they share information. Students will learn to put the needs of their listeners first, both when preparing for and during the conversation, and will refine their delivery skills. Through group exercises, customized role plays, and instructor coaching, students will learn a range of communication skills, including how to: focus on the needs of others; share information with confidence and credibility; understand personal communication styles; develop a clear message and deliver it with presence; ask better questions and listen for key insights; handle questions and emotional reactions effectively; guide a problem-solving discussion; lead an effective brainstorming discussion; and implement effective habits of innovative professionals.

Note: FIRST-YEAR WEEK ONE COURSE: This course will meet on the following days: Monday, January 8, 2018, through Thursday, January 11, 2018. 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 are enrolled through a lottery process.

ATTENDANCE AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS IS MANDATORY. All enrolled 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 see 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 Friday, December 1, at 3:00 p.m. After that point, permission from the course professor and Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning is required.

LAW 1384 v00 Computer Programming for Lawyers: An Introduction

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

This class provides an introduction to computer programming for law students. The programming language taught may vary from year-to-year, but it will likely be a language designed to be both easy to learn and powerful, such as Python or Javascript. There are no prerequisites, and even students without training in computer science or engineering should be able successfully to complete the class.

The course is based on the premise that computer programming has become a vital skill for non-technical professionals generally and for future lawyers and policymakers specifically. Lawyers, irrespective of specialty or type of practice, organize, evaluate, and manipulate large sets of text-based data (e.g. cases, statutes, regulations, contracts, etc.) Increasingly, lawyers are asked to deal with quantitative data and complex databases. Very simple programming techniques can expedite and simplify these tasks, yet these programming techniques tend to be poorly understood in legal practice and nearly absent in legal education. In this class, students will gain proficiency in various programming-related skills.

A secondary goal for the class is to introduce students to computer programming and computer scientific concepts they might encounter in the substantive practice of law. Students might discuss, for example, how programming concepts illuminate and influence current debates in privacy, intellectual property, consumer protection, antidiscrimination, antitrust, and criminal procedure.

This is a hands-on class. Each student will spend most class sessions using his or her own computers, reading, writing, and debugging code. Every student must bring to every class a computer, on which free software will be provided to be installed. Students will be required to complete problem sets between class meetings. To obtain a passing grade, students must complete problem sets and larger coding assignments, participate in class sessions, and demonstrate they have learned the assigned skills.

At the completion of this class, students should be able to write simple to moderately complex computer programs that can automate text-handling and data-handling tasks that would be difficult or impossible to perform without programming skill. Students will also gain a solid foundation of programming knowledge and skills they can build upon to progress toward mastering more advanced programming techniques and other programming languages.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students who have completed at least one computer programming course in college or graduate school or who have mastered at least one computer programming language are not eligible for this course.

Note: This course is online only. There will be no meetings on campus.

Waitlisted students who enroll in this course after the first class meeting should contact Professor Ohm (ohm@law.georgetown.edu) for instructions on how to access the missed course recordings and the mandatory problem sets due before the second class meeting on Tuesday, September 7.  Students admitted off the waitlist who do not complete the problem sets due before the second class session on September 7th will be dropped from the course.  No student will be admitted to this course after the end of add/drop on 3 pm on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

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

This course will meet twice each week. There will be 1 one-hour lecture with all enrolled students, with the second hour of weekly course content delivered asynchronously.  Later in the week there will be a second class session consisting of one-hour lab sections broken into small groups of 15 students.  Students will be enrolled in only one small lab section. In preregistering for this course, students should select the section that best meets their schedule in terms of the one-hour lab session.

LAW 1499 v00 Computer Programming for Lawyers: Intermediate

J.D. Course | 3 credit hours

This class builds on Computer Programming for Lawyers: An Introduction by introducing students to intermediate-level concepts of computer programming and computer science relevant to legal practice. The students in this course will serve as the Teaching Assistants for the introductory course, which will always be taught concurrently. In addition, students in this course will complete at least one substantial programming term project.

Enrollment in this course is by prior permission of the Professor only. All students must have prior computer programming experience. Students who have successfully completed the introductory course meet this requirement. Other students must demonstrate comparable prior experience, but this experience need not be formal training or professional experience. Students need not possess a technical degree, and self-taught programmers are welcome.

The course is based on the premise that computer programming has become a vital skill for non-technical professionals generally and for future lawyers and policymakers specifically. Lawyers, irrespective of specialty or type of practice, organize, evaluate, and manipulate large sets of text-based data (e.g. cases, statutes, regulations, contracts, etc.) Increasingly, lawyers are asked to deal with quantitative data and complex databases. Programming techniques can expedite and simplify these tasks, yet these programming techniques tend to be poorly understood in legal practice and nearly absent in legal education. In this class, students will gain proficiency in various programming-related skills.

A secondary goal for the class is to introduce students to computer programming and computer scientific concepts they might encounter in the substantive practice of law. Students might discuss, for example, how programming concepts illuminate and influence current debates in privacy, intellectual property, consumer protection, antidiscrimination, antitrust, litigation and criminal procedure.

This is a hands-on class. Each student will spend most class sessions using his or her own computers, reading, writing, and debugging code. Every student must bring to every class a computer, on which free software will be provided to be installed.

Note: THIS COURSE REQUIRES PROFESSOR PERMISSION TO ENROLL. Interested students should contact Professor Ohm at (ohm@law.georgetown.edu) by Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

Withdrawal Policy: Students in Computer Programming: Intermediate serve as Teaching Assistants (TAs) to students enrolled in Computer Programming for Lawyers: An Introduction. Because the introductory class cannot operate without a minimum and stable number of TAs, it is essential we ensure a fixed enrollment for the intermediate class, by adopting special rules for dropping the class.

A student enrolled in Computer Programming for Lawyers: Intermediate may drop the class no later than 3pm on Sunday, August 1, 2021 and only by notifying Professor Ohm in writing.

LAW 481 v00 Contemporary Legal Scholarship Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 3 or 5 credit hours

The Seminar is designed for all fellows, SJD students, and some JD students who wish to become a law professor or who think they may go into law teaching at some point in their careers.  The seminar aims to familiarize students and fellows with different genres of legal scholarship, including “normative” or reform-oriented scholarship, analytic and doctrinal work, comparative legal analysis, theoretical, critical, or conceptual scholarship, and interdisciplinary legal scholarship.  We look at a couple major pieces that aim to re-orient entire areas of law, as well as short works that look to restate or change particular pieces of doctrine, book reviews, symposia and encyclopedia pieces.  The Seminar meetings alternate with workshops, at which fellows and SJD students present work in progress.  JD students will also present drafts of their papers in the final session at the end of the semester.  Attendance at all sessions, including all workshops, is required of all JD students, research fellows, and first and second year SJD students.   A fuller description is available upon request.

Note: This seminar is offered for 3 credits in the fall and spring and offered as a year-long seminar for 5 credits.  

This course requires professor permission to enroll.  Please email Professor West (Robin.West@law.georgetown.edu) by 5:00 pm on Friday, August 28, 2020 with a copy of your CV.

LAW 1485 v00 Criminal Justice Technology, Policy, and 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 practicum will explore the impact of technology on the criminal justice system, and will teach students how to design, build and understand technologies that affect criminal justice processes and policy. 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: Seminars will review the design, deployment, and impact of technologies throughout the criminal justice system, from law enforcement surveillance and monitoring tools to algorithmic risk assessments used in bail decisions and sentencing. Students will be asked to view these tools through two critical lenses: how well these tools further their stated policy aims, and how technology changes power relationships between government and citizens. Throughout the semester, students will also hear from guest speakers that are using technology to tackle police misconduct, expungement, and other criminal justice policy issues. To complement this policy discussion, students will learn techniques to design, deploy, and analyze criminal justice-focused technology. These exercises will teach analytical approaches to developing and understanding technology systems, including: activity-centered design, system mapping, specification building, tool selection, and prototyping. (No computer science or coding knowledge is necessary to take this course.) The semester will conclude with a pitch day, where students will present a policy or procedural problem they have identified in the criminal justice system that could be addressed through technological tools, and present their proposed design for a solution.

PROJECT WORK: Students will work with clients and the practicum instructors to identify problems in the criminal justice system that could be improved through the use of technological tools, then design such tools working in small teams. Potential practicum projects could include digitizing Miranda warnings, using text messages to lower failure to appear rates in juvenile court, or determining how to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to help people whose criminal records have been expunged but whose record information is still available online.

Prerequisite: 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 course and a clinic or another practicum course. Students may concurrently enroll in this 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 course is suitable for evening students; project work does not need to be completed during business hours.

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 supervised 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.

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 1756 v00 Criminal Law Theory in Context

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

This seminar will introduce students to contemporary theoretical thinking about substantive criminal law. We will explore some of the most pressing problems in criminal jurisprudence, as well as some perennial ones, through the lens of the tension between morality and context.

Philosophers of the criminal law have traditionally turned to moral reasoning when trying to justify or critique penal laws. Morality purports to dictate how individuals ought to act toward one another as a matter of universal truth, and therefore views social context as detrimental to analytical clarity. Sociolegal and critical scholars, on the other hand, highlight the relevance of contingent factors, such as material conditions, historical narratives, and political power relations, for proper understanding of the criminal law. However, they generally stop short of offering compelling normative theories to guide our way forward. The seminar will examine the prospects and perils of both views, explore whether they can be reconciled, and consider prominent alternative frameworks that are gaining traction in recent scholarship.

Students will become familiar with the central philosophical puzzles underlying the criminal law as well as with cutting edge theoretical approaches for tackling them. We will pay attention to both general issues, like criminalization (what to impose liability for), defenses (when to relieve of liability), and punishment (what form liability ought to take), and pertinent issues at this historical moment, like hate crimes, gun violence, and prison abolition.

There are no prerequisites. For JD students, prior or concurrent enrollment in Criminal Law is recommended, though not required.

Recommended: For JD students, prior or concurrent enrollment in Criminal Law is recommended, though not required.

Note: The 3 credit section of this seminar (LAWJ-1756-09) is restricted to J.D. students only.

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 1645 v00 Cultural Appropriation Seminar: Innovation or Theft?

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

Innovation thrives on borrowing from creators past and far-flung. When does cultural exchange cross the line into cultural misappropriation or theft decried as “cultural appropriation”? Notably, today’s culture wars increasingly turn on intellectual property claims, with calls for attending to the legal and ethical implications of dominant cultural creators taking and profiting from the innovations of disadvantaged and minority creators. From claims of copyright in dance moves sold on the blockbuster video game Fortnite, to the use of trademark law to upend the Washington Redskins’ mascot and name, to social movements #reclaimthebindi and #mycultureisnotyourcouture, diverse citizens contest ownership and authorship of our common culture. Is yoga the cultural property of India, the common heritage of mankind, or the copyright of Bikram Choudhury? What are the repatriation obligations of museums today? Is all music theft? What is the relationship between cultural appropriation, colonialism, and white supremacy? Is property an appropriate legal institution for addressing conflicts over culture? This seminar considers the particular role of intellectual property, including copyright, trademark, patent, and design patent, in promoting free cultural exchange, albeit on fair terms in a global marketplace of ideas marked by sharp differences in power, wealth, and knowledge. The seminar seeks to facilitate respectful and meaningful intercultural dialogue about identity, recognition, and semiotic and distributive justice.

There are no prerequisites or recommended prior courses, although some familiarity with intellectual property will be helpful. 

LAW 1337 v00 Empirical Analysis for Lawyers and Policymakers Seminar

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

This seminar is intended to help students become better consumers of empirical work in the law and social sciences. By the end of the semester, students should: (1) understand the basics of some common empirical methodologies; (2) see how empirical work can inform public policy; and (3) have a better sense of the limits and problems inherent in empirical work.
 

Each week, we will cover one or more policy-relevant empirical papers that students will be expected to read. Students will submit a 1-2 page analysis of an assigned paper before class. Each paper will introduce students to a particular empirical methodology, or show how it might be applied in a particular policy setting.
 

Topics will be drawn from a variety of areas, including criminal law, education, health, development, and labor. For example, we might study questions like: what is the impact of education on earnings? How do 401(k) plans affect people’s savings decisions? How does a change in the minimum wage affect labor supply? Do minimum drinking ages reduce drunken driving deaths? What are the benefits and limits of randomized controlled trials?
 

Toward the end of the semester, students will be asked to write an 10-12 page paper that analyzes in detail an empirical paper of their own choosing. If there is time, students will be asked to present their analysis to the class in a final presentation.
 

Grades will be based on the short 1-2 page analyses, the 10-12 page final paper and presentation, and classroom participation.

Recommended: Some background in statistics or econometrics is helpful but not required. More important is a willingness to engage with unfamiliar material and a deep interest in learning.

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 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 804 v04 Financial Reporting and Accounting

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

This course will examine traditional accounting topics with emphasis on their practical application to the practice of law. It will do so based on the development of an understanding of corporate financial statements and the underlying accounting concepts used in preparing those statements and related accounting records. Issues will be considered against the backdrop of current SEC and professional requirements. Particular attention will be paid to current issues and enforcement trends raised by the SEC and to the latest pronouncements of the FASB, AICPA and SEC. Selected public filings will be analyzed to give students additional insights on the actual quality of reported earnings and financial condition of the reporting company, and the apparent effect of various alternative accounting methods.

Learning objectives:

Upon completion of this course, you will have a fundamental understanding of the basic architecture of financial reporting and a working knowledge of the federal regulatory framework for public companies, as administered primarily by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. You will learn the history of this framework, its primary goals, and its basic requirements. You will see how basic principles of administrative law regulate the financial reporting of public companies. You will become familiar with the structure of a Balance Sheet and Income Statement and the essentials of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Prerequisite: Prior enrollment in Securities Regulation.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for both this course and the J.D. courses: Accounting Concepts for Lawyers; Accounting for Lawyers; Introduction to Accounting; or the graduate courses: Accounting for Securities Lawyers; or Basic Accounting Concepts for Lawyers.

LAW 572 v00 Good and Evil Seminar: The Role of Law in Shaping Character and Behavior

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

This seminar will explore some extremely thorny moral and psychological issues: why do people behave altruistically or cruelly? What separates the law-abiding citizen from the criminal? Does "character" determine most behavior, or does environment trump character in some—or most—situations? What's the best way to understand the role law plays in shaping human behavior? Course readings will be drawn from a wide variety of disciplines, including biology, sociology, psychology, and jurisprudence, and we will look at materials that range from studies of adolescent bullying and war-time heroism to stories drawn from the Rwandan genocide and the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo.
 

No prerequisites. For students enrolled in the writing requirement section: Students will be required to write one 25+ page term paper and several shorter reaction papers (1-2 pages) throughout the course.

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 1408 v00 Human Genetic Engineering: Law and Policy

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

This two-credit seminar will open a window into the fast-developing world of human genetic engineering. It begins with a review of international and regional efforts to ban or restrict human germline modification (HGM), along with a brief world overview of relevant laws and trends. It then focuses on cutting-edge techniques like CRISPR/Cas9 and organized research efforts, particularly in China, that may nonetheless spark a race to create designer babies within a decade or less, as regulation lags behind technology and human affairs. Next, we examine two more well-established reproductive technologies, mitochondrial replacement and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), to identify forces that are likely to guide HGM regulation as relevant technologies become safer and more efficient. We'll study the U.K.'s recent adoption of mitochondrial transfer to reduce birth defects or enhance fertility and then learn about evolving U.S. policy. We'll follow the spread of PGD, initially used to identify embryos bearing genes causing incurable childhood diseases, first to other less serious conditions, then to the creation of "savior siblings" and finally to non-medical uses like sex selection. Then we'll return to HGM and view a sample of public policy proposals and religious views likely to influence the coming debate. Finally, we'll close with an introduction to futuristic impulses to implement theoretically limitless improvements to human capabilities, sometimes balanced by the desire to use HGM to improve human moral character and tempered by doubts regarding the moral status to be accorded new HGM creations.

LAW 1705 v00 Law and Economic Analysis of the Public Sector Seminar

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

Should government help families to pay for their health care?  If so, which level of government: state or federal?  What about disaster relief, education, or news that informs instead of simply entertaining?  Which governments, if any, should provide those goods? 

This course aims to equip students to provide answers to these and other basic questions of legal policy.  Our basic approach is economic, but we also engage with other forms of policy analysis.  The course provides a general introduction to the economics of government taxing and spending, with a focus on the implications of economic theory for legal problems.  Each unit of theory will be paired with a practical policy issue, allowing us to learn and apply the theory in a concrete context.

For example, we will discuss the theoretical challenges of measuring “utility” across a population, and some economic tools for approximating it.  We will analyze the basic concept of the “externality,” and develop our analysis to the point where we can argue about what it suggests about whether government should provide services to the population, and if so, what kinds of services and what levels of government.  In particular, we’ll spend a fair bit of time discussing aspects of “fiscal federalism”  -- the question of the optimal allocation of taxing and spending authority between states and the federal government.  We’ll touch on the implications of government serving as insurer, particularly as a “social” insurer providing welfare-type benefits.  There will be a running debate over whether utility-maximization ought to be the sole criteria for judging good government, or whether other factors, such as fairness, must also play a role.  And we’ll briefly cover some of the major economic theories of taxation. 

Course Objectives:

  • Acquire familiarity with general economic arguments pertaining to why and how government intervenes in the marketplace
  • Develop ability to make and analyze economic arguments in a legal and policy context
  • Begin thinking about many of the most important controversies confronting government today
  • Practice skills of policy advocacy

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 276 v01 Law and Economics Workshop

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

The Law and Economics Workshop is a research workshop. In a majority of the class sessions, outside speakers (typically faculty members from other institutions) will present their current work in the field of law and economics. The specific topics considered will vary depending on the interests of the speakers, but the general focus will be the application of economic concepts and tools to legal and regulatory issues. Other class sessions will focus on selected basic topics in law and economics, including methodology commonly used in law and economics scholarship. Students are responsible for preparing brief weekly memoranda that discuss and question the presented papers.

Course Objective and Learning Outcomes: The objective of the course is to expose you to current research in the field of law and economics in order to enhance your ability to: (i) employ economic and statistical analysis and reasoning to make effective legal and policy arguments; (ii) comprehend technical economic and statistical analysis and interact with economic and statistical experts; and (iii) analyze, critique, and engage in academic legal writing.

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

LAW 289 v02 Law and Literature Seminar

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

This seminar examines the contribution to our understanding of law made by the current "law and literature" movement in American law schools. The seminar will pursue three major themes. First, we will read several pieces of classical and modern literature that treat law as subject matter, including (subject to change) Remains of the Day, The Great Gatsby, Bartleby the Scrivener, Go Set a Watchman, Lets Be Free, Jury of Her Peers, and the films Doubt and To Kill a Mockingbird. Second, we will examine the theoretical claim of modern humanistic jurists and legal theorists that the interpretation of law and the interpretation of literature are common enterprises, significantly sharing common problems and potentialities. Finally, we will examine the role of narrative and story-telling in standard legal argument and in legal education.

Mutually Excluded Courses: Students may not receive credit for this seminar and Law and Humanities Seminar.

LAW 289 v05 Law and Literature Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

This course will examine literary texts that engage important questions related to justice theory, criminal law, and public policy decisions. These text range from canonical works (Antigone, Merchant of Venice) to contemporary writers exploring the effect of law on Outsider groups such as immigrants, drug addicts, and prisoners. Law and literature offers us the opportunity to consider the impact of law on those Othered by our society, to obtain an empathetic and vicarious understanding of how law affects those who are most marginalized. The authors range from those who are very well known (James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Margaret Atwood) to the first published, including works of fiction by recent immigrants and those who are still in prison. The course invites broader consideration of the purposes of justice: should societies prioritize utilitarian principles? What is the role of forgiveness when heinous crimes have been committed? Other texts invite students to apply a broad perspective to criminal policy questions, including the insanity defense, rape, and the death penalty. Readings include some speculative/dystopian fiction and recent stories bearing on epidemic and disease control.

LAW 1713 v00 Law and Neuroscience Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

This seminar will examine legal issues arising at the intersection of law and neuroscience.  Advances in neuroscience have led to increased understanding of the brain and its relationship with issues such as behavior, decision-making, reasoning, memory, and emotions. The interdisciplinary field of law and neuroscience (sometimes referred to as “neurolaw”) has been exploring the implications of the science for law and public policy.  This seminar will examine cutting-edge issues and proposals currently facing courts, lawyers, legislators, administrative agencies, and other policymakers.  The issues explored will likely include assessments of criminal responsibility, insanity and capacity, juveniles, proving pain and other injuries, lie detection, memory, and practical issues in court, among others.  No prior background in science is necessary or will be assumed.​

LAW 1470 v00 Law and Rhetoric Seminar

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

This seminar will explore in depth how lawyers and judges use language to persuade. Relying on classical and modern rhetorical theory, we will examine a variety of persuasive methods, including categories, metaphor, storytelling, the traditional modes of appeal (logos, pathos, and ethos), and informal logic. We will also study several examples of rhetorical analysis, and students will write an original rhetorical analysis of a law-related argument of their choice. This course requires that J.D. students’ papers satisfy the Law Center’s Writing Requirement. Graduate students may enroll in the course for 2 credits and will write a shorter paper. All students will present their paper to the class at the end of the semester.

Prerequisite: Legal Practice: Writing and Analysis.

Note: Professor permission is not required. FIRST CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. All enrolled and waitlisted students must be in attendance at the first and second class sessions in order to be eligible for a seat in the class.

LAW 1289 v00 Law of Robots

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

Robots, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems have long been the realm of science fiction, but they are increasingly a part of contemporary life as well. Computers fly airplanes, play Jeopardy, drive cars, trade stocks, and fight in wars. Autonomous systems are no longer a thing of the future, but a fact of modern life, and Moore’s Law suggests that these changes will increase not incrementally, but exponentially. This course will examine whether or when we need a Law of Robots to regulate these autonomous agents, or where it is more appropriate to reason by analogy and regulate these systems by existing statute, regulation, or common law. The course will examine emerging issues across the spectrum of tort law, property law, copyright law, the laws of war, laws of agency, criminal law, and international law. The class will not be a survey of existing law, but instead an examination of how to regulate emerging issues in law – how to extrapolate and reason by analogy, in robotics and beyond. Paper required.

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

LAW 1722 v00 Lawyers as Leaders

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

This 1-credit course will explore various ways in which lawyers act as leaders, showcasing the scholarship and work of the Georgetown Law community.  The eight classes will take place on Sundays in the fall, from 1 to 2:30 pm.  Each session will feature Dean Treanor engaging in a discussion with a faculty member or members about their work across a wide spectrum of issues, from social justice and policing to the role of corporations in our society.  Students will read research and materials and submit questions in advance of each session.  At the end of the course, students will draft a reflection paper that engages with the research, the class sessions, and their own personal reflections on leadership and their career aspirations and goals.   

Course Goals/Student Learning Outcomes

  • Develop critical thinking skills.

  • Develop ability to synthesize key ideas across disparate topics.

  • Improve analytical and writing skills.

Note: Students can participate asynchronously.

This course is open to LL.M. students.  LL.M. students should register using the LAWJ course number (LAWJ-1722-05, CRN 39115).

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

Note for LAWJ-1722-05: This course will have eight sessions on Sundays, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. on the following dates: 9/13, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1 and 11/15. 

Note for LAWJ-1722-09: This section will meet Sundays, 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. on the following dates: 9/13, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1 and 11/15.  This section will also meet on Saturday, 10/3 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., and on Sunday, 10/4 from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. This section requires departmental permission to enroll.  New F-1 international students will receive priority.  To request permission, email lawcentervisa@georgetown.edu

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.

LAW 1215 v00 Legal Delivery System in Transition: Changes, Challenges, New Models and Opportunities

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

The legal market is undergoing a radical transformation. Several key factors driving change are: (1) financial convulsions following the 2008 economic crisis; (2) global change in legal regulation; (3) information technology; and (4) “unbundling” of legal services. New legal service delivery models are emerging in response.


This course will examine the reasons for and responses to change in the legal vertical market. Professor Mark Cohen, CEO of Legal Mosaic, a Legal Business Consulting Firm, and a Co-Founder and former Managing Director of Clearspire, acknowledged widely as a highly innovative and disruptive law firm and legal service provider, is in the vanguard of that change. He also has a weekly column in Bloomberg Big Law Business. His first-hand knowledge of the marketplace, coupled with readings, class discussion, and individual reflection of students, is intended to identify opportunities open to those who understand the new landscape and who can reposition themselves to navigate its topography by drawing upon their skills and passions.

Note: This class will meet for two days of intensive sessions on the following dates in the Fall 2016 semester: 10/1 and 10/2 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY AT ALL CLASS SESSIONS. 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.

A student will be permitted to drop a course that meets for the first time after the add/drop period, without a transcript notation, if a student submits a written request to the Office of the Registrar prior to the start of the second class meeting. Withdrawals are permitted up until the last class for this specific course.

LAW 611 v13 Legal Innovation: Designing Human-Centered Solutions to Challenges in Law

J.D. Seminar | 1 credit hour

This Week One, project-based simulation course is designed for students who want to learn methods and processes to create new and effective solutions to challenges in the legal industry. Working in teams of four, students will re-imagine how we can deliver some aspect of legal services. To do this, we will bring together principles from design thinking, business strategy, and behavioral science.

Some examples of legal design challenges that teams may take on:

How might we reduce the rate of default in landlord-tenant court?

How might lawyers in firms improve the billing process for clients?

How might we improve the likelihood that consumers will read, understand, and respond to a product recall notice?

How might we help qualifying pro se litigants take advantage of free filing policies in D.C. Superior Court?

Over four fast-paced, intense days, teams will: map out and study the problem, sketch out competing ideas, turn your ideas into testable prototypes, and validate the key elements you will need if your idea is going to work.  At the end of Week One, you will pitch your proposed solution to a key influencer in the legal industry.

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 315 v00 Literacy and Law Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

In this seminar, we use children’s literature and participatory methodology to explore the relationships between law and literacy simultaneously as we bring to the surface fundamental principles of law, justice, and democracy. We do this using a dynamic, experiential approach, with examples from children’s literature, children’s writing, and learner-centered teaching methodology and a combination of readings, interactive seminars, and placements involving weekly reading with emergent readers.  We examine learning theories and practices regarding emergent literacy and discuss their legal, educational, and social implications. Readings are drawn from law, educational theory and practice, and children’s literature. We explore the variety of learning approaches that now inform literacy instruction in America. Legal implications to be considered include restrictions on literacy due to historical oppression and educational disadvantage, equal protection and diversity, freedom of speech, school finance, discipline, gender, and English as a second language.  We also focus on the relationship between interactive, experiential learning, civic skills, and the democratic process. 

Students are required to spend at least one hour per week working with an emergent reader. The placement may be a literacy program at a local school or center (e.g., the Early Learning Center at Georgetown Law), or some other arrangement of a participant’s choice, approved by the instructors (e.g., siblings, relatives, or parents/grandparents). The reading sessions may be conducted in person or online. Writing requirements include both a monthly 5-page journal and a short paper. The paper may be a conventional paper or, the more frequent choice, the writing of a children’s book that integrates legal and educational issues and which is accompanied by a short analytical essay describing the book’s connections between literacy and law. Please contact the professors for more information.

LAW 1426 v00 Medical Malpractice Seminar

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

This seminar covers the doctrinal and empirical literature on medical malpractice and tort reform. We will cover physician and institutional liability, health care quality and medical error, the economics of litigating medical malpractice cases, the causes of malpractice crisis, and the effect of the reforms that have resulted (and been proposed).

LAW 331 v01 Nationalisms, States, & Cultural Identities Seminar

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

This seminar is about the phenomena of national and cultural identity formation within states and non-state groups (ethnic, racial, regional, religious, cultural, tribal) and the roles played by law and culture in defining and distributing membership in a collective or “national” community. The course material will provide a foundation in political theories of nationalism and will focus on two different forms of contemporary nationalism: the rise of a new American and predominantly white nationalism (since the 2016 election) and a non-US example of a sovereignty or self-determination movement (such as the Catalan independence movement in Spain). Along the way we will discuss additional and alternative forms of belonging and exclusion, such as monuments and memory, statelessness and diaspora, and postcolonial and cosmopolitan forms of citizenship. This interdisciplinary and comparative seminar is geared toward better understanding how law and culture are used to divide and unify diverse populations, and exploring how democratic, heterogeneous states and communities might find common purpose.

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 1217 v00 Persuasion

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

The objective of this course is to build practical persuasion skills. The course is skills-oriented. We will examine techniques of persuasion from classical rhetoric to what modern scientific research tells us about perception, memory, emotion, logic, and how we really make decisions. We will apply this information to improve your presentation skills in multiple ways. By the end of the course, you should feel that you are more effective at public speaking and presentation. You should also feel more comfortable and confident speaking publicly. I hope that you will develop practical checklists of what works and what doesn’t and use this information to refine your own personal presentation style. This course will provide you tools to better organize and present your arguments in a more persuasive manner based on how your audience thinks. We will investigate your (students’) and my (instructor’s) biases, values and beliefs, and perceptions as factors in persuasion. There will be several in-class participation exercises (come as you are, no preparation required), two short presentations, and a brief and oral argument. The course requirements are: participate in the in-class exercises and presentations; maintain a concise journal of your reactions to the materials presented each class session and how you could use them; and practice your presentation skills based on the techniques we will study. There are no prerequisites for this course.

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

J.D. Clinic | 8 or 14 credit hours

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 explicit evaluation criteria in the clinical program design.

  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. Research and analysis – covers legal, policy and strategic analysis.  It includes identifying issues that require analysis, learning the context efficiently, using diverse sources to learn efficiently and avoid bias, explaining analytic methods, using a logical framework, and drawing conclusions or options that meet client needs.
  3. Communication, writing and speaking – includes organizing documents and presentations logically, meeting audience needs for context in the introduction and for decision-making in the conclusion, relating analysis through stories and examples, presenting visual information, and using appropriate language in terms of editing conventions, clarity, tone, and jargon.

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 1315 v00 Privacy Legislation: Law and Technology (Project-Based Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 5 credit hours

Cross-Listed: JD and MLT Programs

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 privacy policy. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 15 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professor.

SEMINAR: The aim of this practicum is to have law students and Master of Law and Technology (MLT) students jointly explore in-depth current issues in privacy policy and to propose policy solutions in the form of legislation that could be adopted by state governments. Our goal is to foster an environment that permits law students interested in a career at the intersection of law and technology to work with technology students on current issues of real gravity to (a) become literate in the technology that drives privacy issues; (b) learn to work with experts from different disciplines; and to (c) learn to work collaboratively with technologists on issues with important technological dimensions.

PROJECT WORK: The practicum will pair law students and MLT students in interdisciplinary teams, each likely consisting of two law students and one MLT student.

Each team will be assigned a specific question of public policy, and over the course of the semester the team will be responsible for preparing a detailed legal assessment of the policy question, the technological frameworks and challenges associated with the policy question, and formulating policy and technological recommendations to address the question in the form of draft state legislation. Among the kinds of questions that students may be asked to address are the following: (a) new, invasive forms of workplace and employee tracking; (b) commercial and police use of face recognition technology; and (c) state efforts to severely restrict flows of local and state government data to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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

Strongly Recommended: Information Privacy Law with either Professor Julie Cohen, Professor Paul Ohm or Professor Marc Rotenberg.

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 may be suitable for evening students who can commit to attending class and participating in 15 hours/week of project work.

This is a five-credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and three credits will be awarded for approximately 15 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 611 v03 Privacy, Civil Liberties and Face Recognition: Legislating Privacy Protections for 21st Century Tracking Technology

J.D. Course | 1 credit hour

For decades, American law enforcement has tracked our technology – our phones, our cars, and our computers. The latest generation of law enforcement technology tracks our bodies. And unlike fingerprint technology – the legacy biometric of law enforcement – the latest generation of biometric technology can be captured remotely and in secret. At the center of that drive is face recognition technology. Recently the FBI revealed that it had access to a network of 411 million photos, roughly a third of which are drawn from state driver’s license photo databases. Meanwhile, private companies are not sitting on the sidelines. Instead, major brick-and-mortar retailers like Wal-Mart are deploying face recognition technology to identify shoplifters, “complainers,” and “known litigious individuals” the moment they set foot inside a store. At the same time, enterprising app developers are bringing this ability to identify anyone with the touch of a button to the hands of private citizens. Despite the advanced deployment, the Supreme Court has yet to recognize a right to privacy in public – and only two of fifty states regulate commercial use of face recognition. If there was ever a time to pass legislation to regulate face recognition, it is now. This Week One simulation will teach students the nuts and bolts of privacy advocacy – with a focus not in the courtroom, but in Congress and in state legislatures around the country. Students will learn about how face recognition technology works and how it is being deployed by both law enforcement and commercial actors. Then, they will debate the evolving Fourth Amendment doctrine around tracking in public and develop amendments to existing state legislation to regulate commercial use. Once the students have established a familiarity with the law and the technology, the core challenge of the course will begin – students will draft legislation and legislative amendments and engage in a prolonged negotiation that mirrors the actual legislative process. In addition to teaching students the law and technology surrounding face recognition, students will learn legislative drafting, strategy, and presentation skills. They will also work collaboratively in teams to complete a time-consuming and complex challenge.

Note: FIRST-YEAR WEEK ONE COURSE: This course will meet on the following days: Monday, January 8, 2018, through Thursday, January 11, 2018. 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 are enrolled through a lottery 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 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 Friday, December 1, at 3:00 p.m. After that point, permission from the course professor and Assistant Dean for Experiential Learning is required.

LAW 1613 v00 Public Speaking for Lawyers

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

In this hands-on course, we will use current legal issues to examine public speech from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and you will begin to develop a skill-set essential for success in all law practice types.

Course Goals/Student Learning Outcomes

Whenever lawyers speak professionally, they are engaging in some form of public speaking. This is true inside the courtroom, but is equally true in non-litigation settings—whether speaking to lay groups about various matters of legal controversy; appearing before legislatures, city councils or municipal boards; pitching ideas to colleagues, clients, or potential clients; or conducting media interviews for any variety of reasons. 

This course examines communication and interdisciplinary theories and mechanics/strategies needed for effective persuasive public speaking, such as speech study, audience analysis, outlining, documentation, organizational skills, word choice, and presentation. Every speech, including the one of self-introduction, will focus on topics that are legally relevant. Throughout the semester, students will maintain files of articles regarding a legal topic (i.e. legal arguments and theories behind controversial social issues) from which many of their speeches will be derived, including the persuasive speech.

At the conclusion of the course, you will:

  1. Know how to speak publicly so your audience will really listen and understand.
  2. Develop analytical listening and observation skills.
  3. Construct and deliver effective extemporaneous public speeches.
  4. Manage speech anxiety and effectively use nonverbal communication to inform, persuade, enlighten, and impact your audience.
  5. Be able to produce and employ effective visual aids in your presentations.

Note: FIRST CLASS ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY. All enrolled and waitlisted students must be in attendance at the first class session in order to be eligible for a seat in the class.

Note: A laptop or tablet will not be permitted to take notes in class but may be used when working on writing assignments or making presentations of material in class. 

LAW 1520 v00 Race to Risk Assessment

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

This seminar will examine how the law historically and contemporaneously constructs race in America, focusing in particular on the way race has been used (and abused) in the criminal justice system in supposedly scientific methods for measuring risk. We will begin the seminar by examining the explicit constructions of race, including naturalization cases from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as more notable cases, such as Dred Scott and Plessy, involving restrictions on the rights of enslaved and formerly enslaved Black Americans. We will then turn our attention to constructions of race in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education, particularly the rise of 'colorblind' interpretations of the Equal Protection Clause, which limit legal interventions and remedies to incidents of intentional racist acts, rather than facilitating remedies to address systemic manifestations of racial hierarchy.

In the second half of the seminar, we will turn our attention to the criminal justice system and how the colorblind doctrine has facilitated the use of crime as a proxy for race. Specifically, we will examine how risk assessments--predictions of a defendant's future dangerousness or risk to public safety--can participate in and obfuscate continued constructions of race under the law, and efforts at the local, state, and national levels to ensure these predictions do not replicate the biases we have come to associate with our system of criminal justice.

Learning Objectives:

Students will learn how the courts have traditionally been called upon to define race, how these constructions persist into the present, and how interpretations of the Constitution as ‘colorblind’ can obfuscate courts' continued role and involvement in these constructions. By turning our attention to the criminal justice system, students will be able to assess the nexus between the colorblind rhetoric of the courts and mass incarceration. Students will leave the seminar with substantive knowledge of: the federal Bail Reform Acts of 1966 and 1984, the responsibility of judges to “predict” whether people charged with crimes are a risk to public safety, and increasing concerns from the public regarding the role such predictions play in continued constructions of race.

Beyond the knowledge gained from exploration of the aforementioned laws and cases, students’ should depart the seminar with a healthy skepticism of the law as inherently neutral or unbiased. Further, through robust class discussion and satisfaction of the writing requirement, students will sharpen their analytical skills, as well as their ability to clearly and concisely articulate themselves in verbal and written formats.

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 1719 v00 Race, Law, and Inequality Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

The deaths of black men and women at the hands of white police officers in places like Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, North Charlestown, South Carolina, and Baltimore has launched a conversation about race in the United States unlike any we have seen in recent decades.  Recent debates have focused on racial bias, discrimination and disadvantage, but have largely ignored the effects of law in the racial inequality context.  This course looks to correct that omission.  It offers students an opportunity to explore the ongoing role that law plays in both shaping notions of race and in fostering structural racial inequality in the United States.   Launching an inquiry that emphasizes history, as well as scholarly critique and social science insights, the course invites students to consider the racial contours and function of law in a host of contexts, including criminal justice, education, family, and housing.  

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

LAW 1389 v00 Racial Capitalism and American Law Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

This course explores the many ways in which law is implicated in histories of racial differentiation and subordination in the United States. Beginning with histories of colonial settlerism, native dispossession, and black bondage, this course will explore the distinctly racial character of capital accumulation, in the United States and now globally. We continue though the revolutions of emancipation, racial segregation, and selective migration, to understand the racialized patterns of economic inequality rooted in our present. Though the readings assigned in this course have been selected to provide students with a richly historical framework for understanding contemporary crises, students are encouraged to introduce questions that concern them most immediately. Students are also encouraged to think critically across intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

There are no prerequisites for this class, but students should be prepared to engage with variety of materials, not limited to legal cases or statutes. Students will be introduced to foundational essays in the critical legal tradition, as well as emerging interdisciplinary scholarship in postcolonial studies, critical indigenous studies, black radicalism, ethnic / American studies, and feminist / queer studies.

Students will be expected to draft short weekly reflections, to participate in leading our seminar discussion at least once during the semester, and to submit a final paper on a topic of their own choosing.

Note: This course requires professor permission to enroll.  Please email Professor Munshi (skm67@georgetown.edu) and her assistant Maya Krishnan (maya.krishnan@georgetown.edu) by Wednesday, June 9, 2021 with a copy of your CV and a short statement of interest (1 page or less).  Please include whether you want to take the course for 2 or 3 credits.  After the June 9 application deadline, students will be admitted into open seats on a rolling basis.  

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

LAW 1718 v00 Real Estate Development Seminar

J.D. Course | 2 credit hours

Guest Lecturers: 

Brandon Rule, Rule Enterprises 

Feras Qumseya, Folger-Pratt 

David Bramble, MCB Real Estate

This course teaches the fundamentals of real estate development with considerable emphasis on problem solving and real time engagement of potential development sites.  Across the semester, students acquire practical knowledge of  the stages of real estate development, as well as the laws and deal structures pertinent to a range of mixed income/mixed use development. 

Students whose projects show promise may have the opportunity to join interested professional development teams as interns, continuing their learning experience and involvement on this and/or other projects. 

Learning Goals

Through class readings, in-class exercises, and guest lectures, students learn to 

  1. Identify problems and solutions at various stages of the development process: 1) creating and refining a development idea, 2) site selection, evaluation, and control, 3) development and entitlement, 4) construction and tenant occupancy and 5) management of the built project. 
  2. Navigate the deal structure and most common legal issues in mixed income/mixed use development
  3. Research the preliminary feasibility of potential sites and construct a pro forma to analyze business feasibility of those sites
  4. Prepare a short prospectus capturing the essentials of site research and pro forma analysis
  5. Organize and present a 5-7 min. pitch to industry professionals based on prospectus and pro forma analysis

Recommended: This course functions like an incubator for those interested in commercial and multi family real estate development.  No prior experience or coursework in development, finance, or real estate law is required, but proficiency with Excel and familiarity with general business and finance concepts could be helpful. 

Note: THIS COURSE REQUIRES PROFESSOR PERMISSION TO ENROLL. Interested students should submit a statement of interest, along with an updated CV to Professor Anthony Cook (mailto:cooka@georgetown.edu) by 3:00 pm on Monday, September 21, 2020.

LAW 1038 v00 Religion and the Work of a Lawyer Seminar

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

For some, the ways in which we think about legal questions, and about our own work as lawyers, are related to our religious or spiritual outlook. The seminar will explore the content of that relation, and such questions as: is such a connection appropriate only as a private matter, not to be brought into the evaluation of policy questions or even into conversation, except with one’s chosen intimates? Can its importance to our legal thinking be honored in a manner that honors too our political commitment to pluralism and freedom of conscience? What is the difference, if any, between religious and secular sources of values? How may one integrate a religious commitment with a career as a lawyer? This is not a seminar on the law of the First Amendment, although it may affect our understanding of some of the controversies.

This seminar requires a series of short reflection and reaction papers which aim to facilitate thoughtful student participation in seminar discussions throughout the course. The final paper is not a research project, but a short engagement (about 8 pages) with a particular set of issues arising from across the range of topics covered in the course. This course does not satisfy the JD Upper Level Writing Requirement.

Substantive Goals: For some, the ways in which we think about legal questions, and about our own work as lawyers, are related to our religious or spiritual outlook. The substantive goal of the seminar is to provide students with the opportunity to explore questions such as: is such a connection appropriate only as a private matter, not to be brought into the evaluation of policy questions or even into conversation, except with one’s chosen intimates? Can its importance to our legal thinking be honored in a manner that also honors our political commitment to pluralism and freedom of conscience? What is the difference, if any, between religious and secular sources of values? How may one integrate a religious commitment with a career as a lawyer? This is not a seminar on the law of the First Amendment, although it may affect our understanding of some of the controversies.

This course does not satisfy the JD Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

Skills-oriented goals: 

  1. This seminar requires a series of short reflection and reaction papers which provide an opportunity for students to hone the art of brief writing for a professional setting.  The final paper is not a research project, but a short engagement (6-8 pages) with a particular set of issues arising from across the range of topics covered in the course.
  2. Reflection papers also aid in preparation for thoughtful student participation in seminar discussions throughout the course, and the further opportunity to hone skills in speaking fluently and comfortably, even about difficult or contentious questions.
  3. Seminar discussions will not shy away from sensitive, difficult, or even polarizing cultural and religious questions.  Frequent breakout groups and exercises in communication aim to help students hone cognitive empathy, a capacity to listen to understand (rather than simply to debate), and agile skills for dialogue across profound difference.  

LAW 1196 v00 Religion, Morality and Contested Claims for Justice Seminar

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

This interdisciplinary seminar will examine theories of justice and the relationship between law and morality in light of religious and theological visions of the good life and accounts of order. Materials and discussions will probe questions such as: What are the moral values underlying the law? How does the law achieve justice or fall short of this goal? How can moral judgments be brought to bear, if at all, in modern, secular legal institutions and in the formation of public policies?

Throughout the class we will have opportunities to consider how morality and ideas of justice shape, and are shaped by, contemporary legal problems such as: the legal regulation of sexual activity and marriage, controversies regarding federally mandated health insurance, abortion, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, immigration, regulation of financial institutions, and/or other issues which emerge as topics of particular student interest.

Particular attention will be paid to understanding methods for dialogue across differing thought systems and disciplines and to developing the skills for communication across claims that would otherwise tend to generate religious and political polarization.

This seminar requires a series of short reflection and reaction papers which aim to facilitate thoughtful and active student participation in seminar discussions throughout the course. This course does not satisfy the JD Upper Level Writing Requirement.

Substantive Goals: This interdisciplinary seminar will examine theories of justice and the relationship between law and morality in light of religious and theological visions of the good life and accounts of order. Materials and discussions will probe questions such as: What are the moral values underlying the law? How does the law achieve justice or fall short of this goal? How can moral judgments be brought to bear, if at all, in modern, secular legal institutions and in the formation of public policies?  Throughout the class we will have opportunities to consider how morality and ideas of justice shape, and are shaped by, contemporary legal problems. 

Recent topics have included: arguments for and against exemptions, public health and religious freedom amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, euthanasia and physician assisted suicide, migration, environmental justice, and other issues which emerge according to student interest.

This course does not satisfy the JD Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

Skills-oriented goals: 

  1. This seminar requires a series of short reflection and reaction papers which provide an opportunity for students to hone the art of brief writing for a professional setting.  For J.D. and L.L.M. students, the final paper is not a research project, but a short engagement (6-8 pages) with a particular set of issues arising from across the range of topics covered in the course.
  2. Reflection papers also aid in preparation for thoughtful student participation in seminar discussions throughout the course, and the further opportunity to hone skills in speaking fluently and comfortably, even about difficult or contentious questions.
  3. Seminar discussions will not shy away from sensitive, difficult, or even polarizing cultural and religious questions.  Frequent breakout groups and exercises in communication aim to help students hone cognitive empathy, a capacity to listen to understand (rather than simply to debate), and agile skills for dialogue even across claims that would otherwise tend to generate religious and political polarization.

LAW 1706 v00 Surveillance and Civil Rights (Fieldwork Practicum)

J.D. Practicum | 6 credit hours

The Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown Law conducts research and advocacy at the intersection of privacy and civil rights. Center reports have revealed that most American adults are in a police face recognition database; that face recognition technology suffers from race, age, and gender bias; and that ICE is beginning to tap into the biometric networks that police have long exploited. Center advocacy has resulted in multiple states investigating or halting use of face recognition; in ICE dropping plans for an expansive social media monitoring plan; and in Congress halting the use of unaccompanied children’s data to find and deport their loved ones.

In this fieldwork based practicum, students will learn the tools of effective research and policy advocacy, and put those tools to use in the Center’s projects on biometrics, immigrant surveillance, and potentially other fields. They will work closely with Center staff and, as needed, their partners in civil society and federal and state legislatures.

The projects that the students will likely work on will generally fall into two fields relating to two tranches of research and advocacy:

Immigrant Surveillance. The Center advocates against the expansion and lawless nature of surveillance conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs & Border Protection. The students may have an array of projects related to that work, including:

  • Writing research papers analyzing congressional oversight into ICE and CBP appropriations.
  • Writing research papers identifying policy tools – legislative, executive, and administrative – that policy stakeholders can use to decrease or cut off flows of data to immigration enforcement.
  • Conducting targeted outreach to federal and state legislators to urge them to investigate, conduct oversight, and take policy action on this subject.

Police Face Recognition. The Center is the nation’s leading research institution into the proliferation, use, and misuse of face recognition by law enforcement. The students may have an array of projects related to that work, including:

  • Analyzing caselaw on legacy biometrics (fingerprint, DNA) to apply those precedents to face recognition.
  • Writing draft legislation to regulate the use of face recognition by law enforcement.
  • Conducting targeted outreach to federal and state legislators to urge them to investigate, conduct oversight, and take policy action on this subject.

In the seminar, students will study the following legal, policy, and technical frameworks:

  • The Immigration and Nationality Act, the authorizing statutes behind the Department of Homeland Security, and their intersection with federal and state surveillance statutes and caselaw;
  • Fourth Amendment protections for geolocation information post-Carpenter;
  • The tensions between regulating immigrant surveillance and face recognition at different levels of government (local, state, federal); and
  • The data-sharing networks and technical systems underlying both face recognition and ICE/CBP surveillance.

And students will develop the following skills:

  • Persuasive writing for policymakers and a general audience;
  • The ability to understand the administrative rules governing the deployment of complex federal technology systems;
  • Persuasive speaking for policymakers, also known as legislative “pitches”; and
  • Legislative analysis and drafting.

Note: Any student who is offered a seat in this course will be directly enrolled.  Students have until Tuesday, September 7, 2021 to drop the course. After that time, a student may only drop the course with the permission of the professor and the Assistant Dean of Experiential Education. Permission will be granted only if remaining in the practicum would cause significant hardship to the student.

Students must participate in a mandatory orientation to take place the week prior to the first week of classes.

This is a six credit course. Two credits will be awarded for the two-hour weekly seminar and four credits for 20 hours/week of fieldwork.  The two-credit seminar portion of this practicum will be graded. The four credits of fieldwork are mandatory pass/fail. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as the fieldwork.

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 or one week of unexcused absences from the fieldwork may receive a lower grade or, at the professor’s discretion, may be withdrawn from the practicum course.

LAW 1707 v00 The Color of Surveillance Seminar: Law and History

J.D. Seminar | 2-3 credit hours

In 2020, the hallmark of surveillance is its ubiquity. Any public discussion of Facebook or the National Security Agency, every edition of the Business or Technology section of any newspaper, all document the inuring, inevitable fact that “everyone is watched.”

At the same time, these discourses also tend to be anodyne, ahistorical, and often blind to the realities of race, class, and power. We talk about pervasive surveillance; we rarely discuss its disparate impact, its human toll, or its perseverance across centuries of American history. And that is a deep history. The migration of the English Separatists we know as Pilgrims, the construction of the Southern slave economy, the settlement of Mormons in the American west, the labor struggles of Appalachian coal miners, the Palmer Raids, the return of Black service members from World War I, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and J. Edgar Hoover’s surveillance of nearly the entire leadership of the 20th century civil rights movement -- not to mention the boom in post-9/11 surveillance of Muslim Americans -- each of these republic-defining moments reflect an overarching reality: Everyone is watched, but everyone is not watched equally.

This seminar aims to excavate and expose that “color of surveillance.” It will also reckon with its consequence: If surveillance is indelibly marked by disparate impact, must we understand privacy to be not just a civil liberty, but also a civil right? If surveillance is a tool used to threaten vulnerable people, should we understand privacy as a shield that lets them survive and thrive? If so, the entirety of the post-9/11 National Security Agency and consumer privacy debates must be reevaluated in light of their near-total absence of considerations of disparate impact.

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 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 1301 v00 Theories and Conflicts at the Intersection of Law, Morality, and Religion

J.D. Seminar | 3 credit hours

This seminar for graduate students and law students explores the major theories of the relationship between law and morality (including religious morality) and the way this relationship manifests in contemporary legal and political conflicts. Questions we will address include inquiry into the nature and purpose of law related to moral and ethical life and goals. What is the extent to which moral and religious culture and claims can (or ought) to shape the civil law? How does moral and religious pluralism and diversity affect the inclusion of moral claims into law and policy? Do the ideals of justice to which law and political institutions aim have objective or ontological status or are they more properly conceived as contingent and constructed? Can the authority of law be considered morally legitimate? When law and policy clash with moral and religious culture, which gives way to the other, and are there moral or legal principles for determining how to navigate and/or solve this conflict?

In the first part of the seminar, we will examine the representative theories of this relationship through close readings and discussion of works to include: classic and modern accounts of positivism and command theory in law, (including some attention to modern political theories about the purpose and limits upon political states); classic and contemporary views of natural law and its claims about the civil order; the debate between H.L.A. Hart and Lon Fuller over whether law has an intrinsic moral content; Catholic social teaching and Protestant political thought regarding the moral demands upon the political order; the debate between Hart and Lord Devlin over whether the law and political order may be utilized to sanction behavior on exclusively moral bases; American political thought about the Constitution and limits upon state power over individual (moral and religious) actions; and contemporary political theories about the demands of justice imposed upon political states in a global era.

In the latter part of the seminar, we will investigate three clusters of legal cases and political conflicts in which morality and religion appear as central components of the conflict: 1) the de-criminalization of certain modes of human sexuality and the recent debates over same sex marriage; 2) the clash over the contraception provisions of the Affordable Care Act and demands for religious accommodation; and 3) the relevance of moral and religious claims for legal debates over the efficacy/legitimacy of the death penalty.

A research paper will be the main requirement for the course, along with careful preparation for and participation in the seminar.

Note: 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.

This course is cross-listed with the Government Department and meets on the main campus. Main campus courses begin Wednesday, January 11, 2017. The first meeting of this course will be Thursday, January 12, 2017 (before the Spring 2017 semester begins at the Law Center). Be aware this course may run on a different calendar than the Law Center during weeks where there is a holiday. Please take this into consideration when creating your schedule so that you have flexibility to attend the class on a different day, but at the same time. See the schedule of courses on the Main Campus Registrar’s website for room assignments. Law Center students may register only through the Law Center’s registration system.

LAW 1453 v00 Vatican City State, Holy See, and United Nations Seminar

J.D. Seminar (cross-listed) | 1 credit hour

The purpose of the Seminar is to lead the participants to the understanding of the position and operations in international law of Vatican City, a small but sovereign state, of the Holy See, the representative of an international religious corporation – in particular in their relationships to the United Nations. The sessions will focus (1) on the historical background of the emergence of the modern Vatican; (2) the consolidation of its position among the nations through the Treaty of Lateran in 1927; (3) its developing relationship with the United Nations; (4) its specific contribution as advocate of peace and justice. Each student will be asked to study either a relevant historical event or a major document related to the main topic, and to report on it in a paper of about 12 pages.

Note: This class will meet on the following seven dates in Spring 2018: 1/18, 2/1, 2/15, 3/1, 3/22, 4/5 and 4/19.

LAW 1465 v00 Women and Leadership Seminar

J.D. Seminar | 2 credit hours

This course focuses on women and leadership. You will develop skills for teams, teamwork, self-advocacy, navigating organizational politics, and networking. You will also focus on your own personal leadership style. We will learn from notable leaders who will share their experiences and advice with the class. These conversations will be supplemented with cases and readings about women leaders, as well as a review of the current state of empirical evidence about the status of women as leaders. You will also reflect both individually and with the group on what you expect from your career and develop strategies for achieving those goals.

Course Goals/Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Develop self-advocacy tactics and styles.
  • Develop critical and strategic thinking skills.
  • Improve communication skills, both oral and written.
  • Develop team and collaborative skills.

Note:

This course has mandatory attendance at the first class session and all remaining sessions. Participants are expected to participate actively in each class. All participants will submit reaction papers/essays on the assigned materials for some of the classes and complete a team project, including a presentation in the last two weeks of class.

Withdrawal Policy: Students in Women and Leadership participate in team projects. Because this class cannot successfully operate without a set group of students who are assigned their roles in advance, it is essential we ensure a fixed enrollment for the class, by adopting special rules for dropping the class.

A student enrolled in Women and Leadership Seminar may drop the class no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2021 and only by notifying Professor Sale in writing.  After January 21st at 5:00 p.m., any drop will be recorded as a "W" (for withdrawal) on the student's transcript, even if such a drop happens during the official add/drop period.  

Note: This course is offered on a mandatory pass/fail basis. This course does not count toward the seven credit pass/fail limit.

Full-time and Visiting Faculty

J. Peter Byrne
James V. Feinerman
Neal K. Katyal
Naomi Mezey
John Mikhail
Steven C. Salop
Joshua Teitelbaum