This course is an introduction to the law of the administrative state—to the constitutional, statutory and judge-made rules governing what agencies may do, the procedures they must follow, and how they can be held to account. Topics include mechanisms for control of agencies by the legislative and executive branches; the constitutional basis for, and limits on, governance by agencies; the availability and effects of judicial review over agency action; and the features of agency rulemaking and adjudication.
This course examines the constitutional, statutory and rule-based issues that arise in the formal processing of a criminal case. Subjects include the decision to charge, prosecutorial discretion, grand jury and preliminary hearing, joinder and severance, bail and pretrial release, discovery, plea bargaining and guilty pleas, speedy trial, jury composition and selection, pre-trial publicity, confrontation, cross-examination and the privilege against self-incrimination.
This two-credit clinical experience will be open to students who have previously enrolled in the 4 credit Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic and will build upon the skills that they learned in their earlier experience in the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic. The two-credit course will involve a senior role in client projects at the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic, assistance to first-time students at the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic and participation in new initiatives undertaken by the Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This 2-3 credit clinical experience will be open to students who have previously enrolled in the 5-credit Family Law Clinic Course and will build upon the skills they have learned. The course will involve a senior role in pending clinic cases; leadership in clinic initiatives such as community legal workshops; and further development of close client relationships and casework developed in the student's previous semester. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This clinical experience will be open to students who have previously enrolled in the 5 credit Center for Immigrants' Rights Course and will build upon the skills they have learned. The course will involve a senior role in pending cases at the Center; involvement in new initiatives undertaken by the clinic; and possible writing and editing of a publishable material in the area of immigrants' rights. There will be no classroom component. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Students in the Advanced section of the Clinic will provide important continuity to longer-term Clinic projects. Advanced Clinic students will meet with and work with first semester Clinic students, with heightened expectations for leadership and more comprehensive research, analysis, and work product. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Building on the Introduction to U.S. Legal Systems course, students will continue to develop legal analysis, writing and research skills in the persuasive writing context. Students will study and practice effective client letter writing to help students learn to craft good correspondence in a U.S. legal setting. The final portion of the course will cover contract drafting.
This course is an advanced examination of the legal requirements for obtaining patent protection for an invention, both domestically and globally. Students will engage with US Patent Statutes, US Code of Federal Regulations, the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure and US Patent and Trademark Office issued guidelines to develop client patent strategies, domestically. The course also takes a comparative approach to teach strategies related to worldwide prosecution of patent dockets.
This course focuses on torts not involving physical injury, such as misrepresentation, defamation, invasion of privacy, interference with business relations, and misuse of legal procedure. These subjects are not ordinarily covered in the four-hour Torts course required in the first year, but have become burgeoning areas of potential liability due to the emergence of electronic communications. An effort will be made to integrate substantive doctrine and practice implications with legal, economic, political and social theory.
This course surveys the law of unincorporated business entities. The agency law part of the course will focus on agents' powers and responsibilities, liabilities of principals for acts of agents, and termination of the agency relationship. The partnership law part of the course will cover the fiduciary obligations of partners, partners' management and property rights, and partnership dissolutions. The final part of the course will examine the "new" limited liability entities now provided for by the law of all states, with emphasis on the formation, organization, and dissolution of limited liability companies. Although not a prerequisite, this course is strongly recommended for students planning to enroll in Corporations.
This course will introduce students to the range of current and emerging issues that confront agricultural producers, agri-business firms, and other segments of that broader sector of the economy referred to as the "food industry." The course will address a variety of issues including the history and objectives of agricultural policy, land use planning for agricultural activities, resource use and allocation, industrialization in the agricultural sector, intergenerational transfers of farm businesses, international trade, and ethical issues that confront practitioners.
This course is principally an examination of antitrust law and policy in the U.S. as evolved through prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission. There is brief coverage of: (a) European Union and Canadian competition laws plus evolving proposals for supranational norms; and (b) leading market regulatory schemes such as those affecting marketing of foods, drugs, textiles, toxic substances, securities, and consumer products. In the antitrust area, commercial conduct alleged to violate price fixing, market allocation, tying, exclusive dealing, asset acquisition, and price discrimination norms are considered at length with some attention to state antitrust law.
Applied Legal Analysis & Writing I introduces first year law students to analyzing and writing about clients’ legal issues. Throughout the semester, students will represent fictional clients. To assist those clients, students must learn to conduct accurate and in-depth legal analysis to help the clients with particular legal issues, and students must learn to communicate that in-depth legal analysis in both written and oral communications. In Applied Legal Analysis & Writing I, the focus of the semester is on objective analysis, fact-finding, and writing. Students will conduct a client interview to uncover legally relevant facts, and they will learn to draft formal and informal office memoranda, which are fundamental tools for communicating objective analysis. Students receive significant individual feedback on writing assignments.
Applied Legal Analysis and Writing II continues to build on the skills learned in Applied Legal Analysis and Writing I, but now students will be learning to be an advocate for a fictional client. Students continue to analyze clients’ problems using various sources of legal authority and to further refine their writing style. However, Applied Legal Analysis and Writing II focuses on persuasive writing, so students will learn to draft client letters as a transitional exercise into persuasive writing. Further, students will draft trial court briefs or memoranda of law that, in practice, would be filed with a court. Students also will learn other communication skills, including presenting an oral argument to a court. Applied Legal Analysis and Writing II continues to implement the problem-solving approach to teach persuasive writing, and students continue to receive significant individualized feedback.
This clinic is designed to acquaint students with the unique yet pragmatic knowledge and skills incident to rendering quality legal service in the art, sports, and entertainment professions. The clinic may be taken for 1 or 2 graded credits. Visit the Art, Sports and Entertainment Law Clinic for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This class surveys the laws of political asylum and related protection for those fleeing danger in their home countries. It examines asylum and refugee law and policy in the United States, and sets forth the legal grounds for barring someone from asylum. It also explores the politics driving immigration policy, including asylum and refugee policy, and the federal agencies that implement those policies.
The rights, duties, and remedies of both debtor and creditor are examined. The course covers the collection process, enforcement of money judgments, and insolvency proceedings. Federal bankruptcy law is emphasized.
This course requires a student to represent either a baseball player or a team in a simulated baseball salary arbitration proceeding guided by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. There will be an arbitration between the sides. There will also be arbitration briefs due from both sides.
This course examines the basic substantive provisions of the federal income tax law. Included are the following general topics: gross income, exclusions, deductions, depreciation, basis, tax accounting, and other provisions affecting situations encountered by attorneys in general practice.
This survey course focuses on the intersection of bioethics and law. Topics to be covered include: human subjects research regulation, doctor-patient relationship, end of life, organ transplantation, assisted reproduction, abortion, public health.
This course will introduce students to basic business and financial concepts. All law students should consider taking this course, particularly students who do not have extensive knowledge of or experience in business. Topics will include an overview of various common business entities, corporate governance, types of investors, securities, securities markets, insurance and banking. It will consider the basic legal environment of business enterprise, including taxation, securities and investor protection regulation. The course will also include an overview of basic business information, financial statements and basic accounting principles, valuation techniques and other financial tools for decision-making. The course is intended to provide students with a basic familiarity with business and financial concepts that regularly arise in the representation of a business enterprise, whether in litigation or transactional matters. The course will also provide information for law students about business issues that are common to legal practice but under-explored during the first year of law school.
This course is open to Penn State Law 1L, 2L, 3L and LL.M. students.
This course first focuses on various topics that are important in M&A transactions involving both closely-held and publicly-held corporations, including directors duties, shareholder voting and dissenters' rights, basic issues under the Federal securities laws, fundamentals of Federal income taxation and accounting, use of modern valuation techniques, including DCF and CAPM, in M&A, and basic issues in antitrust and pre-merger notification. The course then turns to an analysis of various forms of negotiated acquisition, including acquisitions of stock and assets of closely-held corporations and acquisitions of publicly-held corporations in negotiated transactions. The course is based on the first half of Thompson, Business Planning for Mergers and Acquisitions: Corporate, Securities, Tax, Antitrust, International, and Related Aspects (2008).
Selected practical problems involving the planning of business transactions, with emphasis upon the small business enterprise, are examined. Topics include: organization of close corporations, partnerships and LLCs; employee compensation; sexual harassment and discrimination issues; executive hiring negotiations; and raising capital through the sale of securities. This course is strongly suggested for anyone who plans on representing businesses. NOTE: Due to course content overlap, students may not enroll in Representing the Entrepreneur (EXPR 983) and this course.
The course component of the Center teaches students the skills necessary to be effective immigration advocates and attorneys. Principally through representation of organizations, students will work on innovative advocacy and policy projects relating to U.S. immigration policy and immigrants’ rights. Students should expect to put in as much time as is required to complete project work successfully, which will be an average of twenty hours per week. Working primarily in teams, students will build professional relationships with government and non-governmental policy makers, academics, individual clients, and others. Visit the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Disposition before trial occurs in the vast majority of civil lawsuits (e.g., 98% of federal cases), which makes pre-trial advocacy the dominant part of legal practice at most law firms and agencies. Prior to entering the courtroom, most junior attorneys will cut their legal teeth on pre-trial activities and motions practice. This course will combine elements of core curriculum courses, legal writing, and experiential learning by engaging students with a robust fact pattern requiring research and analysis leading to written pre-trial advocacy including pleadings, discovery and disclosures, motions (procedural, substantive, and dispositive), negotiation and settlement documents. Paralleling a case through complex civil litigation, this “in-context” course will provide students with insight into the process of preparing a case for trial or, more likely, bettering the client’s position for a pre-trial disposition. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Civil Procedure concerns the rules and principles that govern the litigation of a civil case. The course addresses systemic issues related to how and where a lawsuit is filed, including: personal and subject matter jurisdiction; venue; the notice required once a lawsuit has been filed; and which substantive law-state or federal-should apply in federal court. The course also familiarizes the student with the stages of a lawsuit, including: pleading; structuring the lawsuit; discovery; termination of a lawsuit without trial; trial; and actions that may be taken after a jury verdict or bench trial. Although reference is made to state laws, the course concentrates on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
This clinical offering will provide exposure to drafting merits and amicus briefs in non-criminal civil rights cases in the state courts, federal appellate courts, and the United States Supreme Court. Cases may derive from various sources, such as civil rights advocacy organizations, Third Circuit pro bono referrals and from Penn State Law professors. In addition to brief preparation, students will participate in identifying potential cases for the clinic, case selection and the development of appropriate appellate strategy.
This offering will provide intensive training in appellate advocacy by involving students in non criminal civil rights cases before the state appellate courts, federal courts of appeal and the United States Supreme Court. Students will assist in case selection, the development of substantive legal positions, provide research, assist in appellate strategy development and draft briefs. In working on these cases students will have exposure to top civil rights and appellate litigators in the country. In addition to this work, there will be classroom sessions which will be augmented by presentations by experts in the field and attendance at oral arguments when appropriate. Visit the Civil Rights Appellate Clinic for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This seminar explores the class action device, tracing its historical origins from the earliest forms of aggregate litigation through various amendments to Rule 23 and passage of the Class Action Fairness Act. Although other non-class aggregation techniques are discussed, they are addressed only for comparative purposes. The unique nature of representative litigation and the special issues that arise during the course of a class action are the subject of discussion and student presentations during seminar sessions. Considerable discussion is devoted to the roles of the various "players" in a class action: the qualifications of the class representative, the qualifications and interest of class counsel, and the fiduciary role of the district judge. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The course is designed to study the methods that American lawyers use in your chosen profession. The seminar will review basic concepts in common law reasoning, the response of legislatures who pass statutes when they are dissatisfied with the substance of the common law, the use of administrative agencies and their delegated power to supplement broadly worded statutes with detailed regulations, and the way judges interpret statutes and regulations.. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This seminar explores constitutional law differences in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and South Africa. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The course offers a comparative and international perspective on corporate law and business law more generally.
Note: This Spring 2019 1-credit course with Professor Ventoruzzo will run for four weeks in February 2019. Complete details will be released with the semester registration material in October 2018.
In modern business and personal life, significant events frequently involve more than one state or nation. What law applies to multi-jurisdictional transactions? Which court has the authority to adjudicate any dispute that develops? When can a judgment—or a marriage—in one state create legal rights in another? Can one state make it illegal to do something—like pay bribes—in the territory of another?
This course examines the legal rules that have developed for resolving these conflict-of-law problems. Specific topics include: domestic jurisdiction, international jurisdiction, domestic choice of law, extraterritorial application of national law, conflicts between state and federal law, and enforcement of judgments. Course time is split roughly equally between domestic and international topics.
This course introduces students to contemporary debates over the interpretation of the Constitution. The revival of originalist theory in recent decades has reanimated discussions over how the Constitution should be interpreted. The arguments for different approaches are sophisticated, and the stakes are high, since the resolution of important constitutional questions often turns on what interpretive method is used. Each student's semester culminates in a research paper on an original topic related to constitutional interpretation. For the final four sessions of the semester, the class becomes a workshop in which students comment on each other's paper drafts. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The course examines the roles of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches in determining limits of national and state powers and protection of the individual and civil rights provided in the United States Constitution.
This course studies the development of equal protection law under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, the state action issue, and the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment.
Contracts is concerned with the formation of contracts. The traditional offer and acceptance are analyzed in light of problems presented by modern bargaining techniques. Voidability of contracts formed by fraud, mistake, illegality, and unconscionable advantage is also stressed. The performance of contracts and the parol evidence rule are discussed.
The course addresses the legal protection afforded to authors and artists under common law and statutory copyright. It considers the rights granted, procedure for their procurement, and protection through litigation. The course also deals with international rights, conveyancing, and interface with the antitrust laws.
This course examines the federal income tax consequences associated with the formation, operation, and liquidation of corporations and partnerships. Students will apply complex statutes and regulations to factual scenarios involving the life cycle of business entities. Students will also think creatively about how to modify a potential transaction to achieve superior tax consequences.
This course provides an introduction to the law and policy issues that touch on the responsibility of enterprises for their activities. It provides an overview of corporate social responsibility (CSR), as a subject of legal regulation within states, as a matter of international law and compliance beyond the state, and as a tool and methodology of corporate governance and finance with governance effect through contract. The emphasis is on the study of the legal and regulatory frameworks, both existing and emerging within states, in international institutions, and within production chains and the apex corporations that manage them. The course begins with definitional issues and variations in approaches between major jurisdictions. It then turns to the existing law of CSR, focusing specifically on charitable giving and disclosure regimes. It then considers the rise of CSR regulatory regimes as privatizing law making using the mechanisms of contract to regulate CSR related conduct throughout a production chain. It then considers the emergence of international standards as they inform regulatory efforts in states and enterprises and as normative standards in their own right.
This course, which is based on a book with the same name by Professor Thompson, approaches this subject principally through the prism of the Federal income tax treatment of taxable and tax-free mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Although the course will explore virtually every section of subchapter C of the Internal Revenue Code (i.e., §301 et seq.), which governs the tax treatment of "C" or regular corporations, the emphasis is placed on those provisions of subchapter C that have the most impact on M&A transactions. The course can be taken by students who have and have not previously taken a course in Corporate Tax.
This course primarily addresses organization and operation of commercial organizations in the Anglo-American community. Preliminarily, sole proprietorships and partnerships are considered, after which corporations-for-profit are emphasized with some attention to business trusts and non-profit corporations. In the corporate context, duties of promoters, directors, officers, and other insiders are considered. Availability in the U.S. of the derivative action is treated in terms of both unincorporated and corporate forms of organization. Also treated are the basics of securities regulation at the federal and state levels in the U.S. and the provincial level in Canada.
This course deals with what is called substantive criminal law, i.e., crimes. Numerous crimes such as homicide, theft, and conspiracy are examined, and defenses such as self-defense and insanity are scrutinized. A primary focus of the course is the utilization and interpretation of criminal statutes.
Criminal Procedure explores part of the interface between the criminal justice system and the United States Constitution. It introduces students to constitutional analysis by examining key provisions of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments as they apply to police investigation and interrogation as well as to the circumstances under which indigent defendants are guaranteed the assistance of counsel.
This seminar introduces students to Critical Race Theory and Feminist Legal Theory. The class will explore three major questions during the semester: What comprises Critical Race Theory and Feminist Legal Theory? Do these areas of study remain relevant? If so, what can legal scholars, educators, and practitioners draw from them to effect social justice through legal institutions? Students who successfully complete this seminar will: Identify, describe, and interpret the fundamental principles of critical race theory and feminist legal theory; Critically engage with scholarly literature; Use critical race theory and feminist legal theory as a lens for thinking critically about how to effect social justice through legal institutions; Demonstrate competency in academic legal writing; Demonstrate competency in public speaking, including the ability to engage in meaningful and respectful discussions around the topics of race and gender. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The use of forensic science in the investigation and prosecution of crimes has changed dramatically in the past 25 years. Previously unknown methods are widely used to convict the guilty and other previously venerable methods have become subject to intense criticism and some have become discredited. This course will introduce lawyers to some of the most common forensic science methods: DNA, fingerprints, handwriting, among others, and explore when and how lawyers and forensic scientists can work together to use these methods in investigating and prosecuting crimes. The course is designed to familiarize students with the issues they are likely to encounter in working with forensic scientists. It is further designed to have students learn how to introduce the results of forensic testing into evidence and how to present such evidence effectively in the courtroom.
This course will introduce students to the substantive and procedural law of computer crime. By the end of this course, students will be able to articulate the principal cybercrime statutes. They will also be able to explain the process, difficulties, and open questions involved in prosecuting perpetrators under those statutes. The course principally covers three topics: (1) substantive criminal law, which considers the scope and structure of computer crime laws; (2) criminal procedure, which examines the constitutional and statutory boundaries that restrict the scope of criminal prosecutions and the methods used in pursuing them; (3) jurisdictional issues, which evaluate how competing jurisdictions (state vs. state, federal vs. state, U.S. vs. foreign, and government vs. private actors) might work to investigate and obtain redress for computer crimes.
“Cyberlaw” is a loosely used term that means different things to different attorneys, but understanding cyberlaw is essential for practitioners. Cyber or online activities occur in every facet of modern human life, and this ubiquity of cyber or online activity in business and personal life demands every attorney, regardless of practice area, be familiar with the melded body of laws that compromise cyberlaw.
Cyberlaw Across the Practice Spectrum (CAPS) defines in practical terms what cyberlaw is, identifies the sources of cyber law and teaches students to understand how these manifold sources of law – integrated together – comprise “cyberlaw.” The course addresses by subject/practice area how and why cyber law is now an essential component in practicing law across the spectrum, including but not limited to electronic evidence issues.
This course will address legal issues and concepts for people living with disabilities. It will cover issues surrounding civil rights discrimination, and public benefits ranging from employment, housing, income supplements, health, and education. Students will review legislation, case law, and rules, and will focus on the practical, and social concerns of individuals living with disabilities.
This course covers federal and state election law and will examine the constitutional basis for the regulation of elections, the development of the law in this area over the last 30 years, as well as criminal and civil enforcement of the law, the role of the Federal Election Commission, the formation and regulation of political action committees, as well as related federal tax law provisions impacting operation of political committees and advocacy organizations. The course will also examine the intersection of the election law with congressional ethics rules, lobbying regulations and representation of political candidates and entities in election law matters.
The seminar will cover the case law, procedural rules, evidence rules, and rules of professional conduct implicated by the unique attributes of information created and/or stored electronically, as well as the filing and courtroom presentation of documents in electronic format. There are three components to the course. The first part concerns the discovery of ESI, and covers the nature, sources, and terminology of ESI; the different formats of ESI and the implications for preservation and production of ESI attributable to the different formats; the evolution of the rules and case law regarding discovery of ESI; and the obligations of counsel with respect to the preservation of ESI. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
New technologies like cryptocurrency and artificial intelligence, new technological business models like the gig economy, and new practice tools raise novel legal questions and also change the day-to-day practice of law. This course will discuss those technologies, review the existing law and new legal frameworks necessary for coping with them, and also give students a grounding in the new legal technology they can expect to use in practice.
This course will provide an overview of significant doctrinal issues in employment discrimination law, and will seek to develop students' skills through a rigorous examination of statutory law, regulations and court decisions. It will introduce students to the fundamental legal theories underlying the substantive coverage of the most significant federal equal employment opportunity laws, and legal issues regarding their application.
This course is the introductory course in the regulation of energy in the United States. It also considers some of the international impact of U.S. energy policy. The course examines each significant form of energy (oil, natural gas, nuclear power, electricity, coal and renewables) in terms of the manner in which each form is regulated by various government institutions. To understand the various forms of regulation, we will also consider a substantial amount of economic, political and socio/psychological information. Each segment of the course will be presented in terms of specific problems that participating students will help analyze and solve. At each stage of the course, we will consider the current policies and attempt to develop regulatory goals and positions that will improve those policies. The syllabus for this course is designed to avoid significant overlap with the course in oil and gas law and the course in energy, international security and the global economy.
Under the supervision of a faculty member/director of the clinic, students learn to represent entrepreneurs, start-ups and not-for-profit organizations in a setting that is similar to a small law firm. Issues most frequently encountered include choice of entity, entity formation, founder and initial investor agreements, shareholder agreements, loan arrangements, certain intellectual property protection, commercial real estate leasing and acquisition, operating agreements, employee management and compliance with regulatory requirements. Students will learn the basic skills necessary to attract and interview potential clients, organize a business plan, communicate orally and in writing with a client and third parties, conduct research, draft transactional documents, prepare for and manage closings. Students will learn basic principles of law office administration and will be expected to comply with law office protocols (e.g. conflict screens, client confidentiality, and time and expense record keeping) and will learn and conform to the professional responsibilities of lawyers engaged in business transactional practice. The faculty member will hold weekly class sessions for presentation and discussion of client projects, skill development, and legal issues affecting entrepreneurs and counsel for entrepreneurs. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course introduces the basic environmental statutes of the United States and the history from which they arose. It includes a focused examination of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and several other major U.S. environmental laws. It pays close attention to the regulatory tools of these statutes, cooperative federalism, the role of the federal courts, and to cost-benefit analysis in risk regulation generally.
This seminar examines the main elements of European Union (EU) law. It covers the institutional structure of the EU and its law-making process and compares it with US government and federalism. It explores the judicial architecture of the EU and the role of the European Court of Justice. It looks at the legal framework covering EU inter-state trade, corporate mobility, and free movement of persons within the EU. It also examines trade between the EU and third states, in particular the US, and foreign relations law of the EU. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course presents evidence in trials under the Federal Rules of Evidence, at common law and in equity and with reference to administrative bodies. The reasoning from which rules arise in areas including relevancy, competency, privilege, examination of witnesses, writing, the hearsay rule and its exceptions, burden of proof, presumptions, judicial notice, and constitutional evidence problems is also addressed.
Externship Placements offer students the opportunity to work and learn in a variety of settings outside the Law School under the supervision of a full-time faculty member. Placements are in public service or nonprofit offices, including local, state and federal government and judicial offices. Students work with experienced supervisors in those offices to develop skills in legislative drafting, opinion writing, client counseling, research, administrative and criminal practice, statutory analysis and interpretation, and application and enforcement of regulations. Through their work and class discussions, students are expected to develop a heightened awareness of the methods and functions of the legislative, regulatory, judicial, and public interest representation functions.
Available placements include state cabinet level agencies, state and federal judicial chambers, legal services offices, legislative offices, local governments, Penn State offices, and state prosecutor and public defender offices. More detailed information on our Externship Placement program can be found on our Externships page.
Students may not register for this course until they have secured an approved placement and obtained the permission of the faculty supervisor.
This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
The Washington semester externship will provide students with the opportunity to spend a semester in Washington, D.C. earning 10 hours of academic credit for approximately 32 hours of supervised work. Students will work in one of several selected and approved governmental or nonprofit entities.
The externship will enable students to pursue advanced training and research opportunities in a particular field beyond our curricular offerings. The areas of law will include federal criminal law, international law, federal civil regulatory agency practice and procedure, and public and private nonprofit law. Students will have the opportunity to analyze sophisticated areas of law in a real world context. In the classroom component students will analyze the legal obligations and professional responsibilities of both government lawyers and private counsel.
Students must register for Federal Regulatory and Legislative Practice Seminar (ULWR 914) – 2 credits the same semester as the Washington D.C. Externship Placement. The seminar will utilize a separation of powers analysis to examine federal regulatory and legislative practice. Topics covered will include congressional investigations, federal regulatory agency jurisdiction and procedure, and areas of federal criminal law that are most relevant to legal practice in Washington, DC. The seminar's primary focus will be those areas of Washington legal practice in which administrative and regulatory law, federal criminal law, politics, and public relations intersect to create special problems and challenges for attorneys in government and private practice. A "case study" approach will be used to analyze these topics from both perspectives, examining the legal obligations and professional responsibilities of both government lawyers and private counsel. Highlights of the course include analysis of the Watergate, ABSCA, Iran-Contra, Whitewater, and Clinton-Lewinsky scandals.
This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Penn State Law’s exclusive Externships Everywhere program opens the door to a nearly limitless array of externship possibilities across the country and around the world by offering law students the opportunity to step out of the classroom for a semester and gain practical experience working in a legal office in practically any location around the world. The program provides second- and third-year law students the opportunity to spend a semester away from University Park, working and learning under the remote supervision of Penn State Law faculty. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 2 credits in a Research Seminar, including but not limited to an Independent Research and Writing Seminar (ULWR 996), or Independent Study (LWIND 996) during the same semester as the Externships Everywhere program.
This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course studies legal problems pertaining to the organization, operation, and dissolution of the family. It includes material on privacy, alternative families, marriage and annulment, child and spousal support, termination of parental rights, adoption and care of the child, divorce, alimony, property distribution at divorce, and custody of children.
In this clinic, up to seven students per semester represent indigent clients and domestic abuse victims in family law cases. All cases are in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County. The work includes divorce, child support, spousal support, custody/visitation, domestic violence, and related matters. Students should expect to work as much time as is necessary to represent their clients successfully, which will be an average of twenty hours per week. Students also participate in a weekly clinic seminar which includes skills training, theoretical examination of clinical work, and case rounds. Each student also meets individually with the clinic supervisor to discuss their case work and their progress in the clinic. Only third-year law students are admitted in the Fall Semester. Students earn 5 graded credits. Visit the Family Law Clinic for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course introduces contemporary issues in several topical areas of particular interest to litigating in federal courts. The course topics are varied, with the unifying theme being that each topic possesses either particular prominence or exclusive jurisdiction within the country’s federal court system. These topics include: the history and organization of the federal courts, the courts’ relationship with Congress, the arguments for and against diversity jurisdiction, the practical dynamics of federal procedure, strategic considerations involved in a litigant’s choice of federal court, ADR proceedings in federal courts, securities, bankruptcy, intellectual property, antitrust, employment discrimination, review of administrative agency decisions, immigration issues, federal criminal matters, sentencing, civil rights cases, and habeas.
This course involves elements of constitutional law and civil procedure, addressing the relationship of federal courts to administrative agencies, state courts and private and ad hoc dispute resolution forums (e.g., arbitration, mediation, 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund). Building on the foundational knowledge of federal subject matter jurisdiction addressed in Civil Procedure, this course examines in greater detail advanced problems in standing, mootness, and ripeness. Building on the foundational knowledge of separation of powers and federalism addressed in Constitutional Law, this course examines the power of Congress to allocate judicial power among federal courts, federal agencies, and States. The heart of the course, however, consists of advanced topics including the power of federal courts to create common law, limitations (and complications) in suits against the federal and state governments and their officials, problems arising when administrative agencies or state courts are addressing matters related to the subject of a pending case in federal court, and limitations on federal appellate jurisdiction. This course should prove especially useful to students who anticipate clerking for a federal or state judge, or who plan to litigate before federal or state courts, administrative agencies, arbitral forums or other private or ad hoc dispute resolution entities.
This course is an in-depth examination of all stages of a federal criminal prosecution, commencing with the decision to charge, and continuing through trial and sentencing. Subjects will include the Bail Reform Act of 1984, investigative techniques, motions to suppress, immunity, privileges, trial techniques, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Strategic decisions involving pre-trial proceedings, trials, and sentencing will be addressed via presentations by experienced judges, practitioners, and other participants in the process. The goal of the course is to provide students with practical advice and insightful tops regarding every aspect of federal criminal litigation.
This course will focus on federal regulation of health care financing and delivery. It will include coverage of the Affordable Care Act, the health care fraud laws (the Anti-Kickback Statute, the False Claims Act, and the Stark Law), health information privacy (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the HIPPA Privacy Rule), and the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
This seminar will examine the federal law governing federally recognized Indian tribes and those who interact with tribes. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The seminar will utilize a separation of powers analysis to examine federal regulatory and legislative practice. Topics covered will include congressional investigations, federal regulatory agency jurisdiction and procedure, and areas of federal criminal law that are most relevant to legal practice in Washington, DC. The seminar's primary focus will be those areas of Washington legal practice in which administrative and regulatory law, federal criminal law, politics, and public relations intersect to create special problems and challenges for attorneys in government and private practice. A "case study" approach will be used to analyze these topics from both perspectives, examining the legal obligations and professional responsibilities of both government lawyers and private counsel. Highlights of the course include analysis of the Watergate, ABSCA, Iran-Contra, Whitewater, and Clinton-Lewinsky scandals. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course is intended to provide an overview of the federal securities laws. Securities regulation plays a crucial role in many different fields of business law, and every lawyer should have at least a basic knowledge of its general principles. The course focuses on issues such as the offering of securities, civil liabilities connected with the sale and purchase of financial instruments, insider trading, proxy voting and M&As, takeovers, stock exchanges and brokers/dealers regulation. Specific attention is devoted to securities litigation aspects, including class actions.
This seminar will be based on Professor Thompson's forthcoming book entitled Deskbook on Business Taxation. Students will develop a basic understanding of business tax principles generally. Students will make presentations on several chapters and have the opportunity to dig deeply into one topic in the required seminar paper. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course examines the history, values and function of free expression, advocacy of illegal action, expression that provokes a hostile audience reaction, defamation, commercial advertising, obscenity, hate speech and pornography, expression in public places, symbolic speech, campaign finance laws, and speech in restricted environments.
This survey course covers the federal regulation of food, human and animal drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, biologics, and agricultural biotechnology. The primary focus will be on the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the operations of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The course will also cover related statutes implemented by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the interaction between federal regulation and private tort litigation, and international trade in FDA-regulated products.
This course provides students with a substantive review of selected material routinely tested on the bar exam, primarily through problems and exercises in a bar exam format designed to familiarize students with the exam and techniques for answering multiple choice questions. Individualized feedback is provided every week to assist each student identify areas of strength and weakness. The goal is to enhance student ability to prepare for the bar exam and is intended to supplement, not replace, commercial bar preparation courses. This course is not focused an any particular state, so all students will benefit regardless of where they are sitting for the bar exam. Students enrolled in BAREX 900 are not permitted to use laptops, phones or other devices during class. BAREX 900 is graded on a pass/fail basis, but does not count toward the one pass/fail course a student may take as described in the Pass-Fail Rules.
This course will examine the most salient questions facing lawyers in international and cross-border legal practice, including why international and cross-border lawyering is functionally distinct from lawyering in purely domestic contexts? What unique skills and knowledge are needed to be an international lawyer? Which ethical rules apply to attorney conduct in cross-border settings? What happens when attorneys are subject to multiple different ethical obligations or when (as is often the case) it is uncertain which rules apply? What special professional and professionalism challenges arise in advocacy before international tribunals? What specialized communication and cultural skills are needed for operating in a cross-border and multi-cultural legal environment? What are attorney obligations in light of client bribery of foreign officials or violations of foreign law? What special rules apply when representing or opposing governmental entities? What are the obligations and limitations in attorney aid to clients in evading law through international arbitrage? This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course examines the legal issues applicable to American colleges and universities. Topics include academic freedom and tenure, affirmative action in admissions decisions, intercollegiate athletics, issues of student privacy, sexual harassment, and intellectual property.
This course is devoted to developing problem solving skills related to legal issues in higher education. Students will have a chance to confront problems the way university lawyers do, from the very beginning, before the facts are all known, before goals are clarified, before the full range of options is explored, and before a course of conduct is chosen. This course is intended to help prepare students for the actual practice of law by allowing them to actively to engage in the sorts of discussions and activities that occupy lawyers every day, combining their knowledge of law with practical judgment to help clients. Topics include faculty and student rights and responsibilities; constitutional issues involving application of the guarantees of the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments; civil rights issues including diversity and affirmative action, the rights of the disabled, and gender-based issues. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course is intended to provide students with a general knowledge of immigration law, including such critical subjects as the constitutional powers of the federal government over immigration matters, admission and exclusion, entry, deportation, and political asylum.
In the Independent Study course the student, under the supervision of a full-time member of the faculty, will be permitted to do research and write a paper of a substantial nature on a significant subject.
The Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum provides students with several opportunities to work in the criminal justice system within two different tracks.
The Trial Track involves representation of indigent criminal defendants accused of misdemeanor offenses in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas under the supervision of an attorney from the Centre County Public Defender Office. Students learn litigation, negotiation and advocacy skills as they represent defendants through all stages of a criminal case. This hands-on experience is accompanied by a classroom component designed to give students guidance, feedback and an open forum to discuss their cases and the various facets of defense work. The subject matter of the classroom component is designed to follow the progress of each student’s cases as those cases work their way through the various stages of the criminal justice system.
The Post-Conviction/ Amicus Track provides students with opportunities to not only represent indigent defendants in contested evidentiary hearings in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, but also to advocate for broader changes in the criminal justice system through the filing of amicus briefs. While students learn a variety of trial skills in the context of hearings before a judge, they will also gain an appreciation for the vast array of problems in the justice system. This real-world experience is accompanied by a classroom component designed to foster practical skills as well as critical thinking.
The Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum has two primary objectives: 1) provide criminal defendants who cannot afford private counsel with highly effective representation that is client-centered, professional and ethical, and 2) create a structured and supervised environment which enables each student to gain a detailed, working knowledge of how to represent a defendant; apply that knowledge to actual criminal cases; and gain feedback and reflection after each important stage of the case.
Students earn 5 credits per semester for the Trial Track and 3 credits per semester for the Post-Conviction/Amicus Track and must commit to participate in the clinic for two semesters (Fall and Spring). Visit the Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
As information technology advances, the legal issues surrounding information privacy, data collection, data retention, data access, and data disclosure grow increasingly complicated. This course will explore information privacy and security issues arising from technological change and resulting shifts in societal perceptions of individual privacy, including how private and government actors electronically gather data, what type of data is gathered (personally identifiable information, biometric data, geolocation data, intimate personal details), and how such data is compiled, shared, bought, and sold across private industry data platforms and government electronic databases. The course overviews the current legal regime in the United States meant to address such issues. This overview will take into account constitutional, statutory, contract, and common law sources of information privacy and security law, at both the federal and state level. There will be particular focus on the First and Fourth Amendment concerns that result from such data gathering.
Many types of insurance such as auto, health, and homeowners insurance are mandatory. Consequently, insurance law, which developed from tort and contract law, impacts both the personal and professional lives of attorneys and it is an integral area of the law for numerous practice settings including personal injury, insurance defense, and in-house counsel. The course addresses the subject of insurance law from both a theoretical and practical perspective. It covers the fundamentals of all major lines of insurance: property, life, health, disability, liability and auto. It also covers “claims made” insurance, insurers’ defense obligations, insurer bad faith, broker liability, the rules of insurance policy interpretation, and the role of public policy in insurance law.
The Intellectual Property Clinic provides Penn State Law – University Park students an opportunity to gain practice-ready skills in intellectual property law. Under the clinic director, students will provide legal services to the clinic’s start-up clients in much the same manner as practicing IP lawyers.
Students in the clinic will engage in client counseling regarding patents and trademarks and other intellectual property. Projects may include: preparing and prosecuting US patent applications before the US Patent and Trademark office, performing patentability searches, developing a patent portfolio strategies for early-stage companies, performing diligence (i.e. freedom to operate studies and/or patent landscape analysis), and registering US Trademarks. Students will adhere to standard patent law office practices such as conflict checks, maintenance of strict confidentiality, docketing, and time-recordation. Students will learn and conform to the professional responsibilities of lawyers engaged in IP transactional practice as well as the Rules of Ethics of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The clinic will meet as a weekly class to discuss current client cases, intellectual property law in practice, ethics, and special projects. In addition, students will interface with clients in-person, via telephone, and via email to discuss client intake, IP evaluation, and counseling. Students will also meet individually, as necessary, with the clinic director regarding the representation of particular clients and special projects.
Visit the Intellectual Property Clinic site for more information.
This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course develops students' skills in common legal writing formats other than memos and briefs. Not intended as a remedial course, this course rather provides an opportunity for students to sharpen legal writing skills with an emphasis on clarity and precision of expression. Weekly writing assignments include a few fully drafted documents (e.g., a short will, a short contract, a statute), as well as letters, short pleadings, jury instructions, and other short pieces. Students will concentrate on re-writing and editing their work. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course explores the legal frameworks, as well as the strategic considerations, practical skills and policy considerations that are implicated in international arbitration law and practice. International arbitration is the default means by which international commercial disputes are resolved. The effectiveness of its processes and outcomes are assured through a complex interaction of international treaties, national laws, contractual agreements, specialized procedural rules, and international customs and practice norms. The regime is designed to strike an appropriate balance between party autonomy with the sovereign and transnational regulatory interests implicated in disputes. In addition to the doctrinal and practical aspects of international arbitration, this course will also explore the larger trends and theoretical questions raised in contemporary debates about the future of international arbitration. This course is one that will satisfy the prerequisite for participation in the Vis Moot Competition.
In 1991 U.S. international trade (imports and exports) accounted for roughly 10% of the GDP, in 2011 the same figure rose to approximately 16%, and the trend is toward greater relevance of international trade. This data does not include foreign direct investment and other international activities. A vast part of the American economy depends on international transactions. An understanding of the rules governing international commercial transactions is a fundamental tool for virtually any business lawyer, policy maker, judge or businessperson. Few legal professionals do not encounter international business transactions in their job, and a career in this area can be rewarding and exciting. This course offers an in-depth introduction to the regulation of international commercial transactions from the U.S. point of view, framing it in its complex economic, political, and historical contexts. The course has both practical and theoretical goals. From a practical point of view, to understand how to negotiate, draft, manage and litigate international contracts and transactions is obviously essential to practice law not only internationally, but also nationally. From a more theoretical point of view, the course has an interdisciplinary approach that considers, in particular, economic and political causes and consequences of trade regulations; and includes a comparative component that helps students to both understand better their own legal systems, and think “out of the box.” Course participants will embark in a journey around the world. More specifically, the course covers the following topics. First, it focuses on international sales of goods and services, examining in particular the Convention on the International Sales of Goods (also comparing it with the U.C.C.), documentary sales, countertrade, agency and distributorship agreements, regulations of imports and exports, and currency controls. We will then discuss licensing agreements for the use of intellectual property (trademarks and patents), and direct investments through the establishment of foreign subsidiaries and joint-ventures abroad. Issues arising in international business will be analyzed, such as corruption and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, violations of human rights by corporations doing business abroad, expropriation, sovereign immunity and act of state. A final part of the course will concentrate on fundamental contractual provisions, common in most international transactions and particularly relevant in case of litigation, such as choice of forum, choice of law, enforcement of foreign judgments, and international arbitration. The major international organizations that regulate trade and finance, such as the WTO and the IMF, will be considered. As mentioned, while the course focuses on technical legal issues, emphasis will be put also on economic and political considerations affecting the regulation of international business, therefore the course might appeal not only to law students, but also to students of economics, business administration, international affairs, and political science.
This course will concern the scope of international criminal law, the definition of international crimes, principles of jurisdiction, procedures for international criminal prosecutions, and examples of international criminal law.
This seminar examines selected aspects of international financial, securities, and banking law. It covers broadly four areas: First, it provides elements of financial law. This includes legal aspects of banking, securities, and money; the objectives of regulations and supervision; an overview of US regulation; and the public and private law of international monetary obligations. Secondly, it examines aspects of international financial and securities regulation. This includes an examination of the financial crisis of 2008 and the regulatory reforms resulting from it; selected comparative aspects of regulation in the US and the EU through a detailed discussion of legislation and case law (e.g. institutional structure, insider trading, rating agencies). Thirdly, it discusses economic and monetary union in the EU and the eurozone crisis. Finally, it provides an overview of the law of the IMF and the international financial architecture. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The course involves the study and analysis of the core United Nations-sponsored international human rights treaties with the following objectives: understanding the history and development of human rights protection in the post-UN Charter era; examining the substantive content of the major international human rights instruments; and measuring the relative compliance of the states that have ratified them. The course will assess the impact of these treaties on the enjoyment by the citizens of the various state parties of the rights provided therein. Particular attention will be paid to claims about the apparent decline and/or stagnation in the enforcement of these treaties in the post-Cold War period, especially in the last decade. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course introduces students to key concepts and doctrines of international law. It examines the sources of international law such as custom and treaty, the bases of international jurisdiction, issues of statehood, recognition and succession, nationality, international agreements, and U.S. participation in the international legal system. The course provides students with the basics needed for both public and private international law practice.
This course is intended to acquaint students with the impact of globalization upon the process of litigation. It focuses upon the adjudicatory resolution of disputes created by international contracts and global business transactions through the standard legal trial process and arbitration. Various basic topics are treated, including (1) the certification and training of international lawyers; (2) the liability exposure of multinational enterprises; (3) the State as an actor in global commerce; (4) problems of comparative jurisdiction, service of process and evidence-gathering, proof of foreign law, and the enforcement of foreign judgments; (5) the extraterritorial application of national law; and (6) attempts to establish a transborder law and legal process. The course also provides a thorough introduction to international arbitration and investor-state arbitration.
The International Sustainable Development Projects Law Clinic partners with university-sponsored medical, humanitarian engineering and social entrepreneurship programs, and with foreign entrepreneurs with sustainable business objectives. Students will evaluate legal issues, advise stakeholders, and solve obstacles to implementation of collaborators’ ventures in the developing world. Clinic students will help physicians, engineers and entrepreneurs bring ideas to fruition in an international, interdisciplinary setting, while improving the lives of people in communities at the base of the economic pyramid. Students earn 4 credits with the possibility of 1 additional credit for summer international travel and work. Visit the International Sustainable Development Projects Law Clinic website for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course treats the unique problems concerning U.S. taxation of the foreign income and operations of U.S. persons and enterprises and the incidence of U.S. taxation on foreign persons and enterprises, including the following basic topics: the tax treatment of international business and investments, sales and financing, the sourcing of income, inclusions and exclusions, the foreign tax credit, controlled foreign corporations, and tax avoidance. This course stresses the role of international tax treaties and examines, on a comparative basis, the tax rules of other countries in order to better understand our own system and to gain an understanding of the overall impact of taxation in the international setting.
This course examines the legal framework for international trade and its potential for growth and conflict with other areas of international law. It focuses on the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization family of agreements, including the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade. The course explores the fundamental principles embodied in international trade law, the expansion of trade agreements into new areas such as investment and intellectual property rights, and the potential conflicts between such agreements and efforts to protect labor rights and the environment. The course will analyze decisions by international trade tribunals as well as the texts of the treaties themselves.
This course presents the range of legal issues arising from the emergence of cyberspace. The course considers how the law has reacted to challenges posed by the Internet as well as how the law is shaping its future. Specific areas covered include jurisdictional analysis, First Amendment/free speech, digital copyrights, trademarks and domain names, electronic privacy, e-commerce, and Internet governance.
This course surveys U.S. health law, focusing primarily on health insurance, and the organization and regulation of healthcare providers, organizations, and industry, which are the essential areas of health law practice. The first third of the course focuses on health insurance. Public health insurance programs, Medicare and Medicaid, are covered first before moving onto the Affordable Care Act and the regulation of private insurance. The remainder of the course covers topics such as regulation of healthcare entities and providers; tax exemption requirements for hospitals; healthcare fraud and abuse; and antitrust issues in the provision of healthcare.
This course will survey the protection of proprietary rights in inventions, writings, creative expression, trade secrets, and other intangible intellectual products by federal patent, copyright, trademark and unfair competition law, and by state trade secrecy and unfair competition law. A central theme will be the challenges to traditional legal paradigms posed by new technologies and the shift to an information-based economy. The course is intended for all students who anticipate having corporate clients and seek a basic understanding of the laws applicable to key assets of most businesses, as well as for students interested in becoming intellectual property specialists. This course does not replace (and is not a prerequisite for) Copyrights, Patent Law, Trademarks, or any other intellectual property course.
The course will provide a basic understanding of the goals and techniques used to help families plan for the management and distribution of their personal wealth. Legal concepts from the laws of property, business and tax will be integrated at a fundamental level.
To develop a good foundation for the LL.M. students' other course work, this course introduces the United States court system, the role of the Constitution in the United States legal system, and other foundation materials in United States law. The goal is to introduce students to distinctive aspects and/or fundamental principles in U.S. law.
This seminar will investigate basic themes in constitutional jurisprudence from the perspectives of legal and political theory. A tentative list of topics includes separation of powers, the rule of law, sovereignty, democracy, civil and religious liberties and constitutional interpretation. This seminar will emphasize theoretical, as well as historical, dimensions of these topics, and also consider some of their contemporary implications. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course examines the legal position of the child in society and the extent to which the child may be legally controlled by parent(s) or state. Subject matters include the right of the child to control reproductive decision-making, child support and paternity issues, child pornography and minors' access to pornography, child abuse and neglect, foster care, termination of parental rights, adoption, medical treatment of juveniles, and medical experimentation on juveniles. The course also examines the delinquency jurisdiction of juvenile court, the constitutional protections afforded the child accused of criminal activity, adjudications of delinquency, punishment or placement of the child in the dispositional phase of juvenile proceedings, and treatment of the child as an adult offender.
This course is an extended study of the federal National Labor Relations Act focusing on the right to form and join labor organizations, strikes, boycotts and picketing, collective bargaining, and the enforcement of collective bargaining agreements.
Financial accounting is a system for measuring and communicating the outcomes of business activities to parties outside the firm. The purposes of this course are to: 1) provide you with a basic understanding of the concepts and principles underlying financial accounting practices; 2) make you comfortable with financial data pulled from regulatory filings; 3) enable you to have a conversation with your company’s accountants; 4) make you aware of the care that must be taken when using financial accounting data as an information source; 5) provide you with the technical tools and references to analyze how a particular transaction affects a firm’s financial statements. In addition, we will cover some basic finance and asset valuation tools.
There are two parts to this course. We begin with financial accounting: a system for measuring and communicating the outcomes of business activities to parties outside the firm. This section will: 1) provide you with a basic understanding of the concepts and principles underlying financial accounting practices; 2) make you comfortable with financial data pulled from regulatory filings; 3) enable you to have a conversation with your business clients; 4) make you aware of the care that must be taken when using financial accounting data as an information source; 5) provide you with the technical tools and references to analyze how a particular transaction affects a firm’s financial statements. In the second part of the course, we will study basic finance concepts such as the time value of money, risk, capital budgeting, appraisals, and dividend policies. We will focus on the legal instruments that facilitate debt and equity transactions. Depending on time and student interest, we will also cover some basic derivatives and M&A.
Often, the first encounter between law and medicine occurs during litigation rather than in a learning environment. In this unique interprofessional course, Penn State medical residents and Penn State Law students together will examine important, intersecting areas of law and medicine, with a special focus on the adjudication and resolution of tort claims arising from medical treatment. Our objective is that each professional group gain a better understanding of the other in order to enhance the efficacy of their own practice. We will explore competing medical and legal perspectives, define technical terms, discuss methods, and outline systems and techniques used in each respective profession. The course will culminate in a final mock trial in which the law students will act as advocates, and the medical residents as experts and party-physicians, in the resolution of claims of medical malpractice.
This course will address current legal and policy aspects of shale oil and gas development. Students will focus on the major policy issues that are shaping - and have shaped - the development of the law in the early years of the so-called "Shale Revolution." The topics that will be covered in this class include water quality, air quality, and other environmental issues; determining the appropriate regulatory entity to oversee developmental activities; managing economic benefits at the individual, community, and state level in the short and long term; construction of an appropriate infrastructure; government role in developing new technologies and expanding markets for product; international development; and the role of shale oil and gas in our national energy portfolio.
This course will explore the different ways in which the law regulates and accounts for sexuality in general and sexual orientation in particular. Topics to be covered will include rights to privacy and their impact on the ability of the state to regulate sexual conduct; rights to equal protection by lesbians and gay men; the movement for relationship recognition, marriage equality, and other family rights; rights to free speech and associations of lesbians and gay men (and of those who do not want to associate with them); employment discrimination; and legal issues involving transgendered individuals.
The objectives of this course include an examination of the interface between law and the arts with an eye to both theoretical and practical implications and a striving to identify creative and serviceable solutions to the problems that have frustrated the growth and harvest of the creative effort. The investigation will be directed toward subject areas that reflect functional divisions within the arts; i.e., the visual arts, dance, music, the literary arts, and areas such as television and film. The course includes a mandatory overnight field trip to New York City at the students' expense. It is a prerequisite for the Art, Sports, and Entertainment Law Clinic. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The course aims to offer thorough instruction on the foundations and sources of the law of the sea, the principle types of maritime jurisdiction, the principles of resource management, and approaches to the settlement of maritime disputes.
This course will cover numerous topics related to the structure and operation of law firms and other organizations that provide legal services to clients. The course will emphasize US law firms, but many of the topics will relate to other legal-service organizations as well. The topics will include, among others, choice of entity; profitability and finances; pricing and, in particular, alternative fee arrangements; human resources, such as compensation, partnership vs. employee status, and promotion; practice development; and client relationships, such as conflicts of interest, terms of engagement and use of outside counsel guidelines. The course will include numerous exercises, such as a class presentation with PowerPoint slides, short client communications on various topics and team negotiation of a case study. The course will expose students to new technology tools being introduced in practice and require students by the end of the course to demonstrate basic proficiency with the tools covered by the “Legal Tech Assessment” (Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and PDF manipulation). This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This seminar focuses on the legal and strategic business implications of global sports marketing, examined from various legal perspectives including intellectual property, contract law, antitrust law, and the need for specialized legislation. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The primary goal of the Legal Research Tools and Strategies course is to familiarize first year students with the process of discovering, evaluating, critically analyzing, and applying sources of American legal authority used by lawyers to understand facts and resolve issues. While much of the course necessarily focuses on students developing a comfortable facility for the discovery phase of the legal research process in which they learn to find law and legal commentary in its various publication formats, an equally important outcome of the course is to provide students with opportunities to evaluate, analyze and apply the legal authority they discover in the context of the legal matters they will be expected to handle as law students and lawyers.
The retention of the intellectual property or the absolute transfer of such interests to other for purposes of economic exploitation is, however, declining in use and popularity. Rather, it has evolved that maximization of the holder's value in the intellectual property may, in some circumstances, be better achieved by sharing some of the rights, while retaining others. This is the topic of the course in the licensing of intellectual property. The offering explores the myriad business, legal, and negotiating issues involved in the drafting and use of intellectual property licensing agreements.
This course explores U.S. common law analytical methods and discourse. Students will analyze cases and statutes to solve client problems. Students will draft objective memoranda and other documents to communicate their legal analysis in writing. Students will also learn the basics of U.S. legal research.
Conflicts between parties with different views of “the public good” are often difficult to resolve, especially in the environmental and natural resource arena. The judicial dispute resolution process is often not well-adapted to addressing conflicts among jurisdictions and meeting the interests of the public and private parties affected by the conflict. Mediation and other alternative dispute resolution techniques can be very useful tools in these cases. This experiential course uses case studies and simulations to explore techniques and strategies other than traditional litigation that lawyers can use to represent clients and resolve disputes in these settings. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course will introduce students to the multinational corporation as object and source of law and legal regulation, and the role of multinational corporations in world affairs. The course has been developed for both upper-class law students and students in the School of International Affairs for have completed their first year course work. Globalization is central to the study of the regulatory and policy framework of multinational corporations, and their relationships with states and other non-state actors. Since the early 1970s, with their huge market power and advanced R&D capabilities, MNCs have been seen by some astute observers as purveyors of global efficiency, while at the same time being accused by others of using their transnational leverage and largesse to foster economic and technological dependency, especially among the developing nations. Ironically, however, this once "highly politicized" latter view seems to have given way to a more balanced perspective; most nations are scurrying around to ensure their economies can secure high levels of foreign investment from MNCs so they can better integrate with the mainstream of the international economy. With globalization’s objectives of reducing the barriers to the movement of people, capital and technology across the globe, the MNC has been able to penetrate economies in virtually every part of the world. The result has been a fundamental shift in the relationship of multinational corporations to both law and public policy. With the deepening of the framework and legal structures of globalization, multinational corporations have been transformed from a mere object of law making, like individuals, to organizations that themselves now create law and legal structures. Additionally, the frameworks within which multinational corporations now serve as both objects and sources of law has expanded from relations only with the domestic legal orders of states to deep association with governance structures at the international level, including those of both public and private entities. Students will first consider the conceptual framework within which MNCs operate, including its business and legal forms, its relations with states and international organizations. Students will then consider MNC regulation by home and host states, and then examine the emerging system of international regulation by public bodies and through transnational systems of self regulation.
This course examines the laws, processes, and institutions relevant to protecting the nation’s security. After introducing the key institutions and actors within the national security process, the course will examine the U.S. Constitutional framework for national security; the government’s authority to use force, collect intelligence, and protect its secrets; the role of federal, state, and local law enforcement in counterterrorism operations and prosecutions; the growing challenges of cyber security; and the role of lawyers in the national security process. Throughout the course, we will consider the appropriate balance between security and personal liberty, the proper allocation of authority within the federal government as well as between federal and state governments, and the perceived tension between national security objectives and international obligations. This course is appropriate for all students interested in better understanding legal issues and institutions relevant to some of the most important issues government faces today. The course is also fundamental for students with specific career interests in the national security field. NOTE: Because of overlap in course content, students may not enroll in this course and also National Security Law (PERSP 953).
This the first of a two-course sequence. Students may take this course and later choose to not continue with National Security Law II (Leadership in Crisis Simulation); however, all students wishing to take the National Security Law II must take National Security Law I (Foundations) as a prerequisite. National Security Law I examines the laws, processes, and institutions relevant to protecting the nation’s security. The course first examines the critical relationships between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches in forming, overseeing, and executing national security policy and operations. The course then examines the federal government’s authority to use force abroad, including covert and special operations; offensive cyber operations; the government’s authority to collect intelligence and conduct surveillance, both within the U.S. and abroad; the public’s right to obtain national security information and the government’s right to keep secrets; U.S. homeland security law; and legal issues associated with the North American Treaty Organization and the law of the sea. The course also examines the practical challenges national security lawyers confront in practice. Persistent themes include the balance between security and liberty, the allocation of authority within and between governments, and the perceived tension between national security and international obligations. This course is appropriate for any student interested in better understanding some of the most important and even existential issues facing the nation today. The course is also essential for students with specific career interests in national security or public international law.
This is the second of a two-course sequence. National Security Law I (Foundations) is a prerequisite. National Security Law II (Leadership in Crisis Simulation) is an extended simulation course designed to replicate legal practice in the national security environment while developing leadership and communication skills. Legal issues arise against an intense backdrop of competing domestic and international political interests under time constraints with lives often on the line. Students represent members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well foreign governments, the media, and non-governmental advocacy groups as they confront a complex national security problem across the semester. Throughout the course, students fill leadership roles enriched by leadership readings and classroom discussion. Students learn to write on short deadlines and communicate verbally with confidence, clarity, and efficiency. Students receive extensive individual performance feedback to include multiple one-on-one mentoring sessions; regular written performance evaluations; and detailed writing critiques. Visitors with high-level experience enrich the class by providing analysis and perspective. This experience will be particularly valuable for students considering careers in national security specifically, the public sector generally, or within non-governmental advocacy groups; however, skills emphasized in the course will be relevant to any student wishing to think precisely, communicate clearly, and collaborate creatively under deadlines with high stakes. This is a four-credit course with two 75-minute class sessions per week. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This is the second of a two-course sequence. National Security Law I (Foundations) is a prerequisite. National Security Law II (Leadership in Crisis Simulation) is an extended simulation course designed to replicate legal practice in the national security environment while developing leadership and communication skills. Legal issues arise against an intense backdrop of competing domestic and international political interests under extreme time constraints with lives often on the line. Students represent members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches as well foreign governments, the media, and non-governmental advocacy groups as they confront a complex national security problem across the semester. Throughout the course, students fill leadership roles enriched by leadership readings and classroom discussion. Students learn to write on short deadlines and communicate extemporaneously with confidence. Students receive extensive individual performance feedback to include multiple one-on-one mentoring sessions; regular written performance evaluations; and detailed writing critiques. Visiting attorneys and journalists with high-level experience enrich the class by providing analysis and perspective. This experience will be particularly valuable for students considering careers in national security specifically, the public sector generally, or within non-governmental advocacy groups; however, skills emphasized in the course will be relevant to any student wishing to think precisely, communicate clearly, and collaborate creatively under deadlines with high stakes. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
National Security Crisis Law is the capstone course in the national security law curriculum at a partner ABA accredited law school in the Washington, D.C. area. Enrollment at Penn State Law is limited to five students based on performance in the Penn State Law national security law prerequisites and a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in national security law. The course examines national security law doctrine and provides an opportunity to apply the doctrine in an advanced simulated setting. The course also emphasizes leadership and examines how cognitive biases, institutional cultures, and formal and informal social networks influence lawyers’ ability to perform effectively under pressure. The course takes into account both conventional and non-conventional threats to examine the constitutional, statutory, and administrative aspects of the government’s response. In lieu of an examination, students will take part in a week-long simulation, during which they will assume positions within the federal Executive Branch, as well as state and local government. A control team, made up of approximately 50 professors and attorneys from practice, will respond to student decision-making. For the final two days of the week, students will be present. During the 2018-2019 year, the final exercise will be both national and international, involving students from top national security law schools across the United States and Canada.
This course is an introduction to the public and private claims to natural resources. Its focus is the common law but brief introductions of major natural resource protection statutes like the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and others are included. The course also studies major resource-types like water, minerals, timber, recreation and scenery in their overall legal context.
Identifying opportunities for negotiating and resolving conflicts before they are litigated in the courts is the focus of this course. The course explores both negotiation theory and practice, as well how to design systems and processes for managing disputes. This experiential learning course will address and explore real world issues that may come up for attorneys in practice, including in person and online. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course combines the law and ethics of negotiation, mediation and settlement with economic and psychological bargaining theory and regular hands-on practice in representing clients in negotiation and mediation. Bargaining theory (including distributive and integrative bargaining), relevant socio-psychological research, negotiation and mediation ethics, the law of settlement, and the basics of contract drafting are all introduced. Instruction consists of assigned reading, a series of simulations and exercises (including drafting a resulting contract), written negotiation planning and self-evaluation, feedback, and group discussion. The course also may involve participation in a full-day Saturday program, and students should be prepared to experiment with various means to maximize their facility in using videoconferencing and other technologies to negotiate and represent clients in mediation. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course will address the basic concepts in oil and gas law within the United States as well as the specific legal issues associated with the development of the Marcellus Shale formation. This specific topics to be covered include the ownership or oil and gas, oil and gas leasing, oil and gas conservation laws, oil and gas interests, and government regulation of development.
This course is an examination of the legal requirements for obtaining patent protection for an invention. The statutory foundations of United States patent law are examined through an analysis of patent prosecution practice and patent litigation. The course also considers United States patent practice in the context of international intellectual property law.
Payment Systems and Financial Transactions is a general overview of the law of negotiable instruments (e.g., checks), and other mechanisms for making payments, including credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, and wire transfers. The course also will cover credit enhancement systems such as guaranties and letters of credit. The course will address both uniform state law (UCC Articles 3, 4, 4A, and 5), and applicable federal statutes and regulations (such as the Expedited Funds Availability Act, the Truth-in-Lending Act, and the Electronic Fund Transfers Act).
This seminar is designed to improve students’ understanding of the theoretical and policy justifications underlying the prosecution of white collar crime. Students will examine current issues in the debate over corporate criminal liability, prosecutorial discretion, the use of plea agreements to achieve structural reform of corporations, and the federalization of crime. In addition, the class will examine white collar crime in particular industries such as health care and securities regulation. Students will examine these issues both theoretically and practically by reviewing law review articles, Department of Justice policies, pleadings, and case studies on some of the most notorious white collar crime cases in recent years. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course introduces students to a framework for pre-writing and analyzing a client problem. The course will assist students in developing reading comprehension skills, case briefing skills, legal analysis and synthesis skills, increased proficiency in Legal English, and basic research and citation skills. Course is required for the Legal English Certificate Program.
Through the use of hypothetical situations, this course attempts to generate student sensitivity to ethical problems faced by lawyers in various kinds of practice. The ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and the older Code of Professional Responsibility are the basic tools, but discussion centers as well on case law, ABA opinions and standards, statutes, and the dictates of conscience. Discipline and professional malpractice are also treated.
This course introduces the basic concepts and principles in the law of property. Topics include: acquisition and allocation of property rights; restrictions on owners' rights to use, limit access to, and sell or dispose of their property; and the relationships among multiple owners of rights in the same property. The emphasis is on real property, although the course also addresses intellectual property and other types of personal property.
This seminar is for those who are interested in property and poverty. Since the time of Bentham, we have understood that the poor, like others, are more likely to invest in property if they own it. Hernando De Soto has famously argued that non-transparent legal systems, and titling systems in particular, pose severe impediments to the participation of the poor in capitalist economies. Without title, the poor are less likely to invest in their properties and are often unable to access credit. De Soto estimates that for the developing world, the total value of real estate held by the poor (but not formally titled) is more than 20 times foreign direct investment and more than 90 times all foreign aid for the last 3 decades. The extent of De Soto’s influence can hardly be overstated. In the policy world, his work has inspired decades of World Bank-funded titling programs across several continents. In the academic world, his work has inspired soul-searching among economists and legal scholars across the methodological spectrum. Some have argued for communal systems of collective land tenure. Others dispute his estimates of property currently owned by the poor, and argue that granting legal title has not improved credit access. Others have argued that titling systems simply replicate current inequalities. Moreover, in societies where women work the land but do not have equal status, their claims are unlikely to be recognized. Others have criticized De Soto’s emphasis on titling arguing that land titling by itself is unlikely to make a significant impact on poverty reduction without parallel reforms such as improving judicial systems, bankruptcy codes, and business regulations. Yet others such as Judge Posner have rightly raised questions as to whether extensive investments in legal systems represent a prudent investment in the conditions of extreme economic scarcity that characterize many developing countries, suggesting that in such circumstances, a more “modest” approach to legal reforms may be more prudent. This seminar will focus on De Soto’s work and the critiques. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course will consider the role of federal, state, and international law in protecting the public from illness, death, and disability.
This course will focus on the regulation of commercial banks in the U.S, and will include an overview of the regulation of other financial institutions, such as insurers, securities brokers-dealers and investment companies.
This course addresses the various legal and equitable forms of relief that are available to private parties in various contexts (e.g., contract, tort and property claims) as well as in cases that involve issues of public importance (e.g., injunctive relief for civil rights violations). This course will address remedies from a practical perspective (e.g., strategic decision-making regarding which remedies to pursue in order to achieve a client’s goals) and from a theoretical perspective (e.g., the public policies that underlie the various forms of relief). Specific topics that will be covered in the course include: compensatory damages, criminal and civil contempt, injunctions, specific performance, rescission, declaratory judgments, punitive damages, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, constructive trusts, equitable liens, and equitable defenses such as unclean hands, estoppel and laches.
This course considers legal issues typically arising in the course of representing an entrepreneurial venture, including choice of appropriate entity, naming and trade names, agreements among initial and early owners, operational management, governance, succession, equity and debt finance, intellectual property issues, employment arrangements and applicable employment statutes, executive compensation, typical operational contracts, risk management and ethical issues. This course will also review customary financial statements, business strategies in terms of long-term development or early exit, and common exit alternatives. The objective is to give participants an introduction to the diverse legal problems that they are likely to encounter in an entrepreneurial setting, either as lawyers for the enterprise or as owners of an equity position in the enterprise. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course will address relationships and responsibilities of representing the professional athlete. Students will also get an introduction and in-depth examination of Representation through group exercises, class discussions and professional contract analysis. There will be time dedicated to the NCAA Rules that affect Agent interaction with potential clients and individual State enacted laws governing the modern Agent. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Students will learn about the role of judicial clerks, including the typical responsibilities of judicial clerks, and they will learn about various forms of judicial writing done by trial and appellate court clerks. Students will recognize the impact of written advocacy on judicial writing as they switch roles from advocating as a lawyer to deciding issues raised by the advocates and writing opinions that implement subtle persuasive writing techniques. Students must critically read judicial files, including parties’ briefs; they also will conduct research, analyze the facts and law from a judge’s perspective, and apply the correct motion standard or standard of review. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the process for creation of legal precedent through opinions. With individualized feedback, students will develop precision in self-editing and revision skills and will practice producing concise, clear, and accessible written work.. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course explores sources of administrative law, with primary emphasis on federal administrative law, and provides students the opportunity to research regulations, agency decisions, and other administrative legal resources using a variety of sources. The goal of the course is to give students a practical understanding of where administrative authority and law originates and how to find it. Emphasis will be placed on using free, authentic resources to conduct much of this research, but attention to premium online resources will also be included. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
The Rural Economic Development Clinic will provide students with practical legal experience representing individuals and entities in Pennsylvania's rural communities, primarily within the broad fields of agricultural, food, and energy law. Students will work with agricultural producers, businesses, landowners, and nonprofit organizations on specific projects that will involve transactional work such as preparing / reviewing contracts, addressing basic business entity issues, and providing general legal counsel.
Students will receive instruction on basic skills associated with legal practice including those required to interact with clients. Students also will receive instruction in any substantive area necessary to represent their clients. This instruction will be provided in a group and individual setting. As part of their clinic responsibilities, students will interact directly with clients to ascertain the legal issues presented, advise the clients on the recommended legal strategy, and prepare or review any necessary legal documentation to effectuate the legal strategy. Visit the Rural Economic Development Clinic for more information. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Article Two of the Uniform Commercial Code is an integrated body of statutory law that prescribes the rights and obligations of parties involved in transactions in goods. Although we will review general principles of contract law and contrast them with the approach adopted in Article Two, this course emphasizes the special techniques of statutory construction utilized in interpreting a code as opposed to an isolated statute. Classroom discussion is devoted almost exclusively to developing analyses of written problems distributed to the students in advance of the class. The problems require students to fashion arguments based on the statutory language. The problems also require students to develop an understanding of the legal and commercial context based on the assigned readings, and then to interpret the statutory language in light of this context. The course topics are: code methodology (including the history and jurisprudence of Article Two), contract formation and interpretation, performance obligations, breach and remedies.
This course deals with the creation, enforcement, and priorities of personal property security interests under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and related statutes. It addresses:(a) encumbrances on consumer, commercial, and industrial goods, (b) inventory and receivables financing for manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, and (c) personal property agricultural financing. Relevant provisions of other Articles of the UCC and other state and federal statutes are integrated into the course as required.
Designed for students who want to improve their ability to understand and communicate with Spanish-speaking clients and colleagues in legal settings. Includes practical reading, speaking, and writing exercises using real documents from Spanish-speaking courts, attorneys, and statutes. Encompasses an introduction to research resources, citation norms, and other tools related to practicing law in Spanish, and includes discussions of regional variations in law, ethics, and language in the Spanish legal world. Guest speakers or other contact with native Spanish-speakers in the profession will also be scheduled.
This course explores how various areas of the law impact the sports and entertainment industry. The "law" that is used by most sports lawyers is principally the application of settled principles of other legal fields to the sports industry: contract law, labor law, tax law, products liability law, intellectual property law, etc. The course then focuses on important areas that provide the foundational principles that drive the outcome of most legal disputes arising in the sports and entertainment industry. The course also examines on certain areas of the law such as antitrust, labor, and constitutional law, that have specific and unique applications to sports and entertainment.
This course explores how various areas of the law impact the sports industry. The "law" that is used by most sports lawyers is principally the application of settled principles of other legal fields to the sports industry: contract law, labor law, tax law, products liability law, intellectual property law, etc.
The Sports Law course, then focuses on important areas that provide the foundational principles that drive the outcome of most legal disputes arising in the sports industry. The course also examines on certain areas of the law such as antitrust, labor, and constitutional law, that have specific and unique applications to sports.
This course introduces students to the law governing how subnational governments are organized and operate in the United States. The course is structured around three sets of legal relationships: between municipalities and states, between different municipalities, and between municipalities and their citizens. Specific topics to be covered include local government formation and boundary change; local voting rights; local provision of services; and state and local finance.
Beginning with historical and constitutional aspects, students will analyze in detail recent developments in state and local taxation and their impact on client representation. Attention will be concentrated on corporate, sales and use and other business taxes, death duties, and property taxes and exemptions.
This course is designed to provide students with an advanced understanding of ways lawyers use primary and secondary legal research sources and finding tools to successfully represent their clients. An emphasis is placed on the development of effective legal research strategies that take into account choice of format (e.g., the relative advantages and disadvantages of print and electronic sources), cost/benefit analysis of format choice, evolving approaches by law firms and private practitioners to billable research hours, use of computerized tools to organize research results, and presentation of research results to case supervisors. Course content will be presented in a hybrid format consisting of two hours per week of in-class meetings with the remaining credit to be completed by coursework outside scheduled class time through online and written assignments. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
Street law teaches law students to use and develop interactive methods to teach young people about fundamental principles of the U.S. legal system and practical lessons about the law. Participating law students attend a comprehensive orientation program and participate in weekly class sessions focused on pedagogical practices and community lawyering.
Throughout the semester, law students learn how to design small group exercises, role-plays, and simulations of legal proceedings. The program has two focuses: a law course characterized by rich legal content, examining practical law and legal policy; the second, a legal literacy focus designed to further develop law student expressive skills, critical thinking, problem solving, and other professional skills.
This second dimension exposes law students to the culture and experiences of their students and helps them see the law through the eyes of others. It also teaches law students many of the skills necessary to be good lawyers, including: researching contemporary legal topics; breaking down complex legal concepts to laypersons; and working with a diverse clientele of a wide range of abilities.
This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This seminar will examine many of the provisions of the recently adopted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, focusing principally on the business tax provisions. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course will examine and debate a series of legal and regulatory issues raised by spectrum management, broadcasting, cable television, common carrier, Internet, resource allocation, and technology planning topics.
This course examines current constitutional doctrine concerning religion under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The focus will be on the essential cases and principles of the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment. These cases and principles are organized along three thematic lines: (1) the regulation of religious activity (free exercise and neutrality, governmental interests, legislative accommodation), (2) the funding of religious activity (establishment and neutrality, governmental support of religious institutions), and (3) the treatment of religion in government's culture shaping activities (public schools, school curriculum, religious speech). The course ends with a discussion of the definition of "religion" for purposes of federal constitutional law.
This course covers common law employment doctrines (at-will employment, contract and tort erosions of at-will employment, employee duties, including the duty of loyalty and trade secrets), noncompetition agreements, and employee rights in inventions, and workplace injuries (including workers compensation, OSHA, and criminal and tort approaches to promoting a safe workplace).
The course will explore the history, constitutional, legal foundation and separation of powers issues involved in the government independent counsel from Teapot Dome to Watergate, Iran-Contra, Whitewater and the Russian hacking investigations. It will explore in depth, the unique problems and legal issues encountered in these cases, including conflict with parallel congressional inquiries, assertion and application of Fifth Amendment, executive and DOJ authority over the independent counsel as well as Supreme Court and lower court jurisdiction limning the office. The course will also examine collateral constitutional issues under the pardon power and the relation to Congress’ impeachment processes.
Employer-provided pension and health care programs play a critical role in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. They also affect corporations, financial markets, and the economy as a whole. Employee benefit programs are, in short, an important staple of modern law practice. This course surveys the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and relevant portions of the Internal Revenue Code. Classes examine what benefit plans must do regarding reporting and disclosure, accrual, vesting, funding, and fiduciary standards. The course covers health care reform, the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution programs, and the effect of stock market volatility on benefit programs. Throughout the semester, students examine the policy goals underpinning federal benefits law. The course surveys major issues in ERISA litigation, including that statute's claims and remedies provisions, as well as its preemption of state law.
This seminar explores how law defines and shapes America’s complex relationship with its largest, most lethal, and perhaps most misunderstood institution: The Armed Forces of the United States. The seminar also focuses intensely on the essential skills of written and oral communication. The seminar will address the legal and policy issues arising from the military’s organization, composition, and wide variety of missions; the merits of an all-volunteer force; the military’s response to changing norms regarding race, sexuality, and gender, including the challenge of sexual assault; the concept of civilian control of the military and its relationship to military effectiveness; the role of lawyers in the military; and the unique nature of military society as reflected in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The seminar also gives students the opportunity to write on a topic related to the military specifically or national security more generally. Students will present research papers on topics relevant to the seminar and, circumstances permitting, will have the opportunity to witness actual military justice proceedings.This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course examines the unique aspects of working as a lawyer within a corporation. The course explores the key roles today's in-house counsel play, including advising the Board of Directors and senior management, selecting and managing outside counsel, meeting corporate compliance and regulatory obligations, conducting internal investigations, drafting and negotiating commercial transaction agreements, managing litigation and balancing the dual roles of trusted business advisor and guardian of the ethical and reputational capital of the enterprise. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course examines the contribution of the judiciary to political governance in comparative perspective. It focuses on the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice, which is the highest court of the European Union. It also takes into account selectively judgments of other constitutional courts. It seeks to explore the function of judicial review in modern democracy through a study of judicial decisions in selected areas. It examines the relationship between the judiciary and the other organs of government and the role of courts in protecting the citizen. It focuses on the following areas: federalism, the protection of human rights, the principles of democracy, non-discrimination, equality, proportionality, legitimate expectations, and fair hearing; Locus standi, remedies for the protection of constitutional rights, and the liability of public bodies and state agencies. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
The Supreme Court, including procedure and practice, principles of adjudication, and history, as well as the topics of the current term are studied. Students are required to present analyses of current cases as well as an analytical paper on approved topics of constitutional law. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
This course provides an introduction to the domestic law and practice of arbitration. It assesses the statutory and decisional law basis for arbitration, especially the provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act. It investigates the central doctrinal issues in the field: the enforceability of unilaterally-imposed arbitration agreements, the arbitrability of statutory rights — in particular, civil rights matters, and the use of contract to establish the law of arbitration between the arbitrating parties. Emphasis is placed upon practical problems that have emerged in the practice of arbitration law: the selection of arbitrators, the use of discovery and evidence-gathering in arbitral proceedings, and the content of arbitration agreements. The course also addresses the new uses of arbitration in consumer, health, and employment fields.
The inexorable paces of globalization and interdependence over the past few decades have made the need for international cooperation among states more acute. The role of the United Nations, the premier global intergovernmental organization, in these processes has become more relevant, as has that of international law in general. Notwithstanding the critical voices that have sometimes questioned the relevance or usefulness of the world body, and international law itself, on the basis of certain perspectives and points of view, the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies continue to have a considerable impact around the world, in such areas as the use of force, conflict prevention and resolution, refugees, human population displacement and forced migrations, humanitarian action, human rights, international trade, and economic and social development. These considerations, among others, make the study of the United Nations and international law more important today than it has ever been. This course satisfies the upper-level writing seminar requirement.
Tort law seeks to remedy civil wrongs that result in harm to person or property. The class will focus on basic concepts such as the intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, and products liability.
The law of trademarks is central to the concept of fair dealing in the commercial environment. The history of common law and statutory trademarks is explored as well as registration, conveyancing and foreign rights. The course deals with the duty of the merchant to compete honestly and remedies for failure to do so.
This course introduces the fundamental skills of trial advocacy applicable in civil and criminal trials in any jurisdiction. In keeping with the theory that trial advocacy is best learned by "doing," each student will conduct written and oral exercises concerning the various stages of the trial process-pleadings, pretrial motions, discovery, settlement negotiations, trial preparation, jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination of lay witnesses, examination of expert witnesses, trial motions, and closing arguments. Students are able to evaluate their own progress through viewing videotapes of their performances. The class meets jointly for lectures, while the oral trial exercises are conducted in small sections. The teams for the national mock trial competitions that are conducted during the spring semester will be selected based upon students’ overall performance in Trial Advocacy. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course introduces students to fundamental concepts of U.S. common law analysis and methods. The course will explore the function of case law within a common law system. Students will consider how judicial opinions interact with other sources of law, and the methods common law lawyers use to analyze cases. Students will apply this knowledge to legal problems and build English language skills for clear legal communication. Course is required for the Legal English Certificate Program.
The course is structured as a companion course to Constitutional law, introducing students to the use of case briefs, exam-writing skills, and outlines while helping students develop faster reading speeds and techniques for focusing their reading and listening. Throughout the course students will also improve their legal English vocabulary. The course uses hypotheticals and current constitutional law cases to build students' legal analysis skills gradually over the course of the semester. Students will enroll concurrently in Constitutional Law. Course is required for the Legal English Certificate Program.
This course introduces students to the foundational concepts of U.S. legal analysis and helps them develop essential skills for success in case analysis courses. The course is structured as a companion course to Criminal Law, introducing students to the use of case briefs, exam-writing skills, and outlines while helping students develop faster reading speeds and techniques for focusing their reading and listening. The course uses hypotheticals and client problems to build students' legal analysis skills gradually over the course of the semester. Students will enroll concurrently in Criminal Law. Course is required for the Legal English Certificate Program.
This course introduces students to the foundational concepts of U.S. legal analysis and helps them develop essential skills for success in case analysis courses. The course is structured as a companion course to Criminal Procedure, introducing students to the use of case briefs, exam-writing skills, and outlines while helping students develop faster reading speeds and techniques for focusing their reading and listening. The course uses hypotheticals and client problems to build students legal analysis skills gradually over the course of the semester. Students will enroll concurrently in Criminal Procedure. Course is required for the Legal English Certificate Program.
The Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (Veterans Clinic) will provide focused and specialized legal assistance to veterans and servicemembers. Currently there are nearly 1.6 million veterans and military personnel located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Under the supervision of a faculty member, students will learn the substance and process of representing veterans and current servicemembers and the unique legal issues they encounter. Initially, the Veterans Clinic will focus on addressing state and federal policy matters affecting the rights of veterans and servicemembers, and providing legal assistance to a selected group of veterans whose claims have been rejected by the U.S. Department of Veterans Administration (VA) and appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals. The Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic intends to accept and help litigate VA appeals cases referred to it by local and regional veterans associations. The Veterans Clinic will also seek to develop and/or influence state and federal legislation that affects veterans or current servicemembers, including but not limited to policies addressing military voting issues, creation of veterans courts, issues arising under the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act, and regulations to improve the lives of those sexually assaulted during military service. The Veterans Clinic may also handle appellate matters addressing the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course is designed to teach students about the veterans benefit system, by analyzing the statutes and regulations that govern that system, studying the administrative agency tasked with applying the law and distributing the benefits, and analyzing both administrative and judicial decisions interpreting those laws. Students will study the policy goals of the system, the role of attorney representation of veterans as it has changed over time, how to be an effective advocate for the veteran in this system, and the challenges the system faces due to the unprecedented number of claims filed and appealed.
This experiential simulation course is designed to teach law students how to represent clients before a federal agency by drafting and commenting on proposed regulations, writing persuasive administrative briefs, conducting a settlement conference with the agency, and presenting oral advocacy. The skills students learn in this simulation course will be transferable to practice before any state or federal agency. At the same time, students will gain an in-depth knowledge about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. veterans benefits legal system. Students will hone their statutory and regulatory analytical skills, and will learn to analyze written administrative decisions. Students will also study the policy goals of the veterans benefits legal system, the role of attorney representation of veterans as it has changed over time, how to be an effective advocate for the veteran in this system, and the challenges the system faces due to the unprecedented number of claims filed and appealed. This course will also help students seeking to take the Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic in a future semester or to compete in the annual veterans law moot court competition held each fall. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course provides an overview of U.S.-focused law and policy related to water. This includes the allocation of water supplies under the riparian and prior appropriation doctrines, as well as the federal reserved rights doctrine, the Endangered Species Act, and cases testing the public interest. In addition, the course examines water quality concerns under the Clean Water Act, with a specific focus on the Chesapeake Bay. Finally, the course covers special topics related to water law and policy, including flooding, drought, and climate change; drinking water, wastewater, and infrastructure; energy and the development of Marcellus Shale; and trans-boundary/ international water issues.
This course will cover the substantive law and procedures of major white-collar crimes, including conspiracy, fraud, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law (RICO), money laundering, public corruption, and economic crimes. It will also examine their civil counterparts and civil and administrative consequences and analyze the theory and policies of these hybrid criminal statutes. Finally, the class will learn and practice skills associated with white-collar crime cases, for example, investigative techniques, negotiation, and development of effective theories of the case.
This course examines the disposition of property at death by intestate succession and by will. The execution, revocation, construction, and contest of wills, as well as limits on the power to dispose of property by will, are studied. This course also examines the creation, purposes and termination of trusts, including informal trusts, and the interrelationship between trusts and wills.
As an overwhelming majority of civil cases in federal courts never go to trial or oral argument, federal courts decide cases primarily on the parties' written motions and briefs. As such, knowing how, in a written document, to persuade courts to take a desired course of action is an essential skill for today’s advocates. In this course, students will study the science of persuasion, from classical rhetoric to modern cognitive psychology, and will study the art of persuasion by examining how successful appellate advocates write. Students will practice writing their own compelling motions and briefs in the context of an actual federal civil rights action. Students will receive individualized feedback throughout the course. This course satisfies the experiential learning requirement.
This course will explore the history and development of, public policy considerations for, and state and federal systems for delivery of medical and wage benefits to injured workers.