Courses

  • LAW JD 786: American Legislative Practice: Clinic Option (C)
    NOTE: Restricted to students who apply and are accepted into the program. The American Legislative Practice Clinic is a one-semester clinical program (six graded credits), offered in the fall and spring. The in-class seminar will cover subjects that affect the legislative process including: constitutional interpretation by legislatures, theories of representation, legislative organization and rules, lobbying, legislative oversight powers, and legislature-executive agency relationships. The clinic gives students the opportunity to develop and apply a variety of legal skills to the legislative process. Clinic participants work on several projects during the semester that highlight different aspects of the legislative process, allowing students to relate and test the theories discussed in class to real life situations.
  • LAW JD 788: Contract Drafting
    This course is the foundational skills course within the Transactional Law Program. It teaches students basic principles and skills of drafting and analyzing commercial and transaction agreements, with a focus on recognizing, and addressing through contractual provisions, key business issues in transactions. Although the course will be of particular interest to students interested in a corporate or transactional law practice, since most practicing attorneys will need to work with contracts at some point in their career, the concepts and skills which the course conveys are applicable to virtually all practice areas and specialties. While the course utilizes lectures to introduce various contract concepts and techniques essential for drafting and reviewing commercial and transaction agreements, it requires that students complete in-class exercises and extensive homework assignments as a means of building basic drafting skills and a solid understanding of the structure and operation of contractual provisions in a business transaction. Grades will be based on the graded assignments, good faith completion of ungraded assignments, and class participation. ENROLLMENT LIMIT: 12 students. NOTE: This class satisfies the Upper-class Professional Skills requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT: A student who fails to attend the first class or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the class. Students who are on the wait list for a section are required to attend the first meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 789: Transaction Simulation: Forming & Financing a Start-Up Business
    This course is one of the semester-long transaction simulations offered as part of the School's Transactional Law Program. The simulated transaction is the formation and initial financing of a privately-held company in the software industry. The transaction will expose students to the principal issues in counseling entrepreneurs as to their emerging businesses, including key elements such as entity creation, duties of management and control among owners, equity compensation, intellectual property protection, capital raising through preferred stock financing, and financing-related contracts based on industry-standard models. Through in-class discussions and graded homework assignments, students will simulate the work of practicing attorneys (both junior and senior) who counsel start-ups and their founders on a day-to-day basis. The course grade will be based on three drafting homework assignments, contributions in class, and a group project focused on a self-selected current topic. CLASS SIZE: Limited to 12 students. PREREQUISITE: Corporations. NOTES: This course does not satisfy the Upper-Class Writing Requirement. This course satisfies the Upper-Class Professional Skills Requirement and the Transaction Simulation requirement of the Transactional Practice Concentration. RESTRICTION: Students may only take one transaction simulation course during their time at BU Law. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENT: A student who fails to attend the first class or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the class. Students who are on the wait list are required to attend the first meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 790: Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
    This course provides a comprehensive overview of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and its subsequent amendments (including the Affordable Care Act). Special attention is paid to the creation and maintenance of both pension and welfare plans and to plan operation, funding, amendments, accrual and vesting. For pensions, the focus is on qualified plans and the special problems presented by highly compensated employees, IRS "anti-discrimination" rules and by bankruptcy and divorce. The course also covers the regulation of self insured and traditionally insured health care plans as well as long and short term disability, severance and plan termination. The semester ends with an introduction to the responsibilities of plan fiduciaries, ERISA preemption, and section 502(a) claims and remedies.
  • LAW JD 791: Intellectual Property and the Internet (S)
    This seminar will explore the ways in which the Internet has challenged both the theory and the law of intellectual property. Rather than broadly surveying the landscape, we will closely examine a cluster of topics that have especially challenged courts, legislatures, and theorists. Particular topics will be determined prior to the start of class, but might include: copyright law's treatment of intermediaries (such as YouTube, file sharing services, and online service providers); the obligations of auction sites and other online services to police trademark infringement by their users; the scope of fair use protection for user-generated content; and patent protection for Internet-related technologies and business methods. Grades will be based on a combination of written exercises (required each week) and oral presentations (required once for each student). Student participation is required, and will be taken into account in the grade for the course. In lieu of the short papers, it is possible to write a paper that satisfies the Upper-class Writing Requirement. PREREQUISITE: All students must have completed a core Intellectual Property course (Intellectual Property, Patent Law, Copyright Law, or Trademark Law). GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 793: Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants
    This course will examine the theory, practice, and interrelationship of trade secret law and the law of restrictive covenants, including laws governing the use and enforceability of noncompetition agreements. We will explore what a trade secret is, what it is not, how it differs from other types of intellectual property, and how something secret can constitute protectable property. We will investigate how trade secrets can be misappropriated, including misappropriation through one's memory; whether and in what circumstances trade secrets will be protected, including through the use of noncompetition agreements, nondisclosure agreements, and other restrictive covenants; the other purposes served by those agreements; and the strengths and weaknesses of the various laws governing the protection of trade secrets and the use of restrictive covenants. Depending on class interest and time, we may discuss related issues such as the current debate over the use of noncompete agreements and their putative effects on innovation. NOTE: This course satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. OFFERING PATTERN: This class is not offered every year. Students are advised to take this into account when planning their long-term schedule.
  • LAW JD 794: Bankruptcy Practice: Chapter 11 Reorganizations and Sales of Businesses (S)
    This seminar will examine Chapter 11 from the point of view of attorneys for all participants in the process. It is designed to provide the student with knowledge of the uses of Chapter 11, the parties involved in a Chapter 11 proceeding, the substantive law governing Chapter 11 and the Plan of Reorganization process. This seminar will explore the increasing use of Chapter 11 as a vehicle to accomplish the sale of insolvent businesses, the "cram down" of creditors to accomplish confirmation of Plans of Reorganization, executory contracts including those dealing with real estate, equipment and intellectual property and alternatives to Chapter 11. Also to be considered are the impact of changes in judicial, legislative and societal attitudes on the restructuring process. The material will consist of important cases and articles on the subjects to be discussed. Grades will depend primarily on one (1) research paper which will be required of each student. Grades will be adjusted to account for class participation. NOTES: This seminar does not satisfy the Upper-class Writing Requirement. This seminar satisfies the Professional Skills requirement. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 797: Law and War: Contemporary Issues (S)
    Does law continue to operate in times of war? This seminar will examine the knotty legal questions underlying current wartime debates, with a primary focus on modern conflicts facing the United States in the post-9/11 era. A complex architecture of international and domestic law governs states and state actors during wartime. Evolving threats, new technologies, and domestic politics have tested these legal frameworks, and the domestic and international laws of war continue to adapt to challenges to their relevance and viability. Topics for discussion may include, among others: Guantanamo detention, targeted killing and drones, interrogation and torture, humanitarian intervention in conflicts like those in Libya and Syria, and the scope of the U.S. President's constitutional and statutory authority to wage war. RECOMMENDED COURSES: International Law. GRADING NOTICE: This seminar does not offer the CR/NC/H option. **A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 799: Tax Policy (S)
    This seminar will examine criteria used to make administrative and legislative choices in taxation: equity, efficiency, administrability and simplicity. As a particular focus, we will study some of the connections between a tax system and spending programs. PREREQUISITE: Introduction to Federal Income Taxation. LIMITED WRITING OPTION: A limited number of students will be able to satisfy the writing requirement with a paper. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who waitlist for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 800: Local Government Law
    A study of the law governing the powers and duties of local governments, mainly municipal corporations such as cities and towns. We look at the sources of municipal powers, the limits on those powers, the relationship between municipalities and the state including the relationship between state and local law, and the formation and expansion of municipalities. An important subject of study involves looking at various models of the relationship between the municipality and the state including home rule. We will also look at some issues in municipal finance and zoning power. The purpose of this introductory course is to provide a solid basis for a more general understanding of the myriad issues that arise under the Local Government Law rubric.
  • LAW JD 801: Administrative Law
    MONCRIEFF: This course will examine the nature and functions of federal administrative agencies and the legal controls on agency action. Topics include the status of administrative agencies in the constitutional framework of separation of powers; agency rulemaking and adjudication; and the availability, timing, and scope of judicial review of agency action. DIVER/LAWSON: This course will examine the nature and functions of federal administrative agencies and the legal controls on agency action. Agency action is situated and examined in its political and legal contexts. Topics include the status of administrative agencies in the constitutional framework of separation of powers including the non-delegation doctrine, the President's appointment and removal powers in light of the unitary executive, the constitutionality of the legislative and line-item vetoes, the constitutionality of agency adjudication, and the constitutional (and political) status of independent agencies; agency rulemaking and adjudication including the choice of procedural model and the procedural requirements of the rulemaking model; and the availability, timing and scope of judicial review of agency action including standing to seek judicial review and exceptions to the availability of judicial review. The course also examines different methods of policy analysis such as regulatory impact analysis and cost-benefit analysis. Additional topics include discriminatory enforcement, regulatory delay, judicial imposition of procedural constraints on agencies, the implication of private rights of action from regulatory statutes and the availability citizens' suits. Some attention may be paid to differences between state and federal separation of powers doctrines. GRADING NOTICE: Professor Diver's section of this course will not offer the CR/NC/H option.
  • LAW JD 802: Food, Drug and Cosmetic Law (S)
    This seminar examines the Food and Drug Administration as an administrative agency combining law and science to regulate activities affecting public health and safety. Topics include testing and approval of pharmaceuticals and medical devices; food safety and nutritional policy; biologics and biotechnology regulation; cosmetic regulation; pricing of and reimbursement for drugs and devices; global aspects of pharmaceutical regulation, US and foreign patent issues, and FDA practice and procedure; jurisdiction and enforcement. A writing project involving research on food and drug issues will be required. RECOMMENDED COURSES: Intellectual Property, Administrative Law & Health Law. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 803: Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights
    This course focuses on corporate reorganization and corporate finance. We will study the legal requirements for reorganization plans under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, as well as the use of going concern sales outside of Chapter 11. We will study important doctrinal issues relating to reorganization of corporate groups, including substantive consolidation and equitable subordination. We will investigate avoidance actions in bankruptcy, including preferences and fraudulent conveyance, and the treatment of pre-bankruptcy contracts. Other topics include the financing of corporate debtors in bankruptcy and workouts and duties to creditors outside of bankruptcy. Finally, we will also introduce and ultimately master some basic tools of corporate finance--present value, expected value, and risk and diversification. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. PREREQUISITES: Corporations.
  • LAW JD 805: Secured Transactions
    Many commercial financing transactions involve the creation of security interests in the borrower's personal property that are akin to mortgages of real property. Much business credit is provided on a secured credit -- if security is unavailable, credit markets can dry up. Additionally, the debt obligation can be packaged with others and serve as the backing for securities akin to those that have recently been much in the news. This course governs the basic secured transaction governed by Article 9 of the U.C.C. Topics covered will include creation and perfection of security interests, priority contests, and the consequences of default. There are no PREREQUISITES for this course.
  • LAW JD 806: Prosecutorial Ethics (S)
    United States Attorney (and later Supreme Court Justice) Robert Jackson noted in a speech that a "prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America." This seminar will analyze the unique role, power, and responsibilities of the prosecutor in the United States criminal justice system. How does a prosecutor balance her duty to "seek justice" and her role as a "minister of justice" within an adversarial system? Does public pressure (perceived or real) to obtain convictions and solve crimes have an impact on prosecutors' actions? Throughout this course, we will examine the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the Model Code of Professional Responsibility, and the Standards of Criminal Justice as they apply to criminal attorneys in general and prosecutors in particular. How do the rules and case law demonstrate that a criminal prosecutor is different from a criminal defense attorney or civil attorney? We will study the ethical implications and constraints placed on prosecutors, as well as the unique power that they hold at various stages of a criminal case. We will examine the means by which a prosecutor exercises discretion from the investigation of alleged crimes to the decision to charge (or not charge), and through the conduct of trials, as well as post-trial obligations. We will address such topics as: What is the prosecutor's obligation to the police and/or alleged victims of crimes? What duty does a prosecutor owe to a criminal defendant? What restrictions are placed on a prosecutor at trial that do not exist for defense attorneys? We will also study some specific contemporary and historical cases that have raised questions about the ethical conduct of prosecutors, including (but not limited to) the so-called Duke Lacrosse case, the Dominque Strauss-Kahn matter, and the prosecution of United States Senator Ted Stevens and the subsequent findings of prosecutorial misconduct therein. NOTE: This seminar satisfies the Professional Responsibility requirement. While there are no required prerequisites for taking this course, students should be prepared that some basic principles of Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Trial Advocacy will necessarily be a focus of some of our discussions. ENROLLMENT LIMIT: 18 students. GRADING NOTICE: This seminar is NOT offered as CR/NC/H. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 810: Constitutional Law
    Considers selected issues concerning judicial review, federalism, separation of powers, and individual rights.
  • LAW JD 811: Criminal Justice (S)
    This seminar will critically examine selected issues in the practice of American criminal justice. Topics may include a selection from the following list: racial dimensions of policing, prosecution, and incarceration; family and community impact of criminal justice policies and practices; the capacity of the poor to find justice in the criminal system; police violence and culture; sentencing law and practice; plea bargaining; prosecutorial discretion; police discretion; drug law and policy (including mandatory minimums and the war on drugs); prisoners' rights; solitary confinement; cruel and unusual punishment (including sentences of life without parole); prison violence/rape; racial segregation in prison; prison overcrowding; privatization of prisons; alternatives to prison. We may also look at comparisons with criminal justice systems in other countries and avenues for reform. Students will make presentations to the group and execute substantial written assignments. GRADING NOTICE: This class will not offer the CR/NC/H option. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement in connection with this seminar. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who waitlist for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 812: Attorney-Client Privilege, Work Product & Lawyer-Client Confidentiality (S)
    This seminar will offer an in-depth analysis of the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine, and lawyer-client confidentiality with special emphasis on recent developments in these areas of the law. Among sub-topics to be covered will be (a) changes in the American Bar Association's Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rules 1.6 and 1.13, and the reasons why these changes occurred; (b) the erosion of the attorney-client privilege and the work product doctrine through governmental action requiring waivers of the privilege in corporate crime cases; (c) case law interpretations of what constitutes a waiver and what falls within the crime fraud exception; (d) an analysis of common interest agreements, and their effectiveness in protecting attorney-client privilege and work product; (e) the impact of corporate scandals on confidentiality within corporations, including whether the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and new SEC Regulation for lawyer conduct will destroy the concept of candid communications between corporate officers and in-house counsel contemplated by the Upjohn case; and (f) whether any confidential or privileged communications continue to exist between governmental lawyers and their governmental clients. Students will be asked to complete a paper as part of the course. NOTES: This seminar does not satisfy the Professional Responsibility requirement. This seminar satisfies the upper-class professional skills requirement. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with the approval of the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar, or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, will be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.
  • LAW JD 813: Contracts
    Legal and equitable remedies for enforcing contracts, determining what promises are enforceable, elements of assent, standards of fairness and restrictions on bargaining processes, and tests for performance and breach
  • LAW JD 814: Family Law
    MCCLAIN'S SECTION: This course offers a survey of family law, including case law, statutory law, and the constitutional limitations on regulation of the family. An aim of the course is to introduce students to family law as a dynamic field of law concerning a basic social institution: the family. Family law is a foundational course relevant to many areas of law practice. Students will gain knowledge about how family law intersects with many other fields of law, such as contracts, constitutional law, conflicts of laws, criminal law, property, tax, torts, and trusts and estates, as well as how family law draws on the social sciences. Students will be introduced to the role of negotiation, mediation, and other forms of dispute resolution in the practice of family law. The course will focus on marriage, nonmarital families, divorce, pathways to becoming a parent, and the parent-child relationship. Topics include defining and regulating marriage; formal and informal marriage; cohabitation and alternatives to marriage (such as domestic partnerships); common law incidents of marriage and transformation of the common law; domestic violence; traditional and "no fault" divorce; property division; spousal support; child support; child custody; regulating parenthood; and issues of federal and state jurisdiction over and recognition of marriage. There will be a final examination. There is also a course requirement of an in-class, pass/fail skills exercise. NOTES: (1) Students enrolled in this class have the option of taking a one-credit Writing Supplement focused on drafting. SILBAUGH'S SECTION: This survey course will provide an introduction to the legal regulation of the family. The course will focus on the legal regulation and response to both adult and adult-child relationships. Topics covered will include: cohabitation; marriage; civil union; divorce and dissolution of relationships; the financial consequences of divorce including property division and alimony; premarital agreements; the laws governing non-marital relationships; family mediation; child custody, visitation, and parenting plans; child support; paternity; assisted reproductive technologies; and adoption. The course will also cover the interaction between families and the state in related areas of law including employment law and education law. There will be a final examination as well as in-class drafting and negotiation exercises. NOTE: Students enrolled in Professor McClain's section have the option of taking a one-credit Writing Supplement focused on drafting.