Courses

The listing of a course description here does not guarantee a course’s being offered in a particular semester. Please refer to the published schedule of classes on the MyBU Student Portal for confirmation a class is actually being taught and for specific course meeting dates and times.

  • LAW JD 829: Evidence
    This 3-credit course will examine the rules and doctrines of Evidence Law with a focus on the Federal Rules of Evidence and pertinent constitutional law. We will cover hearsay and its exceptions, relevance, prejudice, character evidence, impeachment, and other central subjects. Emphasis will be on the practical application, the policies and purposes, and theoretical considerations of Evidence Law. This course utilizes a problem-based approach to learning and encourages critical analysis of how Evidence Law impacts equity and justice. Assessment for the course will be based upon a bar-style multiple-choice final examination, a policy paper, and short review assignments due before each class (after the first week). This course satisfies BU Law clinics' Evidence prerequisite/co-requisite requirement.
  • LAW JD 831: Evidence
    Lawson/Donweber: Practical and theoretical aspects of the rules of evidence. The purpose and policies underlying the evidentiary rules are stressed throughout in order to make the rules meaningful, predictable, and functional both for students interested in trial practice and for students who anticipate engaging in a more diversified practice. In addition to covering the substantive rules of evidence, the course demonstrates the significance of evidence as a tactical device at the trial and as a vital skill for the office lawyer. Okidegbe: Evidence law is a system of rules and standards that regulates proof of facts in adjudication. This course will examine the rules of Evidence Law with a focus on the Federal Rules of Evidence. It will utilize a problem-based approach to learning evidentiary concepts and standards. The topics covered by this course include relevance, character evidence, impeachment, competency of witnesses, the hearsay rule, opinion evidence, and other central subjects. Assessment for the course will be based upon a final examination.
  • LAW JD 832: Energy Law & Policy (S)
    Energy law and policy are integral to the U.S. economy and have major impacts on the environment. This seminar will provide an overview of U.S. energy law and policy with an emphasis on the sources and regulation of electric energy. We will pay particular attention to emerging alternative energy sources, e.g. wind, solar, biomass, as well as new technologies, e.g. horizontal fracking for the development of natural gas. We will consider the division of regulatory authority among federal, state, and local governments. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their research, writing, and oral presentation skills and receive detailed feedback. There are no pre-requisites to the course other than a curious mind and interest in the subject matter. UPPER-CLASS WRITING REQUIREMENT: A limited number of students may use this class to satisfy the requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course 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 833: Environmental Law
    This is an introductory survey course in environmental law. We will consider the theoretical foundations and political dimensions of environmental law as we focus on several key statutes including the Clean Air Act (and its application to climate change), Clean Water Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (the Superfund statute), and the National Environmental Protection Act.
  • LAW JD 836: Federal Courts
    This is a basic survey course covering the federal courts, their place in the structure of American government, their relations with the Legislative and Executive branches and with the states, and their adjudication of federal-question cases concerning constitutional and civil rights, federal social welfare programs, and business regulation. This course builds on first-year courses in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure and complements upperclass courses on modern public law and legal institutions: e.g., Administrative Law, Immigration Law, Environmental Law, Labor Law, and Conflict of Laws. Topics include the separation of federal legislative and judicial powers, Congress' authority to prescribe the federal courts' jurisdiction and to assign adjudicatory duties to other bodies (e.g., "legislative" courts and agencies), standing to litigate in federal court, conflicts between federal and state courts, the states' immunity from private lawsuits, the Supreme Court's authority to review state court judgments, and "abstention" doctrines governing the exercise of federal judicial power. We will explore theoretical and policy questions--asking not only what federal-courts law is at the moment, but also what it should be. Yet we will organize our discussions around practical lawyering in the federal courts--identifying and analyzing the constitutional, statutory, and judge-made hurdles that litigants must clear to obtain a decision on the merits of a federal question. Especially recommended for students who plan to practice with firms that represent clients subject to federal regulation, to pursue careers with federal or state agencies and departments, or to handle constitutional, civil rights, or other public interest litigation.
  • LAW JD 837: Crimmigration (S)
    Noncitizens are increasingly impacted by interactions with the criminal legal system, often facing detention and deportation from the United States as a result of even minor infractions. This course will explore the dynamic field of "crimmigration" -- the intersection between immigration law and criminal law. Through readings, discussion, and independent research projects, students will learn to analyze constitutional, statutory, and regulatory provisions concerning immigration, as well as procedural and substantive requirements in criminal proceedings as they affect noncitizens. Students will also engage with the growing conversation around immigration and criminal abolition, as a response to the expanding carceral state. UPPER-CLASS WRITING REQUIREMENT: A limited number of students may use this class to satisfy the requirement.
  • LAW JD 838: Antitrust Law
    The antitrust laws reflect a conviction that competition in the marketplace will yield the best outcomes for consumers and the optimal allocation of resources in our economy. Beginning with the Sherman Act of 1890, the antitrust statutes condemn a variety of acts -- from mergers to agreements among competitors to monopolists' exclusionary business practices -- that restrain trade or contribute to monopoly power. The statutes, however, are written in general terms, leaving it to the courts to draw the line between lawful competition and unlawful restraints of trade or monopolization. Early on, the Supreme Court established that the law reaches only "unreasonable" restraints, which only begs the question of how to draw the line between "reasonable" competition and "unreasonable" interference with competitive markets. Over the course of the twentieth century, the courts struggled to fix this line; as the century closed, they had settled on an economically-oriented normative framework that largely deferred to firm decisions and doubted the value of government intervention in markets. In recent years, however, a cacophony of voices -- ranging from activists to scholars to politicians of all stripes -- has begun to call that framework into question and to call for renewed enforcement of antitrust laws. This course will explore the principal statutes and common law that have shaped antitrust law over the past century-and-a-quarter since Congress passed the Sherman Act. We will also examine the standards and procedures that the antitrust agencies use to evaluate mergers and to challenge conduct as anticompetitive. As we critically evaluate the case law, we will also reflect on current calls for reform. While we will engage rigorously with economics, all of the economic principles necessary to understand the case law and debates will be explained in the course; formal training in economics is not a requirement.
  • LAW JD 839: First Amendment
    This course will examine the free speech, free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment. About two-thirds of the course will focus on speech, including such topics as political speech (including campaign finance regulation), commercial speech, and expression in the public forum. The final one-third of the course will focus on religion, including such topics as freedom of religious practice, religion in schools, and religious displays and symbols.
  • LAW JD 840: International Human Rights Clinic: Skills Seminar
    THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the International Human Rights Clinic. This course is the companion fall classroom component for students enrolled in the Clinic and provides an introduction to essential lawyering skills, with a focus on those relevant to the practice of human rights law. The goal of the course is to help students develop a wide range of competencies, including written and oral communication and advocacy, legal research, factual investigation, witness interviewing, professional responsibility, and strategic thinking and problem-solving. NOTE: This course counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.
  • LAW JD 841: Supervised Research & Writing
    Upper-class students may pursue a special research interest under the guidance of a full time faculty member, and earn one or two semester credits for a Supervised Research and Writing project (also known as an Independent Study). The study must involve a substantial investment of time and effort, and result in significant written work that reflects a high standard of legal scholarship. The student's final grade will be based solely upon written work submitted, and will be included in the student's average. NOTE: Students must register for Supervised Research and Writing directly with the Registrar's Office. You may not register via the Student Link.
  • LAW JD 843: Int'l Human Rights Clinic: Human Rights Advocacy (S)
    THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the International Human Rights Clinic. This is the companion spring classroom component for students in the Clinic. The course focuses on further developing skills in the context of the substantive law and mechanisms of the Inter-American Human Rights system. Classes will cover: interviewing and counseling institutional (non-governmental organizations) clients; designing and implementing human rights field research; ethical pitfalls and professional 'best practices' in human rights collaborations with international networks; advocacy within the Inter-American machinery; and simulations using comparative and foreign human rights problems. The classes will be a combination of readings and discussion; simulations; student presentations; short papers and case rounds to discuss project work; and group and individual feedback on project development. NOTE: This course counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.
  • LAW JD 846: Historical Perspectives on Law, Constitutions and Culture (S)
    This workshop-format seminar examines the interplay of law, constitutions, and culture from an historical perspective. The heart of the seminar is student engagement with works-in-progress by leading scholars in the history, theory, and culture of law, broadly understood. The first three class sessions will be devoted to developing the intellectual tools necessary for reading and engaging with such papers. Starting in week 4 of the semester, the class format will alternate between workshop sessions and more traditional seminar sessions. During the five workshop sessions, an invited scholar will present a current scholarly work-in-progress for discussion. Students will read the speaker's paper in advance and prepare discussion questions for the seminar. During the other sessions, the class will meet as a normal seminar, during which we will discuss readings related to the workshop papers and legal history more generally. The written work for the seminar will consist of a series of brief, critical essays in response to a student-selected subset of the workshop papers. NOTE: This course is open to law students and to graduate students from other departments. A background in history is not a prerequisite. Graduate students from outside the law school may be able to receive 4 credits for this course. Please consult the professor regarding this option. LIMITED WRITING REQUIREMENT OPTION: A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement with this seminar. ** 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 850: Insurance Law
    The presence or absence of insurance is in many instances the single most important determinant of whether and how a tort or contracts action is litigated. This course focuses on both individual and commercial forms of insurance coverage. Students are introduced to the key insurance concepts of risk management, including the transfer, pooling and allocation of covered risks. Problems of contract interpretation, imperfect information, adverse selection and discrimination will be treated at length. Additionally, the class will take up issues particular to property, life, health, disability, liability and auto insurance. Finally, some time will be devoted to the state regulatory regimes designed to ensure solvency and profitability, and to the secondary market (i.e. reinsurance, and surplus and excess lines). A final exam is required.
  • LAW JD 851: Labor Law
    Survey of modern labor management and union relations law in the private sector. Organization of workers and the representation process; collective bargaining; unfair practices, employer and union; negotiation and enforcement of collective agreement, including arbitration; regulation of strikes and lockouts. Administrative law and federalism principles will be treated. Employment discrimination and other individual employee protection laws are not treated in this course.
  • LAW JD 854: White Collar Crime
    The purpose of this Course is to teach present-day white collar crime practice. The course will review: (i) the theoretical bases of modern white collar criminal prosecution; (ii) the major statutes used by prosecutors, including mail and wire fraud, securities fraud, bribery and extortion, obstruction of justice, perjury, and RICO; and (iii) the procedural aspects of white collar crime such as grand jury, attorney/client privilege, and sentencing. Students will learn the prosecutorial and defense techniques employed in significant recent white collar cases. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be familiar with the statutes, procedures, and legal analyses employed by prosecutors and private lawyers in white collar criminal practice. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. OFFERING PATTERN: This class not offered every year. Students are advised to take this into account when planning their long-term schedule.
  • LAW JD 855: Land Use
    The built environment around us is not inevitable or by accident. It is the outcome of a series of legal and political choices about how people should live together; about how to regulate and control the future use of the property around them. These choices result in a legal regime that, at once, is enormously complex, implicates the most basic questions of equity and constitutional freedoms, and affects people in every aspect of their daily lives. This course will examine land use from a legal, historical, theoretical, and, most important, practical perspective. Students will be introduced to a brief history of land use controls in the United States. The course will then cover the basic aspects of land use law: Euclidean zoning, special use permits, variances, vested rights and preexisting uses, exactions, exclusionary and inclusionary zoning, subdivision control, wetlands control, and legal challenges to zoning decisions. The course will also look at more recent trends and issues in land use law, such as smart growth and transit-oriented development, form- based zoning, marijuana regulations, short-term rentals, climate change resilience, and increased federal control of local land use. Finally, the course will examine the constitutional limits of land use regulation under the Fifth Amendment. Students will undertake practical exercises to introduce them to how land use lawyers practice. They will attend a zoning board hearing and report on it; they will analyze a client's proposal to determine what zoning relief is necessary; they will attend a zoning trial or appeal. The course will cover general zoning principles applicable nationally but will focus on Massachusetts law for the practical exercises. The class will require student participation in discussion. The only prerequisite is completion of first-year Property. Students will produce a brief paper on the zoning board meeting they attend and a final paper, and be asked to comment on the trial or hearing they attend. Grading will be based on class participation, the zoning exercise, the comments, and the two papers. UPPER-CLASS WRITING REQUIREMENT: A limited number of students may use this class to satisfy the requirement.
  • LAW JD 857: Intellectual Property
    In our modern information economy, the law of intellectual property has taken on enormous importance to both creators and users. This course introduces students to the principles of trade secret, patent, copyright, and trademark law, and explores the ways in which those principles are shifting and adapting in response to new technology. The course is open to all upper level students, without prerequisite. No scientific or technical background is required.
  • LAW JD 859: Immigrants' Rights and Human Trafficking Clinic: Fieldwork (C)
    Graduate Prerequisites: OR CO-REQ: INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, COPYRIGHT, PATENT LAW, OR PERMISSION OF INSTRUCTOR.
    THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Immigrants' Rights and Human Trafficking Program. Students have three fieldwork options: (1) concentration in immigrants' rights; (2) concentration in human trafficking; or (3) work on both types of cases. Students focusing on immigrants' rights will represent adult and children asylum seekers and other vulnerable noncitizens with the opportunity to litigate an immigration case in the Boston Immigration Court. Students focusing on anti-trafficking work will represent survivors of labor and sex trafficking in a wide range of civil matters and engage in policy-related work to address gaps in the local and national landscape. Students focusing on both immigrants' rights and human trafficking will represent immigrant clients and survivors of human trafficking in a range of civil matters. All students will have the opportunity to engage in immigrants' rights and human trafficking work through "Know-Your-Rights" visits at the local jail/detention center and by conducting intake at the Family Justice Center for human trafficking survivors. Students, working in pairs, assume the primary responsibility for multiple clients' complex cases, from start to finish. Students conduct client interviews, track down witnesses, speak with experts, develop documentary, testimonial and expert evidence, and write legal briefs. The clinical supervisors prepare students for their cases through weekly supervision meetings, mid-semester and final individual meetings, and mock hearings, as appropriate. NOTE: The Immigrants' Rights and Human Trafficking Program counts toward the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. PRE/CO-REQUISITE: Evidence. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.
  • LAW JD 861: Civil Litigation and Justice Program (C)
    THIS CLASS IS RESTRICTED to students who have formally applied to and been accepted to the Civil Litigation and Justice Program. Student in the Civil Litigation and Justice Program handle their own caseloads, representing indigent clients in civil cases under the supervision of clinical faculty. Students may participate in the Program for either a full year (the Individual Rights Litigation Clinic (IRL) or Access to Justice Clinic (A2J)) or for one semester (the Employment Rights Clinic (ERC)). Students participating in IRL or A2J work on cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction defense, employment law and Social Security appeals. Students in the ERC represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, with a possibility of working on wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases, and Family Medical Leave Act cases. PRE/CO-REQUISITES: Evidence. NOTE: The Civil Litigation and Justice Program counts towards the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option.
  • LAW JD 862: Client Counseling (S)
    This seminar will provide students with the real-world skills necessary to effectively counsel their clients. We will discuss the differences in counseling clients when their legal matters are complex or simple, sensitive or uncontroversial, and high-risk or low-stakes. Finally, we will examine client counseling at several stages of the attorney-client relationship, including the initial client meeting, client and witness interviews, preparing the client to be deposed or testify, and strategically guiding the client's decision-making as the matter evolves. Students will not only study methods of effective client counseling; they will practice what they learn by conducting mock interviews and collaborating with their classmates/co-counsels to rehearse optimal client counseling techniques. ENROLLMENT LIMIT: 16 students. NOTE: This class counts toward the 6 credit Experiential Learning requirement. UPPER-CLASS WRITING REQUIREMENT: This class may not be used to satisfy the 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.