Spring Courses 2014
(Click on the blue hyperlinks to go to the online course description)
Advanced Environmental Law: Climate Change Experiential Learning Seminar
(Arroyo, Vicki; Pacyniak, Gabe; 3 credits)
This course will examine the evolving legal and policy developments concerning global climate change, and provide students the opportunity to engage in hands-on work with policymakers in addressing the issue. Lawmaking institutions are struggling to keep pace with the challenge of climate change at the same time as law is being used as a tool to promote governmental and private party responsiveness to climate risks. The course will examine international, federal, state, and private party approaches, including the evolving treaties, statutes, regulations, and court decisions concerning this subject. Students will prepare papers and make presentations in class and to outside "clients" on topics being analyzed for states through the work of the Georgetown Climate Center of Georgetown Law (www.georgetownclimate.org). The Center works with states and communities on crafting policy strategies to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and to adapt to the consequences of climate change. Class participation will be graded.
NEW -- Civil Gideon and the Affordable Care Act: Theory, Experience, and Research
(Shanahan, Colleen; 5 credits)
This practicum course brings together critical issues of our day: How do we ensure legal assistance for the vast numbers of Americans who cannot afford to pay a lawyer yet are in dire need of one? In particular, how will the Affordable Care Act be implemented for those most in need? What are the necessary skills that a lawyer needs to provide unbundled legal services in immediate areas of need? How do the insights from this work make future systemic reform more responsive to civil litigants? Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 15 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professor.
SEMINAR: In recent years, scholars, policymakers, practitioners, and advocates have increasingly focused on reform of the civil justice system, and in particular the notion of Civil Gideon or a right to civil counsel. This course creates an opportunity for students to be part of this critical conversation about access to justice by assisting individual litigants, implementing and evaluating a pilot Affordable Care Act program for a local court, and producing original research about the impact of representation in this court.
PROJECT WORK: This practicum course will:
give students hands-on experience with the core questions of Civil Gideon – or when civil litigants should have legal assistance
implement a pilot program with a local court by educating individual litigants about their rights
develop recommendations for the court about future programs based on the pilot program, and
engage in empirical research about the impact of legal assistance.
More specifically, students will implement a pilot program at the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings providing limited or unbundled legal assistance to individual litigants in Affordable Care Act-related cases. Working with the court's Resource Center, students will educate litigants about key issues in ACA appeals or in Medicaid appeals affected by changes in the ACA. This hands-on opportunity will give students in-depth knowledge about this developing area of law and the skills necessary to work with individual litigants. Students will also evaluate their experience with Affordable Care Act cases to help the court decide whether to recruit legal providers to provide assistance going forward. Students will also engage in original qualitative empirical research regarding Civil Gideon issues by interviewing judges at the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearing to understand the effectiveness of representation by examining whether and how judges view their role changing when parties are unrepresented. This course will ask students to examine issues of Civil Gideon and access to justice in the context of larger justice and poverty law issues in seminar, to understand these issues through the human experience of individual litigants through implementing the pilot legal assistance program, to reflect on this experience and provide systemic recommendations, and to examine these issues through the lens of empirical research. This combination of experience and skill development will give students crucial lawyering and analytic tools to use as practicing attorneys. Students who are interested in turning their written products from this practicum into publishable work will be supported in doing so.
Federal Fraud Prosecution
(Edmonds, Nathaniel; Perkins, Laura; field placement is pass/fail; 5 credits)
This practicum will immerse students in the law, theory, and practice of federal fraud prosecutions. The primary teaching goal is for the students to experience the complexity and challenges of investigating economic crime, with particular emphasis on how abstract legal theories impact actual prosecution of white-collar crime.
In the 3-credit, mandatory pass-fail, field work portion of the class, students will work for at least 15 hours per week in the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and will be assigned to one of three units within the Fraud Section: the Corporate, Securities, and Financial Institution Fraud Unit; the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Unit; or the Health Care Fraud Unit. Student assignments to a particular unit will be made by the professors, who will take student preferences into account but cannot guarantee that all preferences can be accommodated. Students will be assisting prosecutors in the investigation and prosecution of complex economic crimes, and their projects may include analysis of pending legal issues, assistance in drafting motions or other legal filings, investigatory work to identify key facts critical to ongoing issues, and legal analysis of potential legislative reforms or other policy issues. The field work will be managed by experienced federal prosecutors under the direction of Senior Trial Attorney and Adjunct Professor Laura Perkins.
Fighting Organized Crime in the 21st Century
(Ohr, Bruce; 4 credits)
This course will introduce students to the challenges involved in fighting organized crime in a transnational setting using both traditional and non-traditional methods. Students will explore the investigative and prosecutive tools developed to fight organized crime in the United States and the benefits and risks associated with each. The class will examine how organized crime has become a global phenomenon and the threats posed by organized crime to the United States and key countries around the globe. Students will confront the special challenges presented by the investigation and prosecution of transnational organized crime groups, and how U.S. agents and prosecutors attempt to meet these challenges. Finally, the class will assess efforts outside of traditional prosecutions to limit the growth and power of transnational organized crime.
The practice component of the course will supplement and inform students' understanding of each of the themes of the course through internships in various Sections and Offices of the Justice Department's Criminal Division. As interns, students will have the opportunity to work on complex prosecutions, assist in the exchange of information between cooperating law enforcement agencies of the U.S. and other countries, or work on policy issues relating to international justice affairs.
NOT OFFERED in 2014 -- Immigration Law and the Rights of Detained Immigrants
(Schoenholtz, Andrew; 5 credits)
Immigrants in the United States face a variety of challenges in asserting their rights. This experiential learning course will focus on challenges faced by those imprisoned while the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tries to remove them from the United States. Hundreds of thousands are detained every year during their removal proceedings, and their numbers have doubled since 2005. Over 80% of detained immigrants are not represented in immigration court. Indigent immigrants who are incarcerated generally appear pro se and face DHS counsel in adversarial proceedings before an Immigration Judge. With the aim of preparing to help detained immigrants understand and assert their rights, students will learn about the relevant legal regimes that govern the detention and removal of immigrants in the U.S. The seminar will examine the laws, policies and practices in each of these areas. Students will study and learn through experience the role of counsel with respect to protecting the rights of detained immigrants. In addition to developing substantive legal knowledge, the seminar will focus on skills such as interviewing and making legal presentations to immigrants. In the practicum component, students will extern with advocacy organizations either conducting intake interviews aimed at assessing an immigrant's eligibility for relief from deportation and making legal presentations, or engaging in policy research and analysis. To prepare students for learning new areas of law, students will conduct research and make class presentations, and write regular reflections on their field experience and on their observation of immigration court removal proceedings. Partnerships with advocacy organizations have been arranged for seminar participants.
Modern Abolition: The Practice of Ending Child Labor and Human Trafficking
(Hartman, Kayleen; Stauss, Karen; 4 credit )
Human trafficking is an umbrella term used to describe a whole host of crimes against the human body and human dignity. It encompasses the bonded laborer in the brick kilns of India, the Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong, and the 15-year-old sold for sex on the streets of Washington, D.C. In some places, certain forms of modern slavery are unacknowledged by officials and civil society alike, and virtually everywhere, the resources needed to combat the scourge are unavailable. Nonetheless, practitioners the world over are now undertaking the tremendous task of finding and implementing solutions to protect victims of human trafficking, rehabilitate survivors, create accountability for traffickers and those who profit from trafficking, and take down the systems that allow slavery to persist, so that survivors of human trafficking are not replaced by new victims in an endless cycle. This course is intended to give law students exposure to the methods practitioners use in their efforts to combat human trafficking, as well as practical experience and skills-building using those methods. Students will be placed either within different program areas at the non-profit organization Free the Slaves or with one of the several D.C.-area anti-trafficking NGOs who work closely in coalition with Free the Slaves. The course will cover developing local capacity and partnering with existing community organizations to create community-based and community-driven strategies; drafting anti-trafficking legislation; human rights researching and reporting; developing and utilizing grassroots constituencies; and legislative and administrative advocacy both here and abroad
New -- O'Neill Institute Practicum: Global Health Law and Policy
(Baytor, Tanya; Cabrera, Oscar; McGrady, Benn; 4 credits)
This course will provide students with the practical experience of working on O'Neill Institute projects that engage intersecting international legal regimes, including trade law, public international law and human rights law, to respond to contemporary global health challenges. Through coursework, students will gain an in depth understanding of global health law and an overview of some of the key international legal instruments. They will also gain an appreciation of the major institutions that govern the global health law field, such as United Nations Institutions, the World Health Organization, and the role that civil society organizations play globally. On the experiential/field-work side, students will work with external partners on legal and policy projects related to global health. For example, students may draft alternative reports to UN bodies analyzing compliance with human rights obligations related to tobacco control (e.g., "shadow reports"). A report such as this would analyze the prevailing legal frameworks for tobacco control in a particular country and highlight any weaknesses in the statutory and regulatory language. A report such as this would also suggest recommendations for the UN body to consider. ?Class time will be devoted to developing practical advocacy and drafting skills to support students in their project work. Students will also learn how to use epidemiological data to support and craft compelling arguments for advancing government policies on global health. By working with the O'Neill Institute and civil society organizations partnered with the O'Neill Institute, the course will give students the opportunity to use international law to advocate for positive health outcomes.
NEW-- Problem Solving Justice: Developments in Treatment, Diversion and Community Courts (Rohr, Demeo; 4 credits)
This practicum seminar will introduce students to the legal concepts, administrative and ethical challenges and public debates concerning this country's exponential growth of problem-solving courts. State and some federal courts are reforming conventional courtrooms and designing specialty dockets to reduce recidivism and the devastating impact of behavioral health disorders, addiction and other daily challenges faced by parties before them. Although varying in their methodology, most of these courts are based upon the premise that problems arising from criminal (and some civil) cases should be solved, not simply adjudicated. Unlike conventional courtrooms, judges and attorneys may place greater emphasis on results-driven proceedings, individually tailored sentencing, social service interventions, cross-agency partnerships and uniquely trained judicial officers.
In addition to engaging the lively theoretical debate over the benefits and risks of modifying adversarial principles, this course will closely examine how problem solving courts look in practice. Some of the specialty courts operating in the District of Columbia include Juvenile Behavioral Diversion, Family Treatment, Adult Mental Health, Drug and Fathering Courts. Problem solving principles have also been incorporated within DC's Community Courts, or criminal courtrooms dedicated to adjudicating cases from designated neighborhood wards.
Although problem solving courts number in the thousands nationwide, their future is still undetermined as their methodologies, procedures and effectiveness are still under development. Students will have the rare opportunity to critically engage the tools of procedural justice and the experiences of attorneys in both conventional and reformed courtrooms in order to make their own conclusions as to the value of problem solving courts.
Public Interest Advocacy: Tobacco/Personal Health Care Products
(Page, Joseph; Cluderay, Thomas; Greenwold, Mark; 4 or 5 credits)
This practicum course will focus on regulation of tobacco and personal-care products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The classroom component will utilize legislative and administrative materials as well as case law to enable students to become acquainted with the processes by which the federal government regulates tobacco and personal-care products and to critique both the statutory framework and the performance of FDA in carrying out its administrative duties. The course will also touch on related topics such as the role of the Federal Trade Commission in the regulation of trade practices, the Freedom of Information Act, the legislative process and the interaction of federal and state regulation. In the experiential component of the course, students will work as interns with the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) on projects aimed at influencing the legislative or administrative processes, or on matters in litigation, under the supervision of attorneys connected with these organizations.
Regulatory Advocacy: Women and the Affordable Care Act
(Garcia, Kelli; 4 credits)
This practicum course will provide an introduction to regulatory advocacy as it pertains to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and women's health. Curricular work will provide (1) an introduction to rulemaking and regulatory advocacy; (2) an introduction to the Affordable Care Act, insurance market reforms and how health care reform will affect women's health; and (3) opportunities to read and analyze statutory language, proposed rules, public comments and final rules, when available. Part I of the course will begin with an introduction to the rulemaking process with a focus on the role of consumer advocates. Part II will turn to the ACA's insurance market reforms and how these reforms will affect women. Part III will focus on analyzing proposed rules, asking how the proposed rules will affect women, examining how consumer advocates responded to the proposed rule and then, by examining the final rule, how effective that advocacy was. In addition, class lectures and discussion will include information on advocacy that happened before the official rule-making period commenced. For the practicum part of the course, students will work with partner organizations to provide background research and/or draft public comments for a regulatory matter pertaining to the ACA. Students will have the opportunity to participate in strategy meetings and conference calls with the partner organizations and other coalition members.
NEW -- Regulatory Agency Litigation: Roles, Skills and Strategies
(Hempling, Scott; 5 credits)
Regulatory litigation covers a diverse terrain: from mergers of telecommunications monopolies to benefits for the disabled; from market manipulation by Enron to fraud by physicians. It occurs at hundreds of administrative agencies, federal and state. Lawyers' roles are equally diverse. They organize proceedings, shape and draft expert testimony, conduct discovery, present and cross-examine expert witnesses, write briefs, draft opinions, defend or attack commission decisions in court, bring or defend enforcement actions, and shape regulatory legislation. Despite this diversity, all regulatory litigation should have the same outcome: an agency decision that serves the public interest, achieves the statutory objectives and holds up in court.
This practicum course teaches students how to be effective participants in regulatory litigation, both as advocates for parties and as advisors to decision makers. We will address two major questions: (1) What skills are required? and (2) How can lawyers shape the regulatory litigation process to serve the public interest rather than parties' narrow private interests? We will study these questions in the context of a substantive core: mergers of public utility monopolies. This subject offers several benefits. Dozens of recent cases illustrate variations in hearing procedures, deliberative processes and case outcomes. At the same time, these cases share common issues, allowing students to contrast and evaluate agency approaches based on such criteria as reliance on facts (as distinct from rhetoric, ideology or faith), independence from political pressures, fairness to parties, consistency with statutory goals, resolution of tension between short-term and long-term values, lawyer strategy, and appellate survival. Further, merger litigation before regulatory agencies involves every aspect of attorney practice, from discovery to appellate review.
NEW -- The Role of the Juvenile Defender for Committed Youth
(Ferrer, Eduardo; Henning, Kristin; Louchheim, Whitney; Span, Penelope; 4 credits)
This practicum course will focus on a youth's access to justice, right to due process, and the unique role of juvenile defense counsel after a youth has been committed. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professors.
SEMINAR: When a youth is adjudicated delinquent in the District of Columbia's juvenile justice system, s/he may be placed on probation or committed to the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS). Commitment is theoretically reserved for the most egregious offenders, as determined by the number and severity of the youth's delinquent charges. Although youth accused of crime are guaranteed the right to a lawyer at every "critical phase" of a delinquency case, youth routinely appear without counsel at numerous administrative meetings and post-disposition (i.e., post-sentencing) hearings where important decisions are made about their liberty interests and basic needs. Many lawyers are unaware of their ethical obligations to continue representing their client after disposition and have not been trained on the best practices for post-disposition advocacy. Other stakeholders, such as DYRS, diverge on whether lawyers must, may, or should appear at meetings and proceedings that take place after commitment.
PROJECT WORK: In the project portion of this practicum, students will research juvenile defense attorney standards, ethical rules and ethics decisions regarding post-sentencing and post-disposition obligations of attorneys in other jurisdictions and in the adult system. Students will synthesize those findings with information they gain by interviewing various stakeholders including youth, their families, probation officers, caseworkers, practicing juvenile defense attorneys and juvenile justice advocates. The students will ultimately draft and propose juvenile defense practice standards for post-disposition representation and develop a training manual for lawyers throughout the country on those proposals. The training manual will include practice tips for participating in interdisciplinary team meetings and strategies for advocating for the return of youth from out-of-state residential treatment facilities. By observing and evaluating post-commitment advocacy (from initial commitment to revocation hearings), students in this practicum will also be able to recommend system-wide policy and regulatory reforms.
Recommended: Family Law II, Professional Responsibility.
Suing Sudan: Constructing International Human Rights Cases
(Bair, James; Quarterman, Marc; 4 credits)
This practicum course is designed to teach students the basic principles of international human rights litigation using the North African State of Sudan as a case study. The seminar will include an introduction to fundamental aspects of public international law, including, but not limited to, customary international law, the law of treaties, the rights and duties of States under international law, and diplomatic protection. For the field work portion of the class, using Sudan as a case study, students will then examine possible avenues through which individuals and State and non-State actors may be held responsible before judicial and quasi-judicial venues for human rights abuses committed in Sudan. With evidence gathered by the Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project, students will be required to identify possible venues for litigating identified human rights abuses and will devise a litigation strategy for the same. In particular, students will: ″ Work with international legal instruments; ″ Use creative approaches to thinking about criminal liability under international and domestic laws; ″ Identify various judicial and quasi-judicial venues before which corporations and State and non-State actors may be held accountable for human rights abuses under international and domestic laws; ″ Work with non-governmental organizations; ″ Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of prioritizing victims' reparations over holding perpetrators accountable for human rights abuses, and vice versa; and ″ Develop litigation strategies for human rights cases. The Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project will use the products that the students produce in the field work/experiential portion of the seminar to explore possible litigation strategies designed to hold accountable perpetrators of human rights abuses in Sudan. The professors will build off of their own experiences in international litigation and living and working abroad, particularly in Sudan. Public international law practitioners also will be invited to guest lecture.
NEW -- Supreme Court Institute, Judicial Clerkship
(Bernstein, Dori; 3 credits)
The SCI Judicial Clerkship Practicum will operate in conjunction with the Supreme Court Institute (SCI) at Georgetown Law. The SCI provides moot courts to Supreme Court advocates in 95% of the cases the Court hears each Term. Each moot court panel is composed of five "Justices," professors or practitioners with experience in Supreme Court and appellate advocacy. More information about the SCI's moot court program is available at www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/centers-institutes/supreme-court-institute/index.cfm. The Judicial Clerkship Practicum will enable 12 J.D. students to function as "law clerks" who will help prepare "Justices" to serve on SCI moot court panels. During the semester-long course, each student will be assigned a case scheduled for argument in two Supreme Court argument sittings. The student/clerk will read the case materials (lower court opinion, party and amicus curiae briefs, and any statutes, regulations, or prior cases central to the parties' arguments) and prepare a written "bench memorandum" that will summarize the ruling on review, the pertinent legal authorities, the position of each party, and any noteworthy amicus perspectives. The bench memo will propose several questions to ask the advocate during the moot, and suggest the best answer to each question. Prior to the moot court, the student/clerk will submit the bench memo to a Justice (a SCI Director or Georgetown Law professor) who has volunteered to serve on the moot panel, and will meet with the Justice for a "case conference" to discuss the case in preparation for the moot. The week after attending the moot court, the student/clerk will attend the Supreme Court argument, read the argument transcript, or listen to the audio recording, and write a post-mortem review describing the ways in which the moot resembled and differed from the argument.
Preparation for oral argument is a critical step in an advocate's preparation for oral argument, and the moot court panelists – all experienced appellate advocates – are engaged in legal practice when they help an advocate prepare to argue before the Supreme Court. A student who assists in this process is engaged in legal work in the same way that a legal extern who conducts legal research or digests deposition transcripts to assist an attorney engaged in litigation. The students' bench memos and case conferences will enhance the moot preparation of participating justices, and improve the quality of the preparation SCI offers to Supreme Court advocates. In addition, the post-mortem analyses prepared by the students will be a valuable means of improving SCI's moot court program – an exercise in "quality control" that may disclose where the moots fall short in anticipating the actual argument, and assist us in improving our service to advocates and the Court.
NEW--Technology, Innovation & Law Practice: Access to Justice and the Consumer Law Revolution
(Rostain, Tanina; Skalbeck, Roger; O'Brien, Mark; 4 credits)
This practicum course exposes students to the varied uses of computer technologies in the practice of law, with an emphasis on technologies that enhance access to justice and make legal services more affordable for individuals of limited means. In the seminar meetings, students become familiar with various innovative software platforms that are being adopted in law practice to capture legal expertise, interface with clients, manage litigation and transactional processes, and increase the efficiency and quality of legal services. Topics include: legal expert systems, virtual law practice, automated document assembly, technology assisted document review, and electronic legal research. For the field placement component, students work in small teams for a legal service organization to develop a platform, application, or automated system that increases access to justice and/or improves the effectiveness of legal representation. These organizations include civil rights organizations, direct service providers, and government agencies. The course culminates in a design competition: The Georgetown Iron Tech Lawyer Contest. Along the way, students also learn systems logic, teamwork and visual literacy skills. By the end of the semester, each team will have built a functional app that is adopted by the participating legal services organization and put into use for its clients.
NOT OFFERED in 2014--Technology, Innovation & Law Practice: Police Procedural
(Rostain, Tanina; Wasserstorm, Silas; 3 credits)
Recent news has cast an unflattering light on a range of police enforcement and investigative practices – from stop and frisk practices that target minorities in New York City to people wrongfully convicted of crimes. With rare exception, case law in this area has accorded law enforcement personnel wide discretion in policing and investigative activities. Recently, however, a social science literature has emerged that is establishing standards for best practices and evidence based policing. This practicum explores the potential and limits of system approaches that incorporate social science findings into police work. The practicum's aim is to expose students to the promise and limits of emerging evidence-based approaches to police investigations and to explore the extent to which systems and technological platforms that guide police discretion produce improved policing practices.
Class sessions will be devoted to juxtaposing relevant case law and the growing social science literature focused on police work. Topics to be covered may include: quality of life policing, Terry stops, searches, arrests and seizures, interrogations and false confessions, eye-witness testimony, and charging decisions. In the experiential part of the class, student teams will collaborate with law enforcement agencies and police research organizations to develop apps and systems to regularize police work.
Women and Immigration: Government Protection for Women Fleeing Gender-Based Persecution and Abuse
(Johnson-Firth, Lisa; 4 credits)
Shifting migration patterns and societal forces have caused more women to leave their home countries and attempt to enter the United States. While a woman may flee her home country for the same reasons as a man, research shows that refugee women also flee their countries for gender-related reasons. In many countries, women face persecution and violence just for being women. This includes the use of rape as a weapon of war, domestic violence, so-called honor crimes, forced marriage, widow rituals, one child policies, forced sterilization policies, and female genital mutilation. In this practicum class, students will study and learn through experience about the societal forces causing the forced migration of women and how U.S. laws and policies address the immigration status of these female immigrants. We will focus on forms of relief that, while available to both men and women, are almost exclusively accessed by women to obtain legal status in the United States. Specifically, we will focus on: Asylum (specifically the gender-based prong of "membership in a particular social group"), the Violence against Women Act (for abused women who are or were married to U.S. citizens), U Visas (for victims of crime), and T Visas (for victims of trafficking). Students will conduct intakes of women fleeing their countries because of gender-based violence and draft memos for the nonprofit organization who may take on representation of the clients. Students will also work directly with attorneys at local legal services agencies who are representing female survivors of gender-based harm seeking legal status in the U.S.