Legal Theory and Ethics

Race and the Law

Discussion – 2 hours. This course will examine major cases, statutes, and events in the law, both on the books and in action, dealing with nonwhites. The course will include discussion of the situation of African Americans, Asians, Indigenous People, and Latinx People, from the Colonial era to the present. In addition to examining legal doctrine and policy, it will explore how the contemporary United States has been shaped by racial discrimination.

Comparative Criminal Justice

Seminar - 3 hours. This seminar explores the ways political units in different countries attempt to maintain social order and advance criminal justice. Students examine the people, policies, and institutions responsible for adjudicating alleged criminal law violations around the globe. They also learn about how rules of professional responsibility and legal ethics guide the behavior of the institutional actors who participate in these criminal processes.


Discussion - 3 hours.  This course examines the ethical, legal, and social issues that arise from research on and use of biomedical technologies.  The course introduces and critically evaluates the dominant principlist approach to Western bioethics. It uses interdisciplinary methods, including critical theory and science and technology studies to consider the role of law on issues arising from biotechnology and science-based knowledge systems that implicate social norms and personal values.

International Human Rights

Discussion - 2 hours.  This seminar will provide an overview of the international legal and institutional system for the protection of human rights.  We will look at the material both from an academic perspective and from the point of view of the human rights practitioner, tackling difficult theoretical issues in the field as well as assessing the practical strengths and weaknesses of human rights law.  The course requirements include a seminar paper (which can fulfill the writing requirement), a final presentation, ongoing participation and serving as a discussant during the course of the

Jurisprudence Seminar

Seminar - 3 hours. This class will focus on two questions. The first question to be considered is: What is law and, in particular, what is the relationship between law and morality? Topics to be covered include natural law, legal positivism and legal realism. The readings related to this question will be drawn primarily from legal philosophy. The second (related) question to be considered is: What are the main traditions in current American legal thought as to the role of law in society? Topics to be surveyed include law and economics, critical legal studies and formalism.

Law and Economics

Discussion - 3 hours. This course introduces students to the economic analysis of law. Students will learn to use the tools of economic analysis (marginal cost and benefit, supply and demand, opportunity cost, etc.) to illuminate and critique familiar areas of law, including property, contracts, torts, and criminal law. Throughout the course, students will consider how economic analysis complements and conflicts with other concerns of the legal system, including fairness and efficiency.  The course does not require any background in economics.

Legal History

Discussion - 2 hours.  This course uses history to answer the question, “Why does the United States have the legal system that it does?”  Why do we operate under the common law rather than the civil law?  How have legal rules and institutions changed over time?  The course traces the development of the common law from its origins in medieval England through the twentieth-century.  Topics include the development of substantive doctrine in areas such as property, contract, and torts; the development of civil and criminal procedure; the rise of the jury trial; the role of judges; the history o

Professional Responsibility

Discussion - 3 hours. This course covers the ethical duties of lawyers in a variety of different contexts.  Students will examine topics such as client control over the major decisions in a case, the duty of zealous advocacy, representation of organizations, and the unique role of government attorneys.

Poverty Law

Seminar - 2 hours. May satisfy Advanced Writing Requirement with professor's approval. This seminar will explore the theory and practice of law pertaining to the enactment and enforcement of laws regulating or aiding the poor.