The Catholic University of America
Course Descriptions



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Courses that may meet the upper-level writing requirement are identified as follows:
 

req. QP    —     required qualifying course paper
opt. QP    —     optional qualifying course paper
req. PP    —     required portfolio paper
opt. PP    —     optional portfolio paper
E or QP   —     examination or qualifying course paper
E or PP   —     examination or portfolio paper
WC         —     advanced writing course
 
A professor may change the requirements of a course in a given semester. Information regarding whether a course will satisfy the writing requirement will be posted prior to fall and spring registration. Professors will also clarify course requirements at the beginning of the semester. For more information concerning the upper-level writing requirement, see Academic Rule XIII.
 
Administrative Law (3 hrs.)
This course involves the study of the administrative process, including formal and informal processes within various administrative agencies; as well as judicial, legislative, and executive control of administrative activity. The investigative, interpretative, rulemaking, adjudicatory, and enforcement operations of administrative agencies will be covered. Prof. Breger, Prof. Gregg, Prof. Mintz.
 
 
Advanced Criminal Procedure: Anatomy of a Homicide (3 hrs.)
This practical seminar in advanced criminal procedure will immerse students in the facts of a First Degree Pre-Meditated Murder. Detailed and vibrant class discussions will tackle such issues as witness intimidation; cooperation agreements; use of the grand jury; attorney-client relationships; investigation and disclosure of exculpatory information, jury selection, affirmative motions practice and much, much more. Classroom discussions will not be abstract or theoretical. Rather, each discussion will grapple with issues presented by the facts as students assume the role of the litigators assigned to the case. Throughout the semester, students will acquire the tools necessary for both prosecutors and defense lawyers to properly investigate, prepare and bring to trial a serious and complex criminal case. There will be no final examination. Rather, students will be expected to conduct original research and draft three motions during the course of the semester. Students will be expected to make themselves available for the entirety of one business day to attend court proceedings in the trial of a homicide. Prerequisite: Criminal Procedure: Investigative Process. Recommended that students have completed, or are concurrently taking, Criminal Procedure: Post Investigative Process. Mr. Zachem.

Advanced Federal Civil Procedure (2 hrs.)
This is a course in advanced civil procedure in the federal courts. While some fundamental principals of federal civil procedure will be examined to ensure all students possess an equal grounding in basic civil procedure, the course emphasizes the study of those advanced topics in civil procedure that are not studied extensively (or at all) in the first year. Federal jurisdiction is examined with an emphasis on federal supplemental and removal jurisdiction. Joinder of claims and parties (who may or must be parties, how to get them in, and how to get them out) is examined in depth, as are the complexities of class suits, multidistrict litigation, federal interpleader, substitution, and intervention. The course also covers shareholder derivative suits, motions practice (with an emphasis on summary judgment), federal discovery practice (with an emphasis on privilege and attorney work product), enforceability of judgments, relief from a judgment, and appeals from federal district courts to Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal and from federal circuit courts to the United States Supreme Court. Practical problems will be worked on throughout the course. Examination. Prof. Hartley.
 
Advanced Issues in Copyright and Trademark Law (2 credits) — QP
This seminar explores advanced topics in copyright and trademark law including, but not limited to, digital copyright law, cybersquatting, misappropriation of intellectual property, and indirect copyright infringement. The course also focuses on recent legal developments in the fields of copyright and trademark law. The purpose of this course is to explore copyright and trademark topics that are not covered or are covered only superficially in the introductory intellectual property courses. Successful completion of this course may satisfy one of the two upper-level writing requirements. Refer to Academic Rule XIII - Writing Requirement and Directed Research.
 
Prerequisite: Introduction to Intellectual Property, Copyright Law, or Trademark Law. Judge Damich.
 
Advanced Issues In Corporate Law (2 hrs.) — req. QP
This course will focus on selected advanced corporate law issues and the role of corporate counsel in addressing these issues. Topics will include business ethics; corporate social responsibility and philanthropy; corporate political activity; investigation of allegations of corporate wrongdoing; corporate compliance programs in areas such as finance and securities, environmental, employment, and fraud and abuse law; the emerging law of crisis management; and related professional ethics issues, such as responsibilities of corporate counsel, opinions of counsel for complex financial transactions and the operation of the attorney-client privilege in corporate settings. In lieu of a final examination, this course requires a qualifying paper that fulfills one half of the upper-level writing requirement. Prof. Duggin.
  
Advanced Legal Research and Writing (3 hrs.) — WC
This course will develop students’ writing and research skills by guiding them through the process of researching for and writing a case note on a pending Supreme Court case. The first component of the course will be devoted to the development of advanced legal research skills including planning research strategies, field research, research in public records, constitutional law research, statutes, legislative histories, tracking legislation, treaties, administrative and executive publications, agency rules, regulations and adjudications, government documents, case finding, case verification, secondary sources, looseleaf services, LEXIS, WESTLAW, Internet resources, nonlegal research, and specialized legal research. The remainder of the course will be devoted to the refinement of writing skills, focusing particularly on organization, use of authority, and development of an effective writing style. Successful completion of this course fulfills one half of the upper-level writing requirement. Students who are taking or have already taken Advanced Legal Research or a course on legal literature taught by the School of Library and Information Science may not take this course. Prof. Harmon, Prof. Williams.
 
Advanced Patent Law (3 hrs.) – req. QP
This seminar explores advanced topics in patent law including, but not limited to, the history of patent law, the intersection between patent and antitrust law, various issues regarding pharmaceutical patent law, patent reform, specialized patent courts, and current developments in patent law. The purpose of this seminar is to introduce students to patent law topics that are not usually covered in other intellectual property courses offered at the law school. Each student will be required to write a qualifying course paper on a patent law topic of choice. Because advanced patent law topics will be discussed in this course, students are required to have taken Introduction to Intellectual Property, Patent Law, or Patent Enforcement. This prerequisite may be waived by the professor if a student has other significant patent law experience (e.g., student is a current/former patent examiner). On occasion, this course may be offered as a two-hour course for administrative convenience. Prof. LaBelle, Mr. Sung.
 

 

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Advanced Topics in Environmental Law (2 hrs.)
This seminar explores facility siting, pollutant trading, place based conflict, land use, and sustainability through a lens of environmental justice and equity.   Topics to be explored include the lawyer's role in environmental conflicts and techniques used to reach solutions. Case studies and negotiation exercises are a part of this paper course. Ms. Dunn. 
 
Advanced Torts (3 hrs.)
This course offers an exposure to a variety of tort law topics, other than product liability, that extends the coverage typically offered in the first-year course in torts. Because many students will not have studied any tort law since their first semester in school, the course begins with a brief review of basic tort law doctrine. Nuisance law will be considered next, followed by a detailed study of the law of defamation, including an examination of both its basic doctrinal characteristics and the federal constitutional features that have developed since 1964. In addition, the rules and practices relating to the award of damages in personal injury cases will be discussed. Where appropriate, the class will look at the way in which various tort law doctrines are tested on both the multistate and the essay portion of the bar. As such, the course may be valuable for the third- or fourth- year student who wishes to be fully prepared for the tort law portion of the bar examination. Prof. Scordato.
 
Agency (2 hrs.)
This course is a basic survey of agency law doctrine and policy. Agency law addresses the general circumstances by which one entity (the agent) may take action on behalf of, and with significant legal consequences for, another (the principal), and the regulation of the relationship between the principal and the agent. Agency law often
operates to facilitate the reach of other doctrinal areas, as when a principal authorizes an agent to enter into a contract with a third party on the principal’s behalf, or when an agent who engages in a tort and as a result harms another generates liability for the principal. Specific topics to be covered in this course include the definition of agency and the creation of an agency relationship; capacity of parties and nondelegable acts; ambiguous agencies; vicarious knowledge and notice (the imputed knowledge rule); vicarious tort liability (the doctrine of respondeat superior); vicarious contractual liability (actual and apparent authority); undisclosed and partially disclosed principals; ratification; rights and liabilities between the principal and the agent; rights and liabilities between the agent and the third party; and termination of the agency relationship. The legal relationship between attorneys and their client, and the legal relationship between attorneys and the law firm (or corporation or government) for which they work is an agency relationship. Moreover, agency law is tested on the Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, and many other state bar examinations. Thus, all students who aspire to be licensed practicing attorneys should consider taking a course in agency law. While agency law can be thought of as a foundational subject for the study of corporate law, this course is not taught from that perspective. As a result, it may be particularly appropriate for those students who desire some exposure to agency law, but who do not necessarily wish to engage in a greater study of business entities. Students who would prefer to study agency law in that context might consider the course in Unincorporated Business Organizations. Prof. Scordato, Mr. Weinstein, Mr. Wyrsch.
 
Agency and Partnership (3 hrs.)
The first part of this course examines agency law, which plays a most significant role in our organizational society.   Just as organizations greatly benefit from and rely on agency law--facilitating transactions with third parties and engaging in a multitude of other activities--organizations are also subjected to consequential risks and obligations. The major agency-law areas that are covered include the nature and creation of such relationship, the rights and duties of the principal and agent, the principal’s potential contractual and vicarious liability for its agent’s dealings with third parties and the termination of the relationship. 
 
The second part of this course covers the main types of so-called unincorporated business organizations, first examining general and limited partnerships, then covering limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and limited liability companies (LLCs). Within the context of these business organizations, the following topics will be studied: the purpose, formation, operation and termination of these organizations. Some time will be spent on reviewing the main business agreements (e.g., general partnership agreement and the LLC operating agreement). Prof. Scordato, Mr. Wyrsch.
 
Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques (2 hrs.) — req. QP or PP
The seminar is a limited-enrollment (20 students) course that looks at mechanisms for resolving disputes other than the mechanism of litigation. It concentrates on negotiation, arbitration, mediation-conciliation, and the so-called “rent-a-judge” and the “mini-trial” proposals. The seminar will be mainly an in-depth discussion and analysis of the individual devices, and will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives in relation to litigation. A number of guest lecturers will attend and participate. Students will participate in simulations and be critiqued on their individual performance. Class participation by all members of the seminar is required and the final grade will be based on the research paper or portfolio papers written by each participant. Each student will be required to give a short, oral presentation on his or her paper topic toward the end of the semester. This course requires a qualifying course paper or portfolio papers that fulfill one half of the upper-level writing requirement. Refer to Academic Rule XIII — Writing Requirement and Directed Research.   Ms. Raskin, Prof. Woods. 
 
Antitrust (3 hrs.)
A study of those federal statutes intended to preserve the benefits of competition in unregulated industries. The course considers the impact of the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act as amended by the Robinson-Patman Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act on the practices and structure of American business. The course includes some economic analysis, but a background in economics is not necessary. The relevant concepts are developed throughout the course. Prof. Garvey, Mr. Greaney, Prof. Perez.
 
Appellate Advocacy (2 hrs.) — WC
Students will study standards of appellate review, review of the trial record, and appellate practice techniques. Instruction will focus on the presentation of a simulated case to a federal or state appellate court. Students will review the trial record for appealable issues, submit an appellate brief, and argue the case orally before panels of judges and attorneys at the Appellate Advocacy Competition. Successful completion of the Lawyering Skills course is a prerequisite to enrollment in this course. Successful completion of the appellate brief in this course fulfills one half of the upper-level writing requirement. Refer to Academic Rule XIII — Writing Requirement and Directed Research. The final grade is based on evaluation of the student’s written work, oral advocacy, and class participation. Mr. Beck, Ms. Fair, Ms. Gaskins, Ms E. Miles.
 
Art Law (3 hrs.)
This is a survey course that introduces students to major legal issues relating to visual art. Topics will include artist's rights (such as copyright and moral rights); cultural property disputes over visual art and antiquities (such as the dispute over whether the Elgin Marbles should be returned); plundering and destruction of artworks during times of war (such as Nazi looting of artworks); forgeries and problems of authenticity in the art market; the major players in the art market, including dealers and collectors; the inner workings of art auctions and the legal rights and duties of art auctioneers and art dealers; the legal structure of art museums, including some issues of internal management and governance, and some tax issues relating to gifts to museums; some tax and IP issues relating to the commercialization of museum collections (e.g. merchandizing, corporate sponsorship; use of facilities); and some First Amendment issues relating to visual art.  Students can opt to write one long paper, which meets the writing requirement as a qualifying course paper, two shorter papers, or take an exam. Ms. Fischer
 
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Bankruptcy (Day, 3 hrs.)
A complete study and review of all legal principles involved in seeking relief under the various chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, including the various relief chapters (chapters 7, 11, and 13), automatic stay litigation and concepts, property of the bankruptcy estate, secured, priority and unsecured claims, discharge and discharge ability issues, debtors’ rights and exemptions under both state law and the Bankruptcy Code, the powers of a trustee in bankruptcy, the question of priorities and conflicts between creditors, fraudulent transfers, and the jurisdiction and venue of the United States Bankruptcy Court. Students who have taken the Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights course may not enroll for Bankruptcy. Prof. Miles, Judge Whelan.
 
Bar Preparation–Virginia (3 hrs.) 
Open to graduating day and evening division students. This course will introduce students to the substantive knowledge, thought process, and writing skills needed for success on the Virginia Bar Exam. The learning methodology will be iterative, consisting of substantive lectures and materials followed by extensive practice-testing and analysis. The course will begin by reviewing the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) subjects; the majority of the course will then provide detailed coverage of heavily-tested Essay Examination subjects. Practice-testing will use actual MBE and Essay Examination questions, and all substantive materials are written by the instructor specifically for this course. Students will be able to quantify their progress during the semester, both individually and relative to their peers. All students will also meet individually with the instructor to discuss their progress and specific steps they can take to maximize their odds on the Bar Exam. Grading is Pass/Fail based on timely and complete submission of assignments. Students will be expected to complete weekly assignments. This course, particularly the weeks devoted to the Essay Examination, will be intensive and fast-paced; students are advised to plan their time accordingly. Regular and punctual attendance at class meetings or equivalent course exercises is a condition of receiving credit in all courses. If a student misses more than two hours of coursework for each credit hour assigned to the course, the instructor may direct the Dean's office to exclude the student from the course. Credit is not granted for both this course and Bar Preparation–Maryland and other jurisdictions.  Mr. Flinn
 
Bar Preparation–Maryland (3 hrs.) 
Open to graduating day and evening division students. This course will introduce students to the substantive knowledge, thought process, and writing skills needed for success on the Maryland Bar Exam. The learning methodology will be iterative, consisting of substantive lectures and materials followed by extensive practice-testing and analysis. The course will begin by reviewing the Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) subjects, and then will introduce the Multistate Performance Test (MPT); the second half of the course will provide detailed coverage of heavily-tested Essay Examination subjects. Practice-testing will use actual MBE, MPT, and Essay Examination questions, and all substantive materials are written by the instructor specifically for this course. Students will be able to quantify their progress during the semester, both individually and relative to their peers. All students will also meet individually with the instructor to discuss their progress and specific steps they can take to maximize their odds on the Bar Exam. Grading is Pass/Fail based on timely and complete submission of assignments. Students will be expected to complete weekly assignments. This course, particularly the weeks devoted to the Essay Examination, will be intensive and fast-paced; students are advised to plan their time accordingly. Regular and punctual attendance at class meetings or equivalent course exercises is a condition of receiving credit in all courses. If a student misses more than two hours of coursework for each credit hour assigned to the course, the instructor may direct the Dean's office to exclude the student from the course.  Credit is not granted for both this course and Bar Preparation–Virginia.  Mr. Flinn
 
 
 
Becoming a Communications Lawyer (2 hrs.)
This externship seminar is similar to Becoming a Lawyer, except that students' field placements are in communications law and class discussion focuses on issues that relate to the practice of communications law. Students in the Communications Law Institute should take this course to fulfill one of the externship requirements for the certificate. Students should enroll in “Legal Externship” while taking this course to receive credits for their fieldwork. Ms. Harold, Mr. Tramont.


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Becoming an International Lawyer (1 hr.)
This externship seminar is similar to Becoming a Lawyer, except that students' field placements are in international law and class discussion focuses on issues that relate to the practice of international law. Students in the Comparative and International Law Institute should take this course to fulfill one of the externship requirements for the certificate. Students should enroll in “Legal Externship” while taking this course to receive credits for their fieldwork. Pass/fail option. Ms Feasley, Ms. Tekach.

Becoming a Lawyer (2 hrs.)
This two-credit, graded seminar is designed to assist the professional development of students doing externships for credit. It is required for students doing their first externships except for those enrolled in an equivalent externship seminar.
 
The seminar meets for two hours per week throughout the semester. Students must enroll in the seminar during the semester in which they are doing their fieldwork. The seminar includes reflective oral and written dialogue and readings designed to foster learning from the field experience and to advance the students’ professional development. Participants study various aspects of their own and others’ field experience, including the goals and operations of the organizations where they are working, the process and problems encountered in law practice and in the making and implementation of law, the professional conduct and roles of the lawyers with whom they work, ethical dilemmas that arise at the placements, and other topics. The course will expose students to a wide variety of legal organizations and substantive fields.
 
Students in Becoming a Lawyer complete several reflective writing assignments and each student writes a 10-page paper on a topic relating to his or her fieldwork. In addition, each student does a presentation in class on a topic relating to the fieldwork. Some classes may feature guest speakers who talk about their professional lives. Other classes may focus on discussions of field experience or cultivation of various professional skills. Participants in Becoming a Lawyer will be encouraged to articulate and to examine short and long-term professional goals and paths and to consider issues relating to professional identity and professional values.
 
This course is offered on a graded basis, but credits for fieldwork (obtained by registering for “Legal Externship”) are awarded on a pass-fail basis. Mr. Danzig, Judge Jordan, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Singer. Mr Zachem
 
Becoming a Public Policy Lawyer (2 hrs.)
Students taking this course should register for two or three credits of fieldwork under the course titled “Legal Externships” or they should enroll in one of the CUA clinical courses.
 
This course is required for second-year students in the Law and Public Policy Program and is open to other students if space is available. In consultation with the instructor, each student selects either a live-client clinical course or a field placement at which to do uncompensated legal work under the supervision of an attorney at a nonprofit organization, a government office (executive, legislative, or judicial branch of federal, state, or local government), a law firm, or a corporation. Placements and clinical courses should involve the students in the development or implementation of law and/or public policy, and must be approved by the instructor. Students enrolled in externships receive one credit for each 60 hours of fieldwork. Students are encouraged to complete three hours of fieldwork credit but may elect to complete only two fieldwork credits. For additional information about the externship program, refer to the description of "Legal Externships".
 
This two-credit seminar will include reflective oral and written dialogue and readings designed to foster learning from the field and clinical experiences, to advance the students’ professional development and to allow discussion of a range of public policy issues. Participants study various aspects of their own and others’ field experience, including the goals and operations of the organizations where they are working, the process and problems encountered in the making or implementation of law or policy, the professional conduct and roles of the lawyers with whom they work, and other topics. The course will expose students to a wide variety of legal organizations and substantive fields.