The Catholic University of America
 LL.M. Program

Law and Technology Course Descriptions

Below is a list of are course descriptions that may be taken and applied towards a student's LL.M. concentration in Law and Technology. Students will work with a faculty adviser to select a group of courses, which best suits the path a student is interested in following.


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 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. 

 

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. Ms. Baskir, Prof. Harmon, Ms. Vuono, 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.
 
 
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. Mr. Greaney, Prof. Perez, Mr. Stern.
 
 
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.
 
The course has a practical focus; one of the goals is to introduce students to some of the many possible careers that you might pursue in various aspects of art law. We incorporate many great speakers from DC's very extensive local art and museum community. In addition, some classes are held as field trips, to experience the DC art scene first-hand. The approach of this course is to paint with a broad brush. As a seminar, we will focus on discussing broad themes and issues in a fairly wide-ranging way, rather than, as in some other courses, the minutiae of a smaller number of doctrines. 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. Prof. Fischer Ms. Fischer
 
 
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.
 
 
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. Tyrell, Mr. Zachem.
 
 
Communications Law Practicum (3 hrs., year-long)
This course serves as the academic link for students engaged in supervised fieldwork in the communications realm, including at government agencies, trade associations, public interest organizations, and in-house counsel positions at private companies. The course is designed to provide participants a practical and integrated overview of the work done by communications attorneys in a variety of settings. Ms. Harold, Mr. Tramont.
 
 
Copyright Law (3 hrs.)
This course covers the nature and subject matter of copyright, including literary, artistic, and musical works; computer software; and motion pictures; how copyrights are acquired, licensed, and enforced; the fair-use privilege and other limitations on the copyright owner’s rights; and principles of international protectionMr. Bain, Prof. Fischer.
 
 
Cyberlaw (2 hrs.)
This course focuses on law and policy relating to network security, privacy, cybercrime, and copyright enforcement issues arising from file sharing, circumvention software and other new digital technologies. No prerequisites and no technological or engineering knowledge is expected or requiredProf. Fischer, Mr. Savage.
 
 
Directed Research (2 hrs.)
This course offers students the opportunity to conduct original, in-depth legal research and produce a quality, written analysis in an area of special interest under the close supervision of a faculty member. The course will fulfill one of the two upper-class writing requirements if the student achieves a final grade of at least a B-. A faculty member who agrees to serve as the student’s supervising instructor will provide guidance and feedback throughout the research and writing process. The student’s final grade will reflect the supervising instructor’s evaluation of the quality of the student’s legal research and legal analysis, as well as the quality of his/her legal writing. Although the page number requirement is left to the supervising instructor's discretion, it is unlikely that a paper of acceptable quality could be completed in fewer than 40 pages. To register, a student must submit a statement of topic, signed by the supervising instructor, that describes the proposed research topic and establishes the tentative research and writing schedule. The signed statement of topic must be submitted to the Office of the Academic Dean before the end of the add/drop period for the semester. (See Academic Rule XIII). Faculty.
 
 
Entertainment Law (3 hrs.)
This course emphasizes specialized contract law for the entertainment industry, including the role of attorneys, agents, and managers in the negotiation of recording, management, publishing, and performance agreements. The course addresses the substantive law of the entertainment industry, as well as a practical approach to the representation of clients involved in various fields of entertainment. Prof. Fischer
 
 
First Amendment Practicum (2 or 3 hrs.)
The First Amendment Supervised Fieldwork course offers CUA Law students the chance to work on cutting edge free speech and religious liberty cases, in trial courts, appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.  Under the direction of Professor Mark Rienzi, students will form a litigation team to work on a variety of First Amendment matters.  Students will meet regularly to work on the cases, plan strategy, and discuss ongoing tasks. While the precise tasks will vary depending on the cases, past students have: drafted briefs for motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, discovery disputes, and appeals; drafted questions and devised strategy for depositions of opposing witnesses; attended court hearings; conducted legal research; conducted moot courts; and participated in strategy discussions with co-counsel.  Students commit to work an average of 10 hours per week (2 credits) or 15 hours per week (3 credits) during the semester.  Prof. Rienzi
 
 
First Amendment Problems of the Media (2 hrs.) — req. QP
This Communications Law Institute course considers the general issue of the extent to which the First Amendment Press Clause affords protection of the communications industry in the gathering and dissemination of news and information. Specific subject matter covered includes competing theories of First Amendment Press Clause, libel, invasion of privacy, the censorship and punishment of obscenity and indecency, restrictions on the reporting of matters affecting national security and foreign relations, reporter access to persons and places, constitutional privileges for news persons not to divulge confidential sources and information, free press-fair trial issues, judicial secrecy, the “fair use” defense to copyright infringement actions and a multitude of issues spawned by modern telecommunications and the Internet. This course requires a qualifying course paper that fulfills one half of the upper-level writing requirement. Refer to Academic Rule XIII — Writing Requirement and Directed Research.The grade for this course is based primarily on the student research paper. Enrollment is limited to 25 students. Mr. Waldron. 
 
 
Intellectual Property Capstone (3 hrs.)
This is a transition-to-practice course that provides a simulated intellectual property practice experience.  Students will work in a setting modeled after law firm practice, where they will learn how to work in teams, understand client demands, confront decision-making challenges, and manage case files and workload.  Through this course, students will be exposed to various aspects of intellectual property practice and will develop both litigation and transactional skills.  This course is designed primarily for students concentrating in Intellectual Property Law.  Enrollment in the course is limited to 16 students.  Students are required to be in their third or fourth year of law school and must have already completed two of the following courses: Introduction to Intellectual Property, Patent Law, Copyright Law, or Trademarks and Unfair Competition.  Prof. La Belle
 
 
Intellectual Property Transactions (2 hrs.) — opt. PP
This limited-enrollment course is focused primarily on the analysis and drafting of documents related to transactions involving the transfer of interests in intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and know-how. Through the process of analyzing and drafting transactional documents, students are introduced to the relevant statutory and case law and become familiar with substantive legal principles related to title, express and implied licenses; license transfers; and assignments of rights in intellectual property. Students may also gain exposure to substantive areas of the law having significant impact on intellectual property rights, such as international law, antitrust, tax, and bankruptcy. The grade is based primarily on the final written work products produced by each student. At the discretion of the instructor, this course may include a qualifying portfolio paper that fulfills a portion of the upper-level writing requirement. Refer to Academic Rule XIII — Writing Requirement and Directed Research. Prerequisite: Students must have taken at least one of the following: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, or Trademarks and Unfair Competition.   Mr. Miner, Mr. Ratcliffe, Mr. Richman.
 
 
International Intellectual Property Law (2 hrs.)
An overview of the international aspects of intellectual property law, focusing on the major areas of copyright, patent, and trademark law. The course covers the development and nature of international protection under domestic law, as well as under bilateral and multilateral agreements; the use of trade negotiations as a mechanism for the implementation and harmonization of rights; and enforcement problems, including issues of jurisdiction, territoriality, exhaustion of rights, and conflicts of law. Limited enrollment. Prerequisite: Introduction to Intellectual Property Law, Patent Law, Copyright Law, Trademark Law, or Trademarks and Unfair Competition. Mr. Chambers, Ms. Claggett, Prof. Fischer, Mr. Laskoski.
 
 
Introduction to Intellectual Property Law (3 hrs)
This is an overview course covering the core areas of intellectual property law — copyrights, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. This course is designed primarily for students who are seeking a basic grasp of the fundamentals of intellectual property law. In an age of rapidly developing technology, it is becoming increasingly important for all lawyers to have some understanding of this area of the law. Students who are interested in pursuing a career specializing in intellectual property law should probably take the separately offered courses in Patent Law, Copyright Law, and Trademark Law. Students should consult with the instructor prior to registration to determine which intellectual property course offering(s) would be most appropriate for them.
 
Most of the course focuses on the four most significant types of intellectual property rights (patent, copyright, trademark, and trade secret). Study includes the scope of these rights, infringement, defenses to infringement, and available remedies for infringement. It also considers the relationship between the four types of intellectual property right, as well as the extent to which the federal intellectual property regime relates to state law doctrines giving protection to intellectual creations. The course assesses the theoretical justifications for legal protection of intellectual property rights and the appropriate balance between legal protections, technological protections, and a robust public domain. The central theme of this course is how American intellectual property law and policy is adapting, and should adapt, to rapid technological change.
 
There are no prerequisites for this course, and scientific background is not required. The course grade is based primarily on an in-class final examination, as well as on several graded quizzes administered during the semester.Prof. Fischer, Prof. La Belle. 
 
 
Legal Externship (2 or 3 hrs.)
A student participating in a for-credit externship should enroll in Legal Externship. A student's placement must be for uncompensated legal work under the supervision of an attorney. Placements include federal, state, and local government agencies, judicial chambers, prosecutors’ and defenders’ offices, law firms, corporate general counsels’ offices, public interest organizations, and labor unions. Students may receive two credits for 120 hours of uncompensated fieldwork or three credits for 180 hours of fieldwork. Each student submits periodic detailed time logs to the Clinical Programs Office to obtain credit for the fieldwork. Students must seek approval for proposed placements by filling out the online placement approval form. Students should obtain approval of placements before the semester begins.
 
Students in their first for-credit externship should also register for one of the "Becoming a Lawyer" seminars.  Students in their second or further for-credit externship do not register for Becoming a Lawyer.  These latter students will be overseen by the directors of the Office of Career and Professional Development.  Faculty instructors may convene periodic seminar meetings or may meet with each student several times over the course of the semester. Students turn in detailed time-logs and do some reflective writing about their field experience. Grading is pass/fail. Students are encouraged to seek a new field placement for each semester. A student who wishes to stay in a single placement for a second semester must receive approval from the Director of Experiential Education.  Ms. Frost, Prof. Martin, Ms. Tschirch.
 
 
Legislation: The Making of a Federal Statute (3 hrs.) — req. PP
This seminar studies federal legislation, how it is made (pre-enactment) and how it is interpreted by courts (post-enactment). The pre-enactment portion of the course looks at the fundamentals of federal lawmaking: How does an idea become law? What are the key stages of the Congressional process, including the budget process and reconciliation? The course uses current events as background, and for assignments (e.g., past courses have coincided with health care reform, and the bank bailout, “TARP”). The post-enactment portion of the course is concerned with judicial construction of the meaning of the words Congress uses, and how theories of interpretation, such as purposivism or textualism, reflect or support theories of the separation of powers. Do judges make law? Should they? How do the realities of the legislative process affect the task of statutory interpretation? The course also provides an overview of interpretive techniques, including the canons of statutory construction, and the use (or abuse) of legislative history as an authoritative source of legal meaning. The grade for the course is based primarily on three substantial writing assignments: (1) a judicial opinion, (2) a review and analysis of a statute, and (3) a memorandum in support of or in opposition to a legislative proposal. For each assignment, the student prepares two drafts, the first for comment and the second for a grade. Successful completion of the course satisfies the practice-oriented writing requirement. Students interested in legislation, public policy, administrative law, lobbying, or writing should consider this course. Mr. Colinvaux.
 
 
National Security Law and Policy Seminar (2 or 3 hrs.) — opt. QP
The seminar will examine the issues that arise when general legal standards and processes are applied to national security activities. In light of the development of national security law since World War II, the seminar explores a range of legal, constitutional, and policy problems relating to the conflict between accepted legal principles, individual rights, and national security requirements. The objectives are to increase understanding of broader constitutional, legal, political, and governmental issues, as well as the peculiar nature of national security programs. Students are expected to contribute to class sessions on a regular and meaningful basis. Depending on the professor, this course may require a qualifying course paper that fulfills one half of the upper-level writing requirement. Refer to Academic Rule XIII — Writing Requirement and Directed Research. Mr. Hodgkinson, Ms. Hodgkinson, Prof. Perez.
 
 
Patent Law (3 hrs.)
A study of inventions that are protectable under United States patent laws; the requirements for patentability, including concepts of utility, novelty, unobviousness, and adequate disclosure; the nature of acts constituting patent infringement; interpretation of patent claims and the scope of exclusive rights under a patent; and remedies for infringement Prof. Winston.
 
 
Patent Prosecution (2 hrs.) - req. PP
This course provides students the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills related to the preparation and prosecution of patent applications before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  Students will develop efficient patent and claim drafting techniques, and will learn effective prosecution strategies, such as analyzing and responding to office actions and avoiding prosecution history estoppel. This course will require the completion of an advanced legal writing portfolio. Prerequisite: Patent Law or permission of the instructors for those students with patent experience. Mr. Blinka, Ms. Weiss-McLeod.
 
 
Problems in Telecommunications Law and Policy Capstone (3 hrs.)

This Communications Law Institute course, limited to institute students in their 3rd or 4th year, will examine a series of broadcasting, domestic and international common carrier, spectrum allocation, media definition, and technology planning issues. Students prepare for each class by reading the assigned materials and generally taking responsibility for additional research to achieve a complete understanding of the major constituencies or coalitions involved and the policy choices presented. For each issue, an appropriate number of students prepare a written position statement advocating one particular constituency’s legal interpretation/philosophy. These students will present this position in a panel discussion that at times may parallel a debate, moot court proceeding, FCC meeting, or international policy-making forum. After presentations by the students responsible for advocating particular positions, the entire class will have the opportunity to pose questions and additional complications.  Mr. Golant, Prof.

 
 
Starting and Managing a Solo Law Practice (1 hr.)

This course will provide hands-on instruction for establishing and maintaining a successful solo law practice. You will learn and apply the requirements needed to set up a law practice and the practical aspects of law firm management. Throughout the course, you will create Articles of Organization, a marketing plan, client letters and a cash flow budget for a law office. The course will also pay particular attention to the Rules of Professional Conduct and the requirements of the Attorney Grievance Commission. A discussion of why it is important to distinguish the law as a profession and not simply a business endeavor will conclude the seminar. This course will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Ms.Clark, Ms. Nichols.

Trademarks and Unfair Competition (3 hrs.)
This course covers the nature and subject matter of common law and statutory trademark protection, including distinctiveness, genericism, and the development of secondary meaning; the acquisition, retention, and scope of trademark rights; the registration process and its effect; infringement issues, dilution, rights of publicity, false advertising, parody and counterfeiting. Students may not take both this course and Trademark Law. Prof. Winston.

 

 

Courses with a writing requirement are identified by the following symbols found in the key provided below:
req. QP — required qualifying course paper
opt. QP — optional qualifying course paper
req. PP — required qualifying portfolio paper
opt. PP — optional qualifying portfolio paper
E or QP — examination or qualifying course paper
E or PP — examination or qualifying portfolio paper
WC — advanced writing course

For the complete listing of courses, visit the Courses of Instruction section of the law school Announcements catalogue.

 

 

LL.M. Application Deadlines

International Applications
March 16, 2017

Domestic Applications
June 1, 2017