Online Master of Laws in American Law — Curriculum
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Online Master of Laws (LL.M.) in American Law (24 credit hours)
Introduction to the American Legal System
This course is designed to introduce law students to the U.S. legal system. The goal is to introduce the rules governing the creation, interpretation and application of the different forms of law used by American lawyers. Students should also become familiar with the wide variety of institutional mechanisms and settings where law is used and to consider the different methods of legal reasoning fundamental to the American lawmaking process.
Introduction to Legal Research and Writing
In this course, students will learn to research American statutory, regulatory and case law. They will improve their legal writing skills by first focusing on the underlying linguistic structures that link the language to the law. They will then apply those structures to write a case brief, a client letter and a memorandum of law.
The concept of contract, which is concerned with relations based upon consent, is central in law as well as in political philosophy and theology. The course in contracts provides an opportunity to explore conflicts between fundamental social values, such as stability versus reform and freedom of contract versus regulation of fairness in dealing. The study of contracts also provides an introduction to a variety of lawyering skills, including analysis, drafting, counseling, statutory construction, and adversary method. The course covers legal remedies of contracting parties, creation and termination of contractual rights, consideration, conditions, assignments, third-party beneficiaries, consumer credit transactions, sales of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code, the relationship between contract and tort, and professional ethics.
The law of torts concerns the principles governing redress of injuries resulting from intentional and unintentional wrongs against persons or their property. Particular attention is given to the relative functions of judge and jury in determining liability and damages and to the interplay between standards of liability and problems of proofs. The course also examines affirmative defenses based upon the conduct of the plaintiff, with particular regard to situations in which the plaintiff might have consented to the alleged wrong. Modern trends in the allocation of liability will be discussed with emphasis on insurability and possible alternative systems of compensation.
Law of Business Organizations
This course covers the fundamental forms of business organization: the sole proprietorship, the partnership and the corporation. It examines the nature of such organizations, their formation, financing and management. It also explores policy issues commonly raised in corporate law.
The object of this course is to present the constitutional problems raised by the relationship of each of the branches of the federal government to one another and those presented by the relationship between the federal government and the states, and to provide a limited analysis of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment (exclusive of criminal due process questions). Specifically, the course covers Articles I, II and III of the Constitution and the related problems of the federal courts in operation, the powers of Congress and the president, and the controls of each over the other, and state powers as they are affected by the existence or exercise of federal powers. The course will also cover constitutional developments in due process and equal protection with particular reference to the rights of the individual against state and federal authority.
The rules of law governing lawyers’ professional conduct are studied through the ethics codes, lectures, text, cases, problems and class discussion. Principal attention is given to whether lawyers should subordinate their own moral judgment to that of their clients, the lawyer’s role in an adversary system, zealous representation, lawyer-client confidentiality, conflicts of interest, prosecutors’ ethics and solicitation of clients.
Property law is studied as a social and legal institution that facilitates the acquisition, disposition, and use of personal and real property. The course surveys problems related to personal property, the system of estates and future interests, the landlord-tenant relationship, the modern real estate transaction and private arrangements affecting the use of land.
This course is designed to enable the student to deal with substantive criminal law problems in both practical and policy terms. There is inquiry into the proper scope and objectives of the criminal law and exploration of the practicality of using the criminal law to achieve posited objectives. The elements of a crime are examined expositionally and critically, as are problems of criminal responsibility. The course also provides an opportunity for critical examination of statutes at an early stage in the law student’s career.
U.S. Civil Procedure
This course provides an introduction to the nature and functioning of judicial systems, including a survey of the major phases of civil litigation under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Major emphasis is given to the reach of judicial authority, pleadings and amendments, pretrial discovery, the right to a jury trial, appellate procedure (including appeals from administrative decisions), and judgments and former adjudication. Major themes of the course are the relationship of procedure to substantive law and the purposes and characteristics of procedural rules in light of proposed reforms.