Case Studies in Law & Lawyering



SLN #: 15890
Course Prefix: LAW-791
Course Section: 002
Credit Hours: 3
Instructor(s): Ellman

Course Description:
This seminar will meet once a week for 7 weeks in the Fall 2008 semester, beginning in October. During these classes, students will read about 15 case studies drawn from the “Stories” series that Foundation Press has been issuing. We will read stories from an array of fields such as family law, torts, property, employment law, tax law, intellectual property, administrative law, constitutional law, and others. The authors of these stories have read trial transcripts and briefs, interviewed the attorneys or parties, and otherwise did the background investigation necessary to put the legal dispute in the historical and legal context in which it arose. Our purpose in reading these stories is to provide students with a model for the kind of project each student will complete for the course.

That project is to choose a case of your own, from any field of law in which you are interested, and prepare a similar case study. I will offer students some suggestions of cases, emphasizing ones that that have some Arizona connection, whether litigated in state or federal courts here. Examples might be the Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, or the Stanhardt case on gay marriage. But students are not required to work on an Arizona case. I do want to find cases that are recent enough so that it will be possible for you to find and interview at least some of the principal figures, whether parties or attorneys.

I will expect students to select their case and begun establishing their research plan during the fall, to get a good running start. This will include getting a good doctrinal command of the legal issues raised by the case you choose, and some sense of the potentially relevant historical or social facts that you will want to explore to put the legal issues in a wider context. But the primary effort on the projects will probably take place after the fall semester ends. We may meet once or twice as a class during the first half of the spring semester, to discuss as a groups issues or problems that students have encountered in their projects. I will also meet individually with students during this time. There will be interim benchmark requirements for the students to meet as they work on their projects, to ensure they are making progress in obtaining the necessary primary materials such as trial transcripts, having command of the legal and contextual issues, locating principals to interview, planning their questions for those interviews, and formulating the theme for the case study. Regular class sessions will resume during the second half of the spring semester, during which the students will present their cases to the class. I anticipate six or seven class meetings during the spring.

Although the class will only meet for two hours at a time when it meets, this class is offered for three units of credit because the work load will extend over a semester and a half period. It may be possible for students who wish to publish their work to continue perfecting it for an additional fourth credit.

Additional Information:
Credit Hours: 3
Grading Option: Numeric Grade or Letter Grade Only
Graduation Writing Requirement: Yes*
Flexible Writing Requirement: No
Skills Requirement: Yes*
Note: Only one of the above listed requirements can be fulfilled with this course.
Final Exam Given: No
Paper or In-Class Presentation: Yes
Attendance Policy: Per Statement of Student Policies
Additional Attendance Policy: Crucial
Online Course Site: None