Litigation and the Judicial Process

Foundation Courses

6230 Evidence (3 or 4)   Braman, Friedenthal, Kerr, Kirkpatrick, Pierce, Saltzburg, Sheley
Policies, principles, standards, and rules governing the trial of civil and criminal cases in federal and state courts. Topics may include relevancy, the hearsay rule, direct and cross examination of witnesses, opinion, scientific evidence, impeachment, privileges, writings, real and demonstrative evidence, judicial notice, confrontation and compulsory process, and burdens of proof and presumptions. (Examination; Pierce—skills)

6232  Federal Courts (3 or 4)   B. Clark, Siegel, Ryan, Todd
The relationship of the federal courts to Congress and to the states. Topics may include judicial review; standing and justiciability; congressional power to regulate jurisdiction; legislative courts; federal question, diversity, removal, civil rights, and habeas corpus jurisdiction; state sovereign immunity; Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction; abstention; federalism doctrines; and federal common law. (Examination)

6234  Conflict of Laws (3)   Steinhardt
Legal problems arising from occurrences transcending state or national boundaries; jurisdiction; foreign judgments; constitutional influences; theoretical bases of choice of law principles and their application to specific fields, including torts, contracts, property, family law, administration of estates, business associations. (Examination)

6238  Remedies (3)   Trangsrud
The types and forms of relief that judges can award in civil litigation: decisional and statutory damages in contract, quasi contract, and tort, including tort reform and wrongful death; overcoming limitations of actions and releases; injunctions as provisional and final relief; equitable remedies, such as specific performance, recission, and reformation; relief from fiduciaries; and tracing, constructive trusts, and equitable liens. (Examination)

6360  Criminal Procedure (3 or 4)   Cheh, Kerr, Lee, Lerner, J. Rosen
Comprehensive presentation of major issues in criminal process, with emphasis on Supreme Court cases interpreting the Constitution. The course proceeds through the criminal justice system, from first police contact, search interrogation, and other investigation, through the prosecution, preliminary proceedings, and trial. Problems of federalism, the exclusionary rule, and sentencing. (Examination)

Advanced Courses

6236  Complex Litigation (3)   Trangsrud
Analysis and critique of complex civil litigation in the state and federal courts. Examination of complex joinder, the management of factually related claims in multiple venues, modern class-action practice, and current developments in the law of claim and issue preclusion. Other topics covered in some years include judicial supervision of plaintiff and defendant class actions; discovery and judicial control of large cases; the role of juries, magistrates, and masters in complex cases; and problems attending complex remedies such as the use of structural injunctions to reform public schools, hospitals, and prisons. (Examination)

6246  Appellate Practice (2)  Effron
This course will: (1) examine the vital role of federal and state appellate courts in our legal system; (2) explore the substantive and procedural elements of appellate litigation; and (3) engage students in the study of appellate practice through assignments involving research, writing, analysis, advocacy, and advice. (Writing assignments and oral argument) (Skills)

6248  Scientific Evidence Seminar (2)  Blackmon
The use of scientific methods and the reliability of scientific principles in litigation. Topics include statistical proof, surveys, and epidemiological principles. Exploration of the admissibility and sufficiency of expert scientific testimony and evidence in light of recent Supreme Court cases, and application of these principles to lower court cases. Prerequisite: Law 6230. (Research paper)

6249  Civil Procedure Seminar (2)
Selected topics in civil procedure to be announced at the time of registration. Enrollment is limited. (Research paper)

6293  Admiralty (2 or 3)  Hyde
The maritime law applied in federal and state courts; admiralty jurisdiction and practice; litigation and arbitration; making uniform law by international convention. The U.S. law of seamen, shoreside workers, and personal injury and death in navigable waters; maritime liens and ship mortgages; carriage of goods by water; collisions at sea; salvage, general average, and limiting liability for private damage and environmental harms. (Examination)

6298  Insurance (2 or 3)  Mayerson
General liability, product liability, property, business interruption, fidelity, and coverage of directors and officers. The duty of insurance companies to defend their insureds and to settle cases brought against them. Mass tort liabilities and other severe liability exposure. General principles of law applicable to property–casualty insurance, insurance regulation, insurance bad faith, and reinsurance. (Examination)

6354  Products Liability (2 or 3)  Bogus
Theory and practice of product liability litigation. Compensatory and punitive damages; competing strategies pursued by plaintiffs and defendants. Affirmative defenses and defense strategies. Failure-to-warn and defective design cases. Discovery techniques. Settlement strategy and mediation of product liability cases. Class actions and multidistrict litigation involving defective products. Differences between U.S. product liability litigation and other countries’ systems. (Examination or research paper with permission of the instructor)

6362  Adjudicatory Criminal Procedure (2 or 3)  R. Fairfax, Sheley, Hauch
Constitutional and statutory regulation of the criminal adjudication process. How the Constitution and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure govern various stages of the criminal process. Bail and detention pending trial; the prosecutor’s decision to charge; grand jury procedures; right to a speedy trial, to a jury trial, other trial rights; discovery; plea bargaining; double jeopardy; sentencing; appeals; and collateral remedies. (Examination)

6363  Role of the Federal Prosecutor (2)  Black, Goelman, Hinton, Hoffinger
Exploration of the responsibilities and powers of the federal prosecutor. The effect of legal, ethical, policy, and practical considerations on the prosecutor’s decision making throughout various stages of the criminal justice system. The potentially competing interests of federal, state, and foreign jurisdictions in investigation and prosecution of criminal activity. Classes are held at the Department of Justice. Enrollment is limited and includes students from other area law schools. (Take-home examination)

6365  Criminal Tax Litigation (2)
Legal, evidentiary, and procedural challenges presented in the prosecution of criminal tax cases. U.S. Code Title 26, Bank Secrecy Act of 1986, Title III of the USA PATRIOT Act, and selected provisions of the Sarbanes–Oxley Corporate Fraud and Accountability Act of 2002. Practices and procedures of the Internal Revenue Service and the Tax Division of the Department of Justice; the protections of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments; grand jury investigations, motions practice; terrorism financing cases; trials and parallel proceedings; and Federal Sentencing Guidelines. (Examination)

6449  Environmental and Toxic Torts (2)  Hicks, McNamara
The use of common law and statutory remedies to compensate those experiencing personal injuries or economic harm caused by exposure to toxic products or toxins in the environment. Topics covered include novel and emerging theories of recovery (e.g., medical monitoring), class actions/mass torts, preemption, and methods of proving scientific causation. (Research paper or take-home examination)

6477  The Federal Circuit (1 or 2)  Whealan, Rader
The unique role of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit as the only national court of appeals organized on the basis of subject matter rather than geography. Topics include the creation of the Federal Circuit and an overview of its varied jurisdictions (e.g., government contracts, constitutional takings, and international trade). Emphasis on the contributions of the Federal Circuit to patent law, and in particular its administration of eligibility, bars, “nonobviousness,” equivalents, and other modern patent law problems. Comparative study of the patent jurisprudence of the Federal Circuit and other nations’ courts. (Examination)

6555  Comparative Constitutional Law (2 or 3)  Fontana
Comparative study of U.S. and non-U.S. legal systems. Structural issues including federalism and separation of powers; individual rights issues including affirmative action, abortion, and freedom of speech. (Take-home examination)

6559  Nation Building and the Rule of Law (2)  Warren
Legal norms and techniques used to help stabilize and rebuild societies emerging from violent conflict. Clarifying and reforming laws, reconstructing and staffing judicial and law enforcement institutions, and establishing mechanisms to deal with past atrocities. Prior enrollment in Law 6520 or 6532 is recommended. (Research Paper)

6624  Family Justice Litigation Clinic (4, 5, or 6)   Kohn
Under faculty supervision, students represent indigent litigants in D.C. Superior Court. Students undertake a range of cases in the Family Court (divorce, custody, child support, alimony) and the Domestic Violence Unit (civil protection orders, modification and extension of civil protection orders, and contempt). While representing domestic violence litigants, students also have an opportunity to gain experience in criminal practice by collaborating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in related prosecutions of accused batterers. Students are responsible for every phase of litigation, drafting of initial pleadings, motions, conducting discovery, settlement negotiations, and taking the case to trial. In the weekly two-hour seminar, students study the substantive and procedural law relevant to their cases, including the local domestic violence and family law statutes, criminal law, evidentiary principles, and procedural rules. The seminar also focuses on litigation skills exercises, including performing direct and cross examinations, arguing motions, and conducting negotiations. Permission of the clinic director is required prior to registration. Prerequisites: Law 6230 and 6360. Students may enroll concurrently in this course and Law 6668 only with permission of both instructors. (Skills)

6625   Federal, Criminal, and Appellate Clinic (4, 5, or 6)   Olesen
Under supervision of the instructor, third-year students litigate appellate cases, primarily direct appeals from criminal convictions in area courts of appeal. Student responsibilities include development of the lawyer/client relationship, record re-view and selection of issues, briefing, and oral argument. A weekly seminar ad-dresses the lawyer’s role, ethical and procedural problems, litigation strategy, and criminal justice issues through role-playing, simulation, and written exercises. En-rollment is by permission of the instructor. Prerequisite: Law 6230 and 6360; Law 6650 is recommended. Students may enroll concurrently in this course and Law 6668 only with permission of both instructors. (Skills)

6626   Vaccine Injury Clinic (4, 5, or 6)   Meyers, Shoemaker
This clinic allows second- and third-year students, under faculty supervision, to represent individuals who may have suffered serious vaccine-related injuries and who are seeking damages in trial and appellate proceedings before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. A weekly two-hour seminar focuses on multidisciplinary (medi-cal/legal) training in vaccine injury issues, and on lawyering skills such as client interviewing and counseling and cross examination of medical experts. Students also evaluate the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program as a model for tort reform. Students must register for this clinic for both the fall and spring semesters. Students may enroll concurrently in this course and Law 6668 only with permission of both instructors. (Skills)

6634   Law Students in Court (4, 5, or 6)   D. Johnson
This is a clinical program in trial advocacy, that offers students the opportunity to develop skills as a trial lawyer while representing indigent persons in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Students may participate in either the civil section (which focuses primarily upon the representation of tenants in landlord–tenant actions, but also handles some consumer, negligence, and other civil matters) or the criminal section (in which student litigators defend persons charged with misdemeanor offenses). Students in both sections have the opportunity to participate in jury trials. They are responsible for all aspects of litigation under the supervision of clinical instructors: interviewing clients and witnesses, conducting investigations, preparing pleadings, engaging in settlement negotiations or plea bargaining, and conducting all motions hearings and trials pursuant to the Superior Court’s third-year practice rule. Only third-year students who have completed Law 6230 and 6360 may participate in the clinic. Seminars are held in the evening. Students must have one day per week available for court ap-pearances and plan to devote approximately four hours per credit to the clinic. Students must participate in the program for two consecutive semesters. Students may enroll concurrently in this course and Law 6668 only with permission of both instructors. Enrollment is limited students. Students who select the civil division must enroll for a total of 10 credits. Students who select the criminal division must enroll for a total of 12 credits. Each division is graded CR/NC basis in the fall (4 credits for civil division, 6 credits for criminal division), and each division is graded on letter grade basis for 6 credits in the spring. (Skills)

6643   Pre-Trial Advocacy (2 or 3)   A. Robinson, Gardner, LoRe, Z. Rainey 
Pre-trial and trial techniques of civil discovery and motions practice by role-playing in simulated cases. The class is divided into “law firms” that represent clients in cases at the pre-trial stage. Students are required to attend pre-trial conferences and conduct extensive discovery, including conduct of depositions, argument on discovery motions to compel or sanctions, preparation and service of interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, and motions for physical and mental examinations. The course ends with a five-hour mock trial by jury. (Simulation and paper) (Skills)

6654   Law and Rhetoric

6669    The Craft of Judging (2)   Alprin, Beck, Campbell, Canan, H. Greene, Henley, Iscoe, King, Lind, Ridgely, R. Smith, J. Somers
Current issues in judicial ethics, judicial administration, and the trial and appellate process. Topics include standard of review, statutory interpretation, the role of precedent, and judicial activism. This course is corequisite for students enrolled in Law 6668 in a judicial placement, as determined by the assistant dean for field placement. Students not concurrently enrolled in Law 6668 may take this course only with the permission of the instructor. Enrollment is limited. This course is graded on a letter-grade basis. (Writing assignments)

6671    Government Lawyering (2)   Axelrad, Braunstein, Ferko, Gardner, Gavoor, Hirt, LoRe, Mahini, Stroud, Surgalla, Wallbaum
The role of the lawyer in federal government agencies. Agency adjudication and rulemaking; judicial review; enforcement; regulatory reform; the role of the office of general counsel; alternative dispute resolution; the Freedom of Information Act; and congressional relations. This course is corequisite for students enrolled in Law 6668 in a government agency placement, as determined by the assistant dean for field placement. Students not concurrently enrolled in Law 6668 may take this course only with the permission of the assistant dean for field placement. Enrollment is limited. This course is graded on a letter-grade basis. (Research Paper)

6873    Military Justice (2 or 3)   Schenck
The military justice system as a separate criminal justice system established by Congress due to the unique nature and mission of the U.S. Armed Forces. Policies, principles, standards, and rules governing the military justice process from investigation through trial and the appellate process. Review of the commander’s role throughout the system. Detailed review of substantive military criminal law and peculiarly military offenses. Analysis of military criminal procedure as well as alternate actions available to dispose of criminal misconduct cases, including administrative separations from the Armed Forces. LL.M. students with prior military law experience may enroll only with the permission of the instructor. (Examination)

6874    Comparative Military Law (2)   Gilligan
Analysis and critique of the broad concept of a separate military justice system; similarities between rules of evidence and rules of criminal procedure in the military and civilian systems; the role of Congress in overseeing the military criminal system; application of the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to service members; and broad policy issues such as the systemic challenges to the military justice system. (Examination or research paper with permission of the instructor)

The following courses are open only to LL.M. degree candidates:

6675    Advanced Trial Advocacy (3)   Winston, Wright
Conduct of a simulated civil, criminal, or administrative trial before a jury or judge. Students learn to present persuasive opening statements and closing arguments and to conduct forceful direct and cross-examination of fact witnesses and experts. Ethical, evidentiary, procedural, and substantive aspects of litigation. Practical solutions to typical problems litigators encounter in the presentation of a case. At the conclusion of the course, students undertake the trial of a simulated case from opening statement through jury deliberation before a judge or very experienced litigator. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students. (Simulation)

6677    Pre-Trial Practice in Civil Cases (3)   A. Robinson, Z. Rainey, Rhoad
Students are divided into simulated law firms and assigned roles that correspond to the pre-trial tasks lawyers routinely are called upon to perform in civil cases. The exercises begin with discovery, and students attend a Fed.R.Civ.P.26(f) meeting, dealing with required disclosures and other preliminary discovery matters. Students prepare discovery motions and responses, take and defend depositions, file dispositive motions, attend a pretrial conference, and prepare a joint pretrial memorandum. By the end of the course, each student will have simulated moving a case from the filing of a complaint to the eve of trial. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students.

6678    Ethics in Adjudication and Settlement (3)   Borchini, Schaller
Ethical issues that come into play once disputes have arisen and litigation has either commenced or been threatened. The ethical rules that govern threats to sue and responses to such threats, and the rules that are important once litigation has commenced. Each class focuses on a hypothetical problem involving an ethical issue or set of issues. In each hypothetical, the lawyer’s duty to the client and to the court through role playing. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students. (Simulation)

6679    Advanced Evidence (3)   Gilligan
How the rules of evidence can be used to build and present a case more effectively. Theory and philosophy of the rules of evidence; scope of attorney–client privilege in corporate and government litigation; joint defense agreements; vicarious admissions in civil and criminal litigation; hearsay; expert evidence; character evidence rules; motions in limine; impeaching witnesses; laying foundations; exhibits and charts; and the evidentiary difference between bench and jury trials. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students. (Simulation)

6680    The American Jury (3)   Mott, Urbina
Focus on a variety of issues that arise in civil and criminal jury trials in federal and state courts. Topics include separating judicial from jury functions; the jury pool; the grand jury; jury voir dire; challenges for cause and peremptory challenges; scientific jury selection: jury instructions; verdict forms; presentation of evidence; jury nullification; improving juror participation; impeaching verdicts; and high-publicity trials. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students. (Simulation)

6683    The College of Trial Advocacy (3)   Saltzburg
An intensive, six-day course focusing on trial simulation and role playing. A varying panel of experienced lawyers and judges discuss and demonstrate trial skills and ethics, and oversee and critique small-group simulations by students in making opening and closing statements and in conducting direct and cross-examination of experts and other witnesses. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students. (Simulation)

6684    Pre-Trial Practice in Criminal Cases (3)   Weinberg 
Students in this course are assigned alternating roles as prosecutor and defense counsel in order to simulate the pre-trial tasks lawyers routinely perform in criminal cases. Simulation exercises begin after the arrest of the suspect, with student–prosecutors conducting a preliminary investigation and student–defense counsels interviewing the defendant. Thereafter, students conduct and attend grand jury proceeding, arraignments, bail hearings, preliminary hearings, suppression hearings, plea bargaining sessions, and plea hearings before the trial judge. Students conduct discovery and file pre-trial motions and responses. By the end of the course, each student will have simulated moving a case from arrest to the eve of trial. Enrollment is limited. Open only to LL.M. students. (Simulation)


GW Law Portal Apply