Spring 2013 Courses

Posted on January 10th, 2013 by Lauren Gutterman

Spring 2013 Courses Related to Gender and Sexuality Law

Anti-Discrimination Law
Jessica Bulman-Pozen
Monday and Wednesday 1:20 – 2:40PM, L6905-001

This course will provide an overview of federal constitutional and statutory antidiscrimination law while encouraging students to consider the proper role of the law in addressing discrimination and inequality. The focus will be on discrimination based on race and sex, but some attention will also be given to discrimination based on other characteristics, such as sexual orientation and disability. Topics will include: competing frameworks for antidiscrimination law, such as the anti-classification and anti-subordination approaches to equal protection; different theories of equality; the roles of courts, legislatures, and administrative bodies, as well as private actors, in addressing discrimination; constitutional and statutory antidiscrimination doctrines, including disparate impact; models of bias; and justifications for affirmative action. The course will explore such issues in a range of contexts, including education, employment, voting, and housing.

Diversity and Innovation: Transforming Institutions and Systems
Susan P. Sturm
Tuesday 6:15 PM – 9:05 PM, L8019-001

This seminar is a year-long interdisciplinary seminar and research practicum that develops innovative frameworks and strategies for addressing structural inequality through institutional change. The seminar explores the emerging role of lawyers (and other change agents) in advancing equality during an era of judicial retrenchment. Although the seminar focuses on higher education, its approach has implications for efforts to address structural inequality in many other domains.During the first six weeks of the fall semester, the seminar will develop the conceptual and intellectual framework for understanding “the architecture of inclusion” in higher education by examining the dynamics of structural inequality and its remediation at the level of relationships, groups, organizations, networks, policy, and culture. This portion of the seminar will also critically evaluate the law’s role in addressing structural inequality. The students will then examine the potential and limits of emerging roles, institutions, and policies for transformative change, with the participation of cutting-edge researchers and practitioners. Students co-facilitate two classes, write reflection papers, a political autobiography, and a research-framing memorandum. They will then develop field research projects and the research and analytical tools needed to conduct successful field research. They will gain invaluable skills of facilitation, fact-gathering, interviewing, and institutional design.

Beginning in the fall semester and continuing into the spring semester, students will conduct major field research projects related to diversity, inclusion, and innovation in higher education. These field research projects include: (1) alternative frameworks of merit; (2) the role of lawyers in enabling (or impeding) innovative approaches to diversifying higher education; (3) case studies of institutional partnerships and networks that enhance inclusion, mobility, and problem solving; (4) frameworks and roles for connecting information to institutional transformation; and (5) exploring innovative approaches to diversifying law schools. Depending on the scope of the field research project, students may add up to three additional clinical credits for their field research in the spring semester.

The seminar’s work will be conducted in conjunction with the Center for Institutional and Social Change, which Professor Susan Sturm co-directs. Students will receive four credits for the seminar in the fall semester and three credits for the seminar in the spring semester. Students may also receive up to three additional clinical credits for the field research in the spring semester.

Domestic Violence and the Law
Dorchen Leidholdt
Monday 6:20 PM-8:10 PM, L8006-001

This seminar provides an in-depth examination of domestic violence from a legal perspective. It explores a wide range of topics, including police and prosecutorial responses, expert witness testimony, battered women as criminal defendants, domestic violence and child custody, legal remedies for battered immigrants, and domestic violence as a human rights concern. Each subject area brings together doctrinal issues with those of practice and of theory. Readings are drawn from case law, state and federal statutes, and legal and social science commentary. A number of the topics are approached using case studies drawn from actual cases handled by attorneys at the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, where Professor Dorchen Leidholdt serves as director.

Domestic Violence Prosecution
Scott E. Kessler
Monday 6:20 PM-8:10 PM, L6607-001

Students work, under the supervision of experienced ADAs, as assistant district attorneys and take the lead in prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence cases from the very inception of the case though trial. Third-year students chosen for the program will work in the new Family Justice Center, a unique facility where the efforts of civil services providers for domestic violence victims are coordinated with those of law enforcement officials. Students will have their own designated work spaces at the District Attorney?s Office located at the Family Justice Center. The seminar will prepare students for their field work and explore topics related to domestic violence prosecution. Scott Kessler, who has a national reputation for leading one of the finest domestic violence prosecution bureaus in the country, will teach the seminar and oversee the field placements.

3L’s only, limited to 14 students. Instructors permission is needed and having taken evidence is required to apply.

Family Law
Mary Anne Case
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 2:50 PM – 4:10 PM, L6252-001

This basic course will focus on legal regulation of marriage and other intimate relationships and will examine the sociological justifications for state intervention in families. Substantial coverage will be devoted to economic aspects of marriage (including the equitable division of property by courts as well as private ordering), child support, and child custody. This course will also explore the current relationship between U.S. law and the family, introducing students to a broad range of legal and policy issues.

Gender, Globalization and the Human Rights of Women
Yasmine Ergas
Tuesday 2:10 PM-4:00 PM, International Affairs, U6143

Prerequisites: Students who have not taken either International Human Rights Law or International Law must obtain instructor permission to enroll After a discussion of the relationship between ‘gender’ and ‘women’s rights,’ this course focuses on women’s international human rights. What ‘human rights’ can women claim, where, how and from whom? What does the slogan ‘women’s rights are human rights; human rights are women’s rights’ mean today and is it still relevant as a guide to analysis, policy-making and advocacy? How can we craft effective and fair institutions and legal norms to promote the human rights of women and who will decide what women’s rights are or should be and what institutions should support them?

Human Rights Clinic
Risa Kaufman, Peter Rosenblum, Naureen Shah, JoAnn Ward
Monday, 4:20 PM – 6:10 PM, L9233-001

Students in this clinic review basic human rights law concepts and refine lawyering skills in the context of human rights law practice. The fall semester of the clinic involves a review of substantive law and lawyering practice through case simulations, as well as an introduction to the actual cases and projects students will work on during the course of the year. With a grounding in human rights legal practice, and a case plan developed during the fall semester, in the spring semester, students will focus more on their actual advocacy projects, which may include overseas travel and drafting complaints. Through representation of clients in the context of litigation and other forms of advocacy, students will grapple with dilemmas facing international human rights practitioners in the contemporary context. Students have the opportunity to work on a range of human rights matters, integrating elements of transitional justice, business and human rights, and the link between human rights and constitutional rights.

Students work in teams, with each team assigned to a specific human rights matter, often in conjunction with human rights NGOs. Team projects may include challenges in international and regional fora, on behalf of clients ranging from workers in Mexico (especially women), to Haitians expelled from the Dominican Republic. In an effort to “bring human rights home” another possible project is a challenge in the criminal justice area, for example, involving police misconduct.

Finally, the clinic may be involved in a variety of advocacy efforts through the United Nations, international tribunals and bodies, and domestic courts to challenge human rights violations in transitional societies, such as in East Timor, Bosnia, Chile, Colombia, and Rwanda. Language skills (particularly Spanish) will be a criteria in the assignment of student projects. In addition to exploring non-litigation advocacy options, the clinic is also involved in preparing, filing, and litigating cases in domestic, regional, and international fora, with international human rights law as a basis for the claims. For example, students have been involved in drafting petitions for submission in the Inter-American Commission and under the labor side agreements to NAFTA, as well as litigating cases in U.S. courts under the Alien Tort Claims Act in matters concerning human rights violations overseas. Transitional justice, business practices and constitutionalism have been selected as theme areas because they highlight priorities and needs of the human rights community (as human rights have advanced to respond to developments posed by post-Cold War realities), and because these areas combine a range of skills-building opportunities for students.

Participation in the clinic includes actual practice as well as a variety of pedagogical exercises (via weekly seminars, weekly team meetings with the professor, readings, and simulated exercises). All students should plan to devote 20 hours a week to clinic work. The clinic emphasizes problem solving in the international law context, core concepts in human rights law, as well as basic lawyering skills that are transferable and are designed to equip students for a variety of career paths.

Lawyering for Social and Institutional Change
Susan Sturm
Monday, 4:20 PM – 6:10 PM, L8409-001

This seminar will explore how lawyers implement social and institutional change beyond the traditional model of litigation. This course will build capacities to pursue social and institutional change by linking theory and practice. Students will develop knowledge, tools, and strategies for transformative lawyering that can be applied to a variety of contexts.

The first part of the course will develop a framework for understanding collective impact and institutional change. The course will then explore the role of lawyers as transformative leaders at the level of individuals and groups as well as institutional, policy and legal reform. Finally, the course will examine a series of case studies and models of transformative lawyering in the context of education, criminal justice, immigration, labor and employment, community economic development, housing, and family law. The class will feature guest speakers who are using the strategies discussed in this course to empower communities and advance social change. By developing practical tools informed by theory, students will be enabled to cultivate their own affirmative vision for their own role as a transformative lawyer.






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