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Law School Course Descriptions

General Course Description for 940 - Law & Contemporary Problems

See also: 940-001(Kaplan, L), 940-002(Quraishi, A), 940-003(LaVigne, M), 940-004(Mead, J), 940-005(Heymann, S), 940-006(Rogers, J), 940-007(Kempinen, B), 940-008(Schudson, C), 940-009(Meuer, T), 940-010(LaVigne, M), 940-011(Mitchell, T), 940-012(Talarczyk, A), 940-013(Spitzer-Resnick, J; Greenley, D; Hanna, J), 940-014(Smith, L), 940-015(Wittenwyler, M; Anstaett, D), 940-016(Woerner, L; Hauck, P), 940-017(Agnes, F)

See individual sections for descriptions.

Section Offerings for Fall 2009

940-001 L&CP: Law, Theology & the State
Instructor: Kaplan, L

940-002 L&CP: Intro to Islamic Law
Instructor: Quraishi, A

940-003 L&CP: Advanced Trial Advocacy
Instructor: LaVigne, M

940-004 L&CP: Legal Aspects Elementary & Secondary Education
Instructor: Mead, J

940-005 L&CP: Fundamentals of Business Transactions I
Instructor: Heymann, S

Fundamentals of Business Transactions I
Business transactions constitute one of the more important aspects of business law. This course is intended to enable students who contemplate a career in business law to become familiar with the elements of basic business transactions and the legal issues they present to the lawyers who handle them. During the fall semester (Fundamentals of Bus. Trans. I) we will begin to study the characteristics of certain basic transactions and some of the more common issues they often present. (Fundamentals of Bus. Trans. II in the spring term will complete our analysis and proceed to apply what we have covered in the first part of the course to a sample transaction.) While this is not a "skills course," we will also address certain basic negotiation and drafting issues inherent in business transactions. 3L status and Bus. Orgs. I are pre-requisites.


940-006 L&CP: Public Law & Private Power
Instructor: Rogers, J

Public Law & Private Power    This is a course on the rise, fall, and renewal of the modern welfare state. Some comparative material is included, but we focus on the US. The course looks at the history of welfare state formation in the US and Europe; the "Keynesian synthesis" that marked its New Deal/Social Democratic peak; problems created for that classic structure occasioned by globalization, new social expectations of government, and changes in the domestic economy; and current efforts at welfare state retrenchment and restructuring. Our basic questions are whether and how a functioning welfare state can be designed under present circumstance and accommodated to a commitment to the "rule of law." An important subsidiary aim of the course is to give law students some of analytic tools for use in understanding politics and policy design. 


940-007 L&CP: Ethical Issues in Crim Justice (Prosecution)
Instructor: Kempinen, B

940-008 L&CP: Preparing Lawyers for Life
Instructor: Schudson, C

"Preparing Lawyers for Life" 
two credits
mandatory pass-fail
Judge Charles B. Schudson

Why are so many lawyers miserable?  Why do so many lawyers experience professional success and personal failure ??" distinguished service and depression, high income and high blood pressure, impressive careers and imploded relationships with colleagues, partners, spouses and children?

What can we do about it?  Can teachable communication skills, wellness practices, and insights derived from law reviews and literature help lawyers succeed professionally and

To make careful career choices, law students need to understand the very different demands of different practices, public and private, big and small.  They need to consider the challenges of balancing work and family.  To succeed, they need to develop legal acumen and emotional intelligence.  personally?  Can lawyers align their careers with their values?  Can they maintain their ethical standards in the midst of maddening pressures?      


940-009 L&CP: Domestic Violence
Instructor: Meuer, T
Course focuses on state and federal laws, policy and practices impacting victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. Topics examined includes dynamics of domestic abuse; restraining orders; mandatory arrest law via law enforcement, prosecution & sentencing responses; batterers treatment; battered women who kill & the battered women syndrome; family law, including custody/physical placement, relocation, mediation, effects on children who witness violence; Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); domestic abuse against the elderly; and welfare reform. Class involves papers, observation of injunction hearings and interactive exercises.

940-010 L&CP: Ethical Issues in Crim Justice (Defense)
Instructor: LaVigne, M

940-011 L&CP: Property Law & Rural Development
Instructor: Mitchell, T

L&CP: Property Law, Rural Development and Asset Building:

This course will provide a survey of some of the legal and non-legal issues impacting property owners who own property in rural America broadly defined.  Specifically, the course will examine the challenges that these property owners face in seeking to retain their land or in pursuing asset-based community development strategies.  Challenges to land retention or asset development include both internal conflicts such as intrafamily and intra-community disputes and external dynamics such as land speculators and developers who seek to acquire land  as cheaply as possible in rapidly appreciating markets.

The course will review a number of legal tools different families or communities have utilized to stabilize ownership of their land.  These tools include conservation easements, historic preservation laws, and ownership structures such as limited liability companies and land trusts.  Beyond stabilizing ownership, the course will review some of the capital formation strategies that can be used to obtain the necessary financing to develop property in manner that cash poor families can better realize the economic potential of their property ownership.  These financing tools include real estate investment partnerships and tax credits of one type or another.  In terms of non-legal issues, the course will review some of the challenges families and communities face in getting properly organized so that the family or community can develop a unified vision of the manner in which the family or community can use, develop or sell their property.

In addition to a packet of reading materials that will be covered in class, a select number of guest speakers will address the class during the course of the semester.  Each student will be required to submit a 25-page paper that must be developed through a process that includes regular consultation with either an actual community or family seeking to retain or develop their property; a nonprofit organization that works with families or communities that own property in rural America; or a governmental agency that works with property owners in rural America. 
The course will also include two to three field trips so that the class can observe firsthand how some families and communities are seeking to preserve and develop their rural property assets.

This course is a 3-credit class and will be subject to a cap of fifteen students.  Permission of the professor is required.


940-012 L&CP: Research & Administrative Issues in Taxation
Instructor: Talarczyk, A
This 3-credit course, which meets with Accounting 724, is designed to familiarize students with the following: various tax research tools; methodologies and tasks involved in researching routine and complex tax issues; tax research work papers, reports, letters, memos, etc.; tax practice problems, such as ethics in tax practice and tax issue resolution; and impart a working knowledge of computerized tax research. As a result of doing the written assignments and attending the class sessions, students should accomplish the above course objectives in addition to (1) acquiring a working knowledge of several substantive tax provisions, and (2) becoming familiar with frequently used tax literature.

940-013 L&CP: Law & People with Disabilities
Instructor: Spitzer-Resnick, J; Greenley, D; Hanna, J
Course Overview: This seminar will survey the major laws that affect people with disabilities, including Special Education, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Amendments Act, Social Security Disability, SSI, Medicaid and other financial issues, Human Services delivery systems, Protective Services and Placement, the Right to Appropriate Treatment and Services, Guardianship, competence, Informed Consent, Substituted Judgment, and Forced Treatment: Civil Commitment and the Right to Refuse Treatment. Teaching Methods: This course is a seminar taught by four attorneys who work for the Wisconsin Coalition for Advocacy, the protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Wisconsin, and one attorney who works with the disability benefit specialist program. Each attorney will be responsible for seminars in the area of his/her expertise. There will be three in-class exercises to help students develop practice skills in the areas of special education, discrimination, and mental health law. Students will be expected to participate in two of the three exercises. There will also be a one 15-20 page paper due at the end of the semester.

940-014 L&CP: Telecommunications Law
Instructor: Smith, L

Telecommunications Law I and II cover the law and policies which govern the U. S. telecommunications and Internet systems, including radio, television, cable, and other mass media services, as well as telephone, mobile communications and new technologies. Telecommunications Law I addresses mass media, telecommunications, and Internet regulatory issues; Telecommunications Law II (not offered every year) involves advanced problems and issues in telecommunications and Internet law. In Telecommunications Law I, students will be presented with the major regulatory principles and approaches relevant to telecommunications and Internet regulation, as well as current and upcoming legal and public policy issues. The course addresses whether and how radio, television, landline and cellular telephone, and Internet service are regulated. The course is designed to encourage participation and debate on issues, for example,  whether citizens can get access to the mass media, whether governmental prohibitions on viewing violent or sexually oriented material on mass media or the Internet are lawful (the Supreme Court is hearing the first case in decades on mass media indecency standards this fall), whether ownership of mass media can or should be limited to enhance diversity of expression, whether some consumers should pay more than others to fund a subsidy system to ensure that telephone service is universally available in rural or low income areas, whether competition in the telephone industry can or should be ensured by government entities or whether the marketplace can regulate the availability, quality and price of telecommunications services, and how new uses of the Internet should be treated. Issues such as the role of the media and Internet in elections may also be considered. During the course, a variety of research materials will be used, including statutes, case law, agency rules, speeches by government and NGO policy makers, law review and popular press articles, as well as Internet sources. It is anticipated that each student will write a 20-25 page paper, on a topic selected by the student, related to the material presented in class. The paper usually counts for 75-80% of the grade; class participation and preparation  for 25-20%. The course is open to second and third year students. Linda K. Smith, who has been an active practitioner of telecommunications law, a consultant to the Governor's Blue Ribbon Telecommunications Infrastructure Task Force, and a senior partner in the Telecommunications Group of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Crowell & Moring, has been teaching at the Law School for 15 years. She has served as co-chair of the Federal Communications Bar Associations Publications Committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Law Journal




940-015 L&CP: Political Law: Campaign Finance, Ethics, Elections
Instructor: Wittenwyler, M; Anstaett, D
Political Law is a survey course that examines the regulation of politics - state and federal - focusing on one of the most dynamic, expanding and controversial areas of the law.  The subject matter combines constitutional law, statutory development and application, administrative law - all in the context of the best and the worst in the American political process.  The lectures and readings will cover campaign finance regulation, election law, lobbying and ethics regulation and the tax laws affecting lobbying and political activities.  For additional information, contact Mike Wittenwyler at or 608-284-2616. Also, for students especially interested in the subject matter, Mr. Wittenwyler is generally willing to supervise a separate, but related, one-credit Directed Research project.

940-016 L&CP: European Union Law & National Law: Intro to German Criminal Law & its Europeanization
Instructor: Woerner, L; Hauck, P

EU Law & National Law: Introduction to the German Criminal Law and Europeanization of Criminal Law.

(This course meets four days a week at a time to be determined based on enrolled students schedules.)

Part 1 (first 3 weeks): Introduction to German Substantive and Procedural Criminal Law Europeanization through the European Arrest Warrant/  Liane Wörner, LL.M. (UW-Madison)  In the first three weeks of course, we will discuss the basic principles of German substantive and procedural criminal law. We will also converse the structure of the court system in comparison with the American system. As defined by statute and practice, the roles of judges and prosecutors are different from their roles in America. Because the German system was conceived of as an inquisitorial and civil code system, both the prosecutor and judge have a duty to be objective. This means that a prosecutor whose primary job is to lead the criminal investigation has a duty to discover the facts that speak for and against the suspect's guilt.   

Part 2 (second 3 weeks) Introduction to German Substantive and Procedural Criminal Law: Does Europe Change It All? The Influence of European Law on German Criminal Law: From Torture to Cheated Consumers to Covert Investigations/ Dr. Pierre Hauck LLM (Sussex) In the second three weeks, we will deepen our knowledge of the influence of European Law on selected issues of substantive and procedural German criminal law. We will start with general substantive law and take a look at the interpenetration between human rights [in theory (European Convention on Human Rights) and practice (European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg)] and e.g. the right to self-defence, necessity or duress. We will continue with European legal guidelines affecting the so-called special part of substantive German criminal law (i.e., the single offences). Here, we will mainly talk about the framework of EU competition law on those very important crimes like fraud and breach of trust. Ultimately turning to procedure, we will focus on European measures with an impact on the legal handling of covert investigations (undercover police operations, telephone intercepts and so on). Consequently, the second three weeks of this year’s German law course will be subdivided into three parts: The “Europeanization” of the general principles (1) and the special part (2) of criminal law as well as of the criminal process (3).


940-017 L&CP: Law, Pluralism & Women's Rights
Instructor: Agnes, F
Law, Pluralism and Women’s Rights  The construction of communities within a contentious and binary mode, which took place during the colonial period, has had a tremendous impact upon South Asian Law and gender concerns. The polarization between communities has had a political repercussion, both during colonial and post colonial period and has continued to mould the family law regime.  The status of  women within  these ‘personal laws’ and the need for uniformity and gender justice as the concern of a  modern state has been raised repeatedly while drafting the modern constitution of South Asian nation states and  later, as an important demand of the women’s movement in this region.   While all South Asian states face this challenge, the issue has had grave and specific implications in India.  The debates surrounding the enactment of a uniform family code (popularly referred to as the Uniform Civil Code or “UCC”) depict the tension between two Constitutional guarantees??"that of equality and non-discrimination (under Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution) on the one hand, and of religious freedom and cultural plurality (under Articles 25-28) on the other. While the mandate for enacting a UCC (Article 44) is only a directive principle of state policy (and, therefore, non-justifiable), equality and multiculturalism are justiciable fundamental rights. It is within this scheme of seemingly conflicting constitutional claims that one needs to examine the periodic pronouncements by the Supreme Court urging the State to enact a Uniform Civil Code (UCC).   The gender concerns project the demand for an all encompassing and uniform code as a magic wand which will ameliorate the woes and sufferings of Indian women in general and Muslim women in particular. This concern places gender as a neutral terrain, distanced from contemporary political processes.  From this point of view, the agency for change within communities becomes highly suspect.  Minority women are projected as lacking a voice and an agency either in their own communities or through   the process of   litigation to claim their rights within existing structures.  It projects the state intervention in the form of an enactment of a uniform code as the only option to bestow gender justice upon minority women.   The key issues the course will address are: transfer of  regulatory power from local communities to the colonial state; the Constitutional Assembly Debates in the post independent period; the  communal tensions  around the issue of Uniform Civil Code; the women’s movement and its demand for a uniform law and the influence of international human rights law; the option of ‘reform from within’ to overcome the communally politicized demand for the enactment of the Uniform Civil Code; evolving effective legal strategies to protect the rights of women, from both majority and minority communities; notions of Uniformity versus Legal Pluralism; the family law regime in other South Asian countries -  Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.