Law (for Non-Law School Students) (LW)
LW 1200. How Lawyers Think: An Introduction to American Legal Thought. 4 Hours.
Introduces students to legal analysis by exploring the history of American legal thought. Perhaps more than any other, American society is governed by lawyers. Explores how innovations in legal theory both emerged from and helped shape policy responses to some of America’s biggest governance challenges, including economic concentration and corporate power, the New Deal and the rise of the welfare state, the replacement of Jim Crow with civil rights guarantees, and the emergence of identity politics. As is true for many academic fields–such as economics, political science, or literary studies–expertise in law is gained through mastery of the discipline’s analytic techniques, which, in turn, shape how lawyers imagine possibilities, make policy, and engage in professional practice. Presumes no prior legal study.
LW 6120. Law and Strategy. 3 Hours.
Introduces students to the implications and impact of law on strategy, with attention to applying legal knowledge and resources to strategic planning and strategy implementation. Uses several examples of readily understood strategies to provide opportunities for students to identify the legal environment, consider the legal rights and requirements implicated by relevant law or regulation (e.g., intellectual property, contracts, administrative law) and their potential impact on management, incorporating law as a resource on the resource based view of the firm. Range of examples include considering law and strategy implementation in multiple contexts. Focuses on developing an appreciation of the legal environment and making effective use of legal resources and lawyers as advisors in strategic management aimed at attaining sustainable competitive advantage over rivals.
LW 6130. Negotiation and Advocacy. 3 Hours.
Offers students an opportunity to learn core elements of negotiations that are the precursors to any final agreement or resolutions of informal disputes: negotiation planning from opposing sides and counseling; analysis of the bargaining range and opponent’s needs; principled concession patterns; problem-solving strategies to avoid deadlock; information bargaining and authority clarification; principles of drafting; settlement; and ethics.
LW 6140. Data Regulation and Compliance. 3 Hours.
Covers the challenges facing organizations in building programs that ensure adherence with legal obligations, especially regarding data. Institutions increasingly face a host of regulatory compliance issues. Explores statutes covering a broad range of areas, especially when it involves data protection and privacy.
LW 6180. Health Law Survey. 3 Hours.
Examines legal regulations governing the provision of healthcare services. Topics include access to health insurance and healthcare, healthcare financing, the organization and responsibility of healthcare institutions (especially hospitals), healthcare cost containment policies, public and private insurance programs, and the formulation of health policy. Provides an introductory overview of the major statutes, regulations, and case law related to health law, including an introduction to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
LW 6211. Antidiscrimination Law. 3 Hours.
Provides an overview of antidiscrimination laws governing the workplace. Focuses on discrimination based on race and sex, but some attention will also be given to discrimination based on other characteristics, including age, sexual orientation, and disability. In addition to general issues of discrimination, also focuses on the specific topics of retaliation, harassment, and bullying in the workplace.
LW 6230. Intellectual Property Survey. 3 Hours.
Introduces the classic principles of copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret law and explores the ways in which those principles are shifting and adapting in response to new technology. In our modern-day “information economy,” the law of intellectual property (IP) has taken on enormous importance to both creators and users of creative works. Such IP law is the way we provide legal protection to encourage invention and creativity, by guaranteeing an opportunity for financial return to the originator of novel work.
LW 6231. Identifying and Securing Intellectual Property Rights. 3 Hours.
Focuses on intellectual property issues in employment, collaborative environments, and business transactions. Covers common issues for founders and startups, employers, and contractors; including non-compete agreements, crowd-sourcing, and open innovation practices.
LW 6232. Intellectual Property and Media. 3 Hours.
This course will cover copyrights, trademarks, and unfair competition, with a focus on media, advertising, user-generated content, and other online activities.
LW 6400. Law, Policy and Legal Argument. 4 Hours.
This course explores the legal levers that drive policy change. Advocates often intend to alter public policy in support of an organization or a cause. But influencing policy requires understanding who sets policy in the first instance. Is the issue governed by federal, state or local law? Are key decision makers elected or appointed? Who is it most important to persuade and what sorts of arguments are likely to convince the key audience? This course will introduce students to the mechanisms of government that drive key policy debates across a wide range of issues, which may include health care, market regulation, environmental policy, housing, education, the internet, privacy, and social policy. Emphasis will be placed on tailoring arguments to different constituencies.
LW 6962. Elective. 1-4 Hours.
Offers elective credit for courses taken at other academic institutions. May be repeated without limit.
LW 7323. Corporations. 4 Hours.
This course relates to the formation, financial structure, and governance of business enterprises, especially incorporated businesses. Partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies and limited liability partnerships are also explored, principally as they compare to the corporate form. The topics studied include: rights of creditors to hold principals of the enterprise liable; distribution of control within the corporation; fiduciary duties of directors and officers; key aspects of the federal securities laws (including the regulation of insider trading and proxies); organic changes (such as mergers); shifts in control (such as takeovers and freeze-outs); and legal implications of the roles of corporations in society. The course introduces some of the specialized concepts explored in detail in courses on Securities Regulation and Corporate Finance.
LW 7329. Environmental Law. 3 Hours.
This course focuses on federal and state environmental laws. Topics include pollution control, waste management, and cleanup of contaminated land and water. The course explores legislative policy and regulatory decisions as well as enforcement issues. We will give attention to questions of environmental justice and to the strategic use of legal tools in working to ensure safe and healthy surroundings for diverse groups of people.
LW 7333. Family Law. 3 Hours.
This is a basic course in family law and family policy. The first half of the course explores state regulation of intimate relationships, asking what purposes marriage serves, and looking at the law of incest, polygamy and same sex marriage. The second half of the course examines practical problems in family law: cohabitants’ rights; common law marriage; and the many issues relating to divorce, with a particular focus on money and children.
LW 7335. Health Law. 3 Hours.
This course examines the legal regulation of the provision of healthcare services. Much of the focus is on the relationship between law and healthcare policy. Topics include access to health insurance and healthcare, healthcare financing, malpractice liability, the organization and responsibility of healthcare institutions, especially hospitals, the regulation of the quality of care and the formulation of health policy. This course is highly recommended for all students enrolled in the JD/MPH dual degree program, but is open to others as well.
LW 7338. International Law. 3 Hours.
This course introduces students to fundamental concepts and unresolved problems in international law. We discuss historical and contemporary theoretical debates about the roles and utility of international law. Students are introduced to the sources of international law and to methods of international dispute resolution in domestic and international fora. This course explores the part that international law has played (or failed to play) in the prevention or conduct of war, the promotion of human rights and international economic development.
LW 7358. Social Welfare Law. 3 Hours.
This course examines American public assistance as a legal institution. After reviewing the historical, sociological and juridical roots of the welfare system, students examine the laws governing major assistance programs, especially eligibility requirements, rules governing grant determination, work and family rules, and procedural rights. Primary emphasis is on statutory and regulatory construction. The course explores methods by which lawyers can deal with the system: advocacy in the administrative process, litigation, legislative reform and representation of recipient organizations.
LW 7369. Intellectual Property. 3 Hours.
In our modern day information economy, the law of intellectual property has taken on enormous importance to both creators and users of intellectual creations. Introduces students to the classic principles of copyright, patent, trademark, and trade secret law and explores the ways in which those principles are shifting and adapting in response to new technology.
LW 7394. Land Use. 3 Hours.
A survey of legal doctrines, techniques and institutions relating to regulation of the use of real property. Topics covered include constitutional questions of takings by public agencies, the scope of the police power as it affects land use and the basic techniques of zoning and subdivision control. Students study, among other issues, recent cases on exclusion of low income housing, current techniques to encourage housing development (inclusionary or “linkage” regulations) and First Amendment questions arising from land use controls.
LW 7428. State and Local Government. 3 Hours.
This course offers an introduction to the workings of state and local governments, and to the roles of law and of lawyers in shaping and controlling their operation. Topics to be covered include: the sources and scope of state and of local lawmaking authority, intergovernmental relationships, modes of citizen participation in and control over the governing process, and state and municipal fiscal structure and operations. In exploring these topics, the course will focus both on the practical roles played by attorneys (employed inside or outside of government) in the governmental processes and on the place of decentralized governmental units within the vision of a democratic polity.
LW 7463. Nonprofit Organizations. 3 Hours.
Examines federal regulation of nonprofit organizations. Why does the government exempt certain organizations from tax? What are the rules that non-profit organizations must follow in order to retain their tax-exempt status? What activities by non-profit organizations are prohibited by federal law? Discusses these and other questions about non-profit organizations. Focuses on relevant Federal tax law, but there is no prerequisite for the course. Although the course is about the Internal Revenue Code, the concepts of income taxation (what is income? when is it income? etc.) are irrelevant because nonprofit organizations are exempt from tax.
LW 7488. Sexuality, Gender and the Law. 3 Hours.
This course uses case law and theory to address doctrinal problems and justice concerns associated with gender and sexuality. The syllabus is organized around notions such as privacy, identity and consent, all of which are conceptual pillars upon which arguments in the domain of sexuality and gender typically rely. Doctrinal topics include same-sex marriage, sodomy, sexual harassment, discrimination, among others, but the course is not a doctrinal survey; it is a critical inquiry into key concepts that cut across doctrinal areas. Students should expect to write a paper and share some of what they have learned with the class.
LW 7491. International Human Rights and the Global Economy. 3 Hours.
Can recognizing “the right to housing” make the demands of homeless persons for adequate housing more effective? Does the right to maintain cultural or religious traditions conflict with the right to be free from gender discrimination? This course highlights the growing influence of the international economic, social, and cultural rights framework as well as the implications of globalization for all international human rights. We will begin by examining the history and theoretical origins of socioeconomic and cultural rights such as rights to food, housing, health, education, and cultural expression. We then engage the legal framework under major international and regional human rights treaties and leading interpretations of them by international, regional, and domestic courts and other actors. Finally, we grapple with the tensions among collective rights, cultural imperatives, and traditional human rights. There is no prerequisite for this course.
LW 7494. Bioethics and the Law. 3 Hours.
This course will focus on the intersection of law and bioethics and will consider how different ethical theories may guide legal decisions. Topics will include physician-assisted suicide, testing for HIV, reproductive technology, and rationing of healthcare. Students will be expected to write a research paper and share some of what they have learned with the class.
LW 7501. Patent Law. 3 Hours.
This course will provide an in-depth review of patent law and practice. The course will cover the administrative process for obtaining patents, including the requirements for patentability. The course will also cover enforcement of patent rights and the defense of patent infringement suits. The course will be presented in a simple, non-technical manner so that students of all disciplines can learn and understand the concepts.
LW 7512. Problems in Public Health Law. 3 Hours.
Explores the rationales for using law to protect and preserve the public’s health, the legal tools that may be used to achieve that end, and the conflicts and problems that may result from legal interventions. Topics discussed include the use of law to reduce the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, control of tobacco and other hazardous products, bioterrorism, and the threats to civil liberties and minority groups engendered by all such legal efforts. Students who do not meet course prerequisites may seek permission of instructor.
LW 7525. Law and Economic Development. 3 Hours.
Examines the prevailing economic theories of and strategies for economic development since World War II and the legal and institutional frameworks devised to implement these strategies. Questions we will explore will include: What kinds of legal and institutional arrangements best facilitate economic growth? How does law structure and shape markets? What is development; and how can it best be measured? Can legal instruments be used effectively to address underdevelopment in a structural way? While the focus is on development in the so-called “developing world”; we will also explore some strategies for addressing development in a local community context. Course concludes by applying what we have learned to address several development case studies posing particular problems in particular regions and contexts.
LW 7582. Elder Law. 3 Hours.
Examines legal and policy questions related to aging individuals. Older Americans face an increasing number of legal questions involving entitlement to public benefits, protection of property, utilization of medical resources, healthcare decision-making, and interaction with legal and financial institutions. Topics include Medicaid benefits, Medicare benefits, Veterans Benefits for elderly veterans and their spouses, age discrimination, nursing home institutionalization, income maintenance (social security benefits, pensions etc.), elder abuse, consumer fraud targeted at older consumers, guardianships, conservatorships, competency and capacity, alternatives to guardianships and conservatorships, end of life issues, tax issues in elder law and estate planning for elders. Also discusses ethical issues that arise when representing the elderly.
LW 7588. Reproductive Rights and Health. 3 Hours.
Examines how sexual and reproductive health laws impede or increase access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and shape how we understand what constitutes sexual and reproductive health. Attention is paid to understanding legal doctrine, public health research, and critically assessing issues arising from sexual and reproductive health law. Draws on various tools of analysis including critical race theory, critical legal theory, human rights, and a range of public health methods. Topics covered include, amongst others, sexual and reproductive health law as it pertains to abortion, sexuality, pregnancy, marriage, healthcare in prisons, immigrants, HIV/AIDS, and sex education.
LW 7597. Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Clinic. 1-6 Hours.
The CRRJ (Civil Rights and Restorative Justice) Clinic engages students in legal research, litigation and legislative initiatives relating to anti-civil rights violence in the United States. CRRJ clinic students assist law enforcement agencies considering criminal investigation and pursue civil litigation against government entities. One of CRRJ’s projects, Reconstructing Cases of Racial Violence, involves researching cases where criminal prosecution may not be an option. Students reconstruct legal proceedings and conduct factual investigations. The project focuses on practical legal research skills and helps students integrate the law of torts, civil procedure, federal courts, criminal law, and constitutional law. Faculty will provide individual supervision of each student.
LW 7600. Current Issues in Health Law and Policy. 3 Hours.
Examines recent debates in health law and policy through discussion of current events, proposed legislation, and scholarly articles in the legal, medical, and public policy literatures. Weekly topics depend in part on student interest, but likely include federal healthcare reform, malpractice liability reform, obesity, health disparities, regulation of pharmaceutical promotion, and other issues related to healthcare access, quality, and financing. Requirements include weekly readings, weekly attendance and participation, a brief presentation of one health law-related current event, a research paper of at least 20 pages on any approved health law-related topic, and an oral presentation of the research paper. Previous health-related coursework or work experience is recommended but not required.
LW 7606. Drug Law and Policy. 3 Hours.
The field of Drug Law is vast, spanning the discovery, manufacture, distribution, and consumption of chemical agents designed to alter the human condition. This course focuses on three domains of the broader subject: the evolution and current state of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; the architecture of the drug regulation system in the U.S., including the distinct space occupied by the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the Drug Enforcement Agency; and the role of regulation and tort litigation in harmonizing drug policy with science. Designed around legal and policy case studies, this course is intended for students expecting to become involved in clinical practice involving pharmaceuticals as well those generally interested in the interplay of law and public health.
LW 7635. Lab Seminar in Applied Design and Legal Empowerment. 3 Hours.
Explores the use of design principles in the development of new models for delivering legal information and services. Problem-solving methodologies derived from the fields of product and systems design are being successfully applied in many disciplines, including the law. These methods will be critically examined and applied by students within the context of NuLawLab community projects. Students join multidisciplinary teams working with communities to collaboratively design responsive solutions to unmet legal needs, using the technological advances currently transforming the legal profession and our larger society. The seminar emphasizes hands-on student engagement with community clients, field observations, and teamwork in partnership with a diversity of other disciplines. Students will be assessed based on contributions to project work, including class discussions.
LW 7648. Access to Justice by Design. 2 Hours.
One of the biggest challenges facing the legal system is how many people are trying to navigate it without a lawyer; particularly for problems like divorce, child custody, personal debt, housing, and small claims. This class proposes that a user-centered design approach, mixed with an agile development approach, can increase the amount of procedural justice for self-represented litigants in the courts. Students will be exposed to how to practice agile user-centered design by creating new interventions for courts to help people without a lawyer to understand their legal options, create a strategy, and pursue a legal process. The class will involve fieldwork at the courts; identifying key fail points and frustrations of stakeholders by observing and conducting interviews, and brainstorming and testing new solutions.
LW 7651. Human Rights in the United States. 3 Hours.
Explores the role of international human rights frameworks and strategies in social justice lawyering in the United States. On a range of issues, lawyers are bringing human rights home. They are using human rights mechanisms of the United Nations and Inter-American Human Rights system, drawing on international human rights and comparative foreign law in litigation before U.S. courts, and engaging in other human rights-based advocacy such as documentation, organizing, and human rights education. Advocates find that a human rights approach provides important strategic leverage and highlights the interdependence of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights. Uses skills exercises, assignments and real-world problems to develop practical skills to address policies on local, state and national levels, and to support social movements.
LW 7654. Race, Justice, and Reform. 3 Hours.
This seminar will focus on: how the criminal justice system impacts community members; how laws, policies and practices disparately impact communities of color and perpetuate structural economic inequality; and how Massachusetts and other states struggle to reform our criminal justice systems. Class sessions will examine specific topics and discuss class readings on those topics. Each student will choose one topic to investigate and explore. Students will write papers identifying and analyzing the issues germane to their topic. In addition, they will investigate and develop narratives describing the community impact of particular criminal laws and policies. Finally, they will create podcasts and op-eds to educate the public about this particular topic and what reforms are needed to address the problems illuminated by their research and narratives.
LW 7655. Advancing Economic and Social Equity through Municipal Policy and Law. 2 Hours.
Strong-market cities fuel the American Economy. They are experiencing employment and population growth, private sector investment and new, wealthier demographics attracted to urban living. But the benefits of urban prosperity are not shared equitably across races or incomes. Federal disinvestment and state/federal roadblocks have spurred municipal innovation to address income inequality and to defend or advance inclusion for communities like immigrants and LGBT individuals. This course will examine trends in equitable city policy through case studies on civil rights, wages, worker protections, safety net funding like affordable housing and more. It will also explore legal-policy intersections like home rule, pre-emption, the limits of federal coercion and constitutional considerations. Taught by a municipal elected official, policy discussions will be grounded within real-world civic and political contexts.
LW 7660. Disrupt the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline—Restorative Justice. 3 Hours.
Examines how we construct the cradle/school-to-prison pipeline while focusing on several pivotal points that channel largely poor Black and Brown students into it. With an eye toward practical application, offers students an opportunity to learn about, critique, problem-solve, and create pipeline-disrupting solutions looking to restorative justice as a time-honored justice paradigm alternative to our Western constructions.
LW 7667. Law and Ethics of Advocacy. 3 Hours.
What limits are there on actions aimed at influencing public officials or public opinion? What limits should there be? Clearly, it is unlawful to offer a bribe to a public official to produce a desirable outcome. But what constitutes a bribe? Can a lobbyist send a wedding gift to a favorite legislator? Are the rules different when advocacy efforts reach beyond United States borders? Are there limits on what an advocate can say to promote a product or service? Where is the line between conduct that is legally permissible and conduct that is not? To what extent are legal boundaries and ethical boundaries aligned? This course will explore the ethical and legal issues that arise in connection with advocacy.
LW 7669. Law and Technology. 3 Hours.
Examines law and technology as both processes and artifacts endemic to human groups, who have been toolmakers and lawmakers since human history has been recorded. Yet, in recent times, development of technological things has outpaced development in the law, bringing about what we might describe as new “design challenges” within the law. Considers several disputes around ownership and property, and safety and risk, and offers students a conceptual framework from the social study of science and technology by which to understand technology and the law. Focuses on the regulation of “digital labor” and algorithmically convened labor markets, such as Uber.
LW 7681. Law and Biotechnology. 3 Hours.
Seeks to identify and explore important ethical, legal, and policy issues associated with the challenges resulting from developments in biotechnology and the life sciences. Existing legal approaches and instruments dealing with such critical issues as genetic discrimination, intellectual property rights in biotechnology, regulating new reproductive technologies, drug development, informed consent, responsible conduct of research, forensic uses of DNA, and privacy have been thrown into question. These developments are reconstituting concepts of legal rights and obligations of people in relation to their governing institutions. Focuses particularly on human genetics.
LW 7978. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.
Any approved student in good standing may engage in one or more independent study projects, totaling not more than three credits during an academic term and six credits total. A student wishing to conduct an independent study must secure the approval of a faculty member who agrees to supervise the project. Many students use independent studies to continue to examine a topic or to extend the syllabus of a course. Students may also design projects which are not based in course work, but in all cases a faculty sponsor must agree to the project.