Juris Doctor Course Descriptions
Juris Doctor First-Year Courses -- All Required
An introduction to our judicial process as a method of dispute resolution. The focus of this course is on the choices open to litigants and how the rules of procedure facilitate or prevent the attainments of those objectives. Major areas of concentration include our system of pleading, jurisdiction, federalism, preclusion, and the rules that regulate the joinder of parties and claims.
The Constitution creates and separates the powers of the 3 branches of government. It also distinguishes and governs the relationships among the federal government and the several states. These limits on governmental power were, and still sometimes are, invoked as the primary guarantee of personal liberty against excessive government. Of course, we now associate the Bill of Rights with personal liberty. Those liberties are covered in Constitutional Law: Individual Liberties. But before asking whether there’s a liberty overriding government power in Constitutional Law: Individual Liberties, we first explore the structure and powers created by the Constitution.
A comprehensive survey of the law of contracts both at common law and under the Uniform Commercial Code. This course examines the legal and equitable remedies for enforcing contracts, the creation of promissory liability, contract interpretation, performance and excuse, standards of fairness and restrictions on the bargaining process, express and implied conditions and the rights of third parties.
A comprehensive survey of the law of contracts both at common law and under the Uniform Commercial Code. This course examines the legal and equitable remedies for enforcing contracts, the creation of promissory liability, contract interpretation, performance and excuse, standards of fairness and restrictions on the bargaining process, express and implied conditions and the rights of third parties.
A study of the building blocks of criminal law. The building blocks include voluntary acts and omissions, required states of mind, and some of the constitutional and other limits on substantive criminal law. This course will also include discussion of discrete criminal offenses and defenses to criminal liability.
A study of constitutional limitations on police investigation of crime, including search and seizure and interrogations.
Legal Analysis, Research, and Communication (LARC) 1 is a one-hour credit course taken during each student's first quarter of law school. In this course, students learn fundamentals in important aspects of legal writing and problem-solving, including: (1) legal organization (issue, law, application, rebuttal), (2) legal clarity (sensitivity to legal terms of art, statutory phrases, elements of proof, and so forth), and (3) legal specificity (always tying general legal principles and elements to particular facts of the case). LARC 1 focuses principally on technical writing skills, including grammar, punctuation, style, and organization generally. Other functions include introduction of types of writing in the legal profession, including documents drafted during later parts the LARC program, and completion of a memorandum project.
LARC 2 focuses on basics of legal research and proper citation format. Students are responsible for completing assignments that will give them practical experience in using legal sources discussed in class. The course culminates in the completion of a research memorandum, and students must employ skills learned throughout LARC 1 and LARC 2 to complete the exercise.
LARC 3: Persuasive Communications is an introduction to written and oral advocacy. The persuasive skills introduced here will be refined in other courses within the writing curriculum, including Litigation Drafting and Practice Court. The skills needed for effective advocacy are developed in this course principally by requiring student to research, write, and rewrite an appellate brief. Students will be introduced to oral advocacy by participation in a required moot court competition where they are judged by faculty and by student barristers.
A study of the interests which may be created in real property, the rights and obligations that exist by virtue of ownership of such interests, and the means of transferring those interests. Topics covered include: possession and how it affects property ownership, estates in land, landlord tenant relationships, real covenants and equitable servitudes, easements, concurrent ownership, the real estate transaction, general warranty deeds, priorities and the recording system, title insurance, adverse possession, gifts of real and personal property, Texas homestead laws, and eminent domain.
A study of the interests which may be created in real property, the rights and obligations that exist by virtue of ownership of such interests, and the means of transferring those interests. Topics covered include: possession and how it affects property ownership, estates in land, landlord tenant relationships, real covenants and equitable servitudes, easements, concurrent ownership, the real estate transaction, general warranty deeds, priorities and the recording system, title insurance, adverse possession, gifts of real and personal property, Texas homestead laws, and eminent domain. The first quarter of Property meets four hours a week and the second quarter of Property meets three hours a week.
A study of the standards and principles governing compensation at law for private wrongs, including the basic principles of intentional wrongs, negligence, strict liability, affirmative defenses, damages and apportionment. Students receive four hours of credit for the first quarter and three hours of credit for the second quarter.
A study of the standards and principles governing compensation at law for private wrongs, including the basic principles of intentional wrongs, negligence, strict liability, affirmative defenses, damages, and apportionment. Students receive four hours of credit for the first quarter and three hours of credit for the second quarter.
Juris Doctor Upper-Class Required Courses
A study of basic agency principles and the law governing the formation and operation of corporations, general and limited partnerships (including limited liability partnerships) and limited liability companies. The course requires the study of common law and the Texas Business Organizations Code.
This course is an introduction to the U.S. Constitution's protection of individual freedom, focusing especially on the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause, and also including an introduction to several of the core concepts of the First Amendment. Topics include: the constitutional limits on governmental discrimination on the basis of race, alienage, and gender; the struggle to identify unenumerated fundamental liberties related to family, marriage, procreation, child-rearing, and death; the components of procedural due process; the requirement of "state action" and when it includes actions taken by private parties; the "incorporation" of the Bill of Rights and consequent application to state invasions of those rights; and an introduction to several of the core concepts of the First Amendment's speech and religion protections.
During the course, students will obtain an awareness and understanding of a transactional environment, analyze commercial issues, recognize negotiation points, and learn to draft legal documents and correspondences in a business setting. The course is designed for students to understand the structure, content, and meaning of basic contract terms, to be able to draft and analyze a simple agreement and evaluate its effectiveness for a client's needs, to advise a client on the terms of an agreement, and to amend a basic agreement.
The assignments focus on developing well-rounded legal communicators who can tailor their writing to varied audiences and may include drafting of pleadings, motions, responses, client communication and communication with opposing counsel. The goal is to introduce the importance of technically correct and persuasive documents - skills that will be further developed in Practice Court and in a litigation practice. The course is especially valuable for internships, clerkships, and temporary employment. Each project involves a draft, peer review, conferences, and a rewrite to develop proper form and persuasive content.
The first quarter of the Practice Court Program starts with Practice Court 1, and immerses students in the procedures and strategies for developing a court case from inception of the case through discovery in preparation for trial. Students learn to properly construct - and attack - the various pleadings for the case, from the standpoint of both the plaintiff and the defendant. They work through the planning and development process for written discovery and depositions - including exposure to the challenges of electronic discovery and document management - that lay the foundation for success in court. Courtroom exercises are coordinated with the trial exercises of Practice Court 2. Afternoon advocacy lectures, trial advocacy exercises, and litigation writing assignments provide practice application. Classes start at 7:45 each morning, and students should plan to be available at 1:00 p.m. onward each weekday while they are in Practice Court 1. Advocacy exercises at times last into the evening.
Practice Court 2, taken in the first quarter of the Practice Court Program, is an intensive, in-depth study of trial procedure, evidence law and trial advocacy. Classroom instruction focuses primarily upon a detailed study of the rules of procedure and evidence, including the practical use of the rules in the litigation process. Courtroom "lab" instruction includes lectures in trial advocacy, followed by exercises in opening statements, witness examination, and closing arguments. Students also try a number of jury cases or "mini-trials. Practice Court Lab is required of all students in this course. The lab consists of lectures and exercises. Students should plan to be available at 1:00 p.m. onward each day while they are in Practice Court 1 and 2. Exercises at times last into the evening.
This course, taken in the second quarter of the Practice Court Program, is a continuation of Practice Court 1 and 2. It focuses upon bench and jury trials, jury selection, trial procedure, the charge, deliberations, the verdict, the judgment and post-trial motions. Students continue with advocacy exercises, including summary judgment hearings and jury selection. The culmination of the Practice Court program is the “Big Trial.” Students are assigned to represent a party, given a skeleton case packet from which they must plead, discover (including written, oral and expert discovery) and ultimately try their case to a real jury. Prior to the day of trial, students conduct jury selection using their “Big Trial” case facts. Students are encouraged to use trial technology for more effective courtroom presentation. Finally, they engage in post-trial motion practice to secure rendition of a judgment. Practice Court Lab is required of all students in this course. The lab consists of lectures and exercises. Students should plan to be available at 1:20 p.m. onward each day while they are in Practice Court. Exercises at times last into the evening.
A study of the role and responsibility of the legal profession. Subjects covered include the disciplinary rules of professional conduct, client relations, pro bono services, professionalism, and economics of the profession.
An introduction to the legal relief available to a successful litigant. The course will discuss legal damages, equitable damages as well as ancillary requests for relief. Besides learning the mechanics of each remedial instrument, the class will discuss the strategic value of each remedy, in addition to refinements essential to a well pled lawsuit.
An introduction to federal income tax law and financial accounting principles with primary emphasis on business and investment income and deductions, exclusions from gross income, capital gains and losses from the disposition of property, and the tax consequences related to employment, divorce, and litigation settlements. Students will also be introduced to basic individual income tax returns and financial statements.
A study of the gratuitous transfers of wealth, including wills, intestate succession, trusts and other non-testamentary transfers. The course also covers the property rights of spouses under the Texas community property system.
Juris Doctor Upper-Class Elective Courses
A study of the law of administration of trusts and the estates of decedents, minors and incapacitated persons. This practice skills course focuses on the procedural aspects of an estate practice.
A student works one on one with a faculty member working through a series of exercises designed to provide the student with the opportunity to develop and apply analytical and problem solving skills in connection with topics covered in the Administration of Estates course. This course allows the student to experience the types of problems lawyers practicing in this field handle on a routine basis.
A study of governmental regulation by federal administrative agencies, and the nature and scope of judicial review exercised by courts over such agencies. Particular emphasis is placed on the delegation of legislative power to agencies, their combination of judicial and legislative functions, and the nature of the administrative process.
A study of governmental regulation within Texas. An emphasis is placed upon Texas agencies with statewide jurisdiction that are subject to the provisions of the Texas Administrative Procedure Act. Particular emphasis is placed upon the procedural aspects of rulemaking and contested case proceedings along with a study of the scope of judical review exercised by the courts over such agency actions.
A study of constitutional and statutory limitations on criminal prosecutions and adjudications. These authorities govern the right to counsel, prosecutorial discretion, pretrial detention, guilty pleas and plea bargaining, constitutional discovery, jury selection, and trial. Several advanced constitutional issues are covered in depth, including double jeopardy and speedy trial. For a student pursuing the Criminal Practice professional track, this is best taken as early as possible and strongly recommended prior to post-conviction procedure and the field placement.
Instruction in a broad range of legal research materials and advanced research methods. This course is intended as a practical skills course that expands beyond the scope of LARC 2, the first-year research course. Sources covered include a number of practice materials, electronic databases, and World Wide Web resources. The course also covers several specialized areas of research, including federal tax, business and commercial law, securities law, estates and trusts, family law, intellectual property, criminal law and procedure, and foreign and international law.
Students who participate on advocacy teams receive academic credit for participation. Students earn two hours of credit for each team on which they serve, but are limited to earning a maximum of eight hours of credit for teams. Students receive a letter grade for each team and must pay tuition for these credit hours. Team members should consult with the coach of their team for details about practice times.
A study of the techniques, goals, and methods of negotiating, as well as other forms of dispute resolution, primarily mediation. The primary teaching method is the use of simulated problems in which the students seek to negotiate resolutions to disputes involving a variety of factual settings and legal theories. Enrollment is usually limited to 36 students.
A study of antitrust law and policy applied to various business settings, including contracts in restraint of trade, restrictive agreements involving price-fixing and limitations on resale, trade boycotts, product tying and exclusive dealing arrangements, trade association activities, monopolies and oligopolies, mergers of separate business entities, and price discrimination.
A study of state and federal arbitration law including the ability to compel or resist arbitration as well as practical guidance on drafting arbitration agreements and preparing for and participating in arbitration hearings.
A study of liquidation and reorganization of businesses under the Bankruptcy Code, including forms of relief, commencement and administration of cases, the bankruptcy estate, treatment of secured and unsecured claims, use of cash collateral, avoidance actions, executory contracts and the plan confirmation process.
A study of certain business and state issues related to Environmental Law and potential environmental liabilities, especially in relation to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (aka "CERCLA" or the federal Superfund statute). Business issues include environmental audits, reporting and disclosure, lender liability, indemnity agreements, and insurance. Many of these issues are considered in a transactional context. In addition to studying business issues, particular state issues are considered, including transfer statutes and contemporary issues in Texas.
This course is an intense intersession course offered between the spring and summer quarters. The course provides a practical perspective on multiple aspects of business and its legal requirements and implications, including forming a business, commercial borrowing, raising capital, trademark and advertising issues, succession planning, selling a business, basic accounting, contract drafting, and negotiation skills. The course also includes networking events and supplemental opportunities for professional development and mentoring. Enrollment is limited, and students must apply for enrollment.
A study of various corporate, partnership, and LLC topics beyond the scope of Business Organizations 1. Topics include mergers and acquisitions, conversions and reorganizations; successor liability; duties and liabilities in winding up; derivative litigation; and certain issues related to publicly traded companies (such as insider trading and reporting requirements).
Students are required to play the role of lawyer in a transaction involving a business entity. The transaction forming the basis of the capstone is typically the formation, reorganization, or sale of a closely held business. The course provides students the opportunity to apply and develop analytical and drafting skills in connection with legal issues and problems that arise in the negotiation and documentation of such a transaction.
A practice skills course centered around hypothetical business problems and transactions involving closely held businesses. The course includes analysis of, and exercises involving, choice and structure of entity, ethical concerns in representation of closely held businesses and their principals, and common issues and problems facing the closely held business.
This is an application course based upon a case study in which students work on devising and executing a succession plan for a closely held business applying state business organization and federal taxation laws.
This course provides advanced instruction on tort claims that arise in business relationships. The course focuses upon substantive law governing civil wrongs (outside of mere breach of contract claims) committed by or against business entities. Areas of coverage include common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, appropriation of name or likeness, business disparagement and conspiracy Further, some coverage of covenants not to compete is also provided. The course is designed for those that may be interested in handling general business litigation. A number of other specialized courses cover more specialized statutory areas of substance, such as consumer protection, securities regulation, and antitrust.
The prerequisite be waived for students with appropriate business background. This course is an introduction to mergers & acquisitions that will focus primarily on the structuring, negotiation and documentation of private M&A transactions. This course will walk through the terms of a private form merger agreement in detail and discuss provisions commonly negotiated in practice. This course will also apply concepts from the private merger agreement reviewed at depth to provide exposure to other forms of acquisitions, such as stock purchase agreements and asset purchase agreements. The course will also review acquisitions of a public company and how they differ from private acquisitions. In addition to a final exam, this course will include a material drafting assignment.
The prerequisite may be waived for students with appropriate business background. This course is an introduction to venture capital transactions that will explain the life-cycle of early-stage companies from formation through exit (M&A or IPO) and use industry standard form agreements to introduce and examine legal and business issues that arise in VC transactions. This course will primarily focus on corporate preferred stock financings, but will also provide exposure to other forms of financings, such as convertible debt, SAFEs and private equity transactions utilizing flow-through structures (such as LLCs). Finally, this course will provide an overview of VC/PE fund formation and certain business and legal issues related thereto. In addition to a final exam, this course will include material drafting assignments.
Used to bring lawsuits against the government, this course discusses the intricacies of Section 1983 litigation. Section 1983 creates liability for certain government actions taken "under color of" the law. We will learn what is actionable, what types of immunity are conferred to government and government actors as well as pleading strategies around those immunities.
Students in this course seek to develop those skills necessary to establish appropriate professional relationships with clients. Specifically, the class engages in exercises that encourage students (i) to recognize and use different questioning techniques; (ii) to develop the skills to counsel clients in a manner that encourages full client participation in decision-making; and (iii) to recognize and resolve potential ethical issues related to the attorney/client relationship. In-class exercises are supplemented by assigned readings.
Students seeking special distinction in Commercial Law will be assigned a case involving a commercial law dispute for their Practice Court 3 “Big Trial." The student must inform the PC Associate and receive capstone approval from the supervising commercial law faculty member by or before the fifth week of PC 1. If more than one student in the PC class is completing a commercial law capstone, those students will be assigned the same Big Trial case to the extent is feasible. Each capstone student will then meet weekly throughout the PC 3 quarter with the supervising faculty member. The supervising faculty member will participate in developing both a theory of the case and the strategy necessary to implement that theory at trial, primarily by means of asking appropriate questions of the student(s). The student will meet with the expert to discuss drafts of pleadings, discovery documents, and any other materials prepared for use as part of the trial of the case. The student will also develop and draft an expert’s report to be filed in connection with the case.
A study of Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code involving the rights and liabilities of parties on promissory notes, checks, and drafts. Topics covered include the concept of negotiability, the process of negotiation, holders in due course, the nature of liability of parties on an instrument, the relationship between banks and customers, and wrongdoing in connection with instruments. Additional related materials include electronic fund transfers, wire transfers, and letters of credit.
A study of Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code involving consensual security interests in personal property and fixtures and the sale of accounts and chattel paper. Topics covered include creation of a security interest, types of collateral and types of security agreements, perfection, multistate transactions, priorities, and rights on default.
A comparative examination of contemporary and historical systems of justice, retribution, and public and private conflict resolution with a focus on societal and individual rights and responsibilities. Both judicial and non-judicial systems fall within the scope of the course. The final grade will be based on weekly assignments and a paper on a topic to be agreed on. Each student will present their paper to the class, but the presentation will not affect the grade. Enrollment is limited to 27.
This course explores topics in the area of advanced civil procedure. The course deals with the applicable law governing complexities inherent in civil litigation due to a multiplicity of parties or other lawsuits. A large segment of the course will focus upon an in-depth examination of class action law. In addition, the course reviews other procedural devices (e.g., joinder rules, issue and claim preclusion, transfer, multidistrict litigation, and abstention) intended to deal with problems associated with multiple parties and/or lawsuits and the unnecessary duplication of adjudicative activities.
The study of the law applicable to transactions connected in whole or in part with two or more jurisdictions. The general problems connected with jurisdiction of courts, foreign judgments, the application of federal constitutional provisions, and the choice of law are considered together with the rules governing certain specific types of controversies arising in the fields of workers' compensation, torts, contracts, property, business organizations, and family law.
A deep dive into the First Amendments protection of Speech (and related protections like Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Association). Topics include; protected versus unprotected speech; the regulation of conduct imbued with elements of speech; the difference between content-based and content-neutral regulation of speech; the role of "forum analysis" in judging the constitutionality of restrictions on speech; the more deferential treatment of governmental regulation of commercial speech; the constitutional restrictions related to government speech, and the difference between government speech and government-compelled speech; regulation of speech in restrictive environments like schools, prisons, and the military; and an introduction to both press and associational freedoms.
The many components and complexities of the construction industry offer an ideal setting for demonstrating how multiple areas of the law (contracts; procurement; torts, insurance, environmental concerns; dispute resolution, property (emphasis on lien law), administrative, regulatory and labor law) interact and operate. This course will introduce students to a discipline that resembles the actual practice of law, where the practitioner is required to sort through and understand a plethora of integrated contract, common law, statutory and regulatory rules and requirements in order to assist clients.
A study of consumer protection laws, with focus on the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, warranty law, federal and state debt collection practices acts, and basic insurance law principles.
This course will cover a variety of topics and skills related to a transactional practice and will build on the skills students learned in Legal Analysis, Research & Communication (LARC) 4: Transactional Drafting. Specifically, this course will include instruction on: fundamental contracting-drafting principles; the art of deal-making, including general negotiation skills and ethical negotiation; identifying how statutes and other regulations may affect a deal and negotiations; how to incorporate the business deal into a contract to effectively advance a client’s interests; how to identify and mitigate risk through negotiation and drafting; problem solving through contract drafting; and drafting effective revisions to an agreement based on a series of hypothetical situations/issues. Students will complete several assignments throughout the quarter. Most of the assignments will focus on drafting revisions to various agreements. The final assignment will require students to draft a complete agreement while working with a classmate to negotiate deal terms.
An advanced study of the law of copyright, including the creation, infringement, licensing, protection, registration, renewal and termination of copyright in various creative products, such as books, films, art and music.
This course will be an introductory study and examination of creditor-debtor relationships and concepts including non-judicial and judicial debt collection, prejudgment remedies, basic trial procedure, judgments, post-judgment remedies, judgment liens, execution, exemptions, asset discovery, statutory liens, fraudulent conveyances, foreign judgment enforcement and general bankruptcy issues (if time permits). This is intended to be a practical course that covers and discusses issues that a practicing creditor/collection attorney faces on a daily basis.
A limited number of students may participate in a Criminal Law Boot Camp for one hour of pass/fail credit. The class must have a minimum of twelve students to make, and is limited to a maximum of 16 students. This course will introduce students to Texas state criminal practice through lectures and trial advocacy exercises. Faculty will be made up of prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and judges. This course will greatly benefit those students who plan to participate in the PC criminal big trial case as it will expose them to the case theories and preparation skills that are essential for successful criminal prosecution and defense. Students enrolled in the first quarter of Practice Court who are interested in taking this course must receive permission from the PC faculty to do so.
Students enrolled in this capstone will be assigned a dual criminal / civil case requiring them to conduct a criminal PC "big trial." Both PC trials will be based on the same fact situation giving rise to a criminal prosecution occurring in parallel with a civil liability case. Students in this capstone will be required to navigate the various legal issues that arise with parallel criminal / civil proceedings, in consultation with faculty advisors. Attendance of a lecture on drafting search warrants and exercise is required. Students are required to draft and submit a valid search warrant. Students participate in this capstone during Practice Court 3. This capstone is required for students pursuing the Criminal Practice Special Distinction.
This course explores the range of legal issues arising from the emergence of the Internet as a medium for transacting business. The course considers how the law has reacted to challenges posed by the Internet. Specific areas covered include jurisdictional analysis, First Amendment/free speech, digital copyrights, trademarks and domain names, electronic privacy, electronic commercial transactions, and Internet governance.
Overview of the legal practice and policy relating to aging individuals and those with special needs. Issues covered are: ethics in representing the elderly, Social Security, Supplemental Social Security, Social Security Disability, Medicare, Medicaid, veterans benefits, property management issues, surrogate decision-making, guardianships and end-of-life decisions.
A study of employment discrimination law, including Title Vll of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. This course entails a study of the major federal anti-discrimination laws, with particular emphasis on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Other statutes are addressed to a lesser degree, including the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the Immigration Reform and Control Act.
This course surveys the law regulating the relationship between employers and their employees including the doctrine of "employment-at-will" and its erosion by federal and state statutes and common law; employee privacy issues; the protection of trade secrets; employee non-compete agreements; overtime and minimum wage laws; Texas Workers' Compensation Law, among other topics.
A comprehensive introduction to the legal doctrines that shape the entertainment industry in its many forms. We will learn about the structure and "power relationships" within the industry including but not limited to the issues of credit/billing, creative control and the sale/transfer of creative talent or product.
This course will provide students an opportunity to work with early stage businesses in the Waco area and provide legal advice and services primarily pertaining to business formation and commercial agreements. Students will be provided training, high-quality resources (checklists, forms, etc.) and supervision by professors or other experienced attorneys to help ensure an exciting and practical learning experience, while helping growing businesses in the Waco area. Students will learn to draft a number of documents/agreements, including certificates of formation, bylaws, written consents, consulting agreements, operating agreements and proprietary information and invention assignment agreements.
An introduction to Environmental Law, focusing on major federal programs, key cases, and certain state issues related to these programs. Statutory programs include the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Additionally, there is an emphasis on the federal Superfund statute (aka "CERCLA"). This course and the Natural Resource Protection Law course together provide a basic understanding of the history and legal principles of domestic environmental and natural resource protection laws.
A study of the federal transfer tax system, basic transfer tax planning for individuals and tax considerations in the drafting of wills and trusts. Estate, gift and generation-skipping tax problems are studied, and income tax problems related to estate planning are also covered. In this practice skills course students have the opportunity to experience the types of problems lawyers practicing in this area handle on a routine basis.
This course is intended to be taken prior to the time in which a student will complete their commercial bar preparation course. This course is designed to jumpstart your bar exam preparation by developing your substantive knowledge and sharpening your critical bar exam success skills. Specifically, students will receive in-depth review of highly tested topics in Contracts and Torts. You will then put that knowledge to use working through practice MBE and essay questions. Students will learn how to develop a strong but flexible framework to resolve bar exam problems, sharpen reading comprehension, issue identification, rule mastery, critical thinking, and legal analysis skills. This course will also include skill training for the MPT. Please note— This course is not intended to and does not replace the need for a complete commercial bar review course. To fully prepare for the bar exam, students should plan to take a complete commercial bar review course prior to the bar exam.
This course focuses on the study of the law of the family, including marriage, annulment, divorce, child support and custody, adoption, and paternity, and procedural aspects in family law cases. Students will focus on the constitutional protections for the family, the policy underpinnings of family law, as well as the black letter rules of family law with a focus on the Texas Family Code.
In-depth study of: underlying and current legal problems and issues arising in an advanced family law practice, including: relevant evolution and current legal status of the marriage relationship and the current legal status of property and parent-child relationships in marriage and the family; case management and jurisdictional considerations arising from parent-child legal relationships across jurisdictional borders; privacy regulations implicit to family law property and party records use; legal status and rights of children or unmarried parents and of assisted and surrogate reproduction; termination and adoption procedures; and the practice of Collaborative and Cooperative law in dissolution.
Participatory practice examination of selected legal, substantive, procedural and practice considerations in the engagement, preparation and presentation of family law litigation involving dissolution of marriage and suits affecting the parent-child relationship. Basic advocacy training follows lecture presentations with mock courtroom time by class participants.
This course will expose students to the real-world side of practicing family law in Texas. The course will provide 17 hours of in-class instruction with a mix of lecture, strategic breakout sessions, and mock trial experiences. The course will simulate the real world realities of practicing law. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of how a family law case proceeds through the court system from intake of the client through judgment and post-judgment issues.
A one-quarter field placement experience under the supervision of an attorney in a governmental agency when approved in advance by the Associate or Senior Assistant Dean. A minimum of 90 hours of supervised work will be required.
A one-quarter field placement under the supervision of a judge in a designated court when approved in advance by the Associate Dean. A minimum of 90 hours of supervised work will be required.
A study of federal courts, with special emphasis on forum selection. Along with forum-selection doctrines such as subject-matter jurisdiction and abstention, the course explores other issues unique to our federal system, such as the Anti-Injunction Act and interjurisdictional preclusion. Throughout the course, attention remains on the proper role of the federal courts--in relation both to the other branches of the federal government and to the States.
A graded seminar course examining general franchise laws, agreements and the franchisee/franchisor relationship. An overall view of the franchise systems and the legal and business impact of various franchise related laws, both federal and state. Extensive review of a franchise agreement. Grades are based on final exam and short franchise related paper or project.
Field placement in legal department of medical institution.
The healthcare industry is governed by complex statutory and regulatory requirements that impact operations, financing and the delivery of healthcare. A lawyer representing a client in the healthcare industry must be knowledgeable in these areas since many are contrary to what is acceptable in all other industries. The focus of the course will be on federal and state anti-kickback, anti-referral (Stark), false claims and related fraud and abuse laws as well as corporate compliance issues. The civil and criminal penalty ramifications including administrative sanctions involving the healthcare provider and their counsel will also be addressed.
A survey of federal and state laws that impact healthcare providers and their industry as a whole. Topics include professional licensure, the professional-patient relationship including confidentiality and privacy concerns, informed consent considerations, access to healthcare including governmental and commercial payor programs, employment and medical staff laws, antitrust institutional quality control programs, cost containment and the federal and state fraud and abuse laws.
An opportunity to examine the substantive and procedural concepts related to healthcare liability claims. In addition, the class provides exposure to evaluation of a healthcare liability claim, pre-trial preparation of plaintiff and defendant cases, and examination of expert witnesses. The class includes deposition exercises performed in connection with medical residents at the Family Practice Clinic.
Healthcare professionals and their patients are subject to extensive regulations in the delivery of care. This course will analyze the intersection of legal, medical and ethical concerns that arise between the federal and state government, healthcare providers and their patients. It will also delve into the ability of the government to compel or limit care, regulation of drugs and medical devices, healthcare decision making concerns including the duty of care, and clinical research issues.
Public interest has surged in immigration policy and frenetic change in immigration law. The central purpose of this course is to give students an understanding of the mechanisms by which persons may immigrate to the United States and the standards under which they can be denied entry or be removed. The course will examine issues pertaining to the acquisition of citizenship, the admission of aliens into the United States as immigrants or migrants, the deportation of aliens, the admission of refugees, and recent changes related to national security.
Independent study leading to a research paper, or its equivalent, by students under the direct supervision of one or more faculty members. Either one or two hours of credit will be granted upon satisfactory conclusion of the independent study offering. Independent studies will be offered on a letter grade basis only. Proposals for study must be approved by the Associate Dean designee prior to registration for this course.
This course is a general survey and analysis of privacy issues that are the direct result of advances in technology. Topics discussed will include: (1) Internet privacy, including issues related to anonymity, commercial profiling and spam; (2) Health and genetic privacy, including issues relating to medical records, confidentiality of physician-patient relationships, DNA databases and genetic discrimination; (3) Law enforcement privacy, including issues related to wiretapping, surveillance, and counter-terrorism and post 9/11 reactions.
The In-House Counsel Externship Program serves as an introduction to in-house counsel practice by exposing the student to in-house practice in a real-world setting as well as in a classroom setting. Students participating in this program will earn a total of 2 hours of credit through a one-hour field placement and a one-hour class. In the field placement component, students will spend a minimum of 72 hours observing and working under the supervision of an in-house lawyer in the private sector. The classroom component of the In-House Counsel Externship Program will focus on substantive issues commonly encountered by in-house counsel in both multiple and single attorney corporate law departments. Areas covered include ethical issues and practical skills, such as working with and managing outside counsel related to litigation and transactional matters, identifying and dealing with conflicts of interest, preserving attorney-client privilege in the in-house context, corporate governance and compliance responsibilities, policies and procedures, drafting and negotiating contracts, and conducting internal investigations.
Insurance is essential to every civil lawsuit either as the topic of litigation or the funding source for judgments. Insurance is also key to every successful business venture for indemnification against unexpected loss. As such, we begin with a study of the legal and business mechanics of insurance, then proceed to analyses of contract language in property, life and liability, health, and commercial general liability policies. We will also cover reinsurance. Additional topics include analyses of contractual ambiguities, subrogation, and Texas insurance doctrines.
A survey of the law regarding the formation and protection of rights in intangible property and unfair trade practices of businesses. Subjects covered include a survey of copyright and patent law as well as a detailed study of trademark, trade secret and unfair competition law.
This capstone is the culminating experience in the Intellectual Property Professional Track or Special Distinction. The course will focus on skills development, which will provide students the opportunity to both learn how to conduct an appropriate client analysis as well as apply substantive law to the drafting, reviewing and negotiating of intellectual property-related agreements.
Students participating in the clinic will learn how to file applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The clinic offers such limited legal services on a pro-bono basis to entrepreneurs, small businesses and non-profits that do not have the means to hire an attorney to advise them. Clinic participation requires enrollment and participation in weekly class meetings that focus on the lawyering skills and substantive law necessary to effectively represent clients.
A survey of the unique issues and elements of an intellectual property lawsuit. Topics covered include assessing whether a lawsuit is the proper course of action and the risks of litigation, conducting pre-suit investigations, selecting expert witnesses, drafting pleadings, conducting pretrial activities, discovery, evidentiary challenges, trial preparation, and appellate procedures. Students must consult with the Practice Court faculty prior to registration for this course.
This course provides an overview of trademark and unfair competition law. The course will cover the requirements to obtain trademark protection in the U.S., false advertising, right of publicity and state unfair competition laws.
Students who have taken the former Intellectual Property 2 course are ineligible to take this course. A follow-up to the Intellectual Property course. The focus is on practice skills needed for the intellectual property lawyer, with a heavy emphasis on trademark law.
This course surveys a broad range of factors and legal issues that impact international transactions, exposing students to: (a) the history and evolution of international trade and legal traditions; (b) the legal instruments and sources of law that influence cross-border matters; (c) the different types of cross-border deals and what sets them apart; (d) the larger policy and investment concerns that can impact these deals (but are often overlooked); and (e) select issues involved in international business transactions.
A fundamental survey course in current and historical legal philosophy, including the nature and sources of law, the relationships of law and morality, of law to society, and of law within the context of history. Enrollment is limited to 18.
A study of all stages of the juvenile justice system, including intake, certification, adjudication, and disposition.
A study of the law and current issues regarding labor relations, including union elections, the negotiation and administration of collective bargaining agreements, unfair labor practices, and dispute settlement. Particular attention is paid to the National Labor Relations Act. The final grade is based on a project and related paper.
Pass/Fail. Law Review credit is awarded to students who are selected to participate in the Baylor Law Review, and who accomplish a stated amount of writing acceptable for publication or service on the staff of the Law Review. Students interested in taking Law Review credit hours should consult with the Law Review Business Editor to determine the number of hours they are eligible to take.
Throughout history, lawyers have played critical leadership roles in both the public and private sector. In every aspect of American society, lawyers lead and Baylor Lawyers in particular are known for actively serving in leadership capacities in their communities and the legal profession. While leadership training is part of the fabric of Baylor Law School, specific emphasis and training is important and helpful to adequately equip our graduates with the leadership skills needed in this increasingly complex and ever-changing professional environment. Topics will include leadership styles and strategies, personality assessments, public service and professional responsibilities, and leadership opportunities for lawyers. Using case studies, students discuss leadership lessons learned by experienced leaders through challenging circumstances. Using introspective tools and team-building exercises, students boost strengths and minimize weaknesses to better equip them for their future. Mandatory attendance for each class plus a ropes course.
Students who volunteer in a law school legal services clinic may be eligible to receive credit hour(s) for participation. Consult with the Director of Legal Clinics for more information.
A study of the creation, expansion, powers and operations of municipalities as well as limitations on municipal authority, and issues relating to municipal liability.
An introduction to natural resource protection laws and their respective application in the United States. Federal statutory programs and significant case law are focal points, along with impacts and examples from Texas. Topics include the National Environmental Policy Act, public lands, wildlife protection (especially the Endangered Species Act), and certain water resources. There is also some discussion of alternative energy sources. This course and Environmental Law together provide a basic understanding of the history and legal principles of domestic environmental and natural resource protection laws.
A study of nonprofit organizations, including an examination of their organization, operation, governance, and dissolution. Topics include practical issues faced by nonprofit organizations and attorneys who represent them, such as state and federal regulations, tax issues relating to tax-exempt status and eligibility for charitable contributions, liability of decision makers, tort liabilities of the organization and its members, planning to avoid litigation, and charitable immunity.
This course covers advanced oil & gas concepts and expands on the basic principles covered in Oil & Gas Law. Students will learn document drafting techniques and as part of the course work will be assigned documents to prepare and review that an attorney dealing with oil & gas matters would expect to encounter in practice. Some topics to be covered include advanced lease provisions; joint operating agreements; financing of oil and gas transactions; mineral and royalty conveyances; pipeline issues; and regulation of oil and gas activities.
This course covers the basics of Texas oil & gas law likely to be encountered in a Texas law practice. Whether a student intends to practice litigation, family law, estate and probate, real estate law, or any other practice, oil & gas issues likely will be encountered. The course will prepare the student to spot oil & gas issues, negotiate oil & gas leases, handle surface use disputes, and understand severing the mineral estate from the surface estate.
A study of patent law, with an emphasis on patent applications, interferences and other practice aspects of a patent practice, including international patent protection.
To be taken during or after completion of Practice Court 3, students enrolling in this capstone will participate in a patent “big trial.” Students will prepare for and conduct the separate Markman hearing of a patent case, trying the case to a jury. Students will fully work through the Markman hearing aspect of the patent “big trial,” including related discovery on claim construction. Interested students should consult with Prof. Wren and the Practice Court Associate at their earliest convenience after they are enrolled in Practice Court 1.
This course will focus on the advanced study of patent law, with an emphasis on patent applications, interferences and other practical aspects of a patent practice, including the unique issues and elements of patent litigation. Topics covered include desired qualifications and experience for litigating patent cases, pre-suit investigation for patentees, substantive elements of a patent case, infringement and invalidity contentions, claim construction and Markman Hearings, expert witness considerations, trial technology options, trial strategies, jury considerations, damage models, alternative dispute resolution options, and appellate work.
A study of the aspects of investigation, evaluation, preparation, settlement, and trial of personal injury cases.
An advanced criminal procedure course with a practical focus on representing clients in criminal appeals and in habeas corpus proceedings. Course will include an appellate oral argument.
A study of the federal sentencing scheme covering both substance and procedure, including the foundation due process requirements that underpin the sentencing guidelines. Students are also encouraged to meet with an Assistant U.S. Attorney and attend at least one federal sentencing during the quarter.
A foundational course for those interested in the Public Service professional track, Poverty Law will analyze the realities of existence for the underprivileged, constitutional issues underlying policy reform, and a study of federal programs as they relate to access to work and family.
This class is a one credit hour, pass-fail opportunity. Students who take this course will acquire knowledge, skills and values about the federal court system and judicial deliberation process that will make them effective, chamber-ready judicial law clerks. Attendance is mandatory at all class sessions. A limited number of students who take this class may pursue a one-hour field placement opportunity with U.S. District Judge Alan Albright or U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Manske. Students interested in the field placement component must be registered for the course and must notify Assistant Dean Angela Cruseturner of their interest during the registration period. Students may also be considered for the field placement in a later quarter. Consult with Assistant Dean Cruseturner for more information about the field placement.
As part of the course, the student will become fluent in the basic elements of an appeal. Students will learn about the anatomy of an appeal, basic court structure and operation, what justices and clerks do, and to draft bench memos and opinions. The class will provide a basic primer on civil and criminal appeals, and hear from a panel of current and former clerks and/or justices. Schedule permitting, the class will also observe oral arguments, either in person or remotely and discuss the effect of advocacy on case outcomes. Offered in conjunction with an associated externship opportunity, the course will prepare the student for an appellate clerkship. The course will provide the student with the information and skills to excel on the first day of an appellate clerkship. Students who take this class will develop written advocacy skills by preparing draft bench memoranda and opinions for a fictional case.
An opportunity to observe and assist federal prosecutors in preparing cases for trial and appeal, allowing the students to apply knowledge learned in substantive courses as well as to gain an appreciation for the practical aspects of prosecution. A minimum of 90 hours of supervised work will be required.
A study of residential and commercial real estate transactions including mortgage law, sources and forms of financing, conveying processes, basic tax considerations, workouts and the roles of the real estate broker and the lender or investor.
This course covers eminent domain and other practical land use planning topics. The course will help students become familiar with legal considerations in working with government agencies, land developers, and land owners. The course covers various topics including conservation easements, common interest communities and zoning. However, eminent domain and the specific Texas statutes that have been added in the post-Kelo era is a primary focus of the course occupying at least a third of the classes. Additionally, students are given an assignment that focuses on the interaction of eminent domain and zoning issues as land use changes over time. The course offers both considerations of policy matters as well as practical application of the concepts in real-world settings.
A study of selected problems of Texas land law. The course includes material on contracts of sale, title examination, foreclosure issues related to title, and judicial procedures relating to land titles. Drawing a metes and bounds description of real property, a title opinion letter, and foreclosure assessment are required written exercises.
A study of the legal aspects of retirement plans, including an introduction to the different types of retirement plans, qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), plans for the self-employed, individual retirement accounts, spousal rights, and the rules relating to contributions to and the distribution and taxation of retirement benefits, with an emphasis on the estate planning aspects.
Sales Transactions: Domestic & International Law is an advanced course in contracts focusing on the regulation of domestic sales transactions under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code and international sales transactions governed by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sales of Goods. The course builds on the first year Contracts course, developing in more detail the scope of statutory regulation, the acceptance and rejection of goods, contract interpretation in business transactions, warranty liability, damage rules, risk of loss, and commercial impracticability.
Following the examination of the definition of a security and transactions that are exempted from registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, a study of the disclosure, registration and distribution process as regulated by the Securities Act of 1933 and civil remedies for a violation of the Act.
This course examines the relations between religion and government in the United States and emphasizes the U.S. Supreme Court's jurisprudence under the First Amendment's Establishment and Free-Exercise Clauses.
A survey of current issues and events in sports law such as Title IX developments, concussions, financial aid advancements, agent regulation, antitrust litigation (student-athlete name, likeness and image cases) and labor law disputes. The course features a number of presentations by national figures and experts on such issues.
A field placement experience in a state agency.
A field placement experience in a state judicial court.
A limited enrollment seminar (18 students) in which students assume the role of United States Supreme Court justices. The seminar entails arguing and deciding cases currently pending before the Supreme Court. Once decided, a student is assigned to write the Court's opinion. Each student is responsible for one substantial majority opinion and may draft concurring or dissenting opinions for extra credit. The grade is based on both the written component (opinion) and oral participation. Attendance at all class meetings is mandatory.
Continues the study of the principles of federal income tax law begun in Taxation & Accounting Principles for Lawyers with primary emphasis on income taxation of individual investors, small business owners, and the family unit. Topics include advanced coverage of inclusions and exclusions from gross income; business, investment, and personal deductions and their restrictions; the tax treatment of personal investments, including cryptocurrency, personal residences, and vacation rental properties; tax accounting methods; advanced concepts regarding disposition of assets, including limitations on losses and capital gain deferral and non-recognition provisions; and tax rate strategies.
This survey course examines the tax consequences of organizing and operating business entities in a comparative manner. Basic federal tax principles of C corporations, S corporations, and partnerships (including limited liability companies) are covered. With each tax entity type, students begin with the tax consequences of organizing and operating the business entity and then study the tax consequences of distributions, sales of business assets, transfers of ownership interests, and business entity liquidations and conversions. Topics also include debt versus equity considerations, employment taxation of business owners, tax provisions in shareholder and partnership agreements and other business contracts, and basic mergers and acquisitions tax concepts. Students will also be introduced to business entity federal income tax returns and federal tax controversy procedures.
This class will introduce students to the rules and strategies and procedures that govern the practice of criminal law in Texas. Because the vast majority of state criminal practitioners get their start representing the State, the emphasis will be a road map to understanding the practice of criminal law from the prosecution standpoint. Topics covered will include charging decisions, docket management, pre-trial preparation, plea bargaining, motion practice, the punishment and sentencing phase of the trial, Michael Morton/Brady, discovery and interacting with crime victims, blind cross-examination, closing arguments, and expert witnesses.
This practice lab will introduce students to the types of issues and documents they may encounter during a transactional practice through the scope of a hypothetical transaction. Students will work in pairs and will be assigned to represent one of the two parties in a proposed transaction. Students will receive instruction and guidance on substantive issues involved in the transaction problem as well as negotiation skills applicable to transactional practice generally. A drafting requirement will be included in the class, and the class will culminate in negotiation rounds between class members representing the two sides of the transaction. Enrollment is limited.
As information, especially digital information, continues to grow exponentially, the discovery phase of litigation increasingly dominates the litigation process. This advanced course will provide law students with practical, advanced knowledge and skills for dealing with discovery issues. Students will add to their basic discovery knowledge gained through Practice Court by drafting key discovery documents focusing on best practices, and through classes concentrating on the effective management of paper discovery and electronic discovery materials.
Enrollment is limited to 16 students who will be simultaneously taking PC 3. Selection of students will be made by Practice Court instructors on the basis of grades of Practice Court skills, exercises, and the judgment of the instructors, with additional preference given to students whose Practice Court teammate is also seeking enrollment in the class (in order that Advanced Trial Preparation projects may be undertaken on a team basis). The Practice Court Big Trial case will be the subject of the projects, and the projects will include development of your framing strategy for trial, use of focus groups for trial, development of your visual strategy for trial, and conducting of videotaped depositions. The class will conclude prior to trial of your big case.
Students who have taken Practice Court, the School of the Trial or the Advanced School of the Trial, are ineligible to take this class for credit. This course seeks to provide students with a foundation in the art of trial advocacy prior to more advanced training in Practice Court. Course methodology includes class discussion, group planning, performance drills and group critique. Subjects for study include developing a theory and theme of the issue; storytelling skills, as applied to opening statement; direct examination skills; planning of cross-examination and cross-examination techniques. Grades are assigned based upon class participation, written exercises and performance skills.
This class is part of the Baylor Law student abroad program in St Andrews. Students who have taken Advanced Trial Advocacy Skills Seminar are not eligible to take this course. The Advanced School of Trial ("ASOT") was created for experienced mock trial students. The ASOT's objective is to focus on and sharpen advanced trial skills and techniques through several advocacy exercises and trials.
This class is part of the Baylor Law study abroad program in St Andrews. The School of the Appeal focuses on the art and craft of both oral and written appellate advocacy. Students will receive classroom instruction on both written and oral appellate advocacy. Classroom instruction will be followed by joint student/faculty planning and outlining sessions and will culminate in the drafting and critiquing of written appellate arguments as well as the presentation and critique of oral appellate arguments. The School of the Appeal is also designed to place the role of the appellate lawyer in the context of the long and shared history and traditions of the British and American legal systems. This will also include corresponding field trips focused on the development of democracy, the jury trial, and the right to appeal.
This class is part of the Baylor Law study abroad program in St Andrews. The School of the Trial focuses on the art of trial advocacy. Students will be provided with classroom instruction and small group discussion opportunities on all facets, from jury selection to closing argument, of being ethical, persuasive trial advocates. Storytelling as a method of persuasion will be a central theme of the School of the Trial and the history, architecture, and idyllic setting of St. Andrews will be used as both a striking setting for storytelling exercises and as a compelling example of the power of the spoken word. The School of the Trial is also designed to place the role of the trial lawyer in the context of the long and shared history and traditions of the British and American legal systems.
Field placement experience with UPZambia Juvenile Justice.
A study of water law legal systems in the United States related to ownership, rights of use, and public rights in surface water and groundwater. Surface water systems include prior appropriation schemes in most western states and riparian rights based systems in eastern states, as well as several groundwater rights legal doctrines. The course also includes certain federalism topics, such as the public trust doctrine and interstate allocation of waters, and a focused study of Texas Water Law.
Increasingly, the focus of private or individual wealth planning is on asset protection (i.e., planning to insulate the client's estate from the claims of creditors at any time and claims of spouses upon the termination of the marriage, as well as to minimize or eliminate transfer taxes upon death). This course examines the use, implementation and effectiveness of the more common estate planning techniques, such as Bypass and QTIP trusts created for the benefit of the client's surviving spouse, asset protection trusts created for the benefit of the client's decendants, premarital and marital agreements among the client and the client's significant other, and family limited partnerships among members of the client's family. The course also covers the keys to effective drafting of wills, revocable trusts and other estate planning documents, as well as the coordination of nonprobate assets (such as life insurance and retirement benefits) with the estate plan.
Upon completion of Wealth Transfers, the student enrolls in a capstone course which provides the student with the opportunity to work one on one with a faculty member in order to apply through drafting exercises what the student learned in the substantive course and also to experience the types of problems lawyers practicing in this field handle on a routine basis.
A soup to nuts survey of white collar crime, focusing on federal statutory and regulatory offenses that are frequently prosecuted in the business, corporate and personal setting, including mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, RICO, securities fraud and obstruction of justice. As part of the classwork, students also draft a multi-count indictment charging various WCC statues.
From time to time, as faculty time is available and student demand indicates, seminar courses may be offered. These courses are for second- and third-year students and carry one or two quarter hours of credit. They are designed to promote a depth of understanding in particular subjects of law and public policy and to afford students a perspective on law and lawyers.
Hankamer School of Business Courses
Upon approval by the Associate Dean, the following courses, offered in the Hankamer School of Business, may be taken by qualified law students for pass/fail credit toward the JD degree.
Application of economic principles to health care issues; examining economic efficiency in a variety of circumstances including the production and distribution of health services, health insurance, governmental programs, health care personnel and hospitals. Analysis of public in health and medical care from an economic perspective.
Introduction to jurisdictional tax issues and laws surrounding foreign taxation of United States taxpayers and United States taxation of foreigners doing business in the United States.
Major aspects of taxation affecting flow-through entities and their owners. Emphasis on tax law by studying the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, IRS Rulings, and case law. Tax planning and preparation of entity tax returns.