All VLS Courses
Land Use Regulation
A basic course in land use law. Covers planning and all manner of private and public land use regulation from common interest communities, to subdivisions, to zoning, to variances, to planned development districts, to transit-oriented development, to traditional neighborhood design, to form-based codes, to growth management.
Law of Ecosystem Management
This course provides an introduction to the concept of ecosystem management—its history, principles, and current state of play in concrete policy settings. The course then explores laws and regulations relating to the six types of ecosystems often described in ecosystem management literature—forests, grasslands, freshwater, coastal and marine, fragile (e.g., deserts, alpine), and human dominated (e.g., agricultural, urban, recreational). Perspectives of agencies, resource users, environmental groups, and other interest groups will be explored.
Download the 2014 Summer Syllabus
Law of International Organizations
Focuses on the law of treaty-based intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), including their constitutive laws, the laws governing their internal functioning, and the "laws" they promulgate in the form of binding and nonbinding agreements and regulations. The course examines the United Nations and its specialized agencies as well as other other IGO in diverse fields.
Legal Adaptation to Global Warming
Using global warming adaptation as an example of how the law and legal institutions evolve in response to major social changes, the course examines the legal challenges raised by the need for our society to adapt to the impacts of global warming. Topics include the need for alternative tools for dealing with eroding coastal shores and higher flooding risks, strategies for relocating urban populations to higher ground, modifications to the Endangered Species Act and other wildlife laws, federal and state property insurance policies, and techniques for reallocating water supplies.
Focuses on building and reinforcing the analytical, writing, and reasoning skills essential for success in law school.
The study of a lawyer's professional obligations based on the ABA's Model Rules, ethical rules from selected jurisdictions, and other laws and traditions governing professional conduct. Students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to identify ethical dilemmas and acquire the tools to help resolve them.
Legal Reasoning, Writing and Research (Legal Writing I)
An introduction to the three fundamental skills needed for the pursuit of a legal career: research, reasoning, and writing. The early emphasis is on basic writing skills to eliminate language problems and to begin to develop clear, fluid writing. Students also learn rudimentary legal writing skills, including citing, identifying legally significant facts, formulating issues, and reasoning by analogy.
Introduction to legal research tools and strategies relevant for law school as well as legal practice. Topics include legal authority, the use of primary and secondary sources, effictive use of LexisNexis, Westlaw, and other electronic databases, the role of the Internet in legal research, and a brief introduction to environmental and international legal research. Emphasis is placed on appropriate and effective research strategies and evaluation of sources, both print and electronic.
Legal Writing II: Theory and Practice
Develops fundamental legal writing, reasoning, and research skills in the context of the analysis of a specific subject matter. This course also provides the transition from predictive to persuasive legal writing and advocacy and an introduction to other legal problem-solving skills.
Examines legislative law and the legislative process. Topics include: the nature and history of legislative power, legislative structure and procedure, legislative advocacy, drafting statutory law, statutory construction, legislative history, legislative oversight, and the role of legislative attorneys in the process and the development of public policy.