In the upcoming academic year, the J. Reuben Clark Law School will offer three new elective courses taught by prominent judges and attorneys from across the nation. Each of the condensed courses will span 1-3 weeks, allowing students to learn from the expertise of these practitioners whose schedules do not permit them to teach for an entire semester. Course topics will include managing insolvent businesses, constitutional structures from a global perspective, and advanced evidence.
“In offering these short courses we are providing our students with the opportunity to learn from distinguished judges and practitioners who are unable to spend an entire semester teaching at the law school,” said Gordon Smith, Associate Dean for Faculty and Curriculum and the Glen L. Farr Professor of Law.
According to Professor Smith, judges and attorneys with prior teaching experience were selected for these courses.
“Our inaugural offerings feature judges and practitioners who have been involved in legal education at other law schools, either as full-time or adjunct professors, and they will be offering courses that enrich the curriculum,” Professor Smith said. “All of them are excited at the prospect of interacting with our excellent students.”
Professor Brett Scharffs, Chair of the Curriculum Committee and the Associate Director of the ICLRS, highlighted the significance of having these professionals teach short-courses at the law school.
“These short courses give us the opportunity to offer students the chance to learn from some of the foremost practitioners in the field,” he said. “They enable us to bring prominent judges and other to the law school, and to expose our students to their expertise in a concentrated, intense learning experience… These are people with incredible world experience.”
These “short courses” respond to calls for law schools to offer courses that provide more practical training to students, and for more courses to be taught by practicing lawyers and judges.
Each of one credit hour short course will span several days and will be focused on issues offering new perspectives to foundational classes taught by full time professors at the law school. The following teachers and courses will convene this coming academic year:
- Judge Kent A. Jordan, who is currently serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the Virgin Islands), will teach “Managing Insolvent Businesses” from September 4-10, 2010. The course will examine how legal duties, liability exposure, and practical responsibilities of business managers change as the business moves into the zone of insolvency.
- Justice Allison Eid, of the Colorado Supreme Court will teach “Constitutional Structures from a Global Perspective” from October 11-16, 2010. This course will examine—from a comparative perspective—legal structures and concepts that are typically found in constitutions. Students will explore definitions of constitutional and domestic law, and how constitutional law adapts to a global society. Students will write a seminar paper as part of the course.
- Associate Justice Douglas Miller of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Riverside, California, and Jim Parkinson, a prominent trial lawyer from Palm Desert, California, will co-teach “Advanced Evidence” during Winter semester. In this course, students will work through various difficult issues of evidence using a combination of lecture and simulations, and will have an opportunity to explore the rules of evidence in an applied setting under the tutelage of an experienced judge and trial lawyer. These two teachers have worked together on another project at the law school: the annual Orrin G. Hatch Distinguished Trial Lawyer Lecture Series.
The Law School hopes that courses like these will complement the existing curriculum. Professor Clifton Fleming, Ernest L. Wilkinson Chair and member of the Curriculum Committee, said that a well-rounded legal education provides both practical training and the exploration of theory, doctrine, and policies upon which current practices are based.
“We have to achieve a proper balance between teaching professional skills on the one hand and teaching basic principles, theory, and policy on the other hand, and we believe that we are doing that in our curriculum,” Professor Fleming said.
Dean Smith mentioned the Law School’s plan to offer more of these types of courses in the future.
“We hope to continue offering short courses in future years as part of our effort to bring students into contact with leading judges and practitioners and to offer a rich and interesting curriculum,” he said.