Administrative Law/ Public Institutions in Context/ Environmental Law

3 credits - Professor Rebecca Bratspies

This course offers an introduction and overview of administrative law, through the lens of environmental law. Students will gain an appreciation for the role that public institutions play in the modern regulatory state. After laying a solid foundation of administrative law and process, this course will focus on the major federal environmental regulatory regimes, detailing how the EPA uses rule-making and adjudicative processes to achieve environmental ends.

Through detailed study of environmental regulatory schemes, students will attain proficiency with environmental regulation in the United States while also developing a textured understanding of the regulatory state more generally. The course will draw on a combination of statutory/regulatory analysis and case studies alongside more traditional case-based materials. A consistent theme throughout this course will be how to use administrative procedures to achieve public interest environmental goals. Students will participate in the notice and comment phase dof an actual rule-making procedure. This course satisfies the CUNY Law School's administrative law graduation requirement.


Constitutional Structures and the Law

3 credits (Fall)

The course examines federalism as a core value and structural element of the Constitution. It examines the separation of powers within the federal government, as well as the distribution of powers among local, state and federal governments.  In this connection, the public-private distinction gets explicit examination.  The public power emerging from the commerce clause and the increasing role of public regulation in the market place are also considered.


Evidence and Lawyering in the Public Interest

4 credits (Fall)

The content of the course centers on three areas: evidence, advocacy skills, and theoretical understanding of dispute resolution. In each area, the emphasis is on combining a focus on litigation with a broader context. Thus, this course explores alternatives to adjudication, settlement and enforcement efforts as well as litigation. The central objective of this course is to enable students to acquire some of the skills and understanding they need for practice.


Property: Law and the Market Economy III

4 cr. (Fall or Spring)

This course surveys property law, addressing the broad concept of what property is and when the law should vest ownership as a matter of right.  The course concentrates substantially on real property (such as estates in land, easements and covenants, adverse possession, landlord-tenant law, and zoning and takings law.).  However, the course also examines the law's recognition of property rights in creativity, new technologies, marriage, and human tissue among other matters, to explore the difficulties and consequences of establishing and defining ownership as a rule of law.  The course is designed to encourage the study of each of these areas of property law from a public interest perspective - the primary dilemma of balancing private interests in ownership with the public interest in protecting land, things, and people.


Second Year Lawyering Seminars

4 credits (Spring)

These seminars, similar in structure to the first-year Lawyering Seminars, provide a framework for studying the ways that lawyers work and think. Built around specific doctrinal areas and skills, they teach the fundamental lawyering skills of legal analysis, legal research and writing, fact investigation and presentation, and advocacy or mediation. Beyond that, the courses introduce students to qualitative skills such as: listening (to clients, adversaries, others), exercising judgment and reflecting on one's decisions, and engaging in the process of ethical reasoning. While focusing students' attention on the development of their skills as lawyers through student work on simulated or real client problems, the courses are also designed to develop students' critical awareness of the social, legal, ethical, and psychological content of their work.

Students examine the philosophical, political and psychological premises of the lawyer's status and role, as expressed in the Code of Professional Responsibility. The objective is to teach what has been thought of simply as "skills" training in a way that does not fragment skills from values, but combines the acquisition of skills with the beginning of an inquiry into professional role and responsibility that will be carried on throughout the three-year program. All seminars are offered for 4 credits and provide students with the opportunity for substantial legal writing experience.

32-web.jpg