FALL SEMESTER

This course examines the process by which the American legal system resolves civil disputes, with a focus on federal courts. We will begin with the threshold issues of jurisdiction and choice of law, before studying each stage of the litigation process, from pretrial proceedings through the appeal. Throughout the course, we will consider how individual rules and the overall system seek to strike a balance between potentially competing ends such as fairness and efficiency. We will also see how procedural rules interact with substantive law and how the battle over procedure can shape the ultimate outcome of a case.
The Framers of the Constitution declared that an important purpose in creating the United States was to “establish Justice.” When it comes to criminal law,what does “justice” mean? How is it to be secured? A useful starting point is to understand that criminal justice is a system for allocating discretion among legislators, judges, juries, the police, prosecutors, and defense counsel and regulating the relationships among them. Our goal is usable knowledge; we “know” the criminal law by knowing how these institutional actors use (or should use) their discretion to seek justice.
In this course, the student develops the essential skills of legal research, writing, and analysis by completing research and writing assignments focusing on writing for different audiences. These assignments include a series of structured research exercises, a case brief, two legal memoranda (one written for the court and the other for a law partner), and a client letter.

The course will explore the law regulating the rights of private property. We will consider why we call some resources property, how we allocate those resources, why we regulate an owner’s use of a resource, and the strategies we use to maximize the economic value of resources. We will cover both theory and doctrine addressing ownership, possession, and transfer of real and personal property. Aspects of property law that are covered include discovery, creation, capture, the estates system, landlord-tenant law, adverse possession, transfers of land, private and public law systems for regulating land use (including easements, covenants, zoning and eminent domain) and the constitutional protections of property.

SPRING SEMESTER

This course examines issues related to the United States system of constitutional governance. We will cover the scope of federal powers and the structure of government (separation of powers and federalism), as well as the protection of individual rights (focusing on substantive due process and equal protection). A major focus of the course is the role of the judiciary in the American constitutional system. Although our coverage will be necessarily limited, this course will, nevertheless, provide students with the analytical skills needed to examine general questions of Constitutional Law.
This course begins by examining the elements generally required for the creation of an enforceable agreement, including offer, acceptance, mutual assent, consideration, and definiteness. Next, we will explore possible barriers to enforcement, such as unconscionability, duress, the statute of frauds, and capacity. Thereafter, we will study the methods by which the meaning of a contract is ascertained, as well as the various remedies available in the event a party breaches the agreement. In connection with these various topics, the Restatement (Second) of Contracts, Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and the common law will be analyzed, compared, and contrasted.
This course requires the student to integrate and apply the legal research, analysis, and writing skills developed in Legal Writing I from the previous semester. In a moot court exercise, the student assumes the role of an advocate, who writes an appellate brief in an actual United States Supreme Court case and argues it orally before a panel of judges drawn from the Law School faculty and the Maine bench and bar.
This course examines civil liability, including intentional torts, negligence, and strict liability. The elements of various torts are studied, together with policy issues, and issues relating to insurance and damages. The course also deals with historical and theoretical developments, such as the rise of comparative fault and insurance, and the development of theories such as law and economics and corrective justice as they relate to tort law.