Every semester, the University of Maine School of Law offers several one-credit short bridge courses intended to introduce students to topics, skills, and issues not normally covered in the standard curriculum.
Below is a list of bridge courses that have been recently offered by Maine Law:
This course provides an introduction to cyber security law, with a focus on the nuts and bolts of how to plan for and deal with cyber incidents. It is designed to teach the student the basic skills needed to be able to assess an organization’s incident response readiness, to assist organizations with incident response planning and execution, and to deal with the technical and legal issues that typically come up during an incident as it is unfolding, as well as its aftermath, including data breach notification, regulatory investigations and enforcement and litigation. Actual case studies will be used. Several faculty members of USM’s Maine Cyber Security Cluster have collaborated with the Law School in designing this course and will participate in teaching this course. We will cover some of the key technology fundamentals that lawyers need to understand to be able to work effectively with cyber technical experts to assess privacy and cyber security risks and to analyze the legal implications arising from cyber incidents.
This course will introduce students to applications of AI technologies in different industries, including the health, life sciences and financial sectors, and the ethical and data protection issues that arise from the use of these technologies. Concerns about the unintended and negative consequences of AI and machine learning have sparked proposals for regulation in the US and EU. We will examine what legislators and regulators are considering by way of regulatory frameworks and how industry responding through self-policing and ethics frameworks
This course presents a survey of the driving forces revolutionizing the practice of law, examines the impact of Facebook, Google, Amazon, and IBM Watson on legal search strategies, evaluates the growing threat from cyber terrorism, and highlights the changing employment landscape for practicing attorneys.
It is said that there are two kinds of companies today; those know they have been hacked, and those that do not know (yet). Ninety-eight percent of all data are now created electronically, in the form of social media, big data, new communication forms that can create, and destroy, messages in seconds, and monitoring software that collects, synthesizes, reports, and stores an unimaginable volume and type of data about a company, its employees, their activities, intellectual property, business processes, and client data. An increasing number of actors want access to that data, including government agencies, regulatory bodies, international policing institutions, audit committees, marketing organizations, outside counsel, opposing counsel and hackers (state sponsored or otherwise). Companies (small, mid-size and large) are turning to machine learning, artificial intelligence, and related technologies to monetize data and capture it for compliance needs, research and development, and driving efficiencies across all business units. Newly minted attorneys must develop real world capabilities to confront the fast pace of technology apparent in nearly every aspect of business operations and growth. Some of the subjects examined will be eDiscovery and cybersecurity practices, lawyers’ ethical obligations vis-a-vis electronic data, changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to take into account electronically stored information, and advising clients in this environment.
Serving as a guardian ad litem after graduation from law school is a unique paid opportunity for individuals concerned about the well-being of children whose families are involved in a court process. For students interested in applying to be placed on the guardian ad litem Title 18-C or 19-A roster after graduation, this course has been approved by the Chief Judge of the District Court to satisfy the core training requirement under M.R.G.A.L. 2(b)(1)(B), provided the application is submitted within 24 months after completion of this course. Applicants who submit their applications after 18 months may be subject to additional requirements, including a refresher course. Furthermore, for any student interested in serving as a court appointed special advocate (CASA) during or after law school, this course presumptively satisfies the required CASA training under M.R.G.A.L. 2(b)(1)(B).
Students will each be required to do one oral presentation summarizing one of the articles we read as a way to kick off discussion. For the weeks in which they are not presenting, students will be required to write one-page response papers that reflect on, critique, or raise questions about the readings for that session.
- How, technically, does the legislature make the law?
- What are proper points of consideration for members of a legislative body in the process of making the law?
- What are the roles of lawyers in the legislative process?
There are practical and theoretical dimensions to each of those questions. As much as possible, we hope that we will be able to keep an eye on both the practical and the theoretical, but this course will be primarily concerned with the practical.
This skills-based course will examine the expanding body of law and practice on the treatment of electronically stored information in state and federal court litigation. The ubiquitous use of computers, the Internet, and other sources of electronic information has dramatically changed litigation practice for attorneys, clients, and courts. As a result, familiarity with all aspects of “ediscovery”- which broadly refers to the identification, preservation, collection, review, and production of electronic data – is no longer optional for new attorneys. Attorneys who fail to keep up will place themselves and their clients at a strategic disadvantage in litigation. Students in this course will study the federal and state rules of civil procedure and a wealth of growing e-discovery case law. Students also will explore the basic technological knowledge that counsel should possess to litigate cases today. Specific e-discovery topics that the course will cover include data preservation, collecting documents, responding to discovery requests, searching and reviewing documents, and using artificial intelligence. Applying a case-model approach that follows the life cycle of a litigation matter from start to finish, each e-discovery topic will be grounded in specific, real world examples that highlight the interplay between the stages of litigation and e-discovery issues. Students will complement their knowledge of ediscovery law through practical litigation exercises, including conducting mock document collection interviews, participating in meet and confers with opposing counsel, and briefing and arguing discovery disputes in court. In addition, throughout the course students will explore the real-world challenges that attorneys face every day in discovery, such as balancing discovery obligations with a client’s litigation budget and strategies for navigating large volumes of data with limited resources. Ultimately, students who take this practical course will leave with a fundamental knowledge of e-discovery rules, technology, and strategy that will allow them to hit the ground running as their legal careers begin.
Municipal attorneys are both specialists in municipal law and generalists in all other areas of the law that influence municipal decision-making. This course is an introduction to the vast array of issues that municipalities face and the laws that govern the day-to-day decisions. Topics discussed include form of government, elections, home rule authority, challenging and defending governmental decisions, and ordinance drafting and review.
This bridge course provides an opportunity for Maine Law students to study issues related to law and racial justice in a team-taught format. We will examine racial justice issues throughout a wide range of legal fields, including Land Use, Tax, Criminal Law, Business Law, Family Law, and many others, with different faculty members leading various sessions. Students will read cases, law review articles, and other writing exploring how race affects the legal doctrine and policy all around us.
This course will explore a range of legal issues that arise out of government’s efforts to reduce gun violence by regulating the manufacture, sale and use of firearms. It will include: (1) a constitutional review of 2nd Amendment cases leading up to the Supreme Court’s Heller decision, including a review of the provisions in the Maine Constitution protecting the rights of gun owners; (2) issues arising from interpretation and enforcement of the Violence Against Women Act; (3) use of court records in implementing the Brady background check system; (4) a review of the issues arising out of state vs. federal vs. local regulation of firearms, including the role of preemption; and (5) liability of manufactures and dealers for misuse of firearms, including federal immunity from such liability.
Our modern civilization increasingly is dependent upon energy, yet over eighty percent of the energy consumed in the U.S. and world is from fossil fuels – which accounts for the lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions that are the primary cause of climate change. Climate change has become the subject of major economic, political and scientific concern and debate, with direct impact upon energy law and policy – as well as growing economic, health, and social impacts in Maine. Which is creating growing opportunities for work for attorneys and those trained in the law. Additionally, the alternative energy sector is the fastest growing one in Maine, and according to a recent report by the Maine Technology Institute has the greatest job growth potential over the next 10 years. Maine has more renewable energy resources than any other state in New England.
This course is an introduction to the clash between environmentalism, energy and economics, as well as about evolving technologies that are being pursued in Maine. We want clean energy but not high prices; we want pristine coasts and view sheds, but also comfortable cars, heat and light, and the latest electricity-consuming products. This course will provide students with a practical understanding of issues that will fundamentally shape their personal and professional futures regardless of major or discipline, in Maine or wherever they may live. It will also introduce them to some of the key Maine business and professional leaders in these fields, as well as develop and strengthen their oral and written advocacy skills.
In this course, we will read and discuss some of the most important recent decisions of the United States Supreme Court across a wide range of doctrinal areas. We will focus on the opinions issued during the 2020-2021 Term, when the Court is expected to decide a number of important cases involving constitutional law, election law, criminal law and procedure, the pandemic, the census, immigration, the border wall, and many other areas. Students are expected to lead class discussion and be active participants in the class.