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:

A growing number of lawyers market themselves as appellate specialists. This course aims to interest students in the appellate specialty; provide an overview of the different types of appeals and appellate rules of procedure; and provide a forum to practice written and oral appellate advocacy. Students will ghost write one appellate pleading. The course also will simulate client management skills and students will have the opportunity to practice oral arguments. In the process, students will learn a variety of fungible skills, e.g. how to evaluate strategic litigation choices and how to communicate those choices to the client; how to work with “good” and “bad” facts; how to best frame the legal questions presented by the case; and how to appropriately confront the ethical issues that routinely confront courtroom lawyers. At the conclusion of the course, students should feel comfortable independently prosecuting a direct appeal in state or federal court. Students should also pass any question about the Maine Rules of Appellate Procedure on the Maine Bar Exam.
This course provides an overview and introductory knowledge of banking law in the United States. Areas of study will include historical development of banking law, overlapping federal and state regulation, the roles of various regulators, and consumer banking
In this course, we will dive into Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 and explore class actions as a procedural mechanism for courts to remedy harm impacting a group of persons. Litigants pursue class actions in many shapes and forms, seeking equitable and monetary relieffor alleged violations of consumer protection laws, contract, tort, securities, antitrust, employment, and other laws. Course topics will include the procedural and jurisdictional requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23 and the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, class action case management and strategy, discovery, including expert witnesses, class certification, and settlement.
The course will provide an overview of the commercial loan transaction from issuance of the commitment letter to closing, with an emphasis on documents and issues encountered in current Maine practice. It will describe the process of drafting and negotiating commercial loan documents with reference to sample commercial forms of agreement. The legal issues underlying common documentary provisions will be explored by review of relevant case law and articles. The goal of the course is to produce lawyers who are familiar with the way commercial loan practice is actually conducted and who understand the significance of each aspect of the process and of common documentary ingredients.
This course examines the use of modern technology and the Internet to commit crimes, the methods and procedures used to investigate crimes involving computers, and the use of digital evidence in criminal prosecutions. Students will discuss how the phenomenon of the Internet has spurred reexamination of traditional legal concepts in the areas of privacy, search and seizure, criminal liability, and admissibility of evidence. Students will be evaluated based on class participation and a take-home examination.

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.

Our modern civilization increasingly is dependent upon energy, yet over 80% of the energy consumed in the U.S. and world is from fossil fuels – which account 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, the U.S., and globally. Which is creating growing opportunities for work for attorneys and those trained in the law and litigation. This course will provide students with a practical understanding of issues that will fundamentally shape their personal and professional futures regardless of their ultimate fields of pursuit, in Maine or wherever they may live and work.
What do Supreme Court decisions on recess appointments and the Northwestern University’s Football team have in common? Both were at the center of recent key labor law rulings. This course will touch upon a number of key labor law concepts, including collective bargaining, good faith negotiation, joint employer status, and protected concerted activity. Using real life examples – supplemented with existing case law – this course will offer a practical, real world glimpse into the exciting and often political world of labor law.
This course is an introduction to privacy law fundamentals. The focus will be on defining privacy within a social and legal context. Topics covered will include: history, common law and litigation, fair information practice principles, international frameworks, policy, and enforcement. This bridge course is the first third of the “Information Privacy Law” course.
A guardian ad litem (GAL) is an individual appointed as the court’s agent to represent the best interests of a child involved in a court case. This course will provide comprehensive training for guardian ad litem practice. It will cover the applicable substantive law in Titles 18-C (minor guardianship and adoption), 19-A (domestic relations), and 22 (child protection) of the Maine statutes; dynamics of domestic abuse and its effect on children; dynamics of separation and divorce and their effect on children; child development; timing and effect of court-related events from a child’s perspective; the effects of abuse, neglect, and trauma on children; substance abuse; mental health; family finances and the financial effect of separation and divorce; legal issues and processes; ethics and professionalism as a guardian ad litem; the duties and obligations of the guardian ad litem as an agent of the court; and interviewing techniques.

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).

This course will introduce students to issues involving foreclosure of residential mortgages in Maine with emphasis on the borrower’s options to avoid foreclosure after payment default. Students considering representing consumers as well as creditors will benefit from this course, which will include an overview of Maine foreclosure law and mediation program; a hands-on review and analysis of the various types of promissory notes, typical mortgage forms and mortgage servicing guidelines, including the federal “Making Home Affordable” programs; understanding the role of the lender, mortgage servicer, investor and mortgage insurer; and negotiating “graceful exits” when home retention is not feasible. Major federal laws and regulations will be discussed, including the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), Truth in Lending Act (TILA), and the implementing regulations issued by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Class discussion and assignments will include review of actual cases to determine options available to the homeowner and compliance with CFPB regulations. Real Estate Transactions is not a prerequisite.
This course provides an overview of import & export law. With a practical approach to the business and legal considerations involved, we will discuss the purpose of import/export laws, an overview of their structure, and the requirements for establishing import/export channels. We will explore the import/export process, from origin to destination, according to good or service type. This will include an analysis of relevant agencies; issues common to importing/exporting to/from major geographic markets, or to specific good/service types; and, practical considerations in logistics and distribution. Ultimately, students are intended to depart the course with a practical understanding of how to import or export a given good or service of their choosing.
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the substance and processes of Jewish law. Students with an interest in constitutional law, legislation, and/or comparative law are particularly encouraged to enroll. No prior knowledge of Hebrew is required, and students are not expected to have any background in Jewish history. This course begins with an overview of the basic structure and foundational texts of Jewish law. Next, the course turns to the interpretive methodologies that have guided Jewish law for centuries, paying particular attention to the usage of interpretive canons and the role of stare decisis. The course then devotes several weeks to exploring various substantive topics in Jewish criminal and civil law. Throughout, a focus of the course is to compare and contrast Jewish law and American law and to explore the roots of American law in the Bible and in later Jewish texts. This is a one-credit course. Grading will be pass/fail and will be based on several short reading responses and class participation. There is no course book; all readings will be available online.
This course will examine the nature of law and legal reasoning. We will read and discuss classic articles in legal theory collected in The Canon of American Legal Thought (David Kennedy & William W. Fisher III eds., 2006). The course will begin with the legal realists, who famously showed how legal reasoning is inextricably bound up with policy choices. From there, we will turn to several schools of thought, from law and economics to critical race theory, that built on the realist insight to offer competing views on what constitutes proper policy reasoning and how it should inform the law.

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.

This course is an advanced constitutional law offering on the law that regulates the role of religion in American life. Our focus is on Supreme Court doctrine interpreting the establishment and free exercise clauses of the First Amendment, as well as the statutory law that has grown out of struggles between Congress and the Court to define the meaning of those clauses. Students should leave the course with a solid grounding in the law on free exercise, government funding of religion, the regulation of public religious displays, and church autonomy. Some attention will also be devoted to the eighteenth-century origins of the American law of religious liberty, comparative regimes of religious freedom, and contemporary free exercise and establishment clause controversies related to Islam and the Catholic Church
The course will focus on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) and the World Anti-Doping Code (the “Code”). It will begin with some background on the idea of international uniform dispute resolution and explain how the CAS and Code came into being. It will also cover arbitration clauses and how athletes agree to submit to binding arbitration. It will introduce the class to the Ad Hoc Panel of the CAS presided over the London Olympics and discuss the cases that arose during the Games. A real CAS/anti-doping case will be assigned. Each student will have to prepare a 5-7 page arbitration brief. Texts will likely include: a) the World Anti-Doping Code; b) The CAS Procedural Rules; and c) a case packet of relevant CAS jurisprudence. The course may also include other cases and articles of interest.
This course will be a hands-on research course which will include both classroom lectures and library exercises. The first part of the course will introduce the students to Maine legal resources. Second, this course will expand the students’ knowledge of federal primary legal resources as well as introduce them to various secondary sources. Finally, the students will be introduced to various electronic resources, including alternatives to the large commercial databases, as well as instruction in cost effective research techniques for electronic resources.
By the time that you graduate from law school, you will be an expert in reading and analyzing appellate court decisions on various legal questions: Was it foreseeable that fireworks would knock over a scale causing injury? Which party to a contract should bear the cost when both parties were mistaken about which ship was sailing at which time? Can public universities use race as a factor in determining admission? But, as you have (probably) realized, the legal world is made up of more than appellate-level court decisions–so, too, is the practice of law. This class will focus on an entirely different realm: the legislature and the legislative process. Francis Bacon wrote that judges ought to remember that their office is jus dicere, not jus dare – to interpret law, not to make law. Though sometimes the edges between “interpreting” and “making” are blurry, it is the legislature that is responsible in the first instance for making the law. This class will explore three broad related questions about the legislative process:

  1. How, technically, does the legislature make the law?
  2. What are proper points of consideration for members of a legislative body in the process of making the law?
  3. 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.

This course is intended to provide students with a rudimentary introduction to general practice in Maine District Courts through the experiences and perspectives of three sitting District Court Judges. The course will expose students to some of the institutional culture, practical considerations, technical skills, and professional values needed to become effective and respected practitioners in Maine. Although not designed to train students on substantive law, the course will acquaint students with practice areas within the District Court’s jurisdiction, such as Criminal Misdemeanors, Juvenile Matters, Family Matters, Child Protective, Protection from Abuse/Harassment, Landlord/Tenant, Debtor/Creditor cases.
Through the study of the development of legal rules and concepts across a wide variety of topics in early Maine law, this course aims to help students appreciate the critical role of legal history in understanding legal issues of the present day. Topics that will be considered from that perspective include welfare rights, employee injury claims, contributory negligence, the rights of women, wrongful death claims, religion in public schools, public safety concerns, morality laws, Maine’s response to the Dred Scott case, disputes between neighbors, eminent domain, the regulation of private property, the police power, and the power of government to tax and spend. Considered with the benefit of hindsight, early judicial decisions on those topics provide numerous illustrations both of errors to avoid as well as examples to emulate and thus constitute a particularly helpful background for assessing legal issues of the present day. Throughout this course, students will be encouraged to evaluate legal issues in terms of the justice or injustice of various approaches to those issues and to consider how, with the benefit of hindsight, future generations will evaluate the jurisprudence of the present generation.

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 will explore recent and contemporary American use of military force abroad. Constitutional, military, and international law will be applied against the backdrop of current events and historical analogues. This course will examine the legality of American foreign military intervention, touching on contentious issues like targeted killings and torture. The discussion will reveal the interplay between domestic law and foreign policy, and examine the practicalities of providing legal advice in the realm of national security.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, began a wide-ranging debate over the extent to which individual privacy must give way to national security and foreign intelligence to provide the Nation with greater protection. This is not the first time the Nation has crossed this threshold. As Benjamin Franklin noted: “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” With the invasion of digital technologies and data into our everyday lives, and the ease and effectiveness of using these technologies potentially to fight terrorism, the protection of privacy and civil liberties must be weighed against national security activities. While shifting to either side of privacy or national security is not the answer, finding the right mix is an important question. As 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton testified before Congress in November 2005, the failure of the national security agencies to understand and to share information about the suspected terrorists “was the single greatest failure of our government in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks.” This course will provide an examination of the legal authorities related to national security law and how the law provides for necessary protections for privacy and civil liberties.
This one-credit hour course will survey many of the issues confronting attorneys who represent non-profit boards of directors. In format, each class will be organized as a series of board meetings at which students will “advise” the board, supporting that advice with their research. There is no textbook or examination. The grade for the course will be determined by both the student’s class participation, as well as a paper, due at the end of the school term, of no more than ten pages. The course will prepare students to take responsibility for their opinions and advice, guide students who seek employment in the world of non-profits, and encourage students to become responsible volunteer board members.
Do surfers have a ‘right’ to the waves? Can farmers sue to protect ‘their’ clouds? Can private commercial developments occupy what were once high seas areas? This course examines the modern history of law and policy developments that have enabled private actors to lay claim to natural resource functions, services, and space once thought of as predominantly public in nature. Students will examine relevant international law principles that establish legal regimes which allow coastal states (such as the United States) to claim exclusive jurisdiction over certain spaces and resources which in turn allows states to allocate access and use of such spaces and resources among private users. Evaluation will be based on a paper and presentation explaining how some public natural resource or space has effectively become ‘privatized’ to some degree.
Professional liability litigation is often high-stakes, with much on the line for both sides –not just the money damages, but also the reputation of the professional. These cases, involving allegations of malpractice in medicine, law, accounting, insurance brokerage, architecture or engineering, are governed by special principles and rules which determine the standards of care, breach, calculation of damages, use of expert witnesses and even insurance coverage. Using practical exercises, in addition to articles, current case law and statutes, we will explore the concepts and procedures which determine the course of litigation and eventual outcome of these cases.Our goal is to establish a working knowledge of the processes and law in this area, so that when the students first encounter these cases in practice, they are equipped to identify and evaluate the critical issues necessary to litigate these matters.

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.

This course will provide law students with an introductory overview of Research Law through interactive exercises such as case studies and roleplaying exercises. This will be supplemented by classroom lectures, both by the instructor and guest speakers, such as fellow attorneys in the field. The course will introduce the students to relevant federal law, regulations and case law. The topics to be covered include: clinical trials, animal and human subject research, human tissue banking, export controls, researcher misconduct, data retention and sharing, intellectual property, privacy law, financial compliance, and students will gain a basic understanding of how funded research is developed and conducted at most institutions in the United States. Finally, the students will be introduced to specific resources, certifications and organizations, providing them with the necessary tools to pursue an alternative legal career in a rapidly growing field. The USM Office of Research Integrity and Outreach (ORIO) works with the Law School’s Career Services to house a law internship. Several previous interns have gained employment in this field of law after graduation. In the last decade multiple Maine Law graduates have gone on to careers in research law and compliance
This bridge course is intended to provide students with basic knowledge of the federal securities laws. It will review key securities statutes (e.g. the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934) as well as some of the foundational cases interpreting those statutes. This course will cover some of the most interesting and complex litigation in the field today, as well as current trends in litigation and SEC enforcement. In addition to the doctrinal coverage, we will review the regulatory process and conduct a mock SEC investigation. This course is designed to give students an understanding of the role of key actors in securities litigation, including plaintiffs’ firms, defense firms, and regulatory agencies.
This course is a hands-on introduction to the practical considerations of starting and building a successful law practice. At the weekly seminars we will address topics like location, cost, accounting, conflicts, technology, advertising, mentoring, and procedures all of which are critical to small-firm effectiveness. Guest speakers may speak on relevant topics. Coursework includes periodic small projects and the creation of a complete business plan as final project.
Contrary to historical depictions of a lone lawyer against a system, true social change is often accomplished through collaborative and communal efforts. Leadership, then, depends less on individual power, but on harnessing collective power. In light of the social injustices that abound, this course will explore the following questions: how we change the systems that allow a few to profit from the suffering of many? When, why, and how do people come together to effect change? And, what is a lawyer’s role in the process? This bridge class is, ultimately, a course in practical leadership development where knowledge of the law and legal strategies are combined with self-awareness, resilience, and community support to create integrated and committed legal practitioners capable of engaging persuasively on various topics of national and global interest. This course will examine select cases of successful efforts to advance human rights in order to (1) learn key principles and (2) apply the strategies to the prominent issues of today. Students will have the opportunity to engage members of the legal community on issues of systemic discrimination through community circle discussions offered through the Alpha Legal Foundation.
Sports and recreational activities are a significant part of our daily lives. Whether as a spectator, student-athlete, amateur participant, Little Leaguer or professional athlete, injuries frequently result from these activities and litigation often follows. Using current case law and statutes, this course will introduce the major concepts and issues governing the litigation trends in this specialized area of tort law, addressing policy issues, liability theories and available defenses. Can a skier recover for injuries caused by the resort’s failure to close a trail with hazardous conditions? Is a lacrosse player liable for injuries caused by his illegal check? Are exculpatory clauses or liability waivers enforceable? Does the spectator at Fenway have a claim when she is hit by a foul ball? Will the CTE lawsuits change football? We will explore and dissect a wide range of sports-related injury litigation in this rapidly developing area of the law.
This course will use the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Murphy v. NCAA, also known as “the sports betting case,” to examine the proliferation of legalized gambling including daily fantasy sports, traditional sports betting, and live in-game mobile wagering. This seminal case serves as a backdrop to analyze the conflict between the federal prohibition against sports betting and the states’ rights to regulate gambling. The course will begin with background on the fundamentals of sports wagering and a review of the applicable federal statutes including the Wire Act, Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. In addition to reading and discussing the briefs and decision from Murphy, the course will also cover other relevant cases and statutes including Maine’s new regulations legalizing daily fantasy sports, the adoption of “integrity fees” in various states statutes, and how other countries license and regulate sports betting.
Chances are, wherever you are admitted to practice law, you will swear an oath to uphold a State Constitution. In order to do that, you must understand something about state constitutional law, which often varies significantly from federal constitutional law. State constitutional law provides a fascinating opportunity for practitioners to litigate weighty questions in unchartered territory. As the Vermont Supreme Court has written, our generation of lawyers “has an unparalleled opportunity to aid in the formulation of a state constitutional jurisprudence that will protect the rights and liberties of our people, however the philosophies of the United States Supreme Court may ebb and flow.” This bridge class aims to provide you with the tools for doing just that.

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.

Sometimes it takes more than knowledge of the law to understand how to advise a client. This course aims to introduce the necessary technical basics of computing and the Internet. If you use a computer everyday but do not understand how it works or how it communicates over a network, this course will fill in the gaps and explain how it all works and why. The course is designed to prepare students and lawyers for dealing with specific areas of the law (such as information privacy, cyber security, computer crimes, and intellectual property) that frequently require an ability to understand basic information technology concepts and often involve communicating with technology-savvy clients.
This course examines the key documents from America’s founding, with a particular emphasis on the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers, along with other important works of that era (e.g. Tocqueville’s Democracy in America). We will not only explore the arguments that were made at the time, but will try to understand how those arguments apply today. Many of the themes of the Federalist papers (and the Anti-Federalist responses) have tremendous relevance in modern times, and we will explore topics like executive power, checks and balances, judicial review and supremacy, federalism, popular democracy, and the legitimacy of the constitution-making process. The class will have extensive reading requirements, and each student must prepare one response paper during the course of the semester that will help guide the discussion for that particular class.
This course examines the core duties of state attorneys general who have become increasingly important actors in American jurisprudence. The course reviews and critiques their authority and performance with a focus on the functions of the Maine Attorney General. It will also discuss the implications for federalism and separation of powers by exploring state relations with state and federal agencies as well as the private bar.
This course will provide a deep and practical dive into water law, with a focus on the water quality of Casco Bay and Long Creek. The course will combine classroom study with observation in the field at the locations of focus. We will study publicly available documents from regulators and regulated industries, alongside legal and scientific publications pertaining to water quality. The course will involve field work to examine the critical interplay of science and law in crafting solutions to complex water quality problems. The course will culminate in the drafting of a policy position paper related to one of the two water quality issues we cover. The policy paper will be required to include discussion of relevant federal, state and local law.