Every semester, the University of Maine School of Law offers several bridge courses, one-credit short courses intended to introduce students to topics, skills, and issues not normally covered in the standard curriculum.
In the past few years, Maine Law has offered the following bridge courses:
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 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.
class will explore three broad related questions about the legislative process:
- 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.
There are approximately five hundred municipalities in the State of Maine. Some are located in touristy picturesque coastal areas while others are nestled inland where rolling hills, farms, and fields define the lay of the land, and still others struggle to survive along abandoned industrial or transportation corridors, relics of another era. But they all share one common characteristic: Home Rule – the authority to govern independently. What does this mean exactly? What is a municipality? What is Home Rule? What powers may a municipality exercise and what if any are the limits on the exercise of Home Rule authority? And why is there is so much diversity in the legal structures among the various towns and cities throughout the State. Why do some have zoning laws and others none at all? Why do some communities govern by the will of the voters and others through a council? What is an open town meeting and why is voting in some elections by secret ballot elections while in others voting is from the floor? And who is responsible to keep the roads clear so that people can get to work, to school, or wherever they need to go? These are just some of many questions that will be explored in this class. The expression of municipal authority within Maine tells a story that is both diverse and unique. Come and learn about municipal law in Maine and discover the legal heritage passed down from the past. We will discuss not only what Home Rule and the exercise of local power means in Maine, but we will examine how this authority has been implemented and shaped and what the legal landscape looks like today for the citizens as a corporate body and their governing officials as they together move forward into the future.
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.