You probably have some sense of what a lawsuit is, and how it works. Civil procedure deals with how the legal system lets you identify, bring and resolve non-criminal disputes in federal court. In other words, civil procedure is about the “rules of the road” for preparing, defending, conducting, and concluding a civil lawsuit in federal court. These rules are determined by the constitution, statutes, formal rules (the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure), and court practices, and they have evolved as the courts and our cases have evolved over time. This course will teach you how to read legal materials and how to apply them to actual factual situations, which are skills you will use in every area of your legal study and practice. The course teaches a new language – law and procedure. Recurring themes that you can expect to focus on the rules themselves, fairness, access to justice, legal and practical strategy, and the relationship between state and federal laws and courts.
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.
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.