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Fall 2021 Course Classifieds

Appellate Advocacy - Professors Manning, Rogers, +1 TBA

Appellate Advocacy gives you the simulated experience of representing a client in an appeal before the United States Supreme Court, a federal Court of Appeals, or the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The question presented by the appeal varies from section to section and may be constitutional or statutory; recent problems have involved the Second Amendment, free speech, artificial intelligence, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The course covers the basic rules of appellate procedure, but is primarily a skills course that reinforces and delves deeper into the principles of written and oral advocacy covered in Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing. The course requires you to write an appellate brief (approximately 20-25 pages long and 75% of your course grade) and then present an oral argument (generally 15-20 minutes long and 20% of your course grade). The lengths of the brief and oral argument allow you to develop a more complex and rigorous argument and more time to engage orally with the Justices or Judges on your panel. The skills you develop in this course will be useful in your career, regardless of whether you ever represent a client in an appeal, because all lawyers – litigators and transactional – have to communicate their clients’ positions clearly and persuasively, in writing and orally.

Constitutional Law II - Prof. Bastress

Constitutional Law II focuses strictly on the freedoms of expression and conscience contained or implied in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. They include the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, petition, association, and religion – the fundamental rights that enable individuals to develop their faculties and to participate in society and in the democratic processes. In addition to defining the scope of protection accorded to individuals who engage in expressive activities, the course addresses modern issues relating to the mass media, the Internet, and campaign finance. Study of the First Amendment would be of considerable value to anyone who wants to work in government, civil rights, the media, or who wants to participate in public discussion or the political process. It is also useful to anyone who will be taking a bar examination; forty to fifty percent of the multistate constitutional law questions historically have been based on First Amendment issues.

Employment Discrimination - Prof. Bastress

As its name communicates, Employment Discrimination provides a detailed study of federal and West Virginia fair employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Equal Pay Act, the West Virginia Human Rights Act, and anti-retaliation provisions under all of them. The course is taught to prepare students for litigation on the anti-discrimination laws, which provide the largest number of litigated claims in all of employment law – and the most work for lawyers. The course would also prove useful for persons interested in human resources positions and in-house corporate work. Employment Discrimination is a bar exam subject in some states, including Pennsylvania.

Bankruptcy: Creditors and Debtors - Prof. Cardi

Students will gain an overview of state creditor and debtor law, and a detailed working knowledge of the federal bankruptcy code.

The course in Law of Creditor and Debtor Rights and Bankruptcy is divided into two parts. The first reviews the West Virginia law detailing how debts can be secured by interests in real estate and personal property, how some debt-creating actions automatically create liens on real and personal property, how debts can be turned into prejudgment liens, how debts can be reduced to judgment, how judgments can be turned into money, and how attempts to hide property from creditors can affect the rights of the debtor, the creditor, and third parties. Although some consumer protection laws will be covered, most laws affecting the independent field of debt collection practices and consumer protection are not addressed in this course.

Civil Disobedience and the Law - Prof. DiSalvo

Up for a change of pace?  This class will be offered fall semester – Mondays from 4:00 to 5:50 pm.

  • It carries two credits, fulfills your seminar writing requirement, and is a perspective.
  • The class asks a variety of questions: What is civil disobedience? What justifies it? Can it change the law? How? What view of conscientious lawbreaking should the legal system take?
  • Topics include, among others, the woman’s suffrage movement, the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, the movement for the liberation of colonial India, and the movement to stop climate change. We will read folks you’ve heard of -- Gandhi, King, Thoreau – and others you’ve never heard of.
  • The class is operated as a guided discussion in which everyone is expected to participate. (No lectures, no student presentations.)
  • There is no exam. Rather, there is a research-and-analysis paper.
  • There is a large amount of reading, writing, and film-watching.
  • The course is a ton of work – and a ton of fun.

Questions? Please feel free to contact me at

Immigration Law - Prof. Friedberg

Immigration issues dominate the news these days. This course will provide you with some significant expertise in this area and hopefully enable you to distinguish law from nonsense. The practice of immigration law will only grow in importance in the next few years with issues of asylum, refugees, borders, employment of non-citizens, deportation, etc. being critical both to national political dialogue and to your practice as attorneys. Knowing immigration law will put you in a valuable position for advising your clients and consulting to your colleagues. Obviously, it is a growing area of practice where employment opportunities are significant.

International Law - Prof. Friedberg

International Law plays a major role in many of today's most important public issues. We will address some of these issues as well as covering basic theory and doctrine of International Law. Topics will include war and peace, human rights, international environmental concerns, the United Nations, international tribunals, and the emergence of new states. We also will pay special attention to international current events, particularly conflicts that threaten global stability as they arise and are covered in the news. I look forward to working with you to make this course a worthwhile and enjoyable experience.

Junk Science - Prof. Giggenbach

Junk Science: How to identify and avoid the use of invalid science in the courtroom. This one credit course explores the idea that not all forensic science admitted as evidence in court rooms is ever or will remain scientifically valid. Following an overview of forensic disciplines and often misapplied science, this course will examine three separate forensic disciplines using real-life cases and appearances by both experts in the respective disciplines and by one or more formerly incarcerated individuals who were victims of the misapplied scientific disciplines in their criminal cases.

Business Organizations - Prof. Martin

So, you want to be a lawyer? Then why haven’t you signed up for Business Organizations yet? This four-credit course is at the foundation of any legal practice. In addition to being bar-tested material, the course is particularly crucial for those students interested in becoming corporate litigation or transactional lawyers. Even for students in a general law practice or even criminal lawyers to-be (white collar crime, anyone?) this course is at the heart of most of the issues you will wrestle with. The course will start on Main Street (sole proprietorships; agency law – what happens when someone does work on someone else’s behalf and; business partners) and go all of the way to Wall Street (where we will tackle fun issues such as insider trading! fiduciary duties! and how we really want corporations to behave). It’s not quite How to Get Away with Murder, but I hope it will be entertaining nonetheless…

Corporate Governance and Accountability - Prof. Martin

It’s not a coincidence that much of the movies and television shows that permeate pop culture today feature corporations at the heart of the story (think Billions, Corporate, and all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Like it or not, corporations touch on every aspect of our lives. But how much do we really know about the law surrounding these entities? In this three-credit seminar you take the lead on finding out. For the first four weeks, we will examine the cutting-edge issues in corporate accountability and governance. After that, we rarely meet as a class. Instead, this time will be devoted to one-on-one meetings, where we explore what issue matters to you most, with the ultimate goal of you doing a deep dive in that subject. For the final month, we come back together as a class - each with increased expertise in a small field of study. At this point, you once again take the lead on educating and being educated by your peers – all with the goal of producing a publishable quality paper on a subject that aligns with your passion.

Evidence - Prof. McDiarmid

Evidence is tested on the National Bar Exam. It is a prerequisite to Trial Advocacy and many clinics. My goal is that all students in this class will gain proficiency in the Rules of Evidence, both federal and West Virginia. I want you to know the rules and be able to use them.

Environmental Law: Pollution - Prof. McGinley

Environmental Law – Pollution and is one of two basic Environmental Law Courses offered by the College of Law. There other is Environmental Law – Conservation. The courses are usually taught in successive semesters and each qualifies as a required course for purposes of the College of Law Energy & Sustainable Development Law Concentration.

The Environmental Law – Pollution course focuses on the legal rights and remedies of those who may be harmed by environmental pollution. This course will also provide a basic overview of the legislative, administrative and judicial system through which such rights and remedies are vindicated and environmental laws are administered and enforced.

This 3 credit hour survey course will provide students with a perspective of federal and state environmental regulatory regimes, common law claims and defenses commonly raised in response to environmental pollution, as well as legal strategies relating to air pollution, water pollution, toxic and hazardous waste issues.

Students will learn environmental law from a real world perspective. Environmental issues faced by practicing lawyers in advising clients and in litigating will be explored.

Human Rights and the Environment – Professor McGinley

The Human Rights and the Environment seminar examines human rights and social justice issues that arise when the interests of families and communities clash with industrial development/operations, and natural resource extraction. Issues studied may include those relating to shale gas hydrofracking, mining of uranium/asbestos/and coal, disposal of hazardous and nuclear wastes, and human exposure to toxic substances released into the environment.

These activities frequently occur in lower income neighborhoods and communities of color. The role of lawyers and the courts in assuring adequate access to justice for these communities is examined. The seminar was the first to address environmental justice and human rights as a topic of scholarship and study in American law schools.

A seminar research paper is required. Student Seminar papers will explore current human rights, legal and environmental justice issues faced by a communities in the United States and abroad. Professor McGinley will supervise and provide support and editorial suggestions as each student chooses a topic, prepares an outline and a draft of her paper prior to completion of a final draft.

Cultural Property - Prof. Osborn

This course is designed to provide a detailed understanding of the concept and laws that define, address, and protect our cultural property and heritage. According to UNESCO, cultural property is defined as “property on which religious or secular grounds, is specifically designated by each State as being of importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science.” We will examine:

  • cases and various statutes that govern the ownership and use of cultural property; and
  • blogs, position papers, and other materials from experts that examine issues of cultural property in the broader context of the topic.

As used in the context of this course cultural property law refers to a body of domestic and international law that recognizes and governs group interests in resources that are integral to community identity and experience. This class examines the concept of cultural property law generally with attention to, among other topics, the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act of 1990, tax, non-profit, museum and art law, the doctrine of moral rights, and copyright.

This course employs three to six mini-assessments over the course of the semester in lieu of a final. Assessments types may include, but are not limited to, a client letter, position paper, and drafting forms.

This course qualifies as a perspective. In addition to cases and statutes, readings and class preparation includes materials from the humanities that explore the concept of culture as property. One such example is the film Woman in Gold.

Civil Procedure: Rules - Prof. Rhee

This class introduces you to civil litigation through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. We shall examine civil litigation from the pleadings stage through discovery to summary judgment. In addition to short drafting exercises, you shall be required to complete Computer-Aided Legal Instruction (CALI) and PracticePerfect online lessons. Required materials are a student PollEverywhere license; a PracticePerfect: Civil Procedure student license; Joseph W. Glannon, Andrew M. Perlman, & Peter Raven-Hansen, Civil Procedure: A Coursebook (3d ed. 2017 & Supp. 2020); and, 2021 Federal Civil Rules Booklet (2021). Grade components are attendance (5%); online discussion board postings (10%); a traditional midterm exam (15%) and a traditional final exam (70%). Please contact Prof. Rhee at with any questions.

Firearms Law and Policy - Prof. Rhee

This class is a survey introduction to US firearms law and policy and the Second Amendment of the US Constitution where you shall learn the scholarly writing process and produce a seminar paper of publishable quality. The required text is Firearms Law and the Second Amendment: Regulation, Rights, and Policy (Nicholas J. Johnson, David B. Kopel, George A. Mocsary & Michael P. O’Shea, eds. Aspen Publishers, 2d ed. 2018). Grade components are class participation (10%); research proposal and literature search (10%); outline and research log (10%); and final paper (70%). Please contact Prof. Rhee at with any questions.

Water Law - Prof. Richardson

Water is our most important resource – for life, societal development, economic growth, and environmental quality. All life depends on water for survival, as does our economy. Water scarcity has always been a fact in the arid western United States, but increasingly water scarcity has become a major issue in the eastern United States. Water quantity and quality are inextricably linked to energy production and use. The water-energy nexus has become a term of art.

Degraded water quality and stresses to watersheds are problems everywhere. Public water supply distribution systems face aging infrastructure and growing pressures to privatize. Even global issues like international trade, management of waters shared with Mexico or Canada, and climate have impacts on water in the United States.

Policies governing water allocation and conservation are some of the most critical in our society. How we use, manage, and protect water reflects our values and priorities.

This course provides a survey of the water allocation doctrines of riparian rights and prior appropriation, as well as five different common law rules that apply to allocation of ground water. The origins of federal power over water resources and controversies between the states and the federal government and between individual states over shared water resources will be discussed. We will also examine public rights and interests in water resources. The muddled case law involving water rights and regulatory takings will be studied. Water quality issues will be explored as well, including portions of the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act. The water-energy nexus will be investigated.

Wealth Transfers - Prof. Rogers

Wealth Transfers is about death and money. This course, an introduction to trusts and estates, covers how people give away their stuff — through probate or contracts, by default or deliberate choice. To help students prepare for the bar exam, this course uses “spaced repetition” to lock in doctrinal knowledge. The course strengthens legal skills such as statutory parsing, and it teaches broadly useful cognitive tools.  We likely will have a traditional final exam, but also intermediate graded activities such as taking quizzes and creating an estate plan. So, support your local skeletons! The Dead Hand beckons you to this course..

The Scholarly Writing Workshop - Prof. Stimeling

Are you planning to enroll in a seminar course this semester? If so, you should consider enrolling in this one-credit, pass/fail course designed to take the mystery and some of the stress out of writing a seminar paper. This course will allow students to gain a better understanding of the qualities and expectations of a seminar paper, and course assignments will help students progress through the seminar paper writing process. As a class, we will work together to support each other, share ideas, address challenges, and offer feedback throughout the writing process. Students previously enrolled in this course found it helpful in keeping their writing on track, and they found that the supportive environment increased their confidence in their writing. Note: You must be enrolled in a seminar course to take this class.

Tax I - Prof. Wilson

This course starts with the basics of statutory construction, tax planning, and tax policy. With this background, we will examine the nature of “income” for federal tax purposes and the various types of income that you may encounter in practice, such as wages, fringe benefits, and income-in-kind. Once we establish the nature and scope of a taxpayer’s gross income, we will consider some of the expenses that taxpayers are allowed to deduct. We will look at itemized deductions versus the standard deduction, ordinary and necessary business deductions, the general disallowance for deductions for personal expenses (and the exceptions to that rule, such as health care costs), and “hybrid deductions,” which have an element of personal expense and an element of business expense, such as meal and travel costs. Finally, we spend some time looking at the issue of gains and losses from dealings in property. This will include a discussion of calculating gain and loss, capital gains and losses, the concept of basis, the difference between the “realization” of gain versus the “recognition” of gain, capitalization of costs, depreciation, losses, and some typical non-recognition transactions.

It is my intent to use different methods of instruction as we go through the year. There will be some lecture to introduce topics, some cold calling and discussion as we focus on cases, and some problem-solving exercises. In accordance with ABA standards, the assignments in this syllabus were designed to require you to spend at least three hours preparing for each class meeting.

Tax is everywhere and beneficial for students no matter what they wish to study; however, it is strongly recommended for anyone wanting to do transactional work, including estate planning. Learning to work with a complicated code and significant administrative and regulatory guidance is a skill set that transfers to any code-based class.

Assessment is a small writing project to practice technical tax writing, an in class midterm, and a traditional final.

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