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Spring 2017 Course Classifieds

1. LAW 627 Land Use and Sustainable Development Law Clinic 1 (LUSD Law Clinic) - Professor Garvey

West Virginia is home to some of the world’s most beautiful rivers and streams. Many of these waters are polluted, in part because of the way land is used in nearby areas. The LUSD Law Clinic provides legal services to local governments, landowners and non-profit organizations to develop land conservation strategies and practices. The LUSD Clinic is a 2-semester, 12-credit course offered to selected third-year law students. As a transactional and policy-based clinic, students develop research, drafting, negotiation and client counseling skills. Example projects include drafting zoning ordinances, conservation easements and title opinions. Students also engage in a weekly 90-minute classroom seminar, led by faculty and guest speakers. Students receive academic credit based upon their satisfactory completion of both casework and the classroom components of the course. For more information on the LUSD Clinic’s goals, projects, and student application procedures visit

2. LAW 643 Taxation of Business Entities - Professor Wilson

Now, with More Tax! So if you took Tax and survived it (and maybe even liked it), then this class is for you! Even if you didn’t like it, if you want to pursue a transactional business practice, you really ought to have this class. TOBE is a four credit course that takes a comparative approach to the federal income taxation of C corporations, S corporations and partnerships. The course will focus on advising clients regarding the significant tax issues to take into consideration when forming and operating a business entity. Rather than proceed on an entity-by-entity basis, we will then look at the tax issues that arise during the life cycle of a business entity. As always, there will be a healthy dose of comic books and professional wrestling. Note: Federal Income Taxation I is a prerequisite, although it may be waived by me with a demonstration of a strong grounding in basic tax concepts (e.g., an undergraduate degree in accounting).

3. LAW 753 Estate and Gift Tax - Professor Wilson

Estate planning for higher net worth families is a difficult area of law – while it is highly technical, it is also fraught with judgment calls, balancing goals, and deep emotional issues. My intent is to start you on the path of navigating the practice of estate planning for those with tax issues. This 3 credit course primarily covers the federal taxation of wealth transfers, but one cannot adequately cover the tax materials without an understanding of the estate planning process and planning for wealth transfers generally. Estate planning is a process, the outcome of which is dictated by the client’s assets and goals. One of these goals may be tax minimization--but clients often have other goals that may be as, if not more, important. The various documents, trusts, and transactions that an estate planner uses are not the point of estate planning – they are merely tools in the estate planning toolbox that may help the client achieve their planning goals. The successful estate planner understands the difference. As we go along, I hope to emphasize practical concerns such as advising clients regarding priorities and risk, estate planning drafting issues, administrative problems, ethical issues in estate planning, and working collaboratively with a team of client advisors. Note: Wealth Transfers is a prerequisite. Federal Income Tax I and/or Legal Estate Planning are highly recommended.

4. LAW 658 Science & Technology of Energy - Professor Van Nostrand

Lawyers practicing in the energy industry will be expected to have a basic knowledge of the science and technology of the industry, and this course is designed to provide that background information, along with the associated legal issues. This course focuses on the scientific principles and technology associated with the extraction of energy resources; generation, transmission and distribution of electricity; and emerging energy technologies (e.g., hydraulic fracturing, biofuels, solar, energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration) as well as more traditional energy sources (hydro, nuclear, fossil fuels). Some of the questions we will consider: How do we compare the relative energy efficiency of natural gas-powered vehicles versus electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles, or conventional internal combustion engines? How could West Virginia’s biomass and/or geothermal potential be used to generate electricity? What does “clean coal technology mean, and what is involved with carbon capture and sequestration? What are the various options available for energy storage? What is the smart grid, and how does that affect the integration of renewable resources? This course will include guest lecturers from the specialty science and technology areas on the WVU campus, so that students have the opportunity to learn about these issues from the experts in their respective areas. Students will also have some exposure to the handling of scientific evidence in legal proceedings, and the presentation and cross-examination of expert testimony, which should be of great value to students who expect to litigate energy-related cases, in either administrative or court proceedings. 

5. LAW 791D Dying and the Law - Professor Blumenthal

There are only two fates we share with every other creature on the planet: birth and death. And only one—death—which we have some possible control over. How does—and how should—the law deal with the matter of dying? This course will offer an exploration—from the perspective of legal cases, lawyers, philosophers, doctors and others—of that question. Along with reading some of the key decisions—such as the Supreme Court decision in Cruzan v. Missouri—and pieces of legislation in this area, we will read about such well-known cases as that of Terry Schiavo, view films about assisted suicide in other countries, read the work of such controversial assisted suicide advocates as the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian (as well as opponents thereof), and attempt to engage this fascinating and controversial subject that lies at the intersection of law, philosophy, medicine, ethics and which is one of the, if not the, most spiritually significant experiences each of us is destined, whether we like it or not, to undergo. 

6. LAW 756 Trial Advocacy - Professor DiSalvo

Some students take the class because they want to litigate. Some students take the class but don’t want to litigate; rather they want to acquire the experience that will help them speak with confidence to client groups, to civic organizations, and to a wide variety of others-including judges and other lawyers In Trial Advocacy you will learn, practice, and master skills that will be essential for your success in settings stretching from the courtroom to your church basement. What skills? The skills to speak confidently on your feet, to respond confidently to questions, and to engage confidently in public dialogue. The course operates in three phases: 

Week One: we meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We organize the class and then ask “What makes for good advocacy?” 

Week Two through Nine: we meet on Mondays and Wednesdays only. During these weeks, student learn how to make opening statements, examine witnesses, and deliver closing arguments. 

Weeks Ten through Fourteen: during this period students prepare their final trial and appear for a pre-trial conference, a trial at which the student is an advocate, and a trial at which a student is a bailiff, time-keeper or clerk. All these appearances can be arranged so as not to conflict with other student responsibilities.

There is a final class at the end of the semester. There is no final exam (Picture hats being tossed in the air!) Students with questions are encouraged to contact Professor DiSalvo: 304.293.7342.

7. LAW 624 Advanced Legal Research - Nicholas Stump

Advanced Legal Research (“ALR”) is specifically designed to follow—and to build upon—what is covered in the standardized Introduction to Legal Research curriculum. In addition to more advanced statutory, case law, and administrative law research generally, ALR will cover topics such as the following: enhanced in-class workshopping of legal research/analysis hypotheticals; “practice ready” firm legal research; best use of free and low-cost legal resources (e.g., FastCase, a standard database for W.Va. practitioners); enhanced research on West Virginia law (e.g., historical statutory research, legislative history research, etc.); multi-state research (with an emphasis on surrounding states like PA/VA); business and market research; legal professionals research (e.g., attorneys, expert witnesses, and judges); scholarly legal research/interdisciplinary research, and; subject-specific legal research in WVU Law curriculum concentration areas like environmental/energy law, labor/employment law, international law, and public interest law.

8. LAW 728 West Virginia Constitutional Law - Professor Bastress

This two-credit course will examine the text, history, and interpretation of our State Constitution. The course will be useful for anyone practicing in West Virginia and particularly so for those who plan to work in – or against – government. While there are certainly overlaps between state constitutions and the federal constitution, there are also significant differences. Those differences will be explored in the course, but there will also be consideration of provisions that have federal counterparts. While focused on the West Virginia Constitution, which is a typical state constitution, the course provides a model for state constitutional law generally that would be of value to persons who practice in any jurisdiction. The course is much enlivened by the State’s rich history and colorful cast of characters.

9. LAW 738 Business Torts - Professor Olson

Business Torts is designed to provide comprehensive coverage of trade secret law and trademark law as well as ancillary consideration of the right of publicity. Taken collective the course addresses the strategic and legal considerations of protecting these valuable intellectual property rights as well as the defensive dimension of responding to claims by rights holders. This course uses the same casebook assigned for Intellectual Property.

10. LAW 689A Sem: Intellectual Property - Professor Olson

Utilizing a seminar format this course examines a broad range of intellectual property issues – copyright, patent, trademark among others – through contemporary cases, legal commentary, and multimedia presentations. A significant emphasis is placed on the impact of evolving technologies including the Internet on the viability of intellectual property protection. The required seminar paper may be on a broad range of subjects with the required focus being on any aspect of intellectual property.

11. LAW 794F Sem: Disability and the Law - Professor Blake

What does it mean to be disabled and what do we owe the disabled, who account for almost twenty percent of our population? The Disability and the Law Seminar will explore legal, ethical and social issues in accommodating disability in modern society. The seminar will particularly emphasize civil rights paradigms and health law issues that implicate the disabled, but other topics such as education, employment and housing will also be considered. The seminar will also explore disability and intersectionality (where disability overlaps with other features like age, race, or gender) and international approaches to disability. Students will be expected to complete a seminar paper addressing a current issue in disability law.

12. LAW 615 Elder Law - Professor Riley

This survey course will provide an overview of the legal, policy and practical aspects of serving an aging population. Topics covered include accommodating elderly clients, ethical concerns when representing the elderly; Medicare and Medicaid; long term care; housing options; health care and advance directives; guardianship and conservatorship; powers of attorney; and elder abuse. Students will be introduced to governmental and non-governmental agencies providing services to the elderly.

13. LAW 637 Transactional Skills - Professor Cowan

Transactional Skills gives students the opportunity to learn about all of the skills that go into transactions drafting, including client conferences, negotiations, engaging in simulated due diligence, drafting of various documents (engagement letter, confidentiality agreement, letter of intent, attorney opinion letter, and a contract). Students will consider the ethical and practical implications of the drafting process and learn what it means to be a "deal lawyer."

14. LAW 607 Psychology for Lawyers - Professor Elkins

In Psychology for Lawyers many of you will be working with ideas and materials that are new to you. There is no expectation that you will have a background in psychology, or that you will have ever taken a psychology course of any kind. We will, in essence, be looking at psychology from the ground up. The idea is to find ways of thinking about psychology that help you better understand yourself, and your clients, and in doing so, better understand the psychological dynamics that swirl around and in life. The purpose of the course is to help you develop an understanding of psychology that you can put to use: as a student, in the practice of law, and in your everyday efforts to understand yourself and others. Psychology for Lawyers offers a new way of thinking about your work, yourself, your clients, and the psychological undertows you will face in professional life.

Lawyers, by the nature of the work we do, find we are called on to be counselors as well as founts of information about legal rules. The best source of ideas (and underlying theories) about what it means to be a counselor turns out to be psychotherapy and psychological counseling. An interesting aspect of being a counselor is that you find that you need to know something about yourself—you need a modicum of self-awareness and self-insight. One source (among others) that prompts self-awareness and focuses on self-understanding is what we learn about ourselves from psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and analytical psychology. In class, we will spend considerable time reviewing video materials of psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, Jungian therapists, and psychotherapists talking about psychology and how they use psychological concepts in treating their patients. We are all, in some sense, patients in need of what we can learn from psychology.

15. LAW 746 Lawyers and Literature - Professor Elkins

The basic idea for Lawyers and Literature is simply this: A legal education provides you with a working knowledge of the law (at least selected parts of it), and an understanding of how lawyers think, and how they put this thinking to work to solve problems for a client. A failing of legal education is that it can provide a distorted sense of what it means to be a lawyer and fail to warn you about the cost that comes from identifying yourself as a lawyer. In Lawyers and Literature, we ask, with the help of short stories, novellas, and poetry: What does it mean to be a lawyer? Traditional law school courses provide a host of answers to this question. Yet, the array of answers they offer is incomplete. Reading fiction—fiction in which we find law students, lawyers, judges—we see ourselves from a different perspective; we see ourselves in a different light. Thinking about the lawyers we find in fiction, we are invited to learn something about ourselves and what it means to be a lawyer. 

16.  LAW 689R Sem: Commercial and Business Law - Professor Cardi

This research seminar examines a variety of topics relating to commercial and business law. The student focus and effort will be on the student’s own research project.

The subject matter of the seminar is broad enough to allow for literally thousands of student research topics.  The student is free to choose any topic they wish.  For larger research endeavors, two or more students can work together on the same topic.  In past seminars, the majority of students picked topics they were involved in during summer clerkships, or have considered during life experiences.  Some pick from a suggested list which can be seen now at the TWEN page for Commercial and Business Law Seminar.

The readings required for the class sessions will be minimal, as most of the student work will be devoted to their own paper.  The early class sessions will consist primarily of lectures, and the remainder involve discussions by students on their work in progress.  The final grade will be based on the research paper (90%) and participation in class discussion of other student research (10%).

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