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Summer 2021 Course Classifieds

AI and the Law - Prof. Cyphert

An algorithm fueled by machine learning helps determine how likely a defendant is to reoffend, and thus how long of a prison sentence she should have. A public high school buys a program from a software company to monitor its students’ online speech and discipline them for it. Lawyers hire firms that use big data to predict how a judge might rule in a particular case and even what kind of language in a motion might be most persuasive. These are not scenes from science fiction but rather real-world examples of artificial intelligence at work in our society and legal system. This course will help familiarize law students with the basics of artificial intelligence, including machine learning and algorithmic decision making. We will study ideas from computer science, data science, and philosophy. Students will also learn about the important (and sometimes troubling) ways artificial intelligence is being used in the criminal justice sector. We will focus on the difficulty of “arguing” with a machine, why explainability and interpretability matters, how deep fakes might impact future elections, and whether an algorithm can be biased. Lawyers will increasingly be required to be familiar with these ideas to be effective advocates in almost any field, and this course will help them prepare for that future.

International Business Transactions - Prof. Martin

International Business Transactions is also known as the “buffet course.” Why? Because unlike many law school courses where you do a deep dive into one area of the law, IBT covers so many different areas that it would be impossible to tackle all the jurisprudence in this three-credit course without gorging yourself at the table. As a result, the purpose of the course is to make you exceptional issue spotters at the legal issues that may arise when one part engages in a business transaction with a party from another country. Among the goals that I have for this course are to have you; (1) identify the appropriate legal structure for organizing international business transactions; (2) distinguish between a distributor relationship, a licensing arrangement and; foreign direct investment and (3) analyze the “soft law,” cultural and ethical implications involved in a variety of international business transactions. Bon Appetit! (Just make sure that you don’t overeat in the process).

Land Use and Resilience Law - Prof. Richardson

Whether you plan to represent landowners, energy companies, environmental groups, developers, farmers, or local governments, you must know how to navigate the common law and regulatory maze that is land use law. Land Use and Resilience Law includes property rights and regulatory takings, environmental justice, energy, land conservation, agriculture, climate change and more. Land Use and Resilience Law includes these topics and more. This course covers the multi-faceted nature of land use regulation in the United States. Generally, the course begins with common-law and private-law mechanisms for controlling land uses and moves into the regulatory state and land use planning. The common thread running throughout the class involves the tension between private property rights and the rights of the public.

Legal Estate Planning - Prof. Wilson

This course primarily covers the estate planning process and planning for wealth transfers under state law, generally, with a heavy focus on practical drafting and administration skills. This is a three credit course. Wealth Transfers is a pre-requisite, but can be waived by me. As time allows, we will have a short introduction to the estate and gift tax aspects of estate planning.

Estate planning is a process, the outcome of which is dictated by the client’s assets and goals. 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 between the outcome and the path to it.

The course will focus on advising clients regarding the non-tax goals that arise when planning for the transfer of their assets to their intended beneficiaries, whether during lifetime or at death. We will begin with a general overview of the estate planning process, including identifying client goals and reviewing client assets. 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.

This is a drafting course. We will take a set of hypothetical clients through the estate planning process, with the final project being a full set of estate planning documents for the clients. There will be weekly drafting assignments.

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