Advanced Legal Theory

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Michael Smith has been Professor of Law and Director of Legal Writing at the University of Wyoming School of Law since 2006. Professor Smith administers the Faculty of Law`s Legal Writing Program and teaches courses in Legal Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Advanced Persuasive Writing. Prior to joining the University of Wyoming School of Law, Professor Smith taught in two nationally ranked law writing programs. Immediately prior to joining the University of Wyoming, he was an Associate Professor of Law at Mercer University School of Law, where he helped design Mercer`s innovative legal writing program. In 2005, the first year legal writing programs were evaluated, Mercer`s program was ranked No. 1 in the country (along with Seattle) by U.S. News and World Report. Since then, the program that Professor Smith helped shape at Mercer has consistently ranked in the top five in the country. Prior to joining Mercer, Professor Smith taught law at Temple University School of Law. Temple`s legal writing program has also been consistently ranked among the top five in the country. Prior to joining temple faculty, Professor Smith studied law at two other law schools: the University of San Diego School of Law (1992-1996); and the University of Florida School of Law (1990-1992).

Prior to teaching law, he practiced law in Pensacola, Florida with the law firm of Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith & Cutler and in Newport Beach, California with the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Professor Smith`s main areas of scientific interest are the psychology of persuasion and, more generally, the cognitive processes that underlie effective legal writing. He has written extensively in these areas and has lectured extensively, both in the United States and abroad. In 2002, Smith published his book Advanced Legal Writing: Theories and Strategies in Persuasive Writing (Aspen 2002). This multidisciplinary book has been hailed as groundbreaking work in the field of persuasive legal writing and, as one reviewer noted, “a must for any legal writing and advocacy teacher.” * In 2008, Professor Smith published the second edition of this book. This course provides a sustained and in-depth analysis of a central global topic of legal theory. The theme may vary from year to year. The theme of openness is the law and the common good. The subject is explored through a number of material and disciplinary approaches. These include conventional scientific texts in law, politics and philosophy, but also non-standard resources such as art, poetry, film and literature.

The purpose of the thematic approach is to create coherence for the study of several perpetual problems in legal theory. By working sustainably on a number of issues and perspectives associated with the overall topic, students gain a deeper knowledge of theoretical legal issues. This seminar examines the history of American federalism, both as a constitutional value and as a product of intellectual history, from its early modern European precursors to the Civil War. Topics include the legal and political organization of the colonies and the British Empire; the first experiences of the American alliance; the American Revolution and the Articles of Confederation; the drafting and ratification of the Constitution; the cancellation crisis; secession; and the civil war. Readings come from primary historical sources, secondary sources in history and law, political theory and cases. Grades are based on a series of short answers and a classroom presentation. Students who wish to take the seminar for three credits must write a short additional research paper of 10 to 15 pages in addition to the rest of the course. Participation may be taken into account in the final scoring. As an expert in microeconomics, Lewis Kornhauser approaches legal analysis by imagining a “very simple world,” as he calls it. The technique he uses is fundamental to microeconomic analysis, and he applies it to a number of legal and political institutions, as well as to a variety of issues ranging from fundamental aspects of case law to company law. Read more about Professor Kornhauser This two-week seminar introduces law students to how the tools of socio-cognitive psychology can be used to gain empirical insights into how criminal law works and its decision-makers, including judges and jurors. We will discuss empirical research that combines doctrinal analysis with theories and methods of psychology to identify where and why the expectations and assumptions of the legal system about the functioning of criminal laws and procedures are at odds with the socio-cognitive realities of human decision-making.

We will also examine possible legal and psychological means by which policy makers and practitioners can address these gaps in order to improve the accuracy and fairness of the criminal justice system. In a broader sense, we will discuss both the possibilities and limitations of what the theories and methods of psychology can offer for the study and practice of criminal law. At the end of the course, students will propose their own experimental designs in this regard. No prior knowledge of psychology is required. This is a short course that meets 6 times: 7/8/9/14/15/16 from 18:10 to 19:55 This seminar invites students to explore the theory and practice of interpretation in public law. We begin with an introduction to the field of language-related law and law and linguistics, which is relevant to the practice of legal interpretation. We will then extend this research to an in-depth comparative analysis of the approach to law interpretation in the areas of constitutional law and legislation. Harvard law students learn many different ideas and competing explanations of the concept of law, as taught by some of the most accomplished philosophers and legal theorists in the United States in areas such as natural law, legal positivism, legal realism, critical legal studies, and more. This course explores the theoretical foundations of The First Amendment guarantees for freedom of expression and religion. We will examine and critique constitutional doctrine in these areas in the light of relevant history, philosophy and jurisprudence, and examine the relationship between these two rights.

Completion of Constitutional Law II or V is recommended, but is not mandatory. The grade is based on a 20-25 page main article and participation in the course. This course is an introduction to the economic analysis of law, an approach that has developed rapidly over the past thirty years and now has a profound influence on how the law is taught and how courts make decisions. The course provides you with a range of tools to analyze transactions and how they are shaped by legal rules, through systematic engagement with the economic mindset about the law in a variety of legal contexts. These instruments are intended to complement, not challenge, the traditional doctrinal approach to the law. The goal is to enable you to use economic thinking in an enlightened and critical mind to analyze cases and transactions of the type you may encounter in practice.

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