Elective Courses

Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s extensive array of electives allows students to design a course of legal studies tailored to their own interests.

C

  • Chinese Legal System & Recent Reforms
    This is an introduction to the Chinese legal system taught within the framework of the thirty-six year economic reform that has brought dramatic change to the Chinese economy and to the lives of the Chinese people. Students will learn about recent legal reforms in intellectual property legislation and in several other areas of the law. This course is team-taught in English by three distinguished Chinese professors of law from Zhejiang University Guanghua School of Law.
  • Comparative Tort Law
    This course provides a framework for analyzing and understanding the current state of tort law in most of the world's legal systems. The course examines tort law theories, rules and cultures. It looks at general issues at play throughout the globe, such as causation, economic and non-economic damages, product and professional liability, as well as the relationship between tort law and crime, insurance, and public welfare schemes. The course also provides insightful case studies by analyzing specific features of selected tort systems in China, Europe, USA, Latin America, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Criminal Law Fellows Special Course
    Description: This course is designed for and offered to students enrolled in the Criminal Law Fellowship Program. In this course, Fellows will study in depth an important topic in the criminal regulation of vice: prostitution. The course materials will survey a wide range of topics in the regulation of prostitution, including statutory definitions of several important prostitution-related crimes, case law elaboration on key concepts, potential defenses, trafficking, prostitution and the internet, and sociological, political, and philosophical perspectives on prostitution and its regulation. Once Fellows have digested this material and done additional research, they will write papers (approximately fifteen pages) on potential reforms to the current regulation of prostitution. Prerequisite: Students must be currently enrolled in the Criminal Law Fellowship Program, and must have the permission of the instructor to enroll in this course.
  • Crimmigration
    This course will explore the intersection between criminal and immigration law through a hands-on approach to real-world problems. Students will learn a practical three-step process for evaluating the immigration consequences of criminal convictions, including various types of immigration status and an area of law known as the "categorical approach." The class will also examine the increased use of federal criminal courts to prosecute noncitizens through such programs as "Operation Streamline" and "zero tolerance," as well as current cases addressing preemption and state attempts to enforce immigration law.

D

  • Directed Study
    Directed Study is a method by which Thomas Jefferson students may obtain credit toward their law degrees by performing legal research and writing in areas of their own choosing. Eligibility for Directed Study is limited to students who have earned at least 30 units and are in good academic standing. A student wishing to obtain credit for Directed Study must first procure the written agreement of a faculty member to supervise that student's project during the school session in which such credits are to be earned. Adjunct faculty members may serve in this role only with the approval of the Associate Dean on a case by case basis. Before registering, the student, with the guidance of his/her intended faculty supervisor, shall select a topic for the student's project, adopt a written plan for its completion, and determine the number of units of credit to be earned through the project. Students may not earn more than 3 Directed Study units per semester. For each Directed Study unit for which a student registers, the student shall perform a minimum of 50 hours of research and writing. A 10-15 page paper is usually required for each unit of Directed Study credit. Honors/Credit/Low Pass/No Credit is the only grading option available. Students requesting enrollment in Directed Study units must submit the Professor signed approved petition to the Registrar's Office. Upon approval, the Registrar's Office will enroll the student in the Directed Study units.

I

  • Int'l Employment Law
    This course compares the labor and employment laws of two countries important to the global economy, the United States and France, which take radically different approaches to regulating the labor market. Each has its fans and its critics. The former has relatively few rights and protections for workers, and relies on the market to set the terms and conditions of employment. The latter is characterized by strong protections and a rigid set of rules governing the employment relationship. How each system is reacting to 21st century challenges related to technology, the gig economy, and changing demographics, will be considered. The course will also cover the major tools of global labor governance, including international labor standards promulgated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), as well as the rulings and standards that emerge from the labor provisions of US free trade agreements, and the legislation and jurisprudence of the European Union (EU). These international, supra-national, and bi- and multi-lateral sources of law assist in analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the American and French systems of employment law. A major theme in the course will be identifying which labor rights should be considered human rights.
  • Int'l Sports Law
    This course covers the general process of international sports law - especially within the Olympic Movement - and provides a comparative perspective on sports law. Specific topics include the institutional framework; arbitration and litigation of disputes within and outside the sports arena, including consideration of the Court of Arbitration for Sports (via in-depth case studies of recent dispute resolution); the rights, duties and eligibility of athletes; problems of doping, violence, corruption, commercialization; and the role of politics in international sports. Other topics include the human rights of athletes, the use of instant replay cameras and computers to resolve disputes during competition, corruption in the sports arena, the emerging lex sportiva derived from arbitral awards and ambush marketing.
  • International Business Transactions (Nice Program)
    This course is an introduction to the laws of international trade and finance. Students consider the problems of conducting business in the global community. The approach is primarily transactional and combines the legal theory and practice of doing international business. Topics include the formation of agreements required for the international trading of goods, such as the documentary sale, the letter of credit, the contract of sale and the consequences of wars and other frustrations of contract, the bill of lading and a sale without a letter of credit. Students will study the regulation of international business by import and export controls, tariffs, and non-tariff barriers, and customs classification and valuation. The transfer of technology by means of franchising and licensing agreements leads to a discussion of the pirating of intellectual property. Students will study the legal framework for establishing a foreign direct investment abroad or a joint venture. Other topics include the resolution of international disputes by trial or international arbitration, the role of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the WTO, TRIPS, NAFTA and the European Union in regulating international business. This course focuses on the cultural differences that influence the establishment of international business ventures.
  • International Human Rights Law (Nice Program)
    This course examines the global human rights movement that grew out of World War II and how international human rights laws, instruments and institutions respond to human rights violations. International human rights include civil and political rights, economic rights, social and cultural rights, women's rights and children's rights. These rights are reflected in legal norms, political contexts, moral ideas, international relations and foreign policy. This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the laws and policy of international human rights as applied to all individuals in general and to women in particular. The course reviews applicable international human rights laws, instruments, U.N. treaty organs, regional and international tribunals, and the role of NGOs in the human rights movement. The course analyzes state and international policies, practices, and attitudes in order to understand the causes and consequences of discrimination and abuse perpetrated on individuals. Gender justice and the empowerment of women to facilitate full enjoyment of their human rights, accountability and enforcement is a central theme of the course. Special attention is paid to the universal crime of sex slavery, human trafficking, and rape as a weapon of war in the development of massive human rights violations. Students analyze the rules and standards of contemporary human rights as expressed in states' constitutions, laws, practices, international treaties, customs, court decisions, investigative reports and recommendations of international institutions, and governmental and non-governmental actors in order to understand the ongoing development of international human rights laws.
  • International Intellectual Property (China Program)
    Global intellectual property law is one of the core issues for international business attorneys. This course studies the international systems for establishing trademark, copyright and patent rights. Within that context, the course will consider the roles of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as the various multilateral and bilateral agreements that exist, including but not limited to the TRIPS Agreement. The patchwork of intersecting treaties that relate to intellectual property rights has led to an increase in litigation in recent years over international patents, trademarks and copyrights. This course examines recent cases with an emphasis of preparing students for the practice of law.
  • International Intellectual Property (Nice Program)
    Global intellectual property law is one of the core issues for international business attorneys. This course studies the international systems for establishing trademark, copyright and patent rights. Within that context, the course will consider the roles of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) as well as the various multilateral and bilateral agreements that exist, including but not limited to the TRIPS Agreement. The patchwork of intersecting treaties that relate to intellectual property rights has led to an increase in litigation in recent years over international patents, trademarks and copyrights. This course examines recent cases with an emphasis of preparing students for the practice of law.
  • Intl Trade & Finance Law
    This course will introduce the student to the legal regime that applies to international letters of credit, the principal mechanism for financing imports and exports. The course has no prerequisites and assumes no prior knowledge of international trade or finance. Instead, the student will be introduced to the basic structure of an international transaction that employs a letter of credit to finance the sale of goods. The student will also study the various contractual relationships that arise out of the transaction and the connection that each relationship has to the financing arrangement. The overarching objective is to help the student understand the various facets of the financing arrangement, the role that each party plays in the arrangement, the legal exposure that each party might assume whenever a letter of credit is used to finance the transaction, and the potential ways for managing any inherent risks.

M

  • Mediation - Cross Cultural Perspective
    This course introduces students to the theory and practice of mediation, focusing specifically on the cultural determinants of the dispute resolution process. Topics will include: theories of what generates conflict and leads to conflict escalation, the underlying premises of the mediation process, stages and skills associated with mediating community, legal and public policy disputes, the impact of culture upon mediation models, including classically ?Eastern? and ?Western? approaches to the process and international dispute resolution mechanisms. In addition to in-class mock mediation experiences, students will participate in a multi-party, cross-cultural simulation in which they will negotiate an international dispute resolution clause.

N

  • Negotiating in Any Culture or Country
    This course covers in-depth how to be an effective negotiator in any professional and personal setting, whether negotiating within your own culture or cross-culturally. For lawyers, this skill set is essential for resolving legal disputes and making deals. This skill set is also relevant for working in law firms, businesses, large organizations, and government/public service including as a public or elected official. The course blends negotiation theory with practice by offering multiple opportunities to apply and practice what you are learning. The course gives attention to learning the widely used interest-based negotiations approach including learning active listening, your personal conflict style, different negotiation styles, how to negotiate with a hard bargainer, and how to overcome cognitive distortions when making decisions in negotiations. Throughout the course, you will explore how what you are learning may need to be adjusted when negotiating in a culture other than your own.

W

  • World Trade Organization Law & China
    This course will review the 21 WTO Agreements and major WTO cases decided to date, using China as a case study and focus for the class. China has been accused by the U.S. and other countries of committing a number of WTO violations. Furthermore, the U.S. maintains an enormous trade deficit with China, thousands of U.S. companies have outsourced their production jobs to China, and intellectual property protection concerns continue to be a major point of contention between the U.S. and China. In addition, since joining the WTO in 2001, China has played a very significant role in the organization. Its huge market renders it an important player in the international economy in any case, but China at this point is also considered to be the unofficial leader of the developing country status in the WTO. As the majority of WTO members are developing countries, China is in a very powerful position to influence the future of the WTO. For all of these reasons, China makes an excellent case study for WTO issues. It is hoped that the class will be able to visit some manufacturing facilities in China as well as meet with U.S. consultants working in China and Chinese government officials involved in trade issues.