Book Publishing in Law, Society and
CaseClothesed (PBL112 (fall), PBL 212 (spring))
The Creation of a Disability Rights Tribunal for Asia and the Pacific (PBL282 (fall), PBL 283 (spring))
CRES Capstone SeminarL: Real Estate Contract Commons (LND600)
Detention in the War Against Terrorism (PBL150 (fall), PBL 151 (spring))
Education Law and Practice: Providing Legal Advice to the Mamaroneck School Board and the NYC Charter High School for Law and Justice (PBL160 (fall), PBL 161 (spring))
The Google Books Settlement (PBL110 (fall), PBL 210 (spring))
The Guardianship Project (PBL 242 (fall), PBL 243 (spring))
Immigration Law and Litigation (PBL104 (fall), PBL 201 (spring))
Inheritance and Succession Rights of Children of Assisted Conception (PBL 117 (fall), PBL 118 (spring))
Legal Reporting (PBL220)
Racial Justice Litigation (PBL 100)
What are project-based learning courses? Project-based learning classes are a new form of curricular offering at NYLS, aiming to combine attention to legal theory and to practice. The courses challenge students to develop both their legal knowledge and important skills such as project planning and collaboration. Classes are small, and the students in them, with close guidance from a faculty member, work together on carrying out a project with concrete, real-world significance – from creating a website on a legal subject to developing policies for a Board of Education’s policy manual to co-drafting an amicus brief (with many other possibilities as well). These courses are offered for 2, 3 or 4 credits, and on Pass-Fail or graded basis, as decided by the professor; in the list below, all courses are offered on a Pass-Fail basis, for two semesters (one credit per semester), unless otherwise noted.
How to apply: Admission will be by permission of the instructor. Many of the classes listed below are now fully subscribed, but some still have space available (as of a month before the start of the fall semester). You should check with the Registrar at once if you are interested. Typically, the application will ask for a one-paragraph statement of interest, and you’ll also need to submit your resume along with it. Particular project-based learning teachers may have additional steps, such as an in-person interview, as part of the application process.
Book Publishing in Law, Society and
History (PBL950) (1 credit in the fall, 1 credit in the
Professor Jethro K. Lieberman and Adjunct Professor Martin Levin
In conjunction with a major trade publisher, Tribeca Square Press, the publishing arm of NYLS, will publish a series of books in hardcover, paperback, and e-book form on topics involving legal history and the place of law in society, including, for example, free speech, race, women’s rights, etc. Student teams will research original sources, locate and sequence primary documents, and edit them for inclusion in each book to appeal to professionals, serious general readers, and college and law students. A major author will be selected to review the material and to write a theme chapter assessing the current state of affairs.
(PBL112) (1 credit in the fall, 1 credit in the spring)
Professor Dan Hunter
This project will be the creation, administration and management of a Fashion Law website called “CaseClothesed” which combines the elements of a blog, an electronic journal, a resource guide, and a community forum for discussion. Work will involve writing blog entries, sourcing and editing articles and essays, writing and editing how-to legal guides, and contributing and moderating forums. Students will have the opportunity to perform all functions, and will produce work that is published in their names.
Creation of a Disability Rights Tribunal for Asia and the Pacific
(PBL180)(1 credit in the fall, 1 credit in the spring):
Professor Michael Perlin
Students will work with Professor Perlin and with his colleagues in Japan (and elsewhere) to create the structure and bylaws of this Tribunal, a vehicle for the consideration of cases brought by individuals with disabilities in this region. This would build on the work that another student did last year in creating a basic structure for the Tribunal, and would explore “second generation” questions such as scope of jurisdiction, composition of tribunal, choice of and independence of judges, intra-tribunal coordination issues, potential differences in monist/dualist nations and in civil law/common law nations, assignment of counsel, range of remedies, role of NGOs, etc.
CRES Capstone Seminar: Real Estate Contract
Commons(LND600)(Same course as “On-Line Database of Real Estate
Transaction Forms”) (2 credits; course meets in fall and spring but
both credits are awarded in the spring):
Professor Andrew Berman
As part of the work in this advanced seminar, students will participate in a collaborative project. For academic year 2010/2011, this course will focus on developing a web site that provides analysis of the basic forms used in New York real estate transactions. We expect to start with the standard forms used in residential purchases and sales of coops, condos and single-family homes. The analyses of the important provisions of these forms will include case research, detailed explanations, the creation of an on-line “library” of contract riders for real estate practitioners, the preparation of an “office” memo, discussion of any statutes or pending legislation relating to the contract provision, and other commentary relating thereto. The students will also be expected to maintain the web site during the academic year.
Detention in the War Against Terrorism (PBL 150) (1
credit in the fall, 1 credit in the spring):
Professor Stephen Ellmann
Students joining this project will begin the year with an intensive study of the constitutional, statutory and international law governing our power to detain those suspected of engaging in or supporting terrorist acts against the United States. We will then focus on studying and reporting on particular issues bearing on the use of this power. One potential project is the establishment of a website to collect and make available up-to-date information on detention practices and policies in Afghanistan as well as on litigation about those practices and policies, and to provide commentary on issues arising in the cases being brought. The law governing detentions in Afghanistan is considerably less settled than the law now governing detentions at Guantanamo, and the website would highlight the unsettled questions and both report and comment on their treatment in ongoing cases.
Education Law and
Practice: Providing Legal Advice to the Mamaroneck School Board and the
NYC Charter High School for Law and Justice (in formation)( PBL 160) (1
credit in the fall, 1 credit in the spring; graded with letter grades)
Professor Richard Marsico
This course will operate as a law firm that will provide legal advice to the Mamaroneck School Board and the NYC Charter High School for Law and Justice, which the Justice Action Center is forming. Students will receive an overview of basic elements of New York State Education law and of the legal and policy issues relating to charter schools. Projects will vary, but students should expect that they will be reviewing the legal policies of the Mamaroneck School District to ensure they are up to date and in compliance with New York State and federal law, and they will recommend changes to the School Board as necessary. For the charter school, students will be assisting in the legal aspects of the charter school’s application to the City Department of Education. This may include, for example, developing an organizational structure, and creating admissions policies and procedures, disciplinary rules and procedures, and an ethics code for school employees and officers.
The Google Books Settlement (PBL110)(1 credit in
the fall, 1 credit in the spring)
Professor James Grimmelmann
Students on this team will work on the projects of the Public Interest Book Search Initiative to promote informed public discussion of the issues relating to the digitization of printed books. The expected focus will be on the proposed Google Books settlement, but may vary based on the course of events. Students will maintain the Public Index website, collaboratively draft white papers, attend and report on events, and plan our own conferences and other events. Students will be expected to become familiar with all issues relating to the settlement and expert in at least one topic. In our meetings, we will discuss legal and professional issues arising out of the events we are documenting.
Guardianship Project (PBL 140/141) (2 credits in the fall, 2 credits
in the spring)
Adjunct Professor Randi Rosenstein
Under the supervision of Professor Rosenstein of the AHRC (a leading advocacy organization in this field), students will be trained and will represent relatives of developmentally disabled or mentally retarded adult dependents to become their legal guardians, an appointment that becomes legally necessary once the DD/MR person turns 18. Many family members are unaware of this until a hospital or doctor informs asks them for proof of guardianship, and then require immediate assistance. Students will represent clients under a practice order in the Surrogate’s Court. The course offers students the opportunity to engage in an intensive, supervised experience in representing a client in a simple, screened (but always surprising) setting, in a situation in which they may be able to complete a simple matter start to finish, under expert supervision. Unlike many representation situations, this is one in which it is a win-win for all involved, who typically share the goal of establishing secure guardianship for someone who needs it. Students will learn an area of law and the skills needed to complete these important cases. The other goal is to enable students to work collaboratively on cases, and experience the need to divide work, to share accountability and responsibility, to self-critique (and be critiqued) and to experience many of the non-doctrinal parts of the practice of law. Students will also evaluate the course in terms of its value educationally and to those the project assists.
and Litigation (PBL104)(1 credit in the fall, 1 credit in the spring)
Professor Lenni Benson
In this project based course students will study the litigation strategies and realities involved in immigration court. Moreover, there are current proposals for major reforms of the entire immigration court system. Students will observe court proceedings and participate in a court watch database. Students will pick an area of focus under Professor Benson’s guidance. The proposed focus areas for academic year 2010-2011 are:
1) Detention and Representation – students will visit at least one detention center, participate in know your rights presentations and monitor immigration hearings. Students in this focus area will do collaborative work to evaluate and improve materials for the detention centers and advocate for greater access to counsel and telecommunications. Students will also report on how people enter the detention system. Last year more than 350,000 people were held in immigration detention throughout the U.S. The majority have no legal representation.
2) Juveniles and Immigration – this year the initial handling of special immigrant juvenile cases was transferred to the asylum office. Students will observe the immigration juvenile intake docket, interview officers involved in the adjudications, and evaluate current procedures. Students will assist in the Safe Passage project working on support for pro bono attorneys who are representing immigrant children. Students may be required to also attend family court proceedings concerning guardianships for juveniles. Students will draft research memoranda and sample briefs in support of special immigrant juvenile petitions. There will be substantial coordination with other non-profit organizations.
3) General Immigration Court Procedures and Judicial Review – students will observe immigration court proceedings and will shadow alumni appearing in immigration court. Students will attend special sessions with several immigration judges to learn more about the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Students will work collaboratively to expand and revise a guide to understanding immigration court procedure with the goal of producing a video for the general public explaining some of the critical rules. Students will also be asked to observe oral arguments at the Second Circuit in immigration cases and will meet with special immigration staff attorneys to understand the difficulty of judicial review of administrative hearings.
Inheritance and Succession Rights of
Children of Assisted Conception (1 credit in fall, 1 in
Professor William P. LaPiana
The ultimate goal of this course will be to have students, working with the NY State Bar Association Trust and Estates Section’s committee on Multi-state Practice, draft a statute on the status of children conceived through assisted conception, for enactment in New York. The children affected by this work will include children conceived after the death of the provider of the ova or sperm, and those born through gestational surrogacy. The work will take account of the comprehensive statutory scheme for dealing with these questions, recently promulgated by the Uniform Law Commissioners in amendments to the Uniform Probate Code adopted in 2008. Students will need, of course, to research existing statutes and cases, but will also need to develop an understanding of the science and medical technology involved and of what we can broadly call the sociology of the modern family.
Legal Reporting (PBL220)(1 credit in
fall; 1 or 2 credits in spring, depending on role as reporter (1 credit)
or editor (2 credits)):
Professor Jethro K. Lieberman and Adjunct Professor Michelle Zierler
The Program in Law and Journalism has launched a blog, “Legal As She Is Spoke” (LASIS), which at least at the moment is the only online (and perhaps offline) publication devoted to critiquing legal journalism. LASIS will operate as a newsroom, with students responsible for writing for and managing the publication, under the supervision of Professors Zierler and Lieberman. The blog is intended to be active, with multiple stories posted weekly.
Litigation (1 credit in fall; 2 in spring)
Professor Deborah Archer
Students will work on a cutting edge civil rights issue either by researching and writing an appellate brief in a pending civil rights case or by writing a report/litigation guidance on a developing civil rights issue for a major civil rights organization.
Other related opportunities also offered at NYLS include:
Daniel Hunter and other Institute for Information Law & Policy faculty, Institute for Information Law & Policy Techlaw Lab (2 credits) (CIP 401): The IILP Techlaw Lab provides an opportunity for Harlan Scholars and other IILP students to pursue independent and high-impact research on current issues relating to their course of study. The project requires students to collaborate in teams of 3-5 students to produce a significant piece of legal writing or a project, under the supervision of one of the professors of the IILP. The Techlaw Lab experience integrates but is distinct from the project requirement. This Techlaw seminar meets at scheduled intervals during both terms the of the third year; students receive one credit each in the fall and spring of their third year for a total of 2 credits. The experience permits students to work together to present the fruits of their project and typically involves an external client with specific deliverables. Students will also have an opportunity to explain and defend their work in a face-to-face setting, both with the external client and to other students enrolled in the Techlaw Lab. Generally students will design and implement a publicly-accessible and Web-based multi-media display of their projects. By putting the results of their work online, students will ensure maximum visibility and impact for their research. In additional, students will have an easily accessible and well-designed presentation of their work to show potential employers and other interested parties at home and abroad. To receive credit, students must attend all sessions of the Techlaw Lab seminar, prepare an oral defense of their project, and prepare an on-line presentation of their project.
Richard Marsico and other Justice Action Center faculty, Justice Action Center Capstone Project (2 credits) (CON 225): The JAC Capstone Project is a required, graded, two-credit course exclusively for JAC affiliates. JAC students will participate in written research projects with practical application with practicing attorneys and JAC faculty. The Capstone is a year-long project. Day students are required to complete and present their project in their third year; evening students in their fourth year. Projects can include, for example, an analysis of empirical data, a policy paper, model legislation, regulatory comments, a practice manual, an amicus brief, or a project developing out of a clinical course experience.
Jethro K. Lieberman, Explaining the Law to the Public (LWR 400 (fall), LWR 401 (spring)): Students work in small teams to prepare a short book on a single area of the law for publication to an audience of policy-makers and journalists. The goal is for the book to present the law in a clear and comprehensive manner for use as reference material in subsequent writing on the subject. Completed papers will be published as monographs and distributed by the new publication arm of NYLS, Tribeca Square Press.