Project-Based Learning Courses, 2009-10
Note: This list includes both courses formally designated as “project-based learning” and others that did not have the designation but embodied a similar educational approach.
Deborah Archer, “Racial Justice Litigation”: Students worked on a cutting edge civil rights issue by researching and writing an amicus curiae brief in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which is currently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The amicus brief was filed on behalf of the New York Law School Racial Justice Project and was in support of UT Austin's affirmative action program. The suit, which challenges UT Austin’s use of a combination of race-neutral and race-conscious measures to enroll a “critical mass” of students from diverse backgrounds, is the first major challenge to a university's use of affirmative action in admissions since the United States Supreme Court's decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.
Andrew Berman, “Real Estate Think Tank”: The goal was for students to work in a small team to research and write legal memoranda on complex real estate questions of immediate concern to New York real estate practitioners, to form the basis of the Center’s on-line research library.
Andrew Berman, “Sustainable Development Resource Center”: Not designated as a project-based learning course, this Center for Real Estate Studies capstone course called on students to work together in a small group to create an on-line resource center with information, data and analyses of legal, financial and policy issues relating to the renovation and building of green buildings and homes.
Stephen Ellmann, “The Constitution and U.S. Intelligence Agencies”: Project students worked on papers on a range of issues in the struggle against terrorism, with particular focus on questions of detention, secrecy, surveillance, private military contractors and the CIA’s Predator drone strikes. Members of the class presented their work by videoconference to participants in a conference in Florence, Italy in the fall semester, and in class sessions open to the school at the end of the school year.
Daniel Hunter, “IP Dox”: This project involved five students producing a documentary film about the intellectual property system. During the course of the semester they worked to research, film, edit and produce a short documentary film of approximately 10 minutes about a recent copyright case involving J. D. Salinger.
Daniel Hunter, “Open Government”: The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy and New York Law School's Institute for Information Law & Policy collaborated to offer this course. Professor Beth Noveck (U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government, currently on leave from the IILP) and Robynn Sturm (Assistant Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the Executive Office of the President and 2009 IILP White House Fellow) worked with Professor Hunter and a team of four students on a project for the White House's Office of Open Government to develop and deliver an Open Government Toolkit for the Federal Government.
Daniel Hunter, “New Media in the Classroom: The Legal Impacts of Using Social Media & Cloud Computing Applications in NYC Public Schools”: With Michael Santorelli of NYLS’ Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute, and Bruce Lai, Chief of Staff to the Chief Information Officer of the NYC Department of Education, Professor Hunter supervised a team of NYLS students invited by the NYC Department of Education to identify novel legal issues stemming from increased use of new social media and Internet tools such as Facebook and cloud computing services in a handful of public schools.
Daniel Hunter, Richard Chused, Anne Goldstein, James Grimmelmann, David Johnson, Molly Land, Rudolph J.R. Peritz, Richard Sherwin, and Mark Webbink, Institute for Information Law & Policy Techlaw Lab (2 credits): 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.
Jethro K. Lieberman, “Explaining the Law to the Public”: Not designated as a project-based learning course, this class is similar to PBL classes in its approach. 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.
Jethro K. Lieberman and Martin Levin, “Book Publishing in Law, Society, History”: In conjunction with a major trade publisher, Tribeca Square Press 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.
Jethro K. Lieberman and Michelle Zierler, “Legal Reporting”: 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 plans to 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.
Richard Marsico, “Education Law Theory and Practice: Providing Legal Counsel to the Mamaroneck School Board”: Students worked with Professor Marsico, who is also a member of the Mamaroneck School District Board of Education, to provide legal counsel to the Board=s Policy Committee. At the beginning of the semester, students met with Professor Marsico in weekly sessions to review federal and state education law. The primary text for the course was SCHOOL LAW (32nd Ed. 2008). During these sessions, Professor Marsico also discussed the District and described the primary policy and regulatory issues the Board would be dealing with in 2009-2010. Following this introductory portion of the project, students received and went to work on research assignments.
Richard Marsico, Deborah Archer, Lindsay Curcio, Lawrence Grosberg, Daniel Hunter, Carlin Meyer, Michael Perlin, and David Schoenbrod, “Justice Action Center Capstone Project”: Another of the original sites of project work at NYLS, the JAC Capstone Project is a required, graded, two-credit course exclusively for JAC affiliates, including Harlans and non-Harlans. 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.
Carlin Meyer, “Guardianship Project”: Students worked with Professor Meyer and the Surrogate’s Court to develop a program of legal representation for family members seeking appointment as the guardians of developmentally disabled young people reaching the age of 18. The program was successfully initiated and is expected to continue in 2010-11 under the guidance of Adjunct Professor Randi Rosenstein of the AHRC (a leading advocacy organization in this field).
Michael Perlin, “The Creation of an Asian-Pacific Disability Rights Tribunal”: This project focused on creating the structure and bylaws of this Tribunal (which would serve as a vehicle for the consideration of cases involving persons institutionalized because of mental disabilities in Asia and Oceania).