Course Descriptions

ASL’s course descriptions are listed in alphabetical order. Courses that will satisfy the practicum and seminar requirements will be noted in parenthesis after the number of credit hours. Practicum courses are designed to give students practical, skills-based training. These courses combine skills training with additional instruction in a particular substantive area of the law. The practicum offerings vary from year to year and enrollment in each course is limited. Seminar courses require students to complete an expository or argumentative research paper under faculty supervision. Seminar offerings vary from year to year and enrollment in each course is limited.

Administrative Law – 3 credit hours (general elective)
Examines the role of the formal and informal administrative processes in our society, and emphasizes the powers and procedures common to all administrative agencies and the relationships among the legislative, judicial, and executive branches in the development of public policy.

Advanced Criminal Procedure – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course is designed to cover select areas of Criminal Law & Procedure. The Rules of specific Courts as well as statutory rules and case law will be examined in the course. This course will consist of students gaining an advanced understanding, knowledge, and ability to apply Criminal Law & Procedure from a substantive, procedural and practical standpoint. It is expected that this course will assist students with their preparation for the Bar Exam and particularly in practice.

Advanced Legal Research – 1 credit hours (general elective)*
Advanced Legal Research expands on the skills first year students learned in Legal Process I and II. It focuses on the type of research projects lawyers face in the first few years of practice.
*Advanced Legal Research is required for law journal participants. Pr-requisite: Legal Process I & II

Advanced Torts – 1-3 credit hours (general elective)
Tort law is a broad and rapidly-evolving area of practice for civil litigators. Advanced Torts gives students who plan to engage in civil trial practice, or who seek a more advanced understanding of the tort system, an opportunity to build upon the broad introductory principles learned in the first-year student of torts. In particular, students will conduct an in-depth study of selected hot topics, such as defamation, product liability, and professional negligence. Students will also examine some interesting United States Supreme Court decisions that have significantly impacted the operation of tort law. Pre-requisite: Torts or Intentional Torts & Negligence

Agency/Partnership – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course will explore unincorporated business associations. We will consider agency, partnership and limited liability entities. Discussion will emphasize the obligations, benefits and pitfalls of each entity. Cases will be reviewed that are in conflict and/or turn on minor differences. The class will discuss and consider why, in recent years, these types of business associations have become more prevalent and important. The goal of this course is to provide students with a basic background in this area of the law. Upon completion, students should feel reasonable comfortable advising clients on these issues. Pre-requisites: Contracts I & II and Torts or Intentional Torts and Negligence

Appellate Advocacy – 3 credit hours (required course)*
Appellate Advocacy is an upper-level required course which provides students with the opportunity to further develop their skills as a legal writer and oral advocate. The course focuses on appellate theory and practice, standards of review, advanced appellate brief writing, and the art of appellate oral argument. Students will complete at least one major writing assignment and participate in a class wide moot court competition. Appellate Advocacy is generally offered in two or three sections focusing on criminal law, natural resources law, and/or broader legal topics. Pre-requisite: Legal Process I & II
*Students have the option to complete this requirement by taking either Appellate Advocacy or Legal Writing with a Purpose I & II.

Assistantships, Research or Teaching – 1 credit hour [4 hour maximum toward degree]
A student will work under the supervision of a member of the full time faculty and assist in providing research assistance to the faculty member in furtherance of a substantial scholarly endeavor or assist in grading formative assessments and providing supplemental instruction to lower level students. This endeavor will broaden or deepen a student’s knowledge of a law topic beyond that provided in a standard offering of a course’s material. A student must complete and document 65 hours of work and in the case of a teaching assistantship, [substantial experience]. The supervising faculty member will verify completion of requirements to earn credit. Pre-requisite: Completion of all the required first year courses and, if a teaching assistantship, the course for which assistance will be provided.

Bar Preparation Studies – 2-3 credit hours (required course)
Bar Preparation Studies (BPS) is a bar preparatory course that will build on the analytical, writing and organizational skills taught across the ASL curriculum with the goal of enhancing a student’s ability to prepare for the bar examination. Although the most intensive preparation for the bar will occur in the nine to eleven weeks before the bar examination, BPS will prepare students for that period of study and practice by introducing them to the format and components of the bar exam and the scope of the task, and by conveying information about study and organizational skills. Students will review selected substantive topics, learn methods by which to review the tested areas of law, complete practice essays, multiple choice and performance test questions, and receive feedback on practice questions. This course is not intended to replace commercial bar preparation courses, but rather to introduce (or re-introduce) students to tested substantive law and many of the strategies needed to perform well on the bar exam. While this course focuses on the Multistate Bar Examination subjects (Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Procedure, Evidence, Real Property and Torts), the class will also include additional sessions and lectures on state subjects, based on the state bar exam being taken by students. — Civil Procedure; Contracts I & II; Property I & II; Constitutional Law I & II; Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; Torts; and, Evidence

Bar Subject Review I & II – 1 credit hour each (required courses)
Bar Subject Review is a focused review course designed to cover the most frequently tested subjects in several substantive areas of the law such as secured transactions and family law. Taught by several members of the faculty, the course will use focused instruction and mock testing to prepare third-year students for the type of essay questions they will experience on the bar.

Business Associations/Agency or Business Organizations – 4 credit hours (general elective)
Business Associations/Agency is a study of the law concerning business entities, including: the factors affecting the selection of the form of a business enterprise; the nature of corporate entities; and the promotion, organization, activities, financing, management, and dissolution of business corporations. In addition to discussing the law of corporations, the course covers the principles by which one party may act as agent for another and the law governing unincorporated business organizations such as partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and limited liability partnerships.

Civil Procedure – 4 credit hours (required course)(Before Fall 2020, this course was taught in two sections.)
A general survey of court procedure in civil cases using federal civil procedure as a model. The course covers the jurisdiction of courts (both personal and subject matter), venue, pleading, discovery, disposition without trial, joinder of claims and parties, and effects of judgments.

Coal, Oil, and Gas Law – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Coal, Oil and Gas Law is designed to familiarize students with the legal, business, and environmental issues facing the coal, oil, and gas industries. Specifically, the course will cover the nature of ownership of subsurface minerals; methods of transferring ownership; implied rights; surface rights; leasing; royalties; and environmental and regulatory issues. Students will engage in class discussion of current topics as well as participate in extensive practical skills exercises.

Conflict of Laws – 3 credit hours (general elective)
In an age where people and businesses regularly interact across borders, Conflict of Laws is an essential course for students planning to engage in civil litigation or transactional work. This course introduces students to legal issues that arise when a transaction or occurrence has a connection to two or more jurisdictions. In particular, students learn the traditional and modern approaches courts have developed to resolve conflicts between the laws of such jurisdictions, the constitutional limitations on these approaches, and the extent to which parties can choose their own courts and laws. Students also reexamine, in the context of conflict-of-law issues, certain principles first introduced in civil procedure, such as personal jurisdiction and recognition of judgments. Because conflict-of-law issues arise in nearly every area of substantive law, students study a broad range of cases, giving them an opportunity to review and build upon principles of torts, contracts, property, constitutional law, and family law. P-requisites: Civil Procedure I & II

Constitutional Law I – 3 credit hours (required course)
A study of the provisions in the United States Constitution governing our form of government and the powers of the federal judiciary, legislature, and executive. The course also reviews relations between the federal government and the states.

Constitutional Law II – 3 credit hours (required course)
A study of the limitations on governmental power over individuals inherent in constitutional provisions relating to due process and equal protection and freedom of speech and religion. The course evaluates the restrictions on private action mandated or permitted by these constitutional provisions. Pre-requisites: Constitutional Law I

Contract Drafting – 2 credit hours (practicum)
This course will teach you the principles of contemporary commercial contract drafting and introduce you to documents typically used in a variety of transactions. The skills you gain will apply to any transactional practice and will even be useful to litigators. On finishing the course, you will know: the business purpose of each of the contract concepts; how to translate the business deal into contract concepts; how to draft each of a contract’s parts; how to draft with clarity and without ambiguity; how to add value to a deal; how to work through the drafting process; and how to review and comment on a contract. Pre-requisites: Contracts I & II

Contracts I – 3 credit hours (required course)
Encompasses the study of legally enforceable promises, termed “contracts.” The course encompasses the study of what types of promises are legally enforceable, what it takes to form a contract, what the obligations of the parties are, what constitutes breach, and what remedies are available upon breach.

Contracts II – 2 credit hours (required course)
A continuation of Contracts I. Prerequisites: Contracts I

Corporate Governance – 2 credit hours (general elective)
It is vitally important that every student have some basic knowledge of how corporations are governed and the impact such governance has on our daily lives. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the safety of our modes of transportation (from bicycles to eighteen wheelers!) are all dependent upon the type of corporate governance of the corporations which affect these areas. The fact that real people who manage corporations make decisions which can greatly benefit or harm us makes it imperative that we examine such decisions and decide how corporations should operate to serve the interests not only of their shareholders but also of the American people. This Corporate Governance will examine these issues and others.

Criminal Law – 3 credit hours (required course)
An inquiry into the sources and goals of the criminal law, general principles of liability and defenses, and the characteristics of particular crimes.

Criminal Practice – 4 credit hours (practicum)
Includes both substantive instruction and skills training on pre- and post-trial criminal practice issues. Students will prepare written motions and participate in simulated in-class exercises involving indictment and charging decisions, client relations, bail and release, investigation, discovery, preliminary hearings, pre-trial motions, guilty pleas, sentencing, and probation. The course focuses on both defense and prosecution issues and students will have the opportunity to experience both sides of criminal practice through in-class exercises. Pre-requisites: Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure; and Evidence

Criminal Procedure – 3 credit hours (required course)
A survey of federal procedures and constitutional safeguards applicable in the criminal justice system, focusing on police investigation and arrest. Particular emphasis is given to Fourth Amendment issues. Pre-requisites: Criminal Law

Current Issues in Constitutional Law – 2 credit hours (seminar)
Examines decisions of the Supreme Court dealing with constitutional law. Students will undertake detailed analysis and in-class discussion of the decisions and their rationale. Pre-requisites: Constitutional Law I and Constitutional Law II

Current Issues in the Law – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course will offer discussion on a variety of relevant topics in law today, including Confederate monuments, student debt, the police and police unions, health care and COVID-19, the right to protest and Black Lives Matter, Populism and Socialism, the “social safety net,” stock market reports, “Make America Great Again,” voting, racism in the criminal justice system, and the “drug war.”

Debtor-Creditor Law – 3 credit hours (general elective)
This course will offer a comprehensive study of the legal principles governing the relationship of debtors and creditors, with primary emphasis on bankruptcy law matters. The course will also address creditor’s state law rights and remedies as well as debtor’s rights under state law. A brief introduction to secured transactions will also be presented as part of the course since it necessarily relates to the overall understanding of the debtor-creditor relationship. The objective of this class is to prepare the student to step in on day one and be a contributor to a collections or bankruptcy practice.

Dispute Resolution – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Provides students with a working knowledge of dispute resolution theory and practice. The major dispute resolution processes are examined critically with discussion of their strengths and weaknesses. Particular emphasis is given to negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and ethics. Legal, ethical, and policy issues that arise in the use of dispute resolution processes also are examined. A major theme throughout the course is the selection of appropriate dispute resolution forums and representation of clients in dispute resolution.

Doing and Undoing Environmental Regulations – 2 credit hours (general elective)
With new presidential administrations come new environmental policies. After a slew of congressionally-enacted environmental laws in the 1970s and 1980s, EPA and other federal agencies set out to implement and enforce those laws through rule-making, and presidents complemented such rule-making with executive orders and enforcement priorities. Perhaps in no other area of law, at least in recent years, do new administrations impose their priorities more than in the rules and policies relating to the environment, energy, land use and climate change. This course will explore the legal and administrative tools that are available to new administrations to change or erase the environmental policies of their predecessors, as well as the legal and administrative obstacles new administrations face in such efforts. The class will look broadly at policy changes between administrations dating back to the 1970s, before looking into specific rules and policies that have been reversed with the more recent changes of administrations, paying specific attention to the dismantling of Obama-era environmental regulations under the Trump administration. The Administrative Procedures Act, the Congressional Review Act, Executive Orders, prosecutorial discretion, enforcement policies, and taking new positions in litigation will all be explored for their impact on attempts to effectuate environmental policy and regulatory changes between presidential administrations. This two-hour course will combine seminar-style lectures with class discussion and debate, and will culminate in a final exam.

Energy and Utility Law and the SCC – 1 credit hour (general elective)
Energy and Utility Law and the SCC explores fundamental and developing issues in utilities and their regulation. The course will explore important cases and feature guest speakers. Course grades are based on class participation and a written exam.

Entrepreneur Law – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Entrepreneurship Law is designed to give law students exposure to the lawyer’s activities in the life cycle of a business, from start-up to disposition. In addition to relevant legal principles and key forms used in the market, this course will bore into significant financial concepts that every good business attorney should know. This course will review how to start, finance, buy, and sell a business. Students will be paired into firms, buy-side and sell-side, for the final assignment.

Environmental Crimes and Torts – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Environmental Crimes and Torts will cover major cases as well as the elements and prosecutorial procedure of criminal actions under major U.S. environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act. The course will also discuss major issues and special issues surrounding toxic torts. The course will be a combination of lecture and practical work with the primary assessments for the course consisting of several relatively small drafting assignments such as a complaint; answer; motion to dismiss; motion for a new trial; or a portion of any of these. Pre-requisites: Torts and Criminal Law

Environmental Law/Environmental Law and Policy – 3 credit hours (seminar)
Examines selected topics in the law governing the protection of air, water, and land from pollution. Early class sessions will cover: (1) brief overviews of the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; (2) the impact of Climate Change on the permitting process; (3) additional areas of environmental law having regional connections, including mine permitting and regulation; (4) competing conceptual approaches to environmental regulation; (5) the political and bureaucratic aspects of environmental regulation as a model of regulation generally; (6) emerging notions of environmental justice; and (7) the role of citizen enforcement, including the implications of recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions dealing with the issue of standing. Reading materials will focus on judicial decisions, administrative materials, and case law but will also include selections from the literature of science, economics, and political science that underlie current legal debates in environmental law. Early classes will involve the students in informal presentations based on the reading materials. The last few classes will be devoted to presentation and discussion of student research papers.

Estate Planning – 2-4 credit hours (practicum)
Develops students’ skills relating to the disposition of property during lifetime and at death. This course will focus on developing estate plans and drafting the instruments (e.g., wills, trusts, etc.) necessary to implement such plans so as to accomplish a client’s non-tax objectives while minimizing estate taxes, gift taxes, and income taxes. The course develops the student’s understanding of trusts, including rights and responsibilities of settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries. Pre-requisites: Wills and Estates

Evidence – 4 credit hours (required course)
An examination of the rules governing the admissibility of evidence in civil and criminal trials, with particular emphasis on the Federal Rules of Evidence. Topics covered include relevancy, the hearsay rule and its exceptions, examination, cross-examination, and impeachment of witnesses, witness competency, opinion and scientific evidence, admissibility of writings, judicial notice, and burdens of proof and presumptions.

Externship – field work 2 credit hours (required course); classroom component 1 credit hour (required course)
Allows students to apply the skills learned in the core curriculum. Students typically take this course during the summer following their first year of studies. Students work for a total of approximately 200 unpaid hours in a judge’s chambers, public law office, or public interest organization under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney. Each student is assigned to a full-time faculty coordinator and the faculty coordinators conduct an orientation and a debriefing session before and after the externships. Externship placements for students have included federal magistrate, district court, and circuit judges; state Supreme Court justices in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina; state trial judges in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Justice; Virginia Attorney General’s Office; Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky Legal Services offices; Tennessee District Attorneys; Virginia Commonwealth Attorneys; West Virginia District Attorneys; North Carolina District Attorneys; Kentucky County Attorneys; Georgia District Attorneys; South Carolina Solicitor’s Office; and the Air Force Legal Office. Extern students’ experiences typically include a combination of the following: observing court proceedings, researching legal issues, performing factual investigations, drafting pleadings and legal memoranda, drafting judicial opinions, updating law libraries, and assisting with trial strategy and problem solving. Pre-requisite: Completion of 28 credit hours prior to beginning work at field placement.

Family Law – 3 credit hours (general elective)
Covers various subject areas in family law, and introduction on how to practice in the family law area. The main topics covered are marriage, divorce, division of property, spousal support, child custody and visitation, child support, adoption, and domestic violence.

Family Law Practice – 2-4 credit hours (practicum)
Focuses on substantive instruction and skills training in issues most prevalent to a family law practitioner. The course will cover selected subject areas in family law, such as annulment, divorce grounds and defenses, spousal support, child support, property division upon dissolution of marriage, ante-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements, and child custody and visitation. Students will receive instruction in the preparation of pleadings, motions, court orders, and agreements. Students will also participate in simulated in-class exercises, including in-class simulated client interviews and court hearings. Pre-requisite: Family Law

Federal Income Taxation – 3 credit hours (general elective)
Gives a basic understanding of federal income taxation relating to individuals and teaches the use and interpretation of complex statutes and regulations.

History of Race and the Law in America – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course evaluates the legal regulation of race in the United States. The seminar will begin with having students understand and define racism. We will consider history, statutes, and cases dealing with American Indians, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and other groups. How is “white” defined? Students will be assigned readings to present to the class and lead discussions. They will be expected to prepare written summaries of these readings and their presentations. Students will be encouraged to express all views, and be willing to have their views challenged, in a civil and dignified manner. Grade will be based on participation, presentations, and written summaries. There will be no exam.

Immigration Law & Policy – 2 credit hours (seminar)
Students will examine the history of the U.S. immigration law and policy, federal powers over immigration, federal agencies tasked with immigration issues, and basic rules governing those noncitizens who wish to enter, live, study, and/or work in the U.S. This course will also focus on specific “hot topic” immigration issues such as birthright citizenship, the DREAM Act/DACA and other avenues for unauthorized immigrants, and U.S. policy on refugees and asylum-seekers. Each student will write an original 20-25 page research paper on an immigration issue that will not be covered in class. Grades will be based on class discussion and participation as well as the research paper. The most important thing to know about this class is that it is expected that not all of us will agree on many immigration issues or policies, but it is expected that all viewpoints will be respected and class discussions will remain courteous.

Independent Study – 1 to 3 credit hours
Involves assigned readings, conferences, research, and writing in specialized or advanced areas of the law. Proposals for Independent Study must be approved by the supervising professor and the Dean.

Information Privacy Law – 2 credit hours (seminar or practicum)
An exploration of some of the areas in which information privacy may be at risk: law enforcement, national security, health care, financial data, etc. In each area, the seminar examines case law, statutory regimes, and policy approaches. When taught as a seminar the course is usually taught as a colloquium; after an introduction to several legal and philosophical perspectives on information privacy, teaching will be undertaken by students, with each team of students being responsible for leading a discussion on a topic related to information privacy. Students will also complete a final paper on some aspect of information privacy law covered in the seminar.

Insurance Law – 2 credit hours (general elective)
Will focus on substantive instruction and writing skills training in issues most relevant to an insurance law practice. The course will include study of selected subject areas in insurance law, including automobile, fire and casualty (homeowners), liability, health, and disability. Among other topics covered will be the formation and operation of the insurance contract, coverage and exclusions, insurable interests, the claims process, subrogation, and vehicles to determine coverage issues such as declaratory judgment actions.

Introduction to Immigration & Citizenship Law – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course will introduce students to the basic rules governing noncitizens who wish to enter, who live, study, and/or work in the United States. Using problems and case studies, students will examine the Immigration and Nationality Act and requirements for and restrictions on entry into the U.S. (visas and admissibility); rights and restrictions on activities once in the U.S. (e.g., work, education; drivers licenses); removal of noncitizens; and naturalization.

Intellectual Property – 3 credit hours (general elective)
During the first half of this course students will receive an introduction to trademark, copyright, and patent law. The second half of the class will focus on day-to-day issues regarding intellectual property in the workplace and in transactions. For example, we will study: (1) intellectual property provisions in employment agreements, (2) provisions regarding ownership of intellectual property that appears generally in asset or stock acquisition agreements, (3) nondisclosure agreements, and (4) contracts for the sale of intellectual property.

Intentional Torts – 2 credit hours (required course) (Beginning Fall 2020, Torts will be taught in two sections: Intentional Torts and Negligence. Before Fall 2020, this course was taught as Torts in one, four credit hour section.)
This course is one component of the two-semester study of torts undertaken by first year law students. Torts is a broad area of law establishing responsibilities, rights, and remedies for civil wrongs not arising out of contract. The subject of Intentional Torts focuses primarily on torts committed with intent to accomplish a result or with knowledge the result will come about (in contrast to torts arising from purely accidental or careless conduct). In particular, students examine cases and explore the principles governing intentional torts to the person (including battery, assault, false imprisonment, and intentional infliction of emotional distress), intentional torts to property (including trespass to land, conversion, and trespass to chattel), and standard defenses and privileges applicable to intentional torts.

Introduction to ASL Legal Studies I – 2 credit hours (required course)
Introduction to ASL Legal Studies is an academic excellence course and a pre-requisite to Introduction to ASL Legal Studies II and Introduction to Externships. This course is designed to teach the skills necessary to successfully participate in class, effectively manage time, prepare course materials, and practice for exams.
Students will learn the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills that are essential to excel in law school, pass the bar exam, and succeed in the practice of law. Topics to be covered include the stages of a lawsuit, court structure, case and statute reading and briefing, understanding case rationales, case synthesis, time management, optimizing individual learning styles, course outlining, law school and legal note-taking, issue spotting on essays, analyzing and writing effectively for law school exams, how to answer multiple choice questions, and other exam-taking strategies.

Introduction to ASL Legal Studies II and Externship – 2 credit hours (required course)
Introduction to ASL Legal Studies II is structured in a way that builds upon the skills learned in Introduction to ASL Legal Studies I. This academic excellence course teaches the skills necessary to successfully participate in class, effectively manage time, prepare course materials, and practice for exams. Students will learn the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills that are essential to excel in law school, pass the bar exam, and succeed in the practice of law. Topics to be covered include the stages of a lawsuit, court structure, case and statute reading and briefing, understanding case rationales, case synthesis, time management, optimizing individual learning styles, course outlining, law school and legal note-taking, issue spotting on essays, analyzing and writing effectively for law school exams, how to answer multiple choice questions, and other exam-taking strategies.
Introduction to Externships is a pre-requisite for participation in ASL’s Externship Field Placement and is paired with Introduction to ASL Legal Studies II. The course is intended to prepare students for the work they will do in the summer following completion of the first-year curriculum. Initially, the focus is on the applications for externship placement. Students will also focus on proper interview etiquette. The students will have opportunities to hear from guest speakers and panels, including alumni and students. The course also has an introduction to professional responsibility as a law student through which students will learn about common ethical issues faced by Externship students. Other topics covered in the course include: social media, networking, memorandum drafting, legal research, various types of externship opportunities, and career-focused experiential learning.

Introduction to Community Service – not for credit (required course)
This course is designed for incoming students attending the Appalachian School of Law. Sessions will be delivered primarily through lectures, class discussions, guest speakers, and peer-to-peer sessions. Students may use this class as an opportunity to broaden their network of contacts and facilitate community service project placement and opportunities. Students earn the required community service credit for the fall semester, 25 hours, upon successful completion of this introductory course. Therefore, attendance is mandatory for all weekly sessions.

Juvenile Practice – 2 credit hours (practicum)
This specialized course in Virginia Family Law procedure concentrates on actual practice in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts of Commonwealth of Virginia and is taught by a judge who has presided in such courts for 13 years. The aim of the course will be to equip the JDR practitioner with the particular procedural aspects of jurisdiction, venue, parties, and appeals in cases involving Juvenile Delinquency and adult criminal cases that fall within the purview of the JDR Court’s authority, Foster Care and DSS cases involving Abuse and Neglect, Protective Orders, paternity petitions as well a custody and child/spousal support cases. The aim of the course is to develop familiarity with practice and to offer real-world practical instruction in the procedures of this court. Family Law is not a pre-requisite as the substantive law involved is secondary to the practice and procedure taught. This course will not duplicate the Family Law course but rather focus on other distinct issues in the JDR Courts of Virginia. Taught by lecture, guest speakers, discussion, and practical exercises.

Law & Modern Literature – 1 credit hour (general elective)
This discussion-based course examines issues involving law, justice, lawyers, and the legal system through the lens of modern literature. Students will read a selection of contemporary novels and/or non-fiction books with legal themes and met bi-weekly to discuss issues arising in books such as the role of law in society, social justice, racial equality, gender equality, substance abuse and mental issues for legal practitioners, and ethical questions surrounding the practice of law.

Law Journal – 2 credit hours
Students who successfully serve on Appalachian School of Law Journal of Law or the Appalachian Journal of Natural Resources Law for the entire period they are eligible to do so, who are elected and serve as a member of the Board of the Journal, and who produce a note which the Board of the Journal and the Journal’s Faculty Advisor deem publishable, may substitute such service for the Seminar Requirement or a two-credit upper level elective course, at the student’s choice. In such cases, the student shall be awarded two semester credit hours for “Law Journal” at the end of the student’s final semester. Successful completion of service on the Journal will be determined by the Journal’s Faculty Advisor. Students may receive a total of two (2) credits for Law Journal, regardless of the number of notes the student prepares.

Law of Coalbed Methane – 1 credit hour (general elective)
This course will provide students with the opportunity to explore the unique legal issues associated with coalbed methane gas. The course will fall into three segments. Part one will provide a brief introduction to coalbed methane’s history, production, and development. Part two will then comparatively examine ownership theories. Finally, part three will present each ownership theory through state and federal case-law.

Law Office Management – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Provides grounding in lawyering skills in several areas: legal drafting, interaction with clients, and the management of a small law office. The legal drafting component emphasizes the drafting of transactional documents, e.g., various types of contracts, rather than litigation documents. The course includes practice exercises simulating work with clients and the other parties on business transactions. Topics covered in the office management component include: structure of law firms; financial issues (including compensation, billing, fees, and trust accounts); business development (marketing and advertising); law practice tools; and personnel, office, and operational issues.

Law Office Practice – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Provides grounding in lawyering skills in several areas: legal drafting, interaction with clients, and the management of a small law office. The legal drafting component emphasizes the drafting of transactional documents, e.g., various types of contracts, rather than litigation documents. The course includes practice exercises simulating work with clients and the other parties on business transactions. Topics covered in the office management component include: structure of law firms; financial issues (including compensation, billing, fees, and trust accounts); business development (marketing and advertising); law practice tools; and personnel, office, and operational issues.

Legal Process I – 3 credit hours (required course)
The Legal Process component of this course explores the basic methods of legal analysis and legal research, and how to write clear and concise predictive legal analyses. Students are assigned a number of research and writing projects, which may include briefing cases and drafting office memoranda and client communications. Students also gain experience in editing and rewriting.

Legal Process II – 3 credit hours (required course)
A continuation of Legal Process I that explores the art and science of legal writing in greater depth. Students will complete written assignments of significant complexity and acquire more advanced research skills to be used in the production of practice-ready predictive and persuasive legal documents. Students will apply the lessons of Legal Process I and II to their own careers, learning how to write compelling cover letters and other successful professional correspondence. Pre-requisites: Legal Process I

Legal Writing with a Purpose I & II – 1 credit hour each (required courses)*
This full-year writing program, one-hour for each semester, is broken down into seven, four-class units, with each unit being substantively taught by a different ASL professor. Each unit will be built around a particular legal issue within a subject heavily tested on the Bar Exam (for example, Torts or Civil Procedure). There will be three writing assignments and a timed essay quiz within each of the four-week units. The three writing assignments are designed to mirror those that a new attorney may be asked to undertake in practice, and the essay quiz is designed to mimic Bar Examination testing. Each unit will be counted equally towards a student’s grade.
*Students have the option to complete this requirement by taking either Legal Writing with Purpose I & II or Appellate Advocacy.

Marijuana Law and Policy – 2 credits (general elective)
Marijuana (cannibas) is one of the most popular drugs in the country. It is also one of the most highly regulated. Until recently, such regulation was virtually synonymous with prohibition. But over the past two decades, a growing number of states have experimented with new approaches to regulating the drug, treating it more like other legal medicines or alcohol than heroin or methamphetamines. These experiments have created a new body of law governing a host of marijuana-related behaviors, from simply possessing the drug to employing those who use it, along with a host of intriguing questions regarding who has authority to regulate the drug. This course will analyze the competing approaches to regulating marijuana, the rationales behind these approaches, and where legal authority resides for choosing among them. What are the elements of a marijuana trafficking offense? May a state legalize a drug the federal government forbids? Who is allowed to use and traffic marijuana under state law? How do states prevent diversion of marijuana into forbidden markets? Are contracts with marijuana dealers enforceable? May employers fire employees who use marijuana for medical purposes? These are just some of the questions the course will address.

Mental Health in the Criminal Justice System – 2 credit hours (practicum)
During this course, students will: 1) Learn practical knowledge using a comprehensive overview of mental health jurisprudence in a variety of criminal litigation contexts such as competency to stand trial, criminal responsibility, competency to be executed, juvenile transfer, sexual offender risk assessment, and civil commitment. 2) Understand the background, efficacy and reliability of instruments and methods currently employed in the forensic assessment of mental disability and/or aptitude. 3) Discover the ethical dilemmas and legal ramifications inherent in the representation or prosecution of those with mental health problems in the modern and historical legal system. 4) Gauge the knowledge, skill, experience, training, education, credentials, and effectiveness of potential mental health experts and consultants, with an understanding of the discrete nature and critical impact of each of these professional attributes.

Mineral Title Examination – 2 credit hours (practicum)
This course will familiarize and provide the students with an overview of the process of examining mineral titles and rendering legal opinions on title in the context of mineral production and development. Students will gain hands-on experience by conducting mineral title examinations in regional courthouses as well as drafting title opinions. The course will focus on examining title to Appalachian mineral properties, including natural gas and coal. The course will include a hands-on title search component where students will research the title from public records, learn how to identify conveyances and exceptions, and how to construe a mineral severance deed. The course will cover examining the title and identifying potential problems with the title, such as mortgages, easements, inadequate legal descriptions, improperly acknowledged documents, powers of attorney, foreclosures, bankruptcies, unpaid taxes, deed restrictions and reverters.

Moot Court – 2 credit hours
Students who are selected by the Moot Court Program’s Faculty Advisor(s) to participate in an interscholastic moot court competition, who do in fact participate in the competition, and who contribute substantially to drafting the competition brief may substitute such service for a one-credit upper-level elective course. In such cases, the student shall be awarded one semester credit hour for “Moot Court” at the end of the student’s final semester. Students seeking academic credit for moot court participation are expected to contribute to the Appalachian School of Law’s Moot Court Board and its activities.
Students may earn a maximum of two credits for participation in moot court, regardless of the number of competitions in which they participate.
Students who earn credit for participating in two interscholastic moot court competitions, along with the associated brief drafting, may substitute such service for the Seminar Requirement. The Moot Court Program’s Faculty Advisor(s) will review at least one draft and provide feedback and opportunity for revision of each of the student’s briefs. If interscholastic competition rules prevent such review and feedback prior to submission of an independently prepared competition brief, that process may take place after the brief is submitted but before seminar credit is awarded. In all cases the Moot Court Program’s Faculty Advisor(s) shall determine the sufficiency of the brief prior to an award of seminar credit.
The Moot Court Program’s Faculty Advisor(s) will determine whether students have successfully completed Moot Court service and are eligible for seminar or elective credit.

Multistate Bar Examination (MBE) Fundamentals – 2 credit hours (required course)
This course provides students with a comprehensive review of the eight subjects featured on the Multistate Bar Exam: criminal law, criminal procedure, torts, civil procedure, property, contracts, evidence, and constitutional law. By working on MBE questions under exam conditions, and dissecting said questions, students will develop strategies to efficiently work through a high volume of MBE questions in a limited amount of time.

Natural Resources: Why Lawyers and Engineers Need Each Other – 3 credit hours (practicum)
The class will explore both the legal and engineering components of projects, programs, and permits involving our natural resources. Each class will discuss a distinct project or program. For instance, the attorney applying for a SMCRA permit for a new mining project will need an engineer to create a reclamation plan upon mine closure. The engineer designing a pipeline crossing under a scenic trail will need a lawyer to explain what standards the design must meet under the National Trails System Act. Designing underground mines to comply with MSHA, soil erosion plans to comply with NEP, and coal ash impounds to comply with the Clean Water Act and local zoning laws are among the many other instances where lawyers and engineers need to work collaboratively. The bulk of the materials will be delivered through synchronous live video connecting ASL and Virginia Tech; the first two weeks will include asynchronous on-line professor recordings and assignments, and the last three weeks will be reserved for student presentations.

Natural ResourcesLaw/Natural Resources Law & Policy – 2 credit hours (seminar)
Examines the specialized property rules governing estates in natural resources, the correlative rights of surface and mineral owners, and the rights to explore, mine and extract, develop, and transport natural resources, with primary emphasis on “hard” minerals. As a compliment to existing courses in Administrative and Environmental law, the course examines selected issues of natural resources regulation from the perspective of the regulated community.

Negligence – 3 credit hours (required course) (Beginning Fall 2020, Torts will be taught in two sections: Intentional Torts and Negligence. Before Fall 2020, this course was taught as Torts in one, four credit hour section.)
This course is one component of the two-semester study of torts undertaken by first-year law students. Torts is a broad area of law establishing responsibilities, rights, and remedies for civil wrongs not arising out of contract. Negligence, the largest segment of modern tort law, focuses primarily on torts that are committed by accident or carelessness (in contrast to torts committed with intent to accomplish a result). In this course, students examine cases and explore the principles governing basic elements of a negligence case, qualified and special duty doctrines, defenses and immunities, damages and apportionment of liability, and other associated topics, such as liability without fault.

Negotiations in the Criminal Justice System – 2 credit hours (practicum)
This two credit course fosters acquisition and development of negotiation skills, relevant to criminal proceedings. The course will cover ethical, practical and skills-based techniques and issues. Upon successful completion of Negotiations in the Criminal Justice System,” students will be able to: 1) Evaluate all aspects of a criminal case from both a prosecution and defense perspective. 2) Understand the ethical and legal bounds of prosecutorial discretion, including tactics, for structuring and offering a plea bargain. 3) Understand the value and potential pitfalls of plea bargaining as a method for resolving criminal cases. 4) As defense counsel, evaluate a defendant’s best interests as well as formulating a well thought out strategy for plea negotiations with prosecutors and complaining witnesses. 5) Know the obligations of effective plea bargaining as mandated by the ABA Standards of Practice and recent court cases.

Post-Conviction Relief – 2 credit hours (seminar)
This class will be an introduction to the concept of a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP). The course will survey topics related to MLPs. It is expected that students will also gain practical knowledge about the types of issues intended to be addressed by an MLP. Broad topics to be covered include:
● Making the connection between poverty, health and the law;
● Social determinants of health;
● Collaboration with healthcare providers and how the professions can help one another;
● Addressing the social determinant of health through legal advocacy;
● MLPs for special populations (e.g., cancer patients, immigrants, HIV/AIDS patients, elderly populations, adolescents); and,
● Improving health through MLPs.
Subsets of these major topics will include an overview of public and private insurance markets, ethical issues in the MLP context, housing concerns with patients needing MLP services, inter-disciplinary training and learning opportunities between medical and legal professionals, and strategies for policy change.
In addition, it is anticipated that the course will include some practical aspects. Students will have exposure to examples of patient medical records, and MLP patient/client intake forms. Students will hear directly from policy makers and healthcare workers who will participate in the lectures.

Poverty, Health, and Law: Medical-Legal Partnerships – 2 credit hours (general elective)
Expands on the issues examined in the first year Torts course. It focuses on privacy, business torts, product liability, and defamation. Prerequisite: Torts

Pretrial Practice – 4 credit hours (practicum)
Focuses on the handling and preparation of a civil case from the time a client walks in the lawyer’s office to the eve of trial. Specific topic covered will include: client interviewing and counseling; tactical considerations of where and what to file; preparation of the pleadings; taking and defending discovery; interviewing witnesses; preparation of pretrial motions. Students will prepare a series of written documents and take part in a variety of in-class exercises.

Procedural Fairness – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This presentation will focus on the concept of procedural fairness, a research-based idea about building trust between justice system actors, clients, and other members of the public, and the costs of low levels of trust across the criminal justice system. The course will consider three main perspectives; litigant, public, and student perspectives. Course materials will cover a national and local scope. The objective of this class is to prepare the law student to step in on day one as a new lawyer and work to build trust and enhance fairness within their professional practice.

Professional Responsibility – 3 credit hours (required course)
Instruction in the history, structure, goals, duties, values, and responsibilities of the legal profession, including instruction in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. The course focuses on a lawyer’s responsibilities and duties to clients, the legal profession, courts, and the public.

Property I – 2 credit hours (required course)
Introduction to the law of personal property and real property, including estates and other interests in land, real property marketing and conveyancing, landlord and tenant issues, nuisance, regulatory limitations on land use, and eminent domain and inverse condemnation.

Property II – 3 credit hours (required course)
A continuation of Property I. Prerequisite: Property I

Prosecution Project – 2 credit hours (general elective)
The Prosecution Project is a unique collaboration between law students and professional prosecutors. The Project has two aims. First, through readings and discussions with experienced prosecutors, judges, police, defense attorneys and others, students will be introduced to the professional roles of prosecutors, to their ethical responsibilities, and to the challenges faced by modern prosecutors in seeking to do justice in a rapidly changing environment. Second, through their research and analysis, students will assist the regional prosecutors in their efforts to study and address issues of importance to prosecutors and the public.

Real Estate Transactions – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Focuses on how commercial and residential real estate is conveyed. Lecture will discuss legal theories of title, transfer, and ownership issues. Students will prepare written projects that will require research of title records, statutes, and precedent. Projects will follow real property as it is conveyed, mortgaged, leased, and foreclosed. Condominium issues and mineral rights transfers will be addressed. Students will work with a local attorney to gain experience in current issues. Skills elements of this course include real estate title search; drafting of purchase and sales agreements, deeds, mortgages, UCC statements, closing settlement statements, and leases; drafting and review of easements, attachments, and other encumbrances; and drafting and scheduling of foreclosure sale. Pre-requisites: Contracts I & II; Property I & II

Remedies – 3 credit hours (general elective)
A study of the forms of legal and equitable remedies, the substantive law of restitution, and the problems of measuring damages and non-monetary forms of remedy. Various remedies are explored in both litigation and alternative dispute resolution contexts.

The Resurgent Role of Legal History – 2 credit hours
The Resurgent Role of Legal History examines the increasingly prominent role legal history plays in modern judicial decision-making. Focusing on recent judicial opinions that appear to be decided primarily based on historical reasoning, the course critically examines the cited historical sources and considers academic praise and skepticism of the judicial invocation of legal history – all toward the goal of equipping students to confidently incorporate historical argument into their legal thinking as well as their future advocacy.

Secured Transactions/UCC – 4 credit hours (required course)
Secured Transactions is the study of consumer and business credit transactions in which a loan is consensually secured by an interest in personal property as governed by Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The course examines the mechanics of creating and perfecting secured obligations, the application of a secured obligation to proceeds of collateral and after-acquired property, the effect of disposition of collateral by the debtor prior to satisfaction of the obligation, repossession and other rights of the secured creditor upon default by the debtor, priority rules between multiple creditors claiming security in the same collateral, and treatment of secured claims in a bankruptcy proceeding. Consideration is also given to non-consensual liens controlled in whole or part by other statutes or by common law. Payment Systems is the study of Article 3 of the UCC governing negotiable instruments and Article 4 of the UCC governing the check-collection process and the bank-customer relationship. Consideration is also given to related state and federal laws involving credit and debit card transactions, letters of credit, and electronic funds transfers. Pre-requisites: Contracts I & II

Securities Law – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This class will focus on the “life cycle” of a business’s need for capital. We will discuss initial formation of a company and how a startup (mom and pop, friends and family or private placement) can legally raise capital. We will also study mezzanine financing and how public offerings work. Part of our study will include equity based compensation programs that are designed to retain employees and reward initial “sweat equity” employees.

Sentencing – 2 credit hours (practicum)
This course will address the theories behind sentencing, as well as the practicalities of sentencing. The course will discuss sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums, parole and “defined sentencing,” and juvenile sentencing issues. In addition, post-sentencing issues such as revocation of parole or probation and civil commitments will be addressed. The course is intended to teach students about the theories and issues involved in sentencing and about the practical information that attorneys need to consider on both the prosecution and defense sides of criminal law.

Solar Energy Law – 2 credit hours (seminar)
This seminar-styled class covers the major legal and policy issues affecting the development and deployment of solar energy. The class will meet for 14 weeks. The first ten weeks will be lecture classes; the last four class times are reserved for student presentations.

Social Security Disability – 2 credit hours (general elective/practicum)
Familiarizes students with the substantive law governing social security disability claims. The course also covers the practical aspects of representing a claimant through the application, review, and appeals processes.

State & Local Government – 2 credit hours (general elective)
As all of you are probably aware, state and local governments play as equally an important role in our lives as does the federal government. The role of law enforcement (police, district attorneys and judges), the placement of street signs and lights, the construction, operation and maintenance of our public schools all fall primarily under the jurisdiction of our state and local governments. One of the most important ways in which we can ensure that our representatives in state and local government respond to our needs is through the election process. This course will examine how well do state and local governments perform their essential functions and what we as citizens can do to insure that our representatives carry out their responsibilities.

Supreme Court Survey of Energy Law Cases – 2 credit hours (practicum)
Students will examine energy law issues through the lens of important Virginia Supreme Court cases. The course will include such topics as coal, oil and gas, utilities, and administrative appeals. Students will work in teams to analyze and argue cases before Justice Elizabeth A. McClanahan. For each case, students will receive relevant briefs, statutes, Court rules, and cited materials.

Sustainable Energy Law Practice – 4 credit hours (practicum)
Students explore the significant challenges facing the energy industry today, including climate change concerns, energy independence and security, traditional pollution, regulatory and litigation burdens, jobs, the price of electricity, “peak” supply, and increased energy demand. Students will gain an understanding of historical and current energy use, law and policy, both globally and nationally. The class is built around the following units: the international regime; national energy and environmental policy; coal law and policy; natural gas law and policy; transportation and oil; nuclear and renewable energy; and legislation and litigation. Students will represent nations in mock climate treaty negotiations; debate the “hot” energy issues of the day; and advise “clients” on energy-related regulations and agreements. Reading materials are compiled from source documents (treaties, regulations, laws and court decisions), government and industry studies and reports, and current commentary. There is a significant paper due at the end of the class.

Title Examination – 2 credit hours (practicum)
This course will provide the students with an overview of the process of examining titles and rendering legal opinions on title in the context of residential and commercial real estate sales. The course will include a hands-on title search component where students will research the title from public records, learn to identify conveyances and exceptions, and to interpret deeds. The course will cover examining the title and identifying potential problems with the title, such as mortgages, easements, inadequate legal descriptions, improperly acknowledged documents, powers of attorney, foreclosures, bankruptcies, unpaid taxes, deed restrictions and reverters.

Trial Advocacy – 4 credit hours (practicum)
Intensive course in the analysis, skills, and techniques of trials. The course includes simulated exercises on all aspects of in-court trial practice including opening statements, development of witness testimony on direct and cross- examination, use of illustrative aids and exhibits in evidence, impeachment, expert testimony, and summations. Each participant will take part in at least one full simulated trial.
Virginia Civil Procedure and Practice – 4 credit hours (required course for VA bar takers) (Before Spring 2020, this course was taught as Virginia Civil Procedure for 3 credit hours.)
In this course, students undertake a comprehensive and in-depth study of civil procedure and practice in Virginia state courts, as governed by statutory provisions of the Code of Virginia, Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court of Virginia, and Virginia case law. In addition, students regularly work on practice essays containing issues of Virginia Civil Procedure frequently tested on the essay portion of the Virginia Bar Exam. This course is essential for students planning to practice law in Virginia and also satisfies the spring Bar Preparation Studies course requirement for students taking the Virginia Bar Exam.

Virginia Criminal Law and Procedure – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course is a review of Virginia Statutes, Rules of Court and Virginia appellate decisions important to a basic understanding of Virginia Criminal Law and Procedure. Topics include Virginia Criminal Law and Procedure distinctions, jurisdiction, venue, preliminary hearings, grand jury, pre-trial motions, trial, sentencing and appeals.

Virginia Drafting – 2 credit hours (practicum)
The VA Drafting course will allow students to create their own personal file of various VA pleadings, motions, etc. The course will consist of pleadings, motions, etc. of Circuit Court, General District Court, and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. The subject matter of the specific pleadings, motions, etc. will concentrate in the areas of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Property , Estates, Equitable Distribution, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Domestic Relations, and standard orders (e.g. Continuances or Objection(s) to Order.
For each subject matter stated above the class will prepare pleadings, motions, and orders based on facts provided by the Professor. Further, the students will also have to prepare for either class discussion and/or mock hearings based on said pleadings, motions, and orders. A typical class setting will consist of either review of assignment through lecture or class discussion or through argument on a motion or other pleading.

Virginia Law Foundations – 2 credit hours (general elective)
This course is designed to cover the major substantive and procedural areas of Virginia Civil Procedure. The rules of Court as promulgated by the Supreme Court of Virginia as well as statutory rules and case law will be examined in the course.

Wills and Estates – 2 credit hours (general elective)
A study of the devolution of property by descent and wills, including a study of intestacy, and related problems of construction. The course also introduces the student to concepts involving the formation and management of trusts. This course is a pre-requisite to Estate Planning Practicum course. Pr-requisites: Property I & II

Workers’ Compensation – 2 credits (practicum)
This course will introduce students to the practical aspects of representing claimants for workers’ compensation benefits. This course will include instruction in the applicable legal theory, but the focus will be on the nuts and bolts of actually practicing in the area. Topics will include client interviewing, developing medical evidence, preparing witnesses for testimony, working with vocational experts, administrative hearing and appeals processes, and more.