Summer Courses


Third Intersession – July 27 – August 21

Impeachment, Pandemics, Protest, and Politics: Separation of Powers and Federalism in 2020 – Justice William Mims (2 cr.)
This course it is about power: how it is used, abused, controlled, and ultimately channeled for the public good.

Students will be required to think critically about the practical meaning of the U.S. Constitution in real-time 2020. There will not be a single text. Rather each class will include a variety of readings (and some podcasts), many of which will be quite current. The course will include a combination of lecture and vigorous, respectful, informed discussions. Specifically, the course will address: (1) Impeachment, (2) Executive Privilege / Contempt of Congress, (3) Limitations on Executive Power, (4) the Pandemic, (5) Protest and Policing, and (6) Crystal Ball: The 2020 Election. At the conclusion of the course, Justice Mims will devote an hour to each student, to have either a one-on-one or small group discussion (depending on the number of students), relating to what each student has found significant and how each student might use the principles learned in this class in their legal career.

The Resurgent Role of Legal History – Justice D. Arthur Kelsey (2 cr.)
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.

Juvenile Procedure – Hon. Richard Campbell (2 cr. P)
This specialized course in Virginia Family Law procedure concentrates on actual practice in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts of the 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 as 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 prerequisite as the substantive law involved is secondary to the practice and procedure taught. This course will not duplicate the required 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.

Product Law Overview – Professor Kevin Osborne (2 cr. PW)
Provide an overview of federal and state regulation and legal considerations involved in the development, manufacturing, labeling and advertising of consumer products in the US.

Topics will include products and communications regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (drugs, medical devices, food and dietary supplements, and tobacco products), the Consumer Products Safety Commission and California’s Proposition 65.

Legal issues will include product risk assessment and management, supply chain, IP considerations and reputational issues in a regulated environment and constitutional issues (preemption, First Amendment, takings).

Fundamental and evolving legal landscapes will be explored using examples of conventional products and newer products (e.g., e-vapor and various CBD/THC products).

Real world scenarios will be employed for teaching and evaluations, with an emphasis on integrated issue spotting and legally sound, practical proposals for solutions.

Procedural Fairness – Hon. Don Johnson (2 cr.)
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 new lawyers and work to build trust and enhance fairness within their professional practice.

Try it v. Settle it –  Hon. Bruce Kushner (ret.) & DeRonda Short (2 cr. P)
So you have a client – WHAT NOW?

This specialized course will provide practical training for trial preparation (bench trials) and settlement preparation procedures – emphasizing real-world information, tips, and advice for case development in Virginia Circuit Courts. Topics to be covered include:

  • When and how to decide whether you should mediate/negotiate and/or try a case.
  • How to evaluate the facts, decide the forum, and evaluate the process. Role playing, interactive discussions and information gathering techniques will be utilized. [Note: If possible, observation of a real trial in a local circuit court with discussion and questions afterwards.]

This course will be fun, informative, and practical. While it does not replace substantive law course, it will be useful as you start your wonderful journey as a lawyer.

Law Office Management – Professor Charles Condon (2 cr. PW)
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.


Second Intersession – June 1 to July 24

Marijuana Law and Policy – Professor Mark “Buzz” Belleville (2 cr.)
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.
It is currently contemplated that grades will be derived from a combination of weekly quizzes, on-line discussion participation, and 3-4 short papers, editorials or articles (each <1000 words).


First Intersession – May 4 to May 29

Sentencing – Professor Shelly James (2 cr. P)
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, postsentencing 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.
(Pre-requisites: Criminal Law)

Information Privacy Law – Professor Charles Condon (2 cr. PW)
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 course examines case law, statutory regimes, and policy approaches.

Contract Drafting – Associate Dean Mason Heidt (2 cr. PW)
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)

Insurance Law – Professor Tom Scott (2 cr.)
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.