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College of Law

Florida State University

 

Curriculum

There are no required courses or restricted or unrestricted electives. It is expected, however, that students will take at least 16 credits from the courses specifically designated as Business Law Courses and the rest of the courses specifically designated as Electives: Topic Related to Business Law

Business Law Courses:

  • Advanced Corporate Governance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Corporations

    This seminar will cover the major debates in corporate law scholarship and policy, such as whether corporations should maximize profits or consider social welfare, whether corporations are distinct entities or just a nexus of relationships among various economic actors, and whether stock options are a valuable or detrimental form of executive compensation, among others.  

  • Anatomy of a Deal

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Contracts, Corporations

    This course will help students develop the skills necessary to work on transactional matters, including drafting, negotiating, and analytical skills. After briefly revisiting basic contracting and corporate law principles, we will begin working on and through the various elements of a deal. We will review and discuss many of the documents and provisions that a transactional lawyer confronts, including: confidentiality agreements, non-binding letters of intent, binding agreements (including purchase agreements, lease agreements, license agreements, employment agreements, etc.), guarantees, indemnifications, representations and warranties, working capital, escrows, financing contingencies, non-competes, certificates and more. You will be taught how to perform due diligence, how to time transactions and closings, and how to negotiate transactional documents. From time to time, as appropriate, we may have guest speakers join us to provide their expertise on a particular area of law or on a particular type of transaction or document.

    You will be provided with a syllabus on the first day of class that will outline the general topics to be discussed in class as well as the class schedule. The assignment for class will be given to you at the end of the prior class (unless otherwise specifically discussed). Since this is a class that focuses on deal transactions, you will be expected to keep up with and know what is going on in the current business and economic environment, and will spend the first few minutes of class discussing current events. This course will fulfill the skills training requirement for graduation. 

  • Antitrust Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of judicial decisions construing and applying the federal antitrust laws ( i.e., Sherman, Clayton, Robinson-Patman, and Federal Trade Commission Acts) to the control of the competitive process in the American economy.

  • Bankruptcy

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A comprehensive study of the legal principles governing the relationship of debtors and creditors, with primary emphasis on federal bankruptcy law and focus on the rights of unsecured creditors. Traditional state remedies such as attachment, garnishment, execution, fraudulent conveyance and debtors' exemptions also are covered.

  • Behavioral Law and Economics

    This interdisciplinary seminar critically examines the “rational actor” model of legal decision making (proposed by classical economic theorists) in light of the work of social and cognitive psychology.  This course will examine cutting-edge empirical and experimental research and will challenge the descriptive assumptions that underlie legal doctrine in a variety of areas, including criminal law, contracts, torts, corporate law, administrative law, and the rules of evidence and procedure. 

    Topics include, but are not limited to: (1) how moral and social norms interact with legal rules to influence behavior (and whether they should); (2) how cognitive biases affect a party’s ability to bargain efficiently for goods; (3) the psychological factors that guide decisions regarding whether and how much to punish wrongdoers; (4) the power that group dynamics exert on board members in corporate decision making; and (5) whether the traditional “law and economics” approach to tort law fits with psychological research on risk.  Grades will be based on a presentation and research paper.

  • Business Law Clinic
    More information coming soon!
  • Business Law Legal Research
  • Business Planning

    (2-4 credits)

    This course explores the most common issues faced by small and medium-sized businesses and the lawyers representing them.  Issues that typically will be addressed include: choosing the right form (corporation, partnership, LLC) for the business, organizing and funding the enterprise, converting from one form to another, and purchase and sale of businesses.  Additional issues that may be addressed may include: buy-sell provisions, employment agreements, compensation planning, insurance, diversification, and estate, asset protection, and transition planning.  Both tax and non-tax aspects are considered.  No prerequisites.  Previous or concurrent enrollment in Corporations, Closely-Held Business Organizations, and Taxation desirable but not required.

     
  • Closely Held Business Organizations

    Prerequisites: None

    This course covers the organizational law of small businesses, particularly those with relatively few owners or shareholders. It introduces and compares different types of legal organizations commonly used by small businesses, such as general partnerships, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, and limited-liability companies (LLCs).

    Topics include the formation of business organizations, the rights and duties of owners and managers, and the breakup of businesses. The course also covers the law of agency -- that is, the law that addresses the rights and duties that arise when one person acts for another. 

  • Commercial Paper

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: Must not have taken Commercial Law Survey

    Principles of commercial paper; system of bank deposits and collections, including the relationship of the commercial bank and its customer. The use of commercial paper in documentary exchanges is also covered. 

  • Consumer Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study and analysis of decisional and statutory materials dealing with problems in areas such as consumer credit, deceptive and oppressive sales practices, extrajudicial collection efforts and the role of credit reporting agencies. 

  • Contract Drafting

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will teach the principles of contemporary commercial drafting, introduce documents typically used in a variety of business transactions and provide an overview of principled contract negotiation techniques. The course will be of particular interest to students pursuing a corporate law career, but the concepts are applicable to any transactional practice and will even be useful to litigators.

    Students will be exposed to:

    1) The business purpose of major contract concepts
    2) Translating the business deal into contract concepts
    3) Drafting each of a contract’s parts
    4) Techniques for principled negotiation (win-win negotiation)

    Practical examples will help students understand the importance of drafting with clarity and without ambiguity, how to work through the formal drafting process and how to review and comment on contracts. Students will participate in several multi-phase drafting exercises and mock negotiations.

  • Corporate Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Corporations

    An advanced corporate course designed to develop students' awareness of the range of legal issues involved in the public and private funding of the activities of a corporation or similar business entity. The course provides a basic analysis of commercial loan agreements; stocks, bonds, and other securities; mergers and acquisitions; corporate capital structure; and enterprise valuation. 

  • Corporate Governance

    This seminar focuses on corporate governance and the financial crisis. Specifically, we will examine the institutions, financial products, markets, and economic theories at the core of the recent financial crisis. Then, we will explore how, if at all, corporate law and related disciplines played a role in the crisis and/or should play a role in regulating financial firms and markets. Topics will include traditional fiduciary obligations, the shareholder empowerment movement, executive compensation, the legislative/regulatory response to the crisis, and the question of "too big to fail." 

  • Corporate Law and Finance Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Co-Requisite: Corporations

    The purpose of this seminar is to study selected corporate law and finance issues from the perspective of law and economics, including: fiduciary duties, shareholder activism, executive compensation, takeovers, securities fraud, capital structure decisions and the Efficient Capital Markets hypothesis. We will pay special attention to the incentives of corporate participants to behave strategically and the relative effectiveness of markets and legal rules in reducing the level of inefficient strategic behavior. This course may fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • Corporations

    (4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    An introduction to the language and law of business organizations, including agency, partnership, and business corporations. Topics include formation and structure of the corporation, power and fiduciary responsibility of management, rights and liabilities of shareholders, corporate capital structure and finance, shareholders' derivatives litigation, acquisitions and tender offers, and insider trading. Federal securities law is introduced. 

  • Dodd-Frank Act Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: None

    The purpose of this seminar is to study the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Issues covered include: the causes of financial crises; the role of governments in regulating financial institutions, and of markets in meeting regulatory shortfalls; coordination between international financial regulators; the “too-big-to-fail” problem; risk management; financial derivatives, including mortgage-backed securities and other asset-backed securities; the role of rating agencies; the regulation of hedge funds; and consumer protection. We will study how the Dodd-Frank Act addressed each of these issues. This course may fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • Estate and Gift Tax

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: Gratuitous Transfers is highly recommended

    Covers federal estate and gift taxes and their impact on gratuitous property transactions during life and at death. The course includes brief consideration of the tax on generation skipping transfers. 

  • Estate Planning Workshop

    (2 credits)

    This course is a drafting seminar in which students evaluate a series of case studies and draft estate planning documents as indicated by the facts of the particular case study. Documents drafted may include an engagement letter, durable power of attorney, designation of health care surrogate, living will, revocable living trust with pour over will for married couple with minor children, standalone will with A-B trust form marital deduction planning, irrevocable insurance trust and complex will with aggressive GST tax planning.

  • Financial Statements Interpretation

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Every lawyer should know how to read financial statements. Whether your practice concentrates in the areas of corporate, business, real estate, estate planning or family law, a lawyer will be required to read and analyze financial statements. In this skills course, students will learn basic accounting principles necessary to understand, interpret and analyze financial statements, formulate effective inquires, and communicate intelligently with business and financial professionals (as well as with their future clients). Students will read and use the information from real companies to analyze and interpret their financial statements. Specifically, this class will use real world examples to illustrate the interrelationships between financial statements and the documents underlying certain deals/transactions. The students will learn about financial reports, cash flow versus income, tax versus accounting books, the quality of earnings and analytical ratios, all of which may be necessary for a lawyer to conduct due diligence on a particular matter and to draft operative agreements. The class will also spend time analyzing past financial scandals and the financial issues that led to them (and the role a lawyer could/may have played in preventing them). This course assumes that participants have little or no background with respect to the preparation, analysis, and interpretation of financial statements. This course will fulfill the Skills Training Requirement for graduation. May be taken as a S/U grade only.

  • Game Theory for Business Lawyers Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Managers, shareholders, creditors, and regulators make decisions strategically: they try to predict how others may act, and they adjust their behavior in light of those predictions. Therefore, both transactional lawyers and business litigators can benefit from learning about “game theory,” the discipline that studies this sort of strategic behavior. In this seminar, we will learn about bargaining and litigation strategy, the importance of reputation when parties transact with each other repeatedly, and the extent to which informational asymmetries can distort market transactions. We will study these and related game theory issues through the lens of corporate law and finance, giving special attention to learning a critical skill: how to apply general theoretical concepts to transactional and litigation scenarios commonly encountered by business lawyers. This course may fulfill the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • In-House Counsel

    (3 Credits)
    Prerequisites: None 

    “In-house counsel” refers to lawyers employed by corporations and similar entities. The course explores the roles of in-house attorneys, entity governance and decision-making, risk assessment, regulatory compliance and lobbying, corporate self-policing and internal investigations, and working with outside counsel. It also considers professional responsibility issues such as confidentiality, privileges, conflicts of interest, and balancing business and legal advice. Grading may be based in part on simulation exercises, including in-class role-playing and drafting documents commonly prepared by inside counsel.

  • Insurance Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course covers basic legal principles and their applicability to insurance generally. Construction of contracts, government supervision, insurance practice and litigation, and industry organization are reviewed. 

  • Insurance Law & Economics: Theory & Applications

    Prerequisites: None

    This course will focus on how insurance regulation can improve upon market outcomes, how political forces can discourage the realization of regulatory ideals and how legal, business and policy strategies can productively address such differences. 

  • International Business Transactions

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None
     
    This course provides an introduction to the work performed by lawyers in international business transactions and to the specific skills and knowledge needed to negotiate multinational transactions. International and several domestic regulatory frameworks for foreign trade and investment will be analyzed. We will focus on single, commodity trades; distributorships; technology transfer; and joint venture vehicles for direct foreign investment. Negotiating strategies and cultural considerations in multinational transactions will be discussed. There will be specific coverage of the business and legal contexts of Europe, China and Japan. 

  • International Sales & Arbitration

    (1 credit) 

    This course is a primer on international commercial sales and the international arbitration mechanism utilized to resolve most all international sales disputes. It introduces international sales; in particular, the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), the contract law covering merchant to merchant international sales of goods. And it introduces international arbitration; particularly, international commercial arbitration tribunals, the private, consensual bodies that resolve most international sales disputes. This primer applies the CISG and arbitration principles to issues and problems facing the sales and arbitration world today.

  • International Taxation

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Taxation I

    A study of the federal income tax laws and international tax treaty provisions that apply to transactions that cross international boundaries. 

  • International Trade and Investment Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course covers the law and institutions governing the global trading system, including that of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional trading arrangements (e.g., the European Union and NAFTA). The WTO incorporates a dispute settlement system, including the Appellate Body, the jurisprudence of which is followed by other trading regimes. The laws and institutions of the United States that are relevant to international trade are addressed, including constitutional aspects, import and export rules, and rules providing border protection for intellectual property. For the past several decades, the United States has actively negotiated bilateral and regional trading arrangements to promote US interests, and current negotiating efforts (e.g., the TransPacific Partnership) are discussed. A substantial part of new trading arrangements address protection of investment, including in many cases investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The course covers investment rules, including ISDS, as a feature of trading arrangements. International trade policy and rules affect a range of other subject matters, including the environment, innovation, public health, labor and human rights.

  • Introduction to Business and Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    The primary objective of this three credit course is to familiarize students with various analytic methods and tools and their applications to various legal fields and issues. Topics include decision analysis, risk and uncertainty, preference aggregation and voting problems, selected issues in finance (e.g. time value of money and diversification of risk), elementary game theory, financial statements, basic microeconomics and fundamental concepts in statistical analysis. 

  • Law and Economics

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None
     
    Economics plays an important role in all areas of the law. This course introduces students to the economic concepts that they will need to know to be effective litigators and transactional lawyers. Among other things, we will address the following questions. How do markets work? What happens when one party to a transaction has an informational or bargaining advantage? How can we tell whether a party is acting rationally or irrationally? How can lawyers use economics to advice clients, draft contracts and make persuasive legal arguments? We will learn all the relevant economics in class — i.e., no previous knowledge of economics is required. 

  • Law and Economics Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Recommended Pre-requisite: Law & Economics

    This seminar will focus on selected law and economics topics in contracts, torts, criminal law, litigation and the regulation of capital markets and financial institutions. We will pay special attention to the strategic interaction between parties, using game theory and behavioral law and economics as our two principal theoretical frameworks. You will learn how contracts, markets and legal rules can help (or hinder) the ability of parties to coordinate their behavior, avoid bargaining breakdowns, and anticipate and address potential conflicts. This in turn will equip you with a set of tools useful in identifying and managing risks, evaluating and drafting contracts and litigating disputes, including determining the value of potential lawsuits and the decision whether to settle or proceed to trial. No prior knowledge of economics is required. This course can be used to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.

  • Law and Entrepreneurship

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course provides a survey of business law topics typically encountered when advising small, new, and entrepreneurial businesses.  Topics range from selection of an appropriate business entity type and completing the legal formalities to establish the entity to exits from business ownership.  In between students will be exposed to legal issues of importance to entrepreneurs including basic tax considerations, debt and equity finance, employee and independent contractor issues, securing intellectual property rights, typical contract matters, insurance, creditors rights and the UCC.  Each topic will be taught from the perspective of advising a small business client on essential legal requirements for protection of their business interest with emphasis on practical ways to meet those requirements.  

  • Mergers & Acquisitions

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Business Associations (or Corporations)

    This is an advanced course in the law of mergers and acquisitions. The course will start with fundamental financial theory and proceed to examine the applicable state and federal law. (For this purpose, the only state that really matters is Delaware, although from time to time the law of other commercially important states will also appear.) The course will be most useful for students who intend to practice with a firm or government agency representing or regulating large publicly traded corporations (or with a plaintiffs' firm that brings class or derivative actions against such corporations.) It may not be useful to students who already know that their practices will not involve publicly held corporations, although they are of course welcome to take it. 

  • Nonprofit Organizations

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This is a 2-credit class surveying the comprehensive law of nonprofit organizations. The course will begin with an overview of the nonprofit sector and provide an understanding of the various dimensions and rationales for nonprofit organizations.  We’ll then dissect the legal framework of these organizations, including formation, dissolution, and restructuring; operation and governance; and state and federal requirements for existence.  The course will conclude with a discussion of the taxation of charitable organizations, the impact commercial activities have on exempt status, and special constitutional issues private membership associations face. 

  • Real Estate Finance

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course is designed to train students to analyze complex commercial real estate transactions. It is interdisciplinary within law, attempting to integrate topics including basic mortgage law, usury law, subordination agreements, mechanics lien law, selected uniform commercial code issues, choice of business entity, federal and state securities law and, importantly, federal income tax law. Condominia and cooperatives are discussed as security devices. The federal income tax coverage concentrates on a handful of issues fundamental to commercial real estate transactions, especially the tax treatment of indebtedness and tax aspects of leasing arrangements, including synthetic lease transactions.

  • Risk, Public Policy & Law

    (3 credits)

    This seminar will focus on how concepts of risk serve to justify and shape public policies, legal rules, and risk management practices. It will introduce some of the primary methods for analyzing potentially risky policies and managing risk. We will begin with a focus on the definition of risk as it applies to public policy, and as it has been used to analyze and inform policies and laws designed to address risks. We will then turn to the differences between formal assessments of risk and the “perceived risks” and social, political and institutional responses that typically drive public policy. These concepts will then be applied to a set of specific cases in current public policies that involve the intersection of environmental, energy, natural disaster, and security concerns.

  • Sales and Leases

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the rights and responsibilities of sellers, buyers, lessors and lessees of personal property, including transactions in documents of title and letters of credit. The emphasis will rest on Articles 2 and 2A of the Uniform Commercial Code and the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods, with some additional attention paid to Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the Code and the corresponding international law on documents of title and letter of credit. 

  • Secured Transactions

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of security interests in personal property. Emphasis is on the creation and operation of financing arrangements under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Consideration of the effect of the Bankruptcy Act on Article 9 transactions also is included. 

  • Securities Regulation

    (3 credits)
    Co-requisites: Corporations OR Closely Held Business Organizations

    A study of the regulation of securities under the federal securities laws. Topics include registration of public offerings, exempt sales, insider trading, anti-fraud rules, mergers and tender offers, and the professional responsibility of securities lawyers. 

  • Statistical Inference in Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Statistical evidence plays a key role in many types of litigation including employment discrimination, products liability, securities fraud, and environmental crimes. The primary objective of this course is to provide an overview of statistical concepts used in legal decision making, with an emphasis on the logic of statistical evidence and inference, i.e., determining when the use of statistics is appropriate, and when assumptions based on statistical evidence are plausible or controversial. Topics for discussion will include profiling in criminal cases, DNA evidence in paternity suits, proving causation, determining future economic values, medical testing, and jury selection. Students will develop a basic understanding of the quantitative methods of statistics and probability, skill and comfort with working with statistical evidence, and confidence in communicating statistical issues in the law. The course does not require previous study in statistics or any particular mathematical background. 

  • Tax Policy Seminar

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Tax I

    This seminar evaluates topics such as the choice of a tax base (income or consumption), rate structure (flat or progressive), taxable unit (individual or family), and method of government spending (direct or through the tax system via tax expenditures) against the tax policy norms of equity, efficiency and administrability to determine how well the present tax system satisfies these norms. 

  • Tax Procedure
    Course information coming soon!
  • Taxation

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the fundamental concepts employed in federal income taxation, the public policies that underlie the current system and the impact of that system on individuals and business entities. Could be called Federal Income Tax, Income Tax or Tax. 

  • Taxation of Business Entities

    (4 credits)
    Prerequisites: Taxation

    This course is an introduction to the federal income taxation of business entities. The course covers the taxation of C corporations and their shareholders. C corporations are generally taxed as entities separate and distinct from their shareholders. The course will also cover the taxation of LLCs/partnerships and their owners. Under subchapter K, there is no entity-level tax on an LLC or partnership, and amounts of income and deductions recognized by the entity flow through to its owners to be reported on the owner’s tax return. Finally, the course will also cover S corporations, which are certain closely held corporations that are generally not taxed separately. The course will include discussion of the tax consequences of formation, operation and liquidation of business entities, as well as distributions of cash and other property by the entity.

  • Transactional Drafting

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisite: Corporations

    This course provides law students with practical skills necessary to master the craft of drafting and analyzing transaction documents and managing transactions. The course is recommended for all law students, especially for those students who are interested in a transactional practice (be it corporate, finance, intellectual property, environmental, real estate, etc.). For those law students who are interested in litigation, this course will provide a basic understanding of contract analysis and drafting, which may assist in better understanding the work of transactional lawyers.

    We will work on legal writing and drafting exercises that are meant to improve a law student’s writing, drafting, and editing skills.  In addition, we will negotiate transactions based on draft documents prepared by students.  The class should also provide law students with a realistic understanding and appreciation of a client’s demands and expectations. Students should expect to finish this class with the tools necessary to analyze a variety of transactions and with the ability to write documents in clear plain English.

Electives: Topics Related to Business Law:

  • Administrative Law

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the legislative, executive, and judicial control of administrative action. The course includes discussion of formal and informal administrative processes, the opportunity to be heard, adequacy of notice, restrictions on the deciding body, and appellate review. 

  • Admiralty Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the law of the sea, including admiralty jurisdiction, maritime liens, limitation of liability, collision, towage, charter parties, and the rights of injured maritime workers and passengers.

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Examination of the alternative dispute resolution movement and techniques for incorporating it into your legal practice. A variety of readings and exercises are used as background for discussions of the utility of different mechanisms for resolving certain kinds of disputes. This course focuses on adjudication, negotiation, and mediation. The class includes opportunities to be involved in role-play simulations and to discuss the efficacy of these techniques with experienced professionals. 

  • Civil Discovery

    (3 Credits)
    Prerequisites: Civil Procedure (required)
    Pre/Co-requisite: Evidence (recommended)

    This is an interactive skills based course designed to assist students in developing critical thinking skills while learning winning strategies related to the discovery process.  Students will be given a mock case scenario and will be assigned a position of plaintiff or defendant.  They will decide how to approach the discovery process using all the tools in the tool box including admissions, document requests, interrogatories, subpoena duces tecum, depositions, etc.  Students will be drafting discovery requests and responding to discovery requests, learning how to incorporate the information  produced to elicit more information and data and how to incorporate the information and data obtained through the discovery process ultimately putting their client in the best position to move forward with litigation or forcing a sit down for settlement negotiations.

  • Clean Air Act

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Through the study of cases, agency guidance documents, scholarly writings, and current events, we will explore a range of technical issues, legal issues, and policy questions relating to air pollution control, the Clean Air Act and its amendments, and the regulatory programs and activities conducted pursuant to its many provisions. The key objective of the course is for students to attain general competence in the history, major programs, and policy considerations relating to the Clean Air Act and its implementation in the United States. Students will apply theoretical and analytical tools, acquire technical knowledge, gain familiarity with case law and case studies, and analyze topics of interest in preparation for writing an original research paper or completing a final examination at the end of the semester. 

  • Climate Change

    (3 credits)

    This course will provide an overview of the legal, economic, psychological and other interdisciplinary aspects of global climate change. This course will include a significant review of the scientific basis for climate change, and for controlling emissions and adapting to impending climate change. The course will cover international, domestic, and subnational efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. Various legal and policy tools to address climate change are examined and evaluated, such as cap-and-trade schemes; carbon taxation; traditional regulation; litigation; adaptation; and voluntary action. Various technologies and strategies are also explored: renewable energy technologies, nuclear power, forestry and agriculture. Active class participation is expected. The course is an exam-based lecture course.

  • Communications Law

    (2 credits)

    This course will focus on the law and economics underlying the regulation of telecommunications services. It will cover, at a minimum, regulation of two-way point-to-point communication (what used to be known as telephony), use of the broadcast spectrum, wireless and broadband regulation, and regulation of the Internet. Conceptually, the course will focus on the ideas about networks, monopoly and vertical integration and the role of administrative agencies in addressing issues raised by these attributes of the telecommunications market.

  • Complex Civil Litigation

    (3 credits)

    This course examines the theory and practice of complex, multiparty cases. In particular, it examines the major procedural and substantive issues in nationwide class actions and non-class aggregation. Our readings and discussions will focus on class actions (including the requirements for class certification, dueling state and federal class actions, and the implications of settlement) and other advanced procedural topics such as joinder, multidistrict litigation, large-scale discovery, phased trials and preclusion. 

  • Complex Litigation Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Civil Procedure

    This seminar will focus on complex civil litigation.  Complex cases test the ordinary assumptions of our adversary process, forcing us to reconsider the roles of litigants, lawyers, and judges, as well as the relations between them.  Central in our study will be the class action, but we will also examine several alternative means of handling complicated cases, including individual or class arbitration, interpleader, and the multi-district litigation process.  We will work to understand the legal and practical mechanics of modern aggregate litigation, and examine whether class treatment cures or worsens the pathologies of complex cases.  In addition, we will look at other ways that large and complex cases strain the trial system, covering issues that include preclusion, jurisdiction, choice-of-law, discovery, the right to trial by jury, and case-management challenges. 

  • Condominium and Community Housing Law

    (2 credits)

    The course will examine the law of Florida condominiums with emphasis on those of residential character, as well as the law of mandatory homeowners' associations, and its differences from, and similarities to, the law governing condominiums. The course will cover statutory and case components of the law; document composition and drafting for the creation of condominiums; the statutory standards for operations and governance; and dispute resolution and covenant enforcement within the community.

  • Copyright Law
  • Current Issues in Environmental Law & Policy

    (3 credits) 

    This seminar will cover important and timely issues in environmental law.  For example, the seminar may include discussion of issues that relate to various aspects of climate change adaptation and mitigation, the BP spill, and compliance with the environmental laws.  Students will be expected to write a paper that will enable them to fulfill the upper level writing requirement, in addition to other course requirements. 

  • Current Topics in Intellectual Property

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisite/Co-requisite: Patent Law, Trademarks & Unfair Competition, Copyright Law, International Aspects of Intellectual Property, Introduction to Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property & Business Strategy, or by instructor permission

    In this seminar, students will survey a range of legal, political, economic and policy issues that arise in the application of Intellectual Property law. Because Intellectual Property laws originated long ago, the field faces constant challenges amid the new and ever-changing frontiers of innovation and creation. Students will read foundational materials relating to the nation’s intellectual property laws in order to explore their theoretical underpinnings in the context of current issues facing courts and scholars. 

  • Cyber Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This is a seminar covering some of the legal issues that have arisen with the growth of the Internet. Topics examined will include e-commerce, intellectual property, crime on the Internet, first amendment, privacy, tort liability, and others. Each of these topics will be explored through the lens of a series of jurisprudential themes: What are the appropriate metaphors for conceptualizing cyberspace? Is there any role for law in regulating speech and conduct in cyberspace, or will social norms suffice? If law has a role in cyberspace, are traditional legal doctrines and categories adequate? If traditional doctrines and categories are inadequate, which legal institutions are the best to implement the changes this new technology requires--courts, legislatures, or administrative agencies? 

  • Depositions

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Evidence (may be taken simultaneously)

    This is a skills based course that is designed to demonstrate, familiarize and instruct students in taking the depositions of a variety of witnesses and in a variety of situations.  Students will be exposed to all aspects of a deposition and will be provided an understanding both academically and practically of the intricacies of a deposition.
    The material will be taught by lecture and example, and role playing as advocates and deponents in several mock trials throughout the semester.  Students will be expected to participate in all aspects of the mock depositions.  The instruction will also include drafting notices, motions, questions, and participation in a final mock trial.

  • Disability Law

    (3 credits)

    This course examines a variety of aspects of disability, including: the legal and policy framework underpinning federal law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability; the legal and social implications of having a disability; and entitlement programs. Particular emphasis will be on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Fair Housing Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This course will also examine entitlement and social insurance programs (eg. Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare), the ideas of “capacity” and “competence” as legal constructs and the implication of federal healthcare policy decisions on people with disabilities.

  • E-Discovery and Digital Evidence

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None
    Requirements:  Smart phone

    More than 90% of all information is now created in electronic form ranging from Word documents and spreadsheets to email and social media. To keep up with technological advances, e-discovery has become the fastest developing field in law today. This new form of discovery impacts every type of litigation and has significant implications for individuals, small businesses, government entities, and corporations. Understanding basic electronic technology and the applicable law associated with data preservation, retrieval, and protection is critical whether you want to be a litigator, in-house counsel, or work in a regulatory agency that brings civil and criminal actions. 

    The course will be interactive and focus on developing the skills needed to practice law in the digital age. The course will address the laws applicable to electronic discovery and the technical aspects of preserving, retrieving, and protecting electronic data. An important component of the course will be guest speakers such as a computer forensics expert, software specialist, and a representative from a data storage solution center.  Topics of discussion will include: the effect of electronic information on litigation, “litigation holds”, an overview of Florida and Federal civil procedure rules addressing electronic discovery, data collection, storage of electronic information, production issues, spoliation and sanctions, ethical issues in e-discovery, privilege issues arising out of e-discovery, and admissibility of digital evidence. 

    The text book will be Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence in a Nut Shell. Course grade will be based on a final examination and class participation throughout the semester.  No expertise of computer technology is required. The course fulfills the Skills Training requirement for graduation.  

  • Emerging Issues in Energy Law: Renewables and Unconventional Fossil Fuels
    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This three-credit course, which has a ULWR option, will address the range of legal issues associated with unconventional fossil fuel development and the generation of electricity from renewable resources. The course will not, for the most part, repeat topics from Energy Law & Policy or Oil & Gas. The course will give students a basic understanding of the major steps that an attorney for a wind or solar developer has to take to have a renewable project approved, from obtaining local and/or state siting approval through signing a power purchase agreement with a utility. At the local level, at which individuals place solar panels on roofs or wind turbines in backyards, we will discuss various common law and regulatory schemes for solar and wind access as well as nuisance suits and other challenges to local energy. Moving to unconventional fossil fuels, we will explore unique regulatory and common law issues posed by hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas, including changes to local and state regulation of oil and gas development, new Bureau of Land Management regulation of hydraulic fracturing, nuisance claims relating to earthquakes caused by oil and gas wastewater wells and alleged pollution from oil and gas development, and other issues. Students in the course will have the option of either taking an exam or writing a paper to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement.

    The course will be taught live, but it will also be recorded and available online. Students may elect to sign up for the online version of the course. Any ULWR students who take the course online will have to be available to meet with Professor Wiseman in person at least two times during the semester to discuss the paper topic and drafts.

    All students who take the course live must take the exam in person at the law school.  Students who enroll in the course as online students will have the option of taking the exam in person or, if they are out of town, through the online exam service “Examity.”  Online students who take the exam through Examity will  have to pay a fee of approximately $40 for Examity, and a proctor will electronically monitor these students by viewing these students through their computer camera as the students take the exam. There are no prerequisites for the course. Course is capped at 25 for students who take the course as ULWR. There is no cap for exam takers.

  • Employment Discrimination

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Review of various statutes and executive orders governing employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, and sexual preference. Emphasis is on the policy implications derived from case analysis. 

  • Employment Law Survey

    (3-4 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Survey of basic legal and policy concepts governing the employment relationship. 

  • Energy Law and Policy

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course introduces students to the statutes, regulations, and common law principles that apply to all aspects of the energy system, including extracting and transporting fuels by pipeline and rail and generating, transmitting, and distributing electricity.  This class does not repeat topics discussed in Professor Wiseman’s Oil & Gas course.  Specific topics that we will discuss in this course include the Keystone XL oil pipeline and disputes over the “Presidential Permit” for the pipeline; the Sabal Trail natural gas pipeline proposed through Florida; siting, preemption, and nuisance issues associated with renewable energy generation; recent legal disputes over the expansion of transmission lines to carry wind energy from remote areas in the Midwest to population centers; proceedings that establish rates for customers who purchase electricity and natural gas in their homes and apartments; the construction of liquefied natural gas export terminals (including one in Florida) and coal export terminals; the regulation of transporting crude oil by rail; and restructuring of the electricity industry in the United States and abroad, among other topics.  The course will help to prepare students for work with organizations such as the Florida Public Service Commission, the Florida Office of Public Counsel (which represents the interests of electricity ratepayers), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the National Electric Reliability Corporation, energy developers, law firms that represent energy developers, and nonprofit environmental and energy groups.  The course will be taught live, but it will also be recorded, and 20 students may sign up to watch the recordings electronically and take the course online.  All live students must take the exam in person at the law school.  Students who enroll in the course as online students will have the option of taking the exam in person or, if they are out of town, through the online exam service “Examity.”  Online students who take the exam through Examity will  have to pay a fee of approximately $40 for Examity, and a proctor will electronically monitor these students by viewing these students through their computer camera as the students take the exam. There are no prerequisites for the course.

  • Entertainment Law

    (3 credits)

    This course examines key issues involved in the practice of Entertainment Law. Taught primarily by focusing on the music industry—but relevant and with sections involving book publishing, film, theater, and television—the course includes details for both future litigators and future transactional attorneys alike. Topics include: copyright law, infringement, and fair use; sampling and the law; digital media; industry trends and changes in the Digital Age; licensing; record contracts, both old and new; songwriter contracts; producer contracts; management contracts; concert touring and promotion; trademarks and enforcement; basics of film financing and production; and the changing world of television. The course will regularly include music, video, and film examples to discuss in class.

  • Environmental Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will introduce you to the core statutes, regulations, and common law principles that control humans’ impacts on environmental resources, including air, water, and soil. Environmental statutes are difficult to understand without context, so we will discuss the structure and interpretation of two statutes—the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act—in depth. By the end of the course, you will understand how to identify whether a stationary source is a “major” source of air pollution under the Clean Air Act and therefore requires a certain type of permit, whether a wetland into which a pollutant is discharged counts as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (and why this matters), and many other core components of these Acts. We will also discuss the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (governing waste handling and disposal) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (governing the clean-up of hazardous waste sites), and we will briefly address the National Environmental Policy Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act as well as basic Administrative Law principles.

  • First Amendment

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: Constitutional Law I and II

    A study of First Amendment principles and their application in modern areas of communications practice. The course will develop theory, explore policy considerations, and expose students to parties that have participated in several significant media law cases. 

  • Florida Administrative Litigation

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: Evidence

    This is a skills based course that is designed to teach students how to prepare for and try Chapter 120 administrative procedure act cases in Florida.  Students will be exposed to all aspects of administrative litigation and will provide an understanding both academically, and practically of the intricacies involved with such litigation.  The course will showcase the roles of attorneys, witnesses, expert witnesses, the Administrative Law Judge, and state agencies in administrative litigation.  

    The material will be taught by lecture and example, and role playing as advocates in a mock litigation setting.  Such instruction will range from, and include, conducting depositions, drafting an administrative complaint, and culminating in a mock final hearing and the drafting of a proposed recommended order.  Students will be grouped into opposing teams, but each is responsible for his/her own written work product.

  • Florida Administrative Practice

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the Florida Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and its interpretation by the courts. Major emphasis is placed on theories of delegation to administrative agencies, points of entry to obtain administrative review, and the relationship between the roles of administrative law judges, agency heads, and reviewing courts. Topics covered include the non-delegation doctrine, adjudication, non-rule policy, attorneys' fees, rule-making, rule challenges, bid protests, the statement of regulatory costs, judicial review, and formal legislative oversight. 

  • Florida Alternative Dispute Resolution

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This is a substantive law class relating to federal and Florida law on arbitration and Florida statutes and rules on mediation. There is also an emphasis on contract law and court jurisdiction. 

  • Gambling & Pari-Mutuel Law

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    The class will present a detailed look at gambling laws which impact Floridians. The course will focus on Florida statutes, rules and interpretive court and administrative rulings which define the boundaries of legalized gambling in our state. An overview of federal law and its impact on gambling in Florida will also be discussed. 

  • Global Health & Pharmaceutical Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Global sales of pharmaceuticals total more than $600 billion annually, with the United States constituting the world’s largest pharmaceutical market. This course addresses legal regulation of the pharmaceutical sector, from research and development to manufacturing and distribution. The principal focus is on U.S. law, including the FDA regulatory system. In addition, the course examines foreign regulation, such as the European pharmaceutical regulatory system, and the role of multilateral agencies, including the World Health Organization. 

  • Growth Management

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    Whereas zoning and subdivision law focuses on where different land uses are permitted and under what conditions, growth management law focuses on the timing and dimensions of urban growth, particularly at the periphery of urban centers where suburban and rural land uses meet. This course provides a survey of growth management law as applied in many parts of the nation, using Florida as a policy case study. The first part of the course focuses on four major topics: urban sprawl; urban redevelopment; state and regional controls; and environmental regulation. The second segment of the course examines Florida’s growth management regime through a historical and policy lens, focusing on techniques such as concurrency, urban growth boundaries, ecological and rural land acquisition, affordable housing initiatives and impact fees. 

  • Health Law and Policy

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course studies legal issues related to the organization and delivery of healthcare. It examines regulation of health care professionals, organizational providers, and those involved in financing health care delivery. Topics include duties of individuals and organizations involved in healthcare delivery, regulation of the interaction of these entities, and the impact of financing arrangements on the delivery of healthcare. 

  • Health Reform Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    The health care enterprise consists of an array of services and products intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, and conduct research on medical ailments. This enterprise encompasses preventive interventions, acute and chronic diagnostic services and treatment delivered in both inpatient and outpatient settings, biomedical and behavioral research, institutional and community-based long-term care, and mental health and addiction services. The American health care enterprise consists of participants drawn from the governmental, private not-for-profit, and proprietary (for-profit) sectors. The primary, tripartite goal of the health care enterprise is to deliver high quality health care services that are affordable and accessible to the public. This seminar will explore the ways in which recent federal and state legal and programmatic developments, as well as initiatives mounted by private actors (such as insurance companies, health care corporations, and employers), are likely to impact the accomplishment of the quality/affordability/access goal. At the federal level, main emphasis will be placed on the Affordable Care Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Following several class sessions during which students will discuss background material, the bulk of the seminar will consist of students preparing individual written papers on topics of their selection and making class presentations based on those papers. 

  • Information Privacy Law

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None.

    This course will examine U.S. data privacy law, including core concepts, key laws, regulations, FTC enforcement actions, and leading cases.  To the extent possible, it will also cover state data privacy laws.  Topics covered include the intersection of informa-tion privacy, technology and the law, social media, government records, consumer data and business records, government access to private sector records, and data security law.  International data privacy law may be brought in to class discussions.

    The course will be offered via synchronous and asynchronous distance education using videoconferencing, online chat, pre-taped video lectures, Skype and discussion boards. 

  • International Aspects of Intellectual Property

    (2-3 credits)

    Advanced study of law and policy for the protection of intellectual property rights (IRPs) on an international basis, including framework created by various treaties and conventions.

  • International Environmental Law

    (3 credits)
    Recommended, but not required: Public International Law

    This is a problem-oriented course focusing on issues including marine pollution, transboundary movement of hazardous waste, climate change, biodiversity, the relation of population and the environment, and other global and transboundary environmental problems. 

  • International Litigation and Arbitration

    (3 credits) 
    Prerequisites: None.

    This course focuses on the process of transnational litigation in United States federal courts, and international arbitration as an alternative to litigation. This is not a class primarily on international arbitration, although it does cover some issues related to the topic. Topics covered will include: jurisdiction over foreign companies, forum selection clauses and choice of law, forum non-conveniens, the Alien Tort Statute and human rights litigation in US courts, the immunity of foreign sovereigns and the act of state doctrine, service of process and discovery over international parties, recognition of foreign judgments, and the process of international arbitration and the enforcement of arbitral awards. 

  • International Trade Transactions

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This is the first Internet course for American and Chinese students of international trade. In it, American and Chinese students simultaneously participate in simulated trade transactions with one another. Using an Internet-based program and a workbook designed just for this course, students will play the role of simulated corporations in their respective countries who are seeking to trade goods between China and the United States. To do this, students at both the Florida State College of Law and the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade (SIFT) log on regularly to receive news about trading opportunities. Using guidance provided in introductory lectures and in the workbook, and under the guise of simulated corporations provided in the Internet environment of the course, students will contact one another across the Pacific Ocean and carry out the actual steps of an international trade transaction. Students will also regularly maintain online records of their company's transactions, in order to track the results of their deals. In addition, Florida State students will meet once a week for a two-hour session in which the week's transactions are discussed and any problems that cropped up can be analyzed and solved. Florida State and SIFT students will also log onto the program during one designated hour per week, at which time they will converse about their respective legal and business cultures and have an opportunity to collaboratively solve problems that typically crop up in Sino-American business transactions. At the end of the semester, a banquet will be held at which time stock will be taken of the financial health of each of the simulated corporations. 

  • Introduction to Intellectual Property

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course provides a comprehensive overview of the various forms of intellectual property for which protection is afforded in the United States, including patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, design, semiconductor chip and plant variety protection. It will introduce the mechanisms by which protection is secured, the scope of protection, the way protection is enforced, and discuss the various limitations on rights, such as fair use doctrines. Intellectual property is relevant to virtually all fields of business and creative activity, and lawyers will inevitably confront issues relating to intellectual property in their practice. This course is intended both for students who want a general background in this area, and for those who intend to specialize in the field and may take (or may have taken) more specific courses covering intellectual property. 

  • Land Transfer

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of basic transactions in real property. Among the topics covered are the respective roles of lawyers and brokers in the conveying process, sales contracts, recording acts, title insurance, remedies for contract breach, and basic mortgage law. 

  • Land Use Regulation

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course, which will be offered only as an online course during Spring 2016, will address legal and regulatory issues that arise during the process of developing land in certain ways, such as for residential, retail, office or other land uses. It will focus on Florida but will also address issues from other states. Students will learn about the processes that landowners and developers follow to obtain local or state government approval for a project, such as applying for revisions to comprehensive plans, re-zonings, development orders, special use permits, variances, subdivision approvals, and development agreements. Students will also learn how state and local governments--again, with a focus on Florida--regulate land use and review land use and development applications. The course will also address resource-based issues associated with land development, including historic, cultural, and natural resources. Finally, students will learn about private land use controls, such as covenants, conditions, and restrictions, used to further regulate projects and build and preserve property values. 

    This will be an online only course, and it will be open to students at any accredited law school within the United States. Students will have weekly reading assignments, and they will be required to watch weekly lectures that explore these reading assignments. The course will be asynchronous, meaning that lectures will be available online for students to view at their convenience each week; students may choose any time of the week to watch the lectures. At the end of each week, students will be required to electronically submit responses to questions posed by the professor to demonstrate that they have done the readings and watched the lectures. Students’ viewing of the online lectures will be monitored in order to verify attendance. A portion of students’ grades will be based on students’ responses to questions, and the remaining portion of the grade will be based on a final open-book exam, which students will take remotely (from their home computers, for example).

    Students who are not enrolled in FSU College of Law must register with FSU in order to take the course and must obtain permission from their school if they wish to receive credit for the course at their school. 

     

  • Law and Policy of Drilling and Fracturing for Fossil Fuels

    (1 credit)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will describe the process of extracting natural gas and oil from shale and tight sands formations using the techniques of horizontal drilling and slickwater hydraulic fracturing—processes that have caused a rapid expansion of domestic oil and gas production. We will explore the potential environmental and social effects of these practices as identified through lawsuits, scientific and legal literature, and by state enforcement of regulations at hydraulically fractured well sites; the local, state, regional, and federal statutes, regulations, and/or industry standards, best management practices, and common law principles that address these effects; and the policy debates surrounding effective regulation of shale gas and oil development.  Professor Wiseman will teach the class through an informal discussion format. She will assign readings from Blackboard and/or hard-copy handouts (not a textbook) and will expect students to come to class prepared to participate extensively in discussion.  Students each will write a paper using the materials assigned for class as sources and will submit this paper at the end of the course; students’ performance in class will be graded on the basis of this paper and their participation. Students will be able to independently propose paper topics that most interest them. Due to the nature and length of the paper required, this course will not satisfy the upper-level writing requirement. 

  • Legal Negotiations
  • Legislation & Regulation

    (3 credits)

    This course seeks to provide students with an introduction to the creation, interpretation and application of statutes and regulations, and the central role that they play in modern American governance.

  • Mediation Theory and Practice

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course examines mediation theory and practice. A variety of readings, exercises and role-plays will be employed to encourage rigorous analysis of mediation concepts and critical assessment of the application of these concepts in practice. Topics covered include negotiation theory, stages of the mediation process, ethical issues in mediation, bringing parties to agreement, dealing with power imbalances, and the lawyer's role in the mediation process. 

  • Natural Resources Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A survey of natural resources law, emphasizing water resources management and pollution control, wetlands regulation, and wildlife law. 

  • Natural Resources Law Seminar

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This three-credit course provides an introduction to federal natural resources law, with an emphasis on living resources.  In a mixed lecture and seminar format, we will examine the themes and theoretical conflicts that underlie natural resource management, as well as the special qualities of natural resource problems that render management efforts so difficult.  Throughout the course, we will probe the interplay between environmental, economic, cultural, and political factors in natural resource decision-making. 

    In the early weeks of the course, we will explore the regulatory tools and challenges that are common to all natural resource dilemmas.  We’ll then apply these concepts in a partial survey of the field, including the legal treatment of wildlife and biodiversity, fisheries and marine resources, water resources, forests and rangelands, protected public lands, multiple use public lands, and (as time allows) energy.  In the final weeks of the course, students will present their own research projects, each culminating in a final paper.  Students will also participate in a weekly online discussion group. 

    This course counts toward the upper-level writing and Environmental Certificate requirements, but non-certificate students and those new to environmental law are also very welcome in the class. 

     

  • Negotiation

    (4 credits)
    Prerequisites:  None

    This course introduces the theory and practice of negotiation in a workshop setting. We will examine the basic stages of a negotiation; the major tensions at play in negotiation; distributive bargaining, value-creating, and problem-solving techniques; the management of communication and emotional elements in negotiation; power dynamics and ethics; lawyer-client relationships, and other topics as time allows. The course is designed to help students develop negotiating skills and a framework for ongoing self-learning through role-playing simulations, discussion, reading assignments, and regular journal and writing exercises.  

    Attendance Policy: The course attendance policy is unusually strict, because much of our learning takes place during in-class simulated negotiation role-plays. Attendance for each class meeting is mandatory, as absences frustrate not only your own learning but the learning opportunities of the students you are partnered with in that day's simulation. If students cannot make the commitment to attend every class session on time, they are encouraged to cede their place in the course to a waitlisted student who is able to make the necessary commitment. Students who fail to maintain regular attendance or preparation may be dropped from the course. All students interested in taking the course must be present at the beginning of the first class, including waitlisted students.  To be placed on the waitlist, please contact the College of Law Registrar’s Office at records@law.fsu.edu. For students seeking additional information about the course, a sample syllabus is on reserve at the library.

  • Ocean and Coastal Law

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of aspects of land use, water law, natural resources law, property, and constitutional law, but from the perspective of the special needs of the coast. The course examines the common law and major acts protecting coastal zones and natural resources. The course includes discussion of the important interrelations of water, habitat, wildlife, and land use, as well as issues concerning jurisdictional conflicts.

  • Oil and Gas Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will explore the law that applies to extracting and transporting oil and gas resources in the United States. The first several days of the course will describe the process of locating minerals underground and drilling and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and oil, as these processes and technical terms for these processes will arise in many of the cases that we will explore. After students have a basic understanding of the oil and gas development process, we will address the many types of law that apply to oil and gas extraction and transportation, including public law regulations and statutes as well as common law property, contract, and tort, among other laws. Using recent cases (most from 2000 and beyond), we will explore who owns minerals and in what form; how mineral owners commonly “lease” minerals to energy companies and obtain bonuses, royalties and other payments in return; disputes that arise between mineral lessors and lessees over royalty payments and other lease issues; disputes between those who own minerals and those who own the surface; and environmental and social issues that arise during the drilling process and the lease terms and regulations that address these issues. We will also address recent court decisions that address state preemption of local oil and gas regulation. Finally, we will spend several days exploring the regulation of natural gas and oil pipelines, including the construction, siting, and operation of pipelines, and we will briefly touch upon export policies.

    This will be an online only course, and it will be open to students at any accredited law school within the United States. Students will have weekly reading assignments, and they will be required to watch weekly lectures that explore these reading assignments. The course will be asynchronous, meaning that lectures will be available online for students to view at their convenience each week; students may choose any time of the week to watch the lectures. At the end of each week, students will be required to electronically submit responses to questions posed by the professor to demonstrate that they have done the readings and watched the lectures. Students’ viewing of the online lectures will be monitored in order to verify attendance. 30 percent of students’ grades will be based on students’ responses to questions, and 70 percent will be based on a final open-book exam, which students will take remotely (from their home computers, for example).

    Students who are not enrolled in FSU College of Law must register with FSU in order to take the course and must obtain permission from their school if they wish to receive credit for the course at their school. 

  • Patent Law

    (3 credits)

    This course involves an in-depth study of the law applicable to patents. The patent is the form of intellectual property protecting "inventions.” It is the most important form of protection for enterprises competing on the basis of technological advantage. The course covers patentable subject matter, application for grant, the criteria of patentability, rights of patent holders, causes of action against alleged infringers, defenses, remedies, licensing, the relevant application of competition/antitrust law and patent policy.

  • Practical Skills in Land Use

    (1 credit)
    Pre/Co-requisites: Land Use Regulation

    This course is offered in tandem with Land Use Regulation. Students in this course will apply the doctrine they learn in Professor Wiseman’s course to a realistic, hypothetical master-planned community located in coastal Florida, in order to consider how multiple regulatory programs are applied to a single project. The hypothetical planned community was designed for use in this course by the adjunct who will teach it with assistance from one of the nation’s leading land planning firms and has single- and multi-family residential, commercial, institutional, recreational, open space, and ancillary uses on an environmentally sensitive site. The site has a number of attributes that require careful attention during the planning and approval process in order to comply with a range of regulatory requirements and minimize the risk of litigation. Students will learn how to analyze a broad range of issues that can arise during the approval process for a complex project in Florida and how to work with clients, regulators, and stakeholders in the community. Practical exercises will include writing a strategy memorandum to the developer who is seeking land use approval for the new community, review a transportation analysis prepared for this project, consider ethical issues for lawyers representing developers and regulators, and gain experience with other practical aspects of this specialized practice in Florida. The course will be pass-fail and is capped at 20 students.

    In order to participate in this course, students must either:

    1) Take Professor Wiseman’s Spring 2015 Land Use Regulation Class

    2) Have previously taken Land Use and participate in a half-day “refresher course” on land use regulation taught by Professor Wiseman within the first two weeks of Spring 2015 classes.

  • Products Liability

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of the legal responsibility for product-related harm. Topics include the legal theories of liability for product injury, definitions of product defectiveness, government regulation of product safety, evidentiary issues in products liability litigation, and the politics and economics of contemporary products liability reform. Course uses problem method of instructions, with students occupying roles as attorneys and judges. 

  • Public Health Law

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course offers an overview of basic concepts and principles in public health law, examined in the context of issues such as government planning for natural and manmade disasters, mandatory immunization programs, mandatory medical screening of particular population groups, mandatory disease reporting laws, infectious disease control methods like quarantine, public health research, and regulation and litigation concerning tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and drugs with abuse potential. The focus will be on identification and analysis of the duties, powers and limits of government in its pursuit of protecting and promoting the public’s health. 

  • Remedies

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course covers the remedies available to successful litigants, including money damages, injunctive relief and restitution. It surveys these remedies from a broad variety of subjects, including especially traditional common-law causes of action such as contract, tort and property, as well as family law, civil rights and constitutional law. Attention is paid to how the available remedies shape both the underlying substantive law and the parties’ litigation strategies. 

  • Scientific Evidence

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course examines the nature of scientific evidence, the recent revolution in the scientific gate-keeping role for judges following the Supreme Court's decision in Daubert, and a variety of controversies regarding the admissibility and weight of particular types of expert testimony. After covering the basic legal tests for the admission of scientific evidence, we will proceed to examine several recurring topics in the law of expert testimony. We will give special attention to questions of scientific identification (common in criminal cases) and questions of scientific proof of causality (common in products liability and toxic tort cases). We will also consider common types of expert evidence from the behavioral sciences, including syndrome evidence and evidence regarding defects in human memory. In each instance we will examine the bases for claims of expertise and survey how these claims have fared in the courts. 

  • Spanish for Lawyers

    (2 credits) (S/U)
    Prerequisites: Conversational Spanish skills are required. Listening, speaking, reading and writing at an intermediate level of proficiency is preferred.

    The objective of this class is to increase the skills and ability of Spanish speaking law students to communicate with Spanish speaking clients. Students will be exposed to legal terms in various subject areas of law including criminal law, torts, immigration, family law, contracts and consumer protection. Students will be given various reading assignments and expected to discuss the topics in Spanish. Additionally, students will be given writing assignments that may involve either drafting legal documents or client correspondence in Spanish, or the translation of legal documents into Spanish. Students will also participate in mock interviews with Spanish speaking clients seeking legal advice or representation. 

  • Sports and the Law

    (2 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A study of state and federal laws relating to the business of sporting competitions as entertainment, including matters such as the creation of a free market for players' services, the relationships of franchise owners to the league commissioner, player/agent relationships and contract negotiation. There is also some study of the NCAA regulation of collegiate athletics. 

  • Technology for Lawyers

    (3 Credits) 
    Prerequisites: None

    Technology is changing the practice of law in all fields and venues. This course will provide students with the theoretical and practical background to understand these changes and to have a positive impact on a firm’s or an organization’s responses to such challenges. Areas of special focus include: litigation technologies; document management; electronic discovery; legal process and project management; eLawyering and virtual law practice; and the ethical, security and privacy issues implicated by these technological changes.

  • Trademark Law Practicum

    (1 credit)
    Pre/co-requisite:  Trademarks & Unfair Competition

    This course will introduce skills required for practice in the domain of U.S. Trademark law including obtaining, maintaining, and defending trade identity rights.  Through a series of hypothetical exercises, students will learn about evaluating the strength of proposed marks, registering marks, advising clients on various trademark issues, enforcement of rights, and other topics that routinely arise in trademark practice.

    Students will complete practical exercises such as drafting client memoranda, preparing trademark registrations, responding to office action notices, and writing cease and desist letters.  Grading will be on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory scale based on attendance, participation in class, and timely completion of assignments.  

  • Trademarks and Unfair Competition

    (3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    A trademark identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others. In this course, we will consider how and when trademark rights are secured; what rights are accorded to trademark owners under the federal Lanham Act and state laws; how trademark can be infringed or diluted; the circumstances under which trademark protection can be lost; the limitations placed on trademark rights; and federal registration regimes and the related right of publicity.

  • U.S. Space Law

    (1 credit)
    Prerequisites: None

    Overview of legislative & regulatory frameworks for United States space law, including licensing of spacecraft and satellites; use of Government property & equipment by commercial entities; and the establishment of NASA as America's civil space agency. Designed to provide students with a broad understanding of historical legal theories underlying space law and their application to today's marketplace with an emphasis on the U.S. as a customer of private sector space services. 

  • Water Law

    3 credits
    Prerequisites:  None

    This course provides an introduction to Water Law and Policy, a subject of great import to practitioners of environmental law, property law, international law, and other fields that contend with the allocation of scarce water resources among competing human, economic, and environmental needs.  Water management is especially important in Florida, which lies over the largest freshwater aquifer in the world, and Florida has become a leader in modern regulatory approaches.  The course explores the mechanics of water governance and how it has confronted classic dilemmas of legal theory, navigating the tensions between public and private rights in common pool resources, and between the rule of law and legal instrumentalism.  Water Law continues to grapple with unforeseeable changes in technology, societal needs, and scientific understanding, each forcing questions about the degree to which law should, must, and/or can adapt to new circumstances. 

    The first half of the course will cover the major doctrines of private water allocation in the eastern and western United States—riparian rights, prior appropriations, and hybrid permit systems.  The second half of the course will explore special topics that intersect with Water Law, including groundwater, constitutional takings, the public trust doctrine, federal reserved rights, interstate and international disputes, water institutions, and Florida water governance.  To experience these issues in living color, the class will take a mid-semester field trip to a regional site of Water Law interest.  This course will be useful for students interested in careers in environmental law, land use law, urban planning, real estate development, agriculture and food law, and municipal and state government.  The course may be used to count toward the Upper-Level Writing and Environmental Certificate requirements, but other students are also very welcome in the class. 

  • White Collar Crime

    (2 credits)

    The course will cover a range of topics, including, among  others, corporate criminal liability, mail fraud, securities fraud, tax fraud, and environmental crimes.

  • Workers' Compensation

    (2-3 credits)
    Prerequisites: None

    This course surveys the statutory no-fault insurance system that displaces tort law in the workplace. Class discussion centers on the scope of coverage and benefits under compensation legislation.