Civil Procedure Fall 2017
The American Bar Association standards for accrediting law schools require not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and two hours of out-of-class student work per week for each credit awarded for a class. According to the standards, fifty minutes suffices for one hour of classroom time, while an hour for out-of-class time is sixty minutes.
This is a four-credit class. We will spend 75 minutes together in class three time per week, which translates to 225 minutes (3 hours and 45 minutes) of class time per week.
The ABA minimum of out-of-class time for a four-credit course is eight hours per week. This would be met if you devoted two and a half hours preparing for each class — although you really should do more than that.
The ABA requires course syllabi to contain learning outcomes. The learning outcomes that I desire for this course are:
1) Mastering the fundamentals of how civil suits proceed in court (particularly in federal court): how they are initiated, how they are structured and progress, and how they are resolved.
2) Mastering the fundamentals of the structure of the American legal system: a) the relationship between the regulatory power of the branches of the federal government (particularly the judiciary and legislative branches), b) the relationship between federal regulatory power and the regulatory power of the states, c) the mutual limitations that states’ regulatory power put upon one another.
3) Mastering the fundamentals of how to interpret statutory and regulatory law, in the context of interpreting federal statutes that regulate procedure and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Starting the second week of classes I will hold weekly review sessions. These will give you an opportunity to ask questions that you may not feel comfortable bringing up in class.
There will also be a midterm sometime in October. It is optional, but recommended. The midterm will be scheduled to be taken outside of class. A mock grade (which will not contribute to the grade for the class) will be provided, to give you a feel for how you are doing in the class and on exam-writing.
No laptops will be allowed
in class. For each class (with the exception of the first), one person
will be assigned to bring a laptop to class and to take notes. After
going over the notes, I will then post them for the whole class. In
addition, the powerpoint slides for class will be posted around one
hour before class. You can print them out, which should provide a good
basis for taking notes by hand.
Students will be expected to have done the reading each day. Every J.D. student is vulnerable to being called upon at random. If I am emailed by midnight the night before, however, you can "take a pass" and insure that you won't be called on that day. You can take only three passes total - one in each of the following three periods: Aug. 21-Sept. 14, Sept. 18-Oct. 19, and Oct. 23-Nov. 30. I will inform L.L.M students the day before they will be called on.
Grades will be assigned on the basis of the blind grading of the final, with the following exception: I reserve the right to raise particular J.D. students' grades by 1/3 (e.g. from B+ to A-) on the basis of exceptionally good class participation. The mandatory curve for the course can be found here.
The class may not be taped without my permission.