RWU Law provides students a broad range of marine resource and maritime courses taught by full professors as well as expert practitioners. The curriculum includes courses in admiralty, fisheries, piracy, ocean and coastal law, ocean policy, and climate change.
Course Descriptions - %1
Civil Rights: Equalilty Discrimination
This course focuses on constitutional tort damage actions brought against federal and state officials and governments based on 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the United States Constitution. Attention will be given to both the substantive constitutional rights that form the basis of the damages actions and to the procedure, defenses, and immunities that pertain to constitutional torts.
When class actions became a feature of the American civil litigation landscape in the 1960’s, few people anticipated how pervasive and powerful they would become. However, as loudly as supporters have applauded the ability of courageous plaintiffs and their innovative attorneys to use class actions to seek redress for social and economic wrongs, critics have just as vocally attacked what they perceive as unaccountable, attorney-driven litigation. This seminar is designed to provide a basic introduction to the fascinating world of class action litigation. Topics to be covered include: the purpose of class actions; class certification; notice and opt-out rights; litigation strategy and settlement. Throughout the course, students will also explore the thorny academic and practical questions raised by class actions.
Collision and Limitation of Liability
This course presents the general principles of maritime collision law, including causation, legal presumptions, the effect of statutory violations, apportionment of fault, damage and an overview of the navigation rules. It will also examine the theory and effect of the principles of limitation, and particularly the Limitation of Liability Act of 1854.
Community Economic Development Clinic
The Roger Williams University Community Economic Development Clinic, our newest clinical offering, opened in the fall semester of 2013. The focus of the clinic is to provide services to small, low-income businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts. Students enrolled in the clinic work with small business owners or operators in determining and facilitating their legal needs. This includes determining the best legal entity choice, assisting with the filing of organizational documents, creating agreements, and creating leases and other contracts. The primary goal of the clinic is to teach the practice of transactional lawyering while providing service to under-served entrepreneurs and organizations. Business Organizations is a prerequisite.
Conflict of Laws
Callie from California and Max from Massachusetts get into a car accident with each other in the parking lot of Disney World (Florida). Max returns home to Massachusetts and sues Callie and Disney World in Massachusetts state court. Does the Massachusetts court have jurisdiction over Callie and/or Disney World? If so, what law would a Massachusetts court apply to the dispute – Massachusetts law? California law? Florida law? If Max obtains judgment against Callie and Disney World, are these judgments enforceable in California and Florida? If Callie moves to France and obtains a declaratory judgment there that she is not liable to Max for the car accident, would this French judgment be recognized by a Massachusetts court to preclude Max’s lawsuit? These are the questions to be explored in this Conflict of Laws course. The course will focus on three broad questions: 1. Jurisdiction: When does a court have jurisdiction over a dispute? 2. Choice of Law: What law will a court apply to a dispute? 3. Enforcement of Judgments: When will a judgment from a foreign court (U.S. state or foreign country) be recognized and/or enforced? The approach taken is a mix between academic and practical. The ultimate goal is to have students not only understand the doctrines that comprise the conflict of laws, but be able to apply and manipulate them to achieve a desired result.
Constitutional Law I
This course examines the basic principles of constitutional law through the analysis of the opinions of the United States Supreme Court. Topics include judicial review, federal system relationships, commerce clause, governmental powers and civil rights.
Constitutional Law II
This course examines the basic constitutional protection of individual rights including equal protection implied fundamental rights or modern substantive due process (including rights of privacy, privileges and immunities, and the incorporation controversy), due process and the first amendment freedoms of expression and religion.
This course will survey federal and state consumer protection laws in three areas: 1) fraud and deceptive practices, 2) product quality, and 3) credit.
Contracts I & II
This two-semester course provides an introduction to the law of agreements. Topics include contract formation, the doctrine of consideration and its substitutes, the Statute of Frauds, contract regulation, the parole evidence rule, interpretation, performance and breach, conditions, anticipatory breach, remedies for breach, specific performance, damages, restitution and impracticability and frustration. Both the common law and the Uniform Commercial Code are emphasized. The rights and duties of non-parties are covered to the extent possible.
Corporate Counsel Externship & Corporate Counsel Seminar
Through our Corporate Counsel Clinical Externship Program, students earn academic credit while working two to three days per week in the in-house legal offices of prominent for-profit corporations in and around Rhode Island and southern New England. Student externs will be exposed to the various ways in which law is practiced in-house and for corporate clients, gaining hands-on experience working side-by-side with some of the region’s leading corporate attorneys. Students attend a two-hour weekly seminar to teach the professionalism and lawyering skills required in an in-house legal practice.