By Dean Michael J. Yelnosky
Whenever possible, I try not to simply assert that the program at RWU Law is special.  Instead I try to give specific examples, preferably “objective” examples, or examples that do not come from...

Fast Facts

Each year the Rhode Island Supreme Court presides over the final round of our Esther Clark Moot Court Competition giving the finalists a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Course Descriptions - %1

Course Number Descriptionsort icon Credits

Ocean Management Policy and Reform

This course explores the basis for contemplated and ongoing changes to ocean governance and the status of current governance reform efforts.  Reports by the Pew Oceans Commission and U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy in 2003 and 2004, respectively, called for significant changes to management of coastal and ocean resources.  Since then, reform has been contemplated via various state and federal  initiatives, involving legal, policy and political considerations.  This course will examine the background for ocean management reform, the findings of federal and state bodies, and the status of current reform efforts.

2 Credit(s)

Patent Law

Creativity and productive ideas have proven essential to economic progress. The federal government has developed an elaborate set of laws and regulations to protect these ideas from appropriation by others. This body of law, and elements of the practice under it, will be covered in detail.

2 Credit(s)

Payment Systems

This course covers Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code. It surveys the legal concept of money, negotiability, usury laws, commercial paper and bank credit as a money substitute, doctrines of holder in due course, liability and discharge and paper/electronic transfers. Consideration is given also to letters of credit and documents of title.

3 Credit(s)

Poverty Law

This course will provide a broad introduction to the theory and practice of poverty law. The course will be divided into four parts: (1) an overview of poverty and theories about poverty in the United States; (2) poverty and constitutional doctrine (due process, equal protection and fundamental rights) (3) federal and state government safety net programs (4) and the role of lawyers and the civil justice system in poverty law and policy.  Substantive topics will include demographics of poverty in the United States, policy arguments about the causes of poverty, access to justice, welfare reform, food and income programs, health care access, low-wage work, housing, education and child protection.

3 Credit(s)

Poverty, Health, and Law: The Medical/Legal Collaborative

This course explores the connections between social justice and health and the ways in which lawyers and doctors can partner to improve health outcomes for vulnerable populations. Six class sessions are held jointly with medical students from Brown University in which students work together on case simulations. Topics include: professional ethical responsibilities of doctors and lawyers to serve the poor; access to justice and health care; poverty and public benefits; substandard housing and health; family violence; and educational rights of special needs children.

2 Credit(s)

Privacy Law

This course introduces students to the various frameworks of law governing the collection, use, access and disclosure of private sector data.  Students will learn the Fair Information Practice Principles and the laws and regulations administering these principles by area of sensitive data: identity, medical, financial, education, and sales and marketing.  Other topics include state privacy laws and legal limitations on government and court access to private-sector information.  This course will also cover information tested for certification as a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP).

3 Credit(s)

Products Liability Law

This course explores the history, theory, and doctrine of strict liability for unreasonably dangerous products, a significant component of modern tort litigation. Students discuss manufacturing, design, and warning defects; the risk/utility and consumer expectation models; generic risk liability; assumption of risk, state of art, and other defenses; whether rules should be modified for specific industries such as pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and firearms; and the differing approaches of the Second and Third Restatement of Torts. Finally, this course will examine contemporary debates about products liability, including the impact of the tort reform movement.

3 Credit(s)

Professional Responsibility

This course analyzes the responsibility of lawyers and judges from the perspectives of the rules and case law, the profession and the client/consumer. Topics include the historical, political, and sociological bases of legal ethics; conflicts of interests; attorney-client privilege; admission to the bar; disciplinary matters and procedures; unauthorized practice of law; attitudes toward bench and bar; professional liability; and canons of ethics and codes of professional responsibility.

2 Credit(s)


This course provides an introduction to the law of property, both real and personal. Real property concepts are emphasized. Topics include historical development, common law principles, gifts, estates in land, licenses, easements, restrictive covenants, future interests, contracts for the sale of land, conveyancing, mortgages, the recording system and possessory rights. Land-use regulation will be introduced if time permits.

5 Credit(s)

Prosecution Clinical Externship Program

Through our Prosecution Clinical Externship Program, students earn academic credit while working two to three days per week in a prosecution office on the federal, state or municipal level.  Students are eligible to appear in court as student attorneys in federal and state courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.  Students gain valuable hands-on experience representing the government in criminal prosecutions.  Students participate in a weekly seminar with classmates who are working in a variety of prosecutorial settings.

4-6 Credit(s)