Each year, the Marine Affairs Institute takes RWU Law students on an educational cruise on Narragansett Bay. This trip helps first year students better understand many of the marine and maritime issues affecting Rhode Island and New England.
Course Descriptions - %1
This course explores the impact that climatic changes are having, and will continue to have, on law and policy in the United States. Recent reports anticipate increased climate change impacts including water scarcity and decreased quality, ocean warming and acidification, sea level rise and coastal impacts, extreme weather events, risks to public health, increased forest wildfires, and national security risks. Coastal states on the forefront for these climate change impacts. Many coastal states are beginning to address adaptation through changes in law and policy. This course will examine the framework for federal and state policy and law changes to adapt to climate change, and the status of efforts throughout the United States. While the focus will be on efforts within the nation in coastal areas, the course will briefly discuss non-coastal and international climate change laws and policies. Students will be evaluated based on class participation and a paper that can fulfill their writing requirements.
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.
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.
Consumer Bankruptcy In Practice
This course offers a hands-on approach to learning how to intake, analyze, process, file and complete consumer bankruptcy cases in Federal Bankruptcy Court. We will discuss the rights debtors and creditors under state law outside of bankruptcy, and in which cases bankruptcy is an appropriate option for addressing financial difficulties. Bankruptcy relief will be reviewed for debtors under Chapters 7 and Chapter 13. The primary goal of this course is to develop a working understanding of how to represent consumer debtors in Federal Bankruptcy Court.
This course will survey federal and state consumer protection laws in three areas: 1) fraud and deceptive practices, 2) product quality, and 3) credit.
Contract Drafting and Transactional Lawyering
This course teaches students the fundamentals of drafting contracts. Students learn how to understand a client's business deal, and how to translate the deal into contract concepts, the building blocks of contracts. Students learn the process for drafting the contract concepts in clear and unambiguous provisions in a well-organized complete contract that reflects accurately the parties' deal. Students learn how to add value to a client's deal by drafting and recognizing nuances in language that change the deal and shift risk between the parties. Students learn how to analyze and comment on a contract that another lawyer has drafted. Students will learn the best drafting style and usage techniques necessary to enhance clarity and avoid ambiguity.
Contract Law Practicum: In the Matter of Dr. B.
This Honors course is centered around a real-life breach of contract problem involving “Dr. B.” Dr. B entered into a recruitment agreement with a Hospital in Florida, whereby he would serve as the hospital’s ENT (ear, nose and throat) doctor. As part of the recruitment agreement, Dr. B accepted a “loan” from the hospital (or an advance on his salary) in the amount of approximately $140,000. The loan was contingent upon Dr. B staying with the hospital for 3 years. Dr. B left the hospital after 2.5 years and did not repay any amounts advanced to him. Two years after leaving the hospital, the hospital is now demanding repayment. This course will focus on developing the skills to help Dr. B with his legal issues. The course will involve fact-gathering, identifying and researching factual and legal issues, communicating with the client and with the senior partner, making concrete recommendations to Dr. B on what he should do, critically evaluating the case for Dr. B and for the senior partner, assessing the benefits and drawbacks to various courses of action, communicating with opposing counsel, etc. This will not be a traditional course. Rather, it is designed as a practicum which will enable students to develop and practice the skills that they will need to respond to real-life contracts disputes. Students will be evaluated based on a series of assignments (e.g. drafting a memo to the senior partner, writing a letter to the client, writing to opposing counsel, etc.), and based on their interactions with the client and with the senior partner. Requires Honors enrollment.
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.