By Judge William E. Smith
As a result of its status as Rhode Island’s only law school, Roger Williams University School of Law has developed a close relationship with the bench and bar of the State. Similarly significant,...

Fast Facts

RWU Law has 27 active student groups, including Maritime Law Society, Association for Public Interest Law and Multicultural Law Students Association, which allow students to get involved in a variety of extracurricular activities and hear from speakers on a multitude of topics.

Course Descriptions - %1

Course Number Descriptionsort icon Credits

International Business Transactions

This course is designed to introduce students to fundamental legal problems encountered by U.S. enterprises engaged in international business. The course will focus on some major legal problems encountered in commercial and financial business ventures that cross national borders, analyzing basic international business transactions and the effects of U.S. law, specific foreign law, and treaties on the conduct of the parties involved.  Topics include an introduction to: commercial law, formation of contracts, choice of law, international sale of goods (including the CISG), letters of credit, foreign direct investment,  the organization and operations of  international (World Trade Organization) and regional trade institutions (European Union),  international dispute resolution, and corporate social responsibility. 

The goal of the course is for students to develop an understanding of the U.S. laws applicable to private international transactions and an awareness of the risks inherent in doing business in or with other countries and their nationals.

3 Credit(s)

International Law

This basic course introduces students to the central topics, ideas and principles of present-day public international law. It will also cover the judicial and other structures including the United Nations, that are central to the determination and enforcement of this legal regime.

3 Credit(s)

International Trade Law

This course will examine the law of international trade in goods and services.  It will focus on the rules and institutional framework for the regulation of trade between nations, as embodied in the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as well as on aspects of the foreign trade law of the United States.  The course will cover the dispute settlement process of the WTO and the specific rules that seek to restrain state behavior in relation to discriminatory trade practices, the dumping of goods and services, subsidies and safeguard measures. The course will pay particular attention to the interaction of trade norms and institutions with important social values and concerns such as environmental protection human rights, health, product standards and the democratic deficit.  These are broad policy issues implicated in all trade regimes, including the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA and the European Union.

3 Credit(s)

Interviewing & Counseling: Civil Rights Client

This skills course develops the craft of client interviewing and counseling in the context of a civil rights action. Using the framework of civil actions against governments and individuals for the violation of constitutional rights, the skills of information gathering and counseling will be honed. The class will be conducted with lectures, demonstrations, simulations and critiques.

2 Credit(s)

Judicial Clerkship Internship Program

Students are assigned to selected judges in Rhode Island and federal trial and appellate courts. The student interns conduct legal research, prepare memoranda of law, observe trial and appellate proceedings, participate in discussions with the court, and perform the duties of a judicial law clerk under the supervision of the assigned judge and a faculty
member. The program requires the devotion of substantial amounts of time both in and out of the judge's chambers and must be taken in conjunction with Seminar: Judicial Process and Ethics.

3 Credit(s)

Labor Law

This course surveys the federal regulation of the union¬management relationship in the private sector. The principal focus of the course is the National Labor Relations Act. The course will examine the establishment of the collective bargaining relationship, the negotiation of the collective agreement, unfair labor practice proceedings, economic pressure tactics, the enforcement of the collective agreement, and the duty of fair representation.

3 Credit(s)

Land Use Planning

This course focuses on the public regulation of land and its use. Various planning theories will be reviewed in the course of studying the law of zoning, subdivision control, eminent domain, and renewal of urban and rural areas. There may also be coverage of environmental impacts on land use.

3 Credit(s)

Law & Literature

This course explores how literature depicts the legal system and what that depiction reflects about society’s view of the law.  Through close readings of fiction, we will explore the following questions:  Is the lawyer a hero and crusader for justice?  Can the law unveil the truth?  Does fiction portray the reality of the legal system?  Can the legal system adequately address complex moral problems?  Readings include To Kill A Mockingbird and 12 Angry Men.  Final paper required. 

2 Credit(s)

Law and Medicine

The two professions of law and medicine intersect in many parts of American society. Issues such as expert testimony, the doctor-patient relationship, malpractice, and ethical issues, including the right to die, and their legal ramifications will be reviewed.

3 Credit(s)

Law of the Sea

This course reviews the basic principles of International law, both customary and treaty-based, that apply to the territorial sea, the high seas, continental shelf, seabed, and ocean floor. The course analyzes the allocation of jurisdictional powers among individual states and the international community over the various maritime zones involved; the use and management of ocean resources, such as regional and global fisheries regimes and seabed mining; marine environmental protection and pollution control; military uses of the ocean; and freedom of navigation.

3 Credit(s)