Our Pro Bono Collaborative mobilizes Rhode Island law firms, law students and community organizations to provide desperately needed legal assistance for the underserved residents of the state. The unique program includes 10 major law firms, over 20 community-based organizations and several dozen law students.
Criminal Procedure: Investigation
This course examines the procedural aspects of the criminal justice system with emphasis on the impact of the fourth, fifth, and sixth amendments to the United States Constitution on state and federal prosecutions. Topics include the law of arrest, search and seizure, police interrogation and the privilege against self-incrimination.
Family & Divorce Mediation
This upper level legal skills development course is intended to provide the student with an understanding of the contexts in which family conflict arises, the various legal and practical issues in play when families disintegrate, and with in-depth training in the skills that a mediator might employ to help the divorcing parties resolve their differences. The course exposes the student to relevant factors and normative approaches used by courts in dividing property, determining child support, custody, visitation, and spousal support among other issues, while recognizing that parties in mediation are empowered to reach their own agreements with the aid of the mediator. Role playing exercises are used to integrate theory with practice.
This course examines the underlying social and economic principles of family life, its regulation by government, and constitutional limitations on regulation. Direct laws covering marriage, divorce, and child custody will be examined but also the course will cover those areas of law--property, income maintenance, medical care, schooling and crime--that also have direct impact on families in this society.
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.
Legal Drafting: Contracts
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.
Ocean Management & Policy
This course explores the basis for contemplated and ongoing changes to ocean governance and the status of current governance reform efforts in the United States. As ocean resource conditions have deteriorated and trends in ocean use changed, it has become clear that the existing legal and policy regime is inadequate to respond to current and future management challenges. 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, including cutting-edge efforts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. This course will examine the historical and political background for ocean management reform, the findings of federal and state bodies regarding needed changes to ocean governance, and the status of legal, management and policy reform efforts, using ongoing efforts in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and other states as real time examples.
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.