Diana J. Hassel

Photo of Diana J. Hassel
Diana J. HasselProfessor of LawAssociate Dean for Academic Affairs

Contact Information

401-254-4618dhassel@rwu.eduSuite 106SSRN Author PageCurriculum Vitae

Education

J.D., Rutgers University
B.A., Mount Holyoke College

Professor Diana Hassel regularly leads a group of students to experience "legal Washington," which features attendance at a Supreme Court argument, a session with Associate Justice Samuel Alito and his law clerks, a visit to the Department of Justice, and a session with United States Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. She has also taught in our summer program in London.

In addition to her work with the Honors and Study Abroad programs, Professor Hassel teaches classes in Constitutional Law, Civil Rights litigation, and lawyering skills. She serves as a member of the Rhode Island Bar Association’s Legal Services Committee and participates in community legal education through a program called Citizen’s Law School. Prior to joining RWU’s faculty, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. There, she represented the United States in various aspects of civil litigation including civil rights, environment issues, tax matters and defense contractor fraud.

Professor Hassel teaches classes in Constitutional Law, Civil Rights litigation, and lawyering skills, and won a national award for an article on Constitutional law that appeared in the Texas Law Review.

Articles

Excessive Reasonableness, 43 Indiana Law Review 117 ( 2009)

Sex and Death: Lawrence’s Liberty and Physician Assisted Suicide, 9 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 1003 (2007)

Lawrence v. Texas: Evolution of Constitutional Doctrine, 9 Roger Williams University Law Review 565 (2004)

The Use of Criminal Sodomy Laws in Civil Litigation, 79 Texas Law Review 813 (2001)

Living A Lie: The Cost of Qualified Immunity, 64 Missouri Law Review 123 (1999)

A Missed Opportunity: The Federal Tort Claims Act and Civil Rights Actions, 49 Oklahoma Law Review 455 (1996)

Courses Taught

LAW.680Advanced Advocacy: Criminal Law

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Course Description

This is a skills-based course that will utilize the vehicle of an actual criminal trial transcript to learn the basics of persuasive writing and good oral advocacy. Instead of the soup-to-nuts approach of moot court, which covers every step in an appeal at a rather surface level, we will focus intensively on particular skills: issue-identification and framing, developing strategies for written and oral presentations, advanced research skills and analysis, partisan writing. Throughout the course, there will be opportunities to improve writing skills, to learn how to handle both helpful and harmful precedent, to structure oral arguments and field hard questions. Students should be prepared to critique their own writing and practice oral advocacy in class. Graded assignments will occur throughout the semester; there will be no final exam and no “big” paper. This course will help good researchers, writers and oralists become better, but even those whose skills are at a basic level will improve.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LAW.729Civil Rights

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Course Description

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.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Elective

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LAW.639Constitutional Law I

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Course Description

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.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Core Course

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

LAW.760Constitutional Law II

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Course Description

This course examines the basic constitutional protection of individual rights, including equal protection implied fundamental rights or modem 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.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Core Course

Course Credits

3.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Prerequisite

LAW.639 – Constitutional Law I

LSM.726Critical Race Theory

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Course Description

This seminar will examine the ways in which race has played a role in the development of American law. We will look at how race is defined in America and look at the experience of different racial minorities both historically and in the present day. The course material for this seminar will be the work of scholars who have explored the historical and on-going subordination of racial minorities and provided critiques of legal regimes which have enforced racial subordination.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

2.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Diana J. Hassel

LSM.856Racial Privilege and Post-Racial Politics

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Course Description

The course will examine the reality of continued race discrimination and racial privilege against the backdrop of a legal regime and political system that claim to foster a color blind meritocracy. The readings will be from several sources including the work of Tim Wise in Between Barack and A Hard Place: Racism and White Denial in the Age of Obama.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

1.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Diana J. Hassel

LSM.856Readings in Critical Race Theory

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Course Description

Critical Race Theory is the intellectual movement developed by legal scholars to confront the role American law has played in legitimizing and upholding racial hierarchy. This course will explore some of the foundational works in this influential movement from scholars Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado, Kimberle Crenshaw and others. The course will conclude with a one hour exam and will be taught by Diana Hassel.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

1.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Diana J. Hassel

LSM.856We Were Eight Years in Power -The Obama Presidency

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This Course Meets for Six Weeks

Course Description

This course will use the collection of essays by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy” to discuss the election of the first African American president and the political response to his presidency. Mr. Coates explores the echoes of the earlier post-Civil War Reconstruction era in American history in the response to the Obama presidency and its aftermath.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions

Seminar

Course Credits

1.0

Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Diana J. Hassel
Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.

Elective

After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.

Seminar

Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.

Clinics/Externships

Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.