Patrick Smock

Patrick SmockAdjunct Professor of LawAttorney at Law

Courses Taught

LAW.721Sexuality and the Law

Click to Open

Course Description

This course explores aspects of the legal regulation of sexuality. Among the questions on which we will focus throughout the semester are these: How has sexuality (and related notions such as sexuality and gender) been defined, posed and addressed as a problem in and for the U.S. legal system? What role do various conceptions of sexuality play in framing the terms, the argumentative strategies and resolution of legal disputes? What shaping functions do legal constructions of sexuality exert in and on broader political conversations about sex and social justice in the contemporary U.S.? Topics to be discussed include the scope and limits of the “public/private” distinction as a conceptual framework in U.S. sex law; legal efforts to define and distinguish sex, gender and sexuality, sexual acts, gender identities and expressions (male, female, transgender, transsexual, intersex), and sexual identities (“homosexuality,” “heterosexuality,” and “bisexuality”); law, sexuality and intimate association; sexuality, gender, and reproduction; gender, sexuality, surveillance and citizenship; law, sexuality, kinship and family relations; gender identity, sexuality and the legal construction, and regulation, of the human body; sex.

Course Type See Course Type Descriptions


Course Credits


Course Degree

Juris DoctorMaster of Studies in Law

Faculty Associated

Janet GilliganPatrick Smock
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.


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.


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


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.