Columbia Law Introduces Six New J-Term Courses for 2024

The annual one-week January Term allows for a deep dive into critical areas of law that students might not otherwise explore as part of their regular course of study. 

Trees and lamppost covered in snow

For January Term 2024, which runs from January 8 to 12, Columbia Law School is offering intensive, one-week, one-credit courses that provide an in-depth look at topics such as comparative antitrust law, reproductive rights law, and negotiating international climate agreements. Six of the 11 courses for 2Ls, 3Ls, and LL.M.s are new (see below). “We’ve added several courses for students interested in public service and public interest lawyering,” says Matthew C. Waxman, Liviu Librescu Professor of Law, who oversees the J-Term curriculum. “It is a wide and exciting selection of classes that touch on many critical areas of law.”

J-Term courses are offered as credit/fail and taught by full-time professors as well as lecturers in law and leading practitioners in their fields whose careers often preclude committing to teach a full-semester course at the Law School. “We love having these experts, many of whom are alumni, spend a week with our students,” says Waxman.

Launched in 2018, J-Term is pedagogically invigorating for students and faculty. “We get to meet without distractions from other coursework for four or five days,” Waxman says. “J-Term classes allow for continuous discussion as students and faculty become deeply invested in our topics and each other.” Explore a full list of J-Term courses, including foundational courses for 1Ls.

Read more about the new J-Term courses below:
The Life Force statue, aka the eyeball, is covered in winter snow.

Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Public Interest Lawyering

Edward R. Morrison, Charles Evans Gerber Professor of Law, designed Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Public Interest Lawyering as a seminar for students to explore how fundamental social problems—homelessness, poverty, racism, gaps in social safety nets—create issues of economic justice that can be addressed through consumer bankruptcy law and other laws governing credit markets. Guest speakers will include public interest lawyers discussing the effects of bankruptcy on divorce, domestic violence, and homelessness. Students will write memos and make presentations about the capacities of bankruptcy law as a form of economic justice

The crown-shaped finial of a wrought iron fence is covered in snow.

Corporations in Crisis: An Introduction to the Worlds of “White Collar Crime” and “Corporate Governance”

When public and private corporations engage in misconduct, there are mechanisms for internal correction (such as reporting malfeasance to the corporation’s audit committee) and means for external reporting (such as employing the law applicable to whistleblowers). In the seminar Corporations in Crisis: An Introduction to the Worlds of “White Collar Crime” and “Corporate Governance,” students delve into issues of legal ethics and criminal law in contemporary practice. They will consider cases resembling the scandals at FTX and Enron under the guidance of John C. Coffee Jr., Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law; Lecturer in Law Rebecca Simmons ’91, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell; and Visiting Professor of Law Charles Whitehead ’86. 

The Bellerophon Taming Pegasus statue is covered in winter snow.

Global Merger Control

This class on comparative competition law is taught by two partners at Cleary Gottlieb who are experts on transnational antitrust: Nicholas Levy, a leading EU and U.K. practitioner, and D. Bruce Hoffman, a former director of the Bureau of Competition at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Global Merger Control covers history, law, and policy topics including: the role of politics and industrial policy, the rationale for different jurisdictional thresholds, the function of evidence and economics, and the architecture of administrative and judicial systems of merger control.

Alma Mater statue in winter snow

Healthcare Law & Justice After Dobbs

When the Supreme Court decided that there is no constitutional right to abortion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, there were seismic repercussions for health justice in the United States. In the seminar Healthcare Law & Justice After Dobbs, adjunct faculty Delphine O’Rourke ’01—a former partner at Goodwin and now president and CEO of WellGlobal Health—leads discussions about how Dobbs affects not only women’s health care but also pharmaceutical regulation, reproductive rights litigation, and the interaction of federal and state abortion and health care law. She encourages students to debate sensitive topics from an array of perspectives and uses interactive simulations to illustrate key concepts.

The Tightrope Walker statue, of one human figure balancing on the shoulders of another, is covered in winter snow.

Negotiating International Agreements: The Case of Climate Change

Formerly the principal lawyer on climate change negotiations for the U.S. Department of State for more than 25 years and currently deputy to Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Sue Biniaz ’83 offers students firsthand knowledge and perspective in the course Negotiating International Agreements: The Case of Climate Change. Through a climate lens, the course provides an expert introduction to crosscutting features of international agreements, the process of international negotiations, the development of national positions, advocacy of national positions internationally, and the many ways in which differences among negotiating countries are resolved.

The Thinker statute covered in snow in front of Philosophy Hall.

Outdated Laws & New Technologies in Criminal Legal Practice

The way defense lawyers, investigators, prosecutors, and experts on both sides of criminal legal cases do their work is affected by technological innovations such as mobile digital forensics, location tracking, and facial recognition. In Outdated Laws & New Technologies in Criminal Legal PracticeJerome Greco, supervising attorney at The Legal Aid Society’s digital forensics unit, introduces students to cutting-edge technologies and the issues they raise, including systemic and individualized racial and gender bias, and reasonable expectations of privacy under the Fourth Amendment.

Additional Upper-Level J-Term Courses 2024