New Courses Engage Students in Real-World Problem Solving

Columbia Law School's Dynamic and Innovative Curriculum Connects Students to the Practice of Law in a Globalized World

New York, August 13, 2015—Contemporary civil rights issues. Migration and international treaties. Information privacy. Law, morality and neuroscience. These are just a few of the complex subjects Columbia Law School students will tackle when they return to campus for the fall semester.

After completing the rigorous foundational courses required for first-year students, aspiring attorneys have access to a variety of new curricular offerings—as well as the dozens of existing courses, externships, and clinics already available—designed to help connect the practice of law to the world’s most pressing problems.
Here is a preview of some of what students will be studying—and doing—this semester:
Civil Rights Lawyering in the Modern Era: Theory and Practice
Taught by: Professor Kendall Thomas and Lecturer Kristen Clarke ’00, Civil Rights Bureau Chief for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
Overview: The seminar will consider contemporary civil rights issues in areas including: voting rights, employment discrimination, access to education, fair housing, and fair lending. Read a Q&A with Clarke on the course and the Voting Rights Act. 
Taught by: Clarisa Long
Overview: Students will explore the growing number of statutes governing control over information including for businesses, administrative agencies, and individuals living in the U.S.
Taught by: Professor George A. Bermann
Overview: The course will examine arbitration as a mode of international dispute resolution, touching on everything from the scope and validity of an arbitration agreement to eventual efforts to win recognition and enforcement of an award.
Taught by: Visiting Professor David Enoch
Overview: How should we understand the value of political autonomy? Can democracy be justified? Are there alternative political decision procedures that can replace it? These are some of the topics that will be addressed in this course, which will focus on contemporary texts.
Taught by: Visiting Professor Scott J. Shapiro
Overview: Students will examine a variety of historically influential responses to basic questions concerning the nature and legitimacy of law and the difference (if any) between law and morality.
Taught by: Visiting Professor Scott Shapiro
Overview: Students will examine current challenges to just war theory and international law, such as preemptive warfare, humanitarian intervention, targeted killings, drones, and cyber warfare and consider whether the theory should be modified. 
Taught by: Visiting Professor Dennis Patterson
Overview: Lie detection. Insanity defense. How does neuroscience enter the legal system? Students in this seminar will be introduced to the issues implicated at the intersection of law and neuroscience with an emphasis on legal, conceptual, and normative questions.
Taught by: Professor Michael W. Doyle
Overview: International mobility—including by labor migrants, entrepreneurs, students, tourists, asylum seekers, and refugees—has no common definition or legal framework. Students in this course will draft a model treaty that establishes the minimum rights afforded to all mobile people and articulates the duties and responsibilities of states to protect the rights of foreigners and citizens alike.
Taught by: Professor James S. Liebman
Overview: This semester-long practicum brings Columbia Law School students together with professional students from other institutions including Harvard, Stanford, and Yale to work on transformational change in public education. Students will participate in an engaging, interdisciplinary seminar and manage complex projects for clients in K-12 school systems.
Taught by: Professors Charles F. Sabel and William H. Simon
Overview: The focus of the class will be the theory and practice of public institutional design, with an emphasis on recent efforts to make government more adaptable and more accountable. Case studies will include initiatives in the U.S. and the European Union covering air pollution, health and safety, social welfare, and police and prison reform.