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Current Issue : Fall 2008

Courses of Immediate Social Importance Expanding

Reflecting the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the study of law, other courses combine emerging areas such as housing and finance, climate change and human rights, and immigration and work.

For instance, Climate Change, Economic Development and Human Rights examines the legal mechanisms and institutions that are currently available, or are proposed, to help the international community confront the widespread impacts of climate change. The course, taught by Stephen Kass, a partner at Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, focuses on the roles that lawyers, courts and other national and international institutions can play in mitigating or adapting to climate change while preserving or enhancing economic development, protecting local and global environments, and respecting internationally recognized human rights.

Federal, state and local governments have long struggled to formulate effective and efficient ways to encourage the private sector to create a sufficient supply of housing for low- and moderate-income people, the homeless, and those with special needs. Students in the new Housing Law, Policy and Finance course are studying the relative advantages and disadvantages of the different tools available to intervene in the housing markets, including subsidization, regulation of financial institutions, government sponsored enterprises, zoning, and regulation of lands and rents. The course is taught by Arlo Monell Chase, who is senior vice president for policy initiatives at the Housing Finance Agency and Mortgage Agency of the State of New York.

Guest presenter Martin Schwimmer speaks with Heather Weiner ’08 and Matthew Moore ’09 after class in the Intellectual Property Law Colloquium. Schwimmer, who is of counsel to the law firm of Moses & Singer and author of The Trademark Blog, spoke to the class about the recent decision by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan (SDNY), in Tiffany v. eBay, that eBay could not be held liable for contributory trademark infringement when its sellers marketed counterfeit Tiffany products.

Bolstering its position on the cutting-edge of health care law, Brooklyn Law School is now offering Representing Health Care Facilities, a course that explores the modern health care facility as a complex organization that has numerous relationships with a vast array of stakeholders. Taught by Salvatore Russo, who serves as deputy counsel at the New York City Health & Hospitals Corporation, the course gives students a practical perspective on the issues facing lawyers who represent health care facilities.

As the issue of illegal immigration continues to dominate the political and social landscape in the United States, lawyers who specialize in immigration law are becoming more and more valuable in the legal marketplace. Immigration and Work offers students at Brooklyn Law School the opportunity to focus on the immigration laws of the United States and their intersection with issues involving employment, policy, and the role of the immigration lawyer. The course also offers a practical component in which students engage in some of the aspects of employment immigration practice.

Other Courses Sharpen Skills

Helping students to hone their practical skills is as important as providing them with the theoretical basis for understanding the law. Brooklyn Law School offers a broad range of clinics, workshops and externships to help students develop their lawyering skills. New clinics offered this academic year include the Advanced Condominium & Cooperative Externship Clinic, Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic (described above), and the Transactional Law/Community Development Externship Clinic. In the Advanced Condo & Co-op course, students work at the Real Estate Finance Bureau of the New York State Department of Law, under the supervision of assistant attorneys general, performing legal writing, research, investigation, enforcement, and dispute resolution for actual offerings for the sale of individual units in condominiums, cooperatives, and homeowners associations. In the Community Development Externship, students are placed in a variety of nonprofit and government organizations that address issues of housing and economic development.

Two new workshops address the art of evidence. The Electronic Discovery and Evidence Workshop keeps students attuned to the revolution in how discovery is handled in the 21st century. The course follows a case from pre-litigation counseling on electronic document retention policies, continues through the collection and production of electronic matter during the course of pre-trial litigation, and concludes with issues involving the admission and use of electronic evidence at trial.

An Evidence Workshop provides experience with issues involving the admissibility of evidence from a real-world perspective. Students learn to lay a foundation for the admissibility at trial of various kinds of evidence, and then in clinical exercises that simulate a trial, they practice moving documents into evidence and objecting to their admissibility. And a Real Estate Finance Workshop examines themes that a practitioner is likely to confront in connection with the formation of a joint venture and the development, financing, and operation of a real estate project.

“In-depth study of the most important legal issues of our time will prepare our students to become the profession's next generation of leaders.”
— Associate Dean Lawrence Solan