Introductory course on the legal process, history and objectives of the law, including sources of law, case-law and the doctrine of stare decisis; Anglo-American judicial origins and organizations, common-law pleading and the history and development of equitable remedies; code pleading; the anatomy of a legal proceeding before, during, and after trial of a civil case; including basic jurisdictional concepts in federal and state court, common law and current pleadings under procedural codes, judicial handling of multiple claims and parties, discovery, pretrial process, taking the case away from the jury, and the appellate process.
Historical development of the federal constitution; the judicial function in constitutional cases; the federal system, doctrine of reserved powers; relations between state and nation; constitutional amendments and procedures; due process clause; the equal protection clause; the commerce clause; relationship between legislative, executive and judicial functions; limitations on governmental powers, the Bill of Rights and the right of privacy.
A study of the basic principles of contract formation and enforceability, including offer and acceptance, mutual assent, consideration, promissory estoppel and the statues of fraud. The course also considers invalidating causes, such as incapacity, misrepresentation and fraud, duress, mistake, unconscionability and illegality, and provides an introduction to remedies for breach of contract. Special emphasis is placed on the relevant provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Restatement (Second) of Contracts.
Prerequisite: Contracts I.
A continuation of the study of contracts, including remedies for breach of contract, interpretation of contract language, the parole evidence rule, performance and breach of contract, express and constructive conditions, excuse and discharge, frustration of purpose, impossibility, commercial impracticability, third-party beneficiary contracts, assignment and delegation. Special emphasis is placed on the relevant provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code and the Restatement (Second) of Contracts.
The elements of crimes and defenses of importance, with emphasis on the substantive law; including the development of mens rea and actus reus, homicide, non-homicide crimes against the person or against public safety, vicarious liability and inchoate crimes, theft and related offenses, drug related offenses, justification, excuse, insanity, entrapment, mistake of fact and law, theories of punishment, sentencing, the appropriateness and legality of criminalization.
History and development of the rules relating to presentation of proof and evidentiary matters pertaining to the judicial functions, with emphasis on the Federal Rules of Evidence and the Texas Rules of Evidence, including preparation for trial, examination of witnesses, competency of witnesses, types of evidence, burden of proof, hearsay rule and exception, judicial notice, privileges, and impeachment in civil and criminal proceedings.
A basic examination of federal income taxation and its pervasive effect on individuals and small businesses through analysis of the Internal Revenue Code and relevant underlying tax policy. Designed to provide the non-tax lawyer with an understanding of major tax concepts and tax procedure and the implications for the general practitioner and non-tax specialists in areas such as family law, dispute settlement, real estate and small business counseling.
An introduction to the fundamentals of legal problem-solving, with emphasis on common law analysis (including court system structure), statutory analysis, research and effective writing techniques. The research portion of the course (how to find legal authorities, both primary and secondary) is taught in an additional weekly laboratory session.
An introduction to persuasive legal writing and advanced legal research and analysis through the drafting of documents typically required in a litigation and office practice. Students may prepare client letters, pleadings, motions and trial documents. Toward the end of the semester, each student will research and write an appellate brief. Students are also introduced to oral advocacy and are required to present oral arguments based on their briefs. No final examination.
American Bar Association Model Rules and Texas Rules of Professional Responsibility form framework for study of ethical topics relating to attorney's relation to the courts and to his/her clients, such as the rights and responsibilities of an attorney; conflicts of interest; confidential communications; disciplinary procedures and other ethical issues.
Overview of property law, including acquisition of rights in personal property, fixtures, estates in land and future interests, landlord and tenant
Prerequisite: Property I.
Modes of transferring real estate, including contracts to transfer problems affecting transfer, methods of title assurance, adverse possession, third-party interests in land, including easements, covenants and natural rights, and a brief introduction to deeds of trust and mortgages.
Introductions to Torts. This section of the basic Torts course includes the fundamentals of the intentional torts, including the concept of intent, and a study of the elements of assault, battery, false imprisonment, trespass to land and chattels, conversion, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, together with the privileges the defeat these causes of action. The major portion of this course is devoted to study of the negligence cause of action, including the elements of duty, breach of duty and actual proximate cause. This part of the course also considers negligence per se, the special problems of the negligence liability of owners and occupiers of land, and the defenses of contributory and comparative negligence, limitations and immunities. Also studied are the principles relating to the calculation and recovery of damages, including joint and several liability and the concepts underlying the wrongful death and survival actions.
Prerequisite: Torts I.
The second section of the basic Torts course introduces the concept of liability without fault (strict liability), including vicarious liability and strict liability for ownership of animals and for engaging in abnormally dangerous activities. The law of products liability will then be examined. The course will also consider some of the more specialized areas of civil wrongs, including the law of public and private nuisance; defamation, including libel and slander and the related common law and constitutional privileges; fraud as misrepresentation; injuries to relationships, including business and intra-family torts; and misuse of legal procedure. Some consideration will be given to insurance compensation schemes, including worker's compensation and automobile no-fault.
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