Legal Studies

Director: Delia Popescu

Legal Studies focuses on law as a social phenomenon, and legal systems as both cultural systems and institutional systems. Much of jurisprudential theory identifies justice both as the first value of law and as the standard against which legal systems are to be judged. Within this framework, special attention is focused on the role of law in the lives of society’s least advantaged populations. Consistent both with this understanding of justice and with the College’s mission of education for social justice, engaged citizenship and service in the interests of the disadvantaged, the legal studies minor will emphasize problem-solving, values identification and critical thinking skills.

Although housed within the political science department, the legal studies minor is an interdisciplinary course of study composed of five courses. It is designed for both law school-bound students and those who want to gain a credential that complements their major and future careers.

Legal Studies Minor

Director: Delia Popescu

Legal Studies focuses on law as a social phenomenon, and legal systems as both cultural systems and institutional systems. Much of jurisprudential theory identifies justice both as the first value of law and as the standard against which legal systems are to be judged. Within this framework, special attention is focused on the role of law in the lives of society’s least advantaged populations. Consistent both with this understanding of justice and with the College’s mission of education for social justice, engaged citizenship and service in the interests of the disadvantaged, the legal studies minor will emphasize problem-solving, values identification and critical thinking skills.

Although housed within the political science department, the legal studies minor is an interdisciplinary course of study composed of five courses. It is designed for both law school-bound students and those who want to gain a credential that complements their major and future careers.

Legal Studies Minor

15 credits total.

Minor RequirementsHours
LGS 201 Introduction to Legal Studies 3
One course from the following humanities courses: 3
PHL 350 Philosophy of Law3
HST 316 History of American Law3
LGS 230 Legal Research and Writing3
One course from the following Madden School of Business courses: 3
LAW 200 Legal Environment of Business3
LAW 300 Law: Bus & Fin Organizations3
LAW 310 Business Law for Accountants3
LAW 330 Consumer Law3
One course from the following social science courses: 3
PSY 335 Psychology and the Law3
SOC 321 Law, Society and Social Science3
PSC 301 The U.S. Supreme Court3
PSC 362 International Law3
PSC 405 International Human Rights3
One capstone course* from the following courses: 3
PSC 451 American Constitutional Law I3
PSC 452 American Constitutional Law II3
Internships from various disciplines
Departmental honors/research projects from various disciplines

* The legal studies director will exercise flexibility in the development of capstone coursework in a manner that maximizes the educational benefit of the student.

Courses


LGS 201 (PSC 205). Introduction to Legal Studies (3).

This course is an introduction to the American legal system: its processes, institutions, actors, objectives, values, and impact. We will investigate not only how law affects society but also how it affects the attitudes and actions of individuals in everyday life. To study this, an interdisciplinary approach is adopted and theories that range from the mainstream to the critical will be examined. This course is required for the LGS minor; it may also be taken as a PSC offering.

LGS 230 (PSC 230). Legal Research and Writing (3).

Students will be introduced to the skills of legal analysis, legal research, and legal writing. The course will focus on building a basic legal vocabulary, issue recognition, effective organization, clear writing, and proper legal citation. Students will also have an opportunity to strengthn their speaking skills by participating in oral arguments. These skills form the essential building blocks of critical and logical thinking, and will serve any student interested in pursuing legal studies, advancing their undergraduate educations, entering graduate school, or working in science or business.

LGS 243 (PSC 243). Law and Politics (3).

A study of the relationship between legal and political norms, actors and institutions. Through analysis of contemporary controversies the following questions are examined: How is law political? Can or should judging be value free? What are the alternatives to going to court? What values does the legal system maintain? Can law change an unwilling society? Fulfills Core Requirement(s): Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS).

LGS 250 (LAW 200). Legal Environment of Business (3).

This course provides an introduction to the various ways in which laws and the legal system affect the conduct of buisness. Students will be encouraged to use their understanding of law and the legal system as a tool in ethical buisness decision making. Some reference to the impact of law in the international sphere will be included.

LGS 300 (LAW 300). Law: Bus & Fin Organizations (3).

The law governing business organizations is introduced by a study of the rules governing a complex business organization, the bank collection system and the instruments it handles. The legal environment of all business organizations is studied with an emphasis on the creation, operation and liability of the business organization through a study of agency, partnership and corporations along with securities and anti-trust law. A brief study of bankruptcy will address some of the legal problems created by the failure of a business. Prerequisite: LAW 200 or permission of the instructor.

LGS 301 (PSC 301). The U.S. Supreme Court (3).

An examination of the personalities, politics, processes, decision-making and impact of the United States Supreme Court.

LGS 310 (LAW 310). Business Law for Accountants (3).

A continuation of LAW 200. This course will focus on the law of business organizations including partnerships, corporations, employer-employee relationships, principal-agency relationships and topics closely related to business organizations. Such topics will include commercial transactions, bankruptcy and suretyship. An emphasis will be placed on the role of the accountant with respect to all topics. Prerequisite: LAW 200.

LGS 316 (HST 316). History of American Law (3).

This course will weave together the history of legal and constitutional thought with the history of law's part in social and political change and in everyday life. It will consider a wide variety of texts and events but will concentrate on: colonial antecedents; revolution and constitution making; the golden age of American law; courts and the rise of industrial capitalism; Black slavery and freedom; achievements and limits of liberal legal reform; the experience of women's labor and civil rights movements; and legal realism and the rise of the administrative state.

LGS 320 (LAW 320). Topics Law & Public Policy I (3).

Courses in this series offer an in-depth exploration of specific topics within the various fields of business law as well as topics of current interest to the instructor or students. Prerequisite: LAW 200 or permission of the instructor.

LGS 321 (SOC 321/CJS 321). Law,Society & Social Science (3).

The structure and functions of law as an institution are analyzed from the perspectives of classical and contemporary social scientific theories. The legal processes of the assignment of responsibility, the resolution of disputes, the distribution of social rewards and the imposition of sanctions are studied in cross-cultural perspective. Attention is also focused on the use of social scientific knowledge by legal institutions.

LGS 330 (LAW 330). Consumer Law (3).

This course investigates the legal techniques-judicial, legislative and adminis- trative-for controlling marketing and credit practices. Advertising, abusive sales practices such as bait and switch, the extension of credit, repossession and debt collection are among topics examined. Prerequisite: LAW 200.

LGS 335 (PSY 335/CJS 335). Psychology and the Law (3).

The legal system is a pervasive and important part of our lives. THe goal of this course is to help students develop an understanding of the psychological aspects of the functioning of the system and the effects of the legal system on us. This course will address the social psychological aspects that impact and are impacted by the legal system. Students will develop an understanding of many issues, including how psychologists contribute to the law and the legal system, psychological theories of crime, psychological issues related to the selection and performance of police officers, the dynamics of eyewitness testimony, jury selection and performance and confessions.

LGS 340 . International Business Law (3).

This course introduces the international legal environment of business through a study of differing legal systems and the methods of international trade regulation. Part One focuses on the economic, social and political forces that shape the development of international law and its related legal institutions including an overview of the public and private legal tools used to regulate business and settle disputes. Part Two will deal with the international commercial transaction with a focus on private law. Part Three will cover the public law aspects of international and US trade law including GATT, import and export regulations and NAFTA. Part Four deals with the legal risks associated with international trade, environmental concerns, nationalization and privatization. Students will be encouraged to use their knowledge of law and the legal system as a tool in business and policy decision making.

LGS 350 (PHL 350). Philosophy of Law (3).

This is not a course in the study of law. It is a course designed to afford students who have an interest in the law (not necessarily professional) an opportunity to reflect on the philosophical presuppositions of the law and the philosophical problems that arise within the general domain of jurisprudence. Based on readings (historical and contemporary) written by both philosophers and jurists, the course typically addresses general theories of law, law and morality, judicial reasoning and crime and punishment. Students should expect to do a great deal of linguistic analysis as well as some case study. (A)

LGS 362 (PGS 364/PSC 362). International Law (3).

The course will examine the theory and practice of International Law (IL) with reference to various events, which shaped the development of international law in all its forms (norms, rules, principles, precedent, custom, treaties etc). The course will emphasize current international legal norms and possibilities for future development.

LGS 451 (PSC 451). American Constitutional Law I (3).

A study of selected problems in constitutional law with emphasis on areas of current concern. Material consists of case studies, selected articles, commentaries and judicial biographies. The Supreme Court is viewed as a social, economic and cultural force in our political system as well as a source and arbiter of law and order. The interaction of the court and interest groups is examined in connection with the development of constitutional law. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor or department chair.

LGS 452 (PSC 452). American Constitutional Law II (3).

A study of selected problems in constitutional law with emphasis on areas of current concern. Material consists of case studies, selected articles, commentaries and judicial biographies. The Supreme Court is viewed as a social, economic and cultural force in our political system as well as a source and arbiter of law and order. The interaction of the court and interest groups is examined in connection with the development of constitutional law. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor or department chair.

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