Law and Public Policy Seminar

Course Catalog Number:
Course Credits:
Course Type:
Course Priority:
Seminar - 3rd Year Priority
Graduation Requirements:
Upper-Level Writing
"W" Writing
Full Year Course:

Course Description

This seminar course will teach law students how to identify, research, evaluate, explain and advocate public policy options in the context of current issues raising questions of local, state and federal law. The actual issues providing the backdrop for the course in any particular semester will necessarily vary (in Fall 2009, for example, the seminar explored law-related policy issues relating to the proposed Pittsburgh city-county consolidation, “distracted driving” legislation, and health care reform). The focus of the seminar is more process- than topic-based, however, with the issues simply providing the menu of “problems” to be assessed. In any given policy setting, students will learn how to identify relevant legal issues, how to research them as they develop in real time, how to formulate specific recommendations and how to explain and/or advocate policy positions orally and in writing. The course should be especially useful for law students contemplating careers in government or other public service, public interest law and journalism, or who might expect, as traditional lawyers, to represent clients in these areas. This course satisfies the upper-level writing requirement.