Legislative Drafting and Public Policy

Section 1, Fall 18

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 8/13
Credits: 3
Day Date Time Room

Course Description

This course provides students with opportunities for the practical application of legislative drafting and statutory interpretation. After a brief review of separation of powers issues, the canons of statutory interpretation, and dealing with the press (both as a lawyer and as a legislator), we will engage in practical exercises related to the drafting, consideration, and adoption of legislation (in a legislative committee context, with students assuming the role of state “Senators”). Students will draft a bill (either something based on, or amendments to, an existing statute from somewhere, which is what most students do, or something original; state law proposals are preferred over federal law proposals, but the state need not be Virginia), and write a substantial research paper, on a topic of interest to the student, and draft, debate, and vote on amendments to proposals offered by other members of the class on a variety of topics. In addition, students also will have the opportunity to strengthen their oral advocacy skills by arguing in support of their bill and for and against proposals offered by others in the class. The instructors bring more than 50 years of experience interpreting, drafting, and advocating for and against legislation at the state and federal level. Among the over 300 research papers submitted over the years, past topics have included: domestic violence, redistricting, sexual harassment, gun control, recycling, human rights, hostile corporate takeovers, fetal abuse, dram shop legislation, non-tidal wetlands, campaign finance reform, conflicts of interest, criminal record checks for child-care workers, drug testing of public employees, surrogate parenting, workfare, hate-violence, and landlord-tenant law reform. As noted above, each student will be required to prepare a bill and a substantial research paper (the supporting “commentary” for the student’s bill) of 7,500-10,500 words, exclusive of footnotes (i.e., the equivalent of 25-35 pages of text) on a topic of interest to the student, which, for students who completed the Law School's Skills Requirement prior to this fall, may satisfy the Law School's Upper-level Writing Requirement, with timely submission of the Writing Requirement Intent Form.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: A bill, a research paper, a final draft of the student’s bill (not a re-write of the research paper) incorporating amendments adopted by the class, and a class presentation. Papers will be due via EXPO by 9:00 p.m. (EST) on October 19, 2018. NOTE: the paper does not satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement unless a student (who has completed the Skills Requirement at the time of the seminar) timely submits a completed Writing Requirement Intent Form to the Student Records Office. Retroactive exceptions will not be granted. Students who have not yet satisfied the Skills Requirement may not petition for the paper to satisfy the Upper-Level Writing Requirement.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Notes: The course will meet from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 29, and Sep. 5 and 12. We then will take a five-week break for students to complete their research papers, which will be due via EXPO by 9:00 p.m. (EST) on October 19. The seminar will then resume beginning on October 17 for student presentations of their legislative proposals at 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on as many Wednesdays and Thursdays through December 5, except the Thanksgiving week (November 21 and 22), as are necessary for there to be one class for each student presentation. Any enrolled student who is not able to attend the first class must contact one of the instructors prior to that first class or he or she will be dropped from the roll.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
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