Legislative Drafting and Public Policy

Section 1, Fall 21

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 6/12
Credits: 3
Day Date Time Room
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  • 08/25/2021
  • 08/26/2021
  • 09/01/2021
  • 09/02/2021
  • 09/08/2021
  • 10/20/2021
  • 10/21/2021
  • 10/27/2021
  • 10/28/2021
  • 11/03/2021
  • 11/04/2021
  • 11/10/2021
  • 11/11/2021
  • 11/17/2021
  • 11/18/2021
  • 12/01/2021
  • 1930-2200
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  • WB119
  • WB119
  • WB119
  • WB119
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Course Description

This is a legal policymaking class, taught using a simulated legislative committee setting, in which the skills learned will be useful not only in legislative and administrative agency policymaking at the state, federal, and local levels, but also in private policymaking (e.g., in litigation, contract negotiations, etc.). The instructors, who bring decades of experience interpreting, drafting, and advocating for and against legislation at the state and federal levels, can attest that these class “committee” discussions and debates are as good as (and sometimes better than) their real-world counterparts. Each student will write a research paper on a topic of interest to that student, along with a bill implementing that topic (either something new, or, usually, something based on, or amendments to, an existing statute), and advocate for that bill before the class. Because most students’ practices will involve more state law than federal law, topics and bills addressing state law issues are preferred (any state is fine), but federal topics and bills certainly are acceptable. The seminar will begin with a brief review of the legislative process and separation of powers issues, the theories of judicial interpretation of statutes and regulations, the use of legislative history, and a discussion with a leading columnist about dealing with the press (both as a lawyer and as a government official). A visit from a U.S. Senator also is planned. There then will be a six-week break for students to complete their research papers, followed by practical exercises related to the drafting, consideration, and adoption of legislation, using the student papers and bills as the focus. The instructors will be available for consultation outside class time throughout the semester. In addition to class participation, students will have the opportunity to strengthen their oral advocacy skills by arguing in support of their bill and for and against proposals and amendments offered by others in the class. Among the bills and research papers submitted over the years, past topics have included: domestic violence, redistricting, sexual harassment, gun violence, recycling, human rights, hostile corporate takeovers, fetal abuse, dram shop legislation, non-tidal wetlands, campaign finance reform, conflicts of interest, criminal record checks, drug testing of public employees, surrogate parenting, workfare, hate-violence, and landlord-tenant law reform. A list of topics addressed in the past will be posted on Canvas (but there is no requirement or expectation that a student's topic must come from that list).

Course Requirements

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

Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: A bill (as described in the Course Description), a research paper that will serve as a “report” or “commentary” on the bill, a final draft of the bill (not a re-write of the research paper) incorporating amendments adopted by the class, and 1-2 amendments to bills offered by others in the class. Papers will be due via EXPO by 9:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18. Students who already have met the Law School’s Professional Skills graduation requirement prior to taking this class may submit to SRO an Upper-Level Writing Requirement Intent Form in order for the substantial research paper in this class to count toward the Upper-Level Writing graduation requirement. In accordance with Academic Policy, the deadline for the form is five weeks after start of semester. Retroactive exceptions will not be approved.

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: No
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes: Students are expected to notify one of the instructors if first-class absence is expected. The course will meet from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on some but not all Wednesdays and Thursdays, as follows: We will meet on August 25 and 26, and September 1, 2, and 8. We then will take a six-week break for students to complete their research papers, which will be due via EXPO by 9:00 p.m. on Monday, October 18. The seminar will then resume on October 20 for student presentations of their legislative proposals on as many sessions as are necessary for there to be one class for each student presentation.

Graduation Requirements

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

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level 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.
121819131
Law No.
LAW9074
Modified Type
Seminar
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Wednesday, November 17, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 03, 11:59 PM
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