Legislative Drafting and Public Policy

Section 1, Fall 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 9/12
Credits: 3
Days* Date Time Room
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • W
  • R
  • 08/31/2022
  • 09/01/2022
  • 09/07/2022
  • 09/08/2022
  • 09/14/2022
  • 09/15/2022
  • 10/19/2022
  • 10/20/2022
  • 10/26/2022
  • 10/27/2022
  • 11/02/2022
  • 11/03/2022
  • 11/09/2022
  • 11/10/2022
  • 11/16/2022
  • 11/17/2022
  • 11/30/2022
  • 12/01/2022
  • 1940-2140
  • 1940-2140
  • 1940-2140
  • 1940-2140
  • 1940-2140
  • 1940-2140
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • 1940-2155
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
  • SL268
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

This is a policymaking class that provides students with an opportunity to research in depth a topic of their choice and to strengthen their oral advocacy skills in a simulated “study committee” setting. The skills learned will be useful in practice with a private law firm, non-profit, public interest group, state or local government, etc., as well as in public policymaking by legislatures and administrative agencies. The instructors, who have decades of experience interpreting, drafting, and advocating for and against legislation at the state and federal levels, have found that the class “committee” discussions and policy debates are as good as (and sometimes better than) their real-world counterparts. 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 journalist about interacting with the media (both as a private lawyer and as a government official). There then will be a four-and-a-half-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. There will be a sufficient number of classes after October 19 as are necessary for there to be one class for each student’s presentation of their legislative proposal. Materials will be available to assist students in choosing a research paper topic if they do not already have one in mind, including a list that will be posted on the Canvas course page of over 300 diverse topics that have been addressed in the past (but there is no requirement or expectation that a student‘s topic must come from that list). The instructors also will be available to help students select or refine a topic. Proposals may be something original but there is no expectation that they will be; typically, proposals are based on, or our amendments to, an existing statute. 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 and have been pursued in the past. Among the topics addressed in the past have been domestic violence, redistricting, gun violence, hostile corporate takeovers, recycling, fetal abuse, dram shop legislation, campaign finance reform, criminal record checks, drug testing of public employees, and workfare. The instructors will be available for consultation outside class throughout the semester.

Course Requirements

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

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: The course requirements are: (i) a bill on a topic of the student's choosing along with a 20-page research paper (maximum of 25 pages) that will serve, in effect, as the “Commentary” on that bill, both of which will be due via EXPO by no later than 9:00 p.m. on Monday, October 17; (ii) 1-2 amendments to each of the proposals offered by others in the class; (iii) class participation, which will give students an opportunity to strengthen their oral advocacy skills by arguing in favor of their bill and for or against proposals and amendments offered by others in the class, and (iv) a redraft of their bill (but NOT their research paper) that incorporates amendments to their bill adopted by a majority of the “committee” and that will be due no later than December 9.

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.

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.
122819773
Law No.
LAW9074
Modified Type
Simulation
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Tuesday, November 29, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Friday, December 09, 11:59 PM
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