New Courses This Fall Offer Different Looks at the Law

Aerial view of Scott Commons

Students often gather at UVA Law’s Scott Commons to study. Photo by Sanjay Suchak

July 20, 2021

The pandemic, illegal markets and advocacy against poverty will be among the topics discussed in new courses being offered at the University of Virginia School of Law during the fall semester. The following are five such courses that aim to give students unique perspectives on the law.

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed health law? Taught by Professor Margaret Foster Riley, Lessons From COVID-19 will explore regulatory and policy lessons, efforts to prevent the next pandemic and how pandemic experiences have changed social and scientific dimensions of medicine. Riley, director of the Animal Law Program, has written and presented extensively about health care law, biomedical research, genetics, reproductive technologies, stem cell research, animal biotechnology, health disparities and chronic disease.

Repugnant Transactions, taught by Professor Kimberly D. Krawiec, will examine exchanges and transactions that are traditionally frowned upon — and sometimes illegal — and how what constitutes a “repugnant transaction” is culturally dependent and changes over time. Krawiec, whose papers include “If We Allow Football Players and Boxers to Be Paid for Entertaining the Public, Why Don’t We Allow Kidney Donors to Be Paid for Saving Lives?,” explores in her most recent scholarship how nontraditional markets become legitimized, as well as the potential merits of illegal and taboo ones.

Poverty Law, Advocacy and Policy, taught by Professors Naomi Cahn and Sarah Shalf ’01, will cover how poverty is measured, and domestic policies toward poverty, including federal and state benefits, and restrictions on their availability. Students will also study regulatory aspects of poverty, as well as the criminalization of poverty and access to justice. Cahn, director of the Family Law Center, is an expert in family law, trusts and estates, feminist jurisprudence, and aging and the law, and writes about economic inequality. Shalf directs the Community Solutions Clinic and serves as the school’s director of clinical programs.

The seminar Corporate Social Responsibility, taught by Professor Jay Butler, will analyze the role of corporations in frameworks of law and global governance, as well as their contributions, both positive and negative, to social priorities. Topics include the relationship between business and human rights, corporate activity and environmental regulation, international accountability mechanisms and private-sector activism. Butler focuses his scholarship and teaching on international law, corporations and contracts. “Corporations are increasingly important actors in international law. But, vital questions underlying this development have long gone unanswered: how and why do corporations commit to international law?" he asks in his paper “Corporate Commitment to International Law.” Though a one-credit course on the topic has been offered before, this is the first time the class will be taught as a seminar.

Having argued more than 100 appellate cases in her career, Cate Stetson ’94 will lead the seminar Appellate Practice, which will teach the skills appellate advocates need for success. The Hogan Lovells partner has argued several times before the U.S. Supreme Court, in every federal circuit court of appeals, and before numerous state appellate court nationwide. In welcoming the UVA Law Class of 2022, she urged students to become an example of what a true lawyer is: “Someone who does not argue, but persuades. Someone who counsels, not contends. And someone who wins the trust and respect of everyone around them, colleagues and adversaries alike.”

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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