University of Miami School of Law CourseLink Course Description - Online System
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Fall 2020

Course Description
This is a three credit course organized as an independent paper aggregation (IPA). Students will write papers of sufficient length, necessarily involving substantial research and revision, to count toward the Law School’s writing requirement. Paper topics will address questions of current interest associated with the subject matter jurisdiction of federal courts. Initial course meetings will explore issues highlighted by recent and forthcoming Supreme Court decisions, as well as persisting problems now becoming pressing. Students, however, are free to propose topics of their own. The course will meet regularly for the first three weeks or so. At that point students will present for class discussion what they take to be plausible paper topics. If topics remain of interest after discussion, students will write preliminary memoranda identifying issues to be addressed in the paper, relevant statutes, caselaw, and other formal authority, and also pertinent commentary. Following successful individual discussions, students will prepare first drafts. Drafts will ordinarily need to be turned in within four weeks. Following conferences, students will prepare second, third, and any other needed drafts until papers are satisfactorily completed.

Students are expected to participate in all phases of the course. Group meetings will occur on an as-needed basis as the class proceeds. Individual conferences will take place throughout the course. The most intense phase of the course follows completion of first drafts -- two or three revision stages are usual, addressing both elaboration of complex analyses and demands for research in enough depth. Student work often extends after the end of the examination period into the so-called grading period. The process of multiple drafts and critiques -- sometimes "heavy lifting" -- frequently results in student work of impressively high quality. This course is not a survey of federal courts law generally. It does not suppose students have already taken a federal courts course and it is designed not to bar students from taking the general federal courts course subsequently. Needed materials will usually be accessible on-line. The federal courts casebook edited by Richard Fallon and his colleagues (the “Hart & Wechsler” book) is strongly recommended as a research and background resource but it is not required – the book will be put on library reserve.

This course is a synchronous internet offering. Course meetings will occur regularly at the outset of the course and as noticed thereafter. Individual meetings -- via internet conference or email -- will be scheduled as required.

Course Schedule
Dates Day Time Room
08-17-2020 - 11-17-2020   M  2:00 PM-3:40 PM DL

Course Frequency

Course Information

Credits: 3
Pass/Fail Option: No
Method of Evaluation: Paper
Graduation Requirements Fulfilled By Course:
Writing Requirement
Special Attributes:
Distance Learning
Course Delivery:
Online (synchronous and asynchronous)
Special Restrictions:
Law Track(s): None
Bar Subject(s): None
Concentration(s): None
Course Book(s):
Textbook Required:
  • Textbook Name: The Federal Courts and The Federal System
    Textbook Type: Hardcover
    Requirement: Optional
    Author: D. Fallon, J. Manning, D. Meltzer, and D. Shapiro
    Publisher: Foundation Press
    Edition: 7th
    ISBN: 9781609304270

Additional Materials:
Course will require a supplement to the textbook but the edition has not been determined by the Professor. Copies of the supplement will be provided to the students by the Professor.  
First Class Assignment(s):
  • Assignment: There is no first class assignment. Much course material is on line. I am assuming that all of you -- wherever you are -- have relatively reliable internet access. If you want to do something before class, wander around SCOTUSblog a little. See you Monday. Pat Gudridge   



Contact Information:
Phone: (305)284-2261
Office: G365