Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

FSU Law is committed to making every student feel welcome and included. Law schools are central to the work that universities and colleges must undertake to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. At FSU Law, we believe it is imperative to provide a quality education in an environment that will facilitate diversity of thought. The FSU Law family prides itself in cultivating and celebrating all individuals as we develop the next generation of attorneys. 


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FSU Law Courses

Bias Law & Policy

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This course will examine how stereotypes, prejudice, and various forms of bias shape outcomes for marginalized groups and the role of law in protecting individuals from bias. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating perspectives from social psychology, political science, sociology, business, and law. The course covers multiple legal settings (e.g. employment, housing, criminal justice, education, health) and group memberships (e.g. race, class, citizenship, gender, religion, sexual orientation), but special attention will be given to the current state of race/ethnic relations in the United States. Through class discussion and final projects, students will analyze research, current events, and policy developments, including how laws and policies reduce, create, or exacerbate existing inequalities.

Civil Rights Law

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This course provides an overview of civil rights law through the historical lens of the Modern Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968), as well as examination of contemporary movements for social change. The course will examine influence of direct-action campaigns on the federal judicial system.

Constitutional Law I

(3 credits)

A study of general principles of constitutional law under the United States Constitution. Also reviewed are the judicial function in constitutional cases, the federal system, the powers of the national government, and the powers reserved to the states.

Constitutional Law II

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: Constitutional Law I

Required. An advanced study of freedom of expression and association, substantive and procedural due process of law, and the equal protection of the laws.

Crime & Police Policy Seminar

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

The purpose of this course is to learn the basics of policy analysis, including regression analysis (focusing on causal inference), basic microeconomics, and cost benefit analysis, as they apply to current issues in crime policy. Policing in particular will receive special attention.  A final paper (reporting either a literature review or original empirical research) will be required.

Criminal Justice Reform

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

While the United States continues to house more prisoners per capita than any country in the world, there is also growing momentum around criminal justice reform. This course will highlight the roles and interests of key stakeholders in the criminal justice system—including prosecutors, police, sheriffs, correctional officers, and private prison executives—to assess prospects for and resistance to reform. We will also consider a broader, comparative frame, situating the U.S. criminal justice system in a global context. Readings will include case law, social science literature, and comparative law texts.

Elder Law

(2-3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

This course will focus on national and state elder law issues. The course will introduce students to the emerging specialty of elder law. It will provide students with an understanding of national and state legal issues in elder law. Students will be introduced to policy issues facing the aging population and provided with an understanding of ethical issues confronted by elder law attorneys.

Employment Discrimination

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

Review of various statutes and executive orders governing employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, and sexual preference. Emphasis is on the policy implications derived from case analysis.

Environmental Crimes

(3 credits)
Prerequisite: None

In addition to covering the criminal provisions of the major federal environmental statutes, we will also examine the broader legal and policy issues raised by criminal liability for environmental harms and consider the role of criminal prosecution in environmental enforcement generally.

Farmworker & Immigration Rights Clinic (FIRC)

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

In this clinic, students gain experience in client representation, community outreach, and law reform advocacy. First, students represent clients in the filing of immigrant petitions such as Asylum, U Visa, T Visa, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ). Students represent clients in removal proceedings including appearances in Immigration Court. Students may also represent farmworkers in labor disputes. Second, students engage in community outreach in the rural counties of the Second Judicial Circuit focusing on educating immigrants and farmworkers about their rights. Finally, students advocate for the implementation of laws and rules favorable to the immigrant/farmworker community by engaging in various law reform activities such as administrative rule changes; researching, drafting and promoting supportive legislation; monitoring changes in the law; preparing and filing amicus briefs; litigating impact cases that affect large groups of people; attending legislative events, committees or meetings; meeting with lawmakers; or otherwise engaging in the legislative and policy-making process on a local, state, or national level. Please fill out an application. Contact Professor Ashley Hamill with any questions.

Foreign Relations Law

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

Students in this course will study American constitutional law pertaining to the conduct of foreign relations. Topics include: the war powers of Congress and the president, the constitutional status of treaties and customary international law, the effect of international judgments in domestic law, federal pre-emption of state law in international affairs, international human rights litigation in American courts, the law of foreign immunity and the act of state doctrine. These topics will be examined not only from a doctrinal perspective, but in their historical, political and philosophical contexts.

Gender Justice

(2 credits)

In this skills training class we will examine factors that increase the exposure of women and girls to the criminal justice system and the special considerations they face while confined. Even in this era of mass incarceration, the increased rate of girls and women entangled in the criminal justice system is astounding. This interdisciplinary course will explore the factors that may lead to incarceration, discuss trauma-informed lawyering, and examine potential empowerment tools. Course readings will highlight how race, sexuality, disability, and other identity characteristics intersect with sex to affect outcomes in the criminal justice system. Students will also attend legal proceedings related to the issues identified in this course and/or meet with advocates who address such issues. S/U grade only.

Global Justice Seminar

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This interdisciplinary seminar will focus on global justice: What do we owe the global poor? What are the causes of poverty and oppression? What are the most desirable rules for controlling borders? What makes states legitimate in international law? When is war justified? What are the optimal rules for international trade?

Human Rights and National Security

(2 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This course surveys tensions between human rights interests and national security imperatives as well as the extent to which such might be reconciled placing emphasis on but not limited to the period since the September 11, 2001. A two-credit course that will explore aspects of U.S. law, international law, and other human rights and national security considerations relevant to what has been characterized as the U.S.-led “Global War On Terror” but also will include issues that transcend, like climate change, refugee protection and global health by surveying treaty frameworks and exploring what have been characterized as derogable v. non-derogable rights. The mantra for this course will be challenge all givens, in an effort to promote critical thinking and awareness of implications while attempting to disabuse various popular and sometimes unfounded narratives. Toward these ends, we’ll also explore military commissions and Guantanamo Bay, and corresponding US Supreme Court precedent regarding these and a range of issues framed within the ambit of national security that have human rights implications. 

Human Trafficking

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

Human trafficking represents a troubling side effect of globalization, encompassing forced labor, sex trafficking and the illicit trade in people within and across borders. This course will review and critically assess a diverse literature on the traffic of migrant labor into the United States and the exploitation of U.S. and foreign-born individuals within U.S. borders, with an emphasis on the sociological and legal issues raised by human trafficking. We will consider the blurred lines between immigrant labor exploitation and trafficking, as well as the issues raised involving prostitution and sex trafficking, with due regard for the role of advocacy and the essential lawyering skills of anti-trafficking attorneys. We will draw from a variety of sources, including academic scholarship (articles, books, etc.), domestic and international laws, governmental and non-governmental reports, transcripts from recent federal and state cases, media articles and videos. 

Immigration Enforcement and Procedure

(2 credits)
Prerequisites: None

In this skills training course we will examine the procedural aspects of Immigration Law and the criminal and enforcement aspects of its application. The course focuses on the application of substantive Immigration Law as it is applied in everyday practice. The purpose of this course is to provide the student with a practical perspective on the different elements of Immigration Law. Strong emphasis will be given on the procedural aspects, organizations, agencies, and key players that interact on a continuous basis to effectuate the enforcement of immigration laws. Students will gain an understanding of how lawyers interact with the system such as, representing clients in proceedings and dealing with the separate entities.

Immigration Law

(2-3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

A course addressing the legal and policy implications of U.S. immigration law including removal proceedings, family reunification and employment-based, which also incorporates a survey of international refugee and domestic asylum law issues. There are no prerequisites, and no prior immigration law study is presumed.

International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic (IHRAC)

(6 credits in fall/spring; 3 credits in summer)
S/U only; fulfills Skills Training requirement

The International Human Rights Advocacy Clinic (IHRAC) offers students hands-on experience representing individual human rights survivors and international non-governmental organizations engaged in human rights advocacy. Participating students gain experience in areas including fact-finding, evidence collection, research, reports, advisory memos, viability assessments, litigation, amicus briefs, UN standard setting, and norm development. They also develop a variety of skills including interviewing, persuasive writing, media, collaboration, leadership, professional identity, trauma-informed advocacy, and methods to cope with vicarious trauma. In addition, students discuss current events in human rights and the role lawyers play in the human rights movement (values, obligations, opportunities, and constraints).

International Human Rights Law

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

This problem-oriented course is designed for students seeking a general understanding of the subject as well as for students wishing to acquire specific skills for personal involvement in the promotion of International Human Rights, whether in government service or private practice. The course includes consideration of substantive international human rights norms, especially civil and political rights; the role of such norms in international and domestic law; fora-international, regional, and domestic-available for adjudicating or promoting the observance of human rights standards; the procedural rules that govern such fora; the methods by which decisions are made and increasingly enforced; and problems of including human rights concern as an integral part of the country's foreign policy.

Students will take part in one or two role playing exercises - for example, a U.N. debate, an appellate court argument, a congressional hearing, an ABA debate, or a Department of State decision-making meeting. This participation, as well as class discussion based upon regular attendance and a thorough reading of the assigned materials, forms a significant part of the course and will be taken into account in determining the student's grade.

Introduction to International Criminal Law: War Crimes, Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity

(2 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This course provides an introduction to International Criminal Law (“ICL”). Essential topics include the nature, scope, and purpose of ICL, and the broader goal of ending impunity for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Students will learn how the definition of each crime came about and has evolved to facilitate investigation and prosecution in times of crisis and conflict. The course will also familiarize students with ICL history, beginning with its origins in the attempt to prosecute the German Kaiser after WWI and continuing through the Nuremberg Trials, the UN War Crimes Commission, establishment of UN ad hoc Tribunals in the 1990s, and finally the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Law & Religion Seminar

This seminar will explore topics in religion and the law, with a focus on the U.S. Constitution’s Religion Clauses. Each class will be structured around short discussion papers that students will prepare in advance and present to the rest of the class. Beyond these short papers, students will also write a longer research paper.

Law, Technology, Race, and Gender

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

New technologies and our uses of them can reinforce inequality and other problematic social structures. This seminar will provide an opportunity to examine changes in legal structures and implementations of technology that can address inequality.

Lawyering a Movement: #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

(2 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

The course will evaluate the intersection of the criminal law, civil law and social justice advocacy through the lens of the extrajudicial police killing of George Floyd. Students will begin by examining the legal, media and social justice strategy that led to the arrest and criminal prosecution of George Floyd’s killer and an exploration of potential State and Federal law civil remedies available to families of victims, including enforcement of constitutional and civil rights. The course will explore police brutality and the relationship between police killings and White vigilante killings of unarmed Black men. Students will be challenged to conceptualize the role of the attorney outside of the courtroom and will be taught how attorneys strategically utilize media, social media, the arts and strategic partnerships to advance social-justice movements, to accomplish specific legal goals and to pressure systemic reform.

Lawyers as Leaders

(3 credits)

This course will help students recognize and develop their leadership potential, for both future employment and within their communities at large. Students will engage in guided self-examination to identify interests, strengths, and potential areas for growth. Alumni leaders from various fields of practice will share their leadership experiences, informing students of the opportunities available to them and providing advice for building the skills necessary to obtain and succeed in those opportunities. In addition, students will be matched with local attorney mentors, with whom they will meet outside of class for further professional guidance and growth. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to challenge pre-existing self-imposed limitations and to consider previously dismissed and overlooked abilities and opportunities. Coursework, in the form of oral presentations and written work, will include problem solving, conflict management, group exercises, and drafting a variety of documents from common areas of practice.

Media and the Law Seminar

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

This seminar will examine a series of legal issues raised by (1) the flow of personal information through social media, (2) the emergence of business models that make money from those information flows, and (3) the role of social media companies as information gatekeepers. Together we will explore the interplay of law (like the rights and freedoms the media enjoy under the First Amendment), and ethics (the professional responsibilities that historically have cabined the exercise of these rights). We will consider how legal and ethical frameworks shape access to information, as well as the quality and truthfulness of information with which consumers interact. We will also consider the central role of online gatekeepers that provide access to much of the news consumed in today’s society, but do not see themselves as bound by the same laws and ethics that have shaped the role of traditional information gatekeepers.

This class allows students to meet the Upper Level Writing Requirement. Each student will write a paper for the class, subject to the professor's approval. Attendance and careful preparation are required.

Race Ipsa Loquitur

Course description forthcoming!

Sexuality, Gender & Reproduction

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This seminar examines the legal regulation of sexuality, gender, and, to some extent, reproduction. The questions and issues explored during the first six weeks of this seminar are more overarching and theoretical in scope. They include: 1. What is identity? How do we define it? Which aspects of identity does the law protect and why?; 2. Bisexuality; 3. Transgender Identity; 4. Disgust and the Law; 5. Polygamy and other Plural Relationships; 6. Law, Identity, and the Protection of “Choice.”  

The remaining classes cover more substantive areas of law, including: 1. State Regulation of Sexual Relationships; 2. Marriage Equality; 3. The Family and Alternative Reproduction; 4. Legal Clashes Between Equality and Liberty (clashes between anti-discrimination law and the First Amendment).

Spanish for Lawyers

(2 credits) (S/U)

Prerequisites: Conversational Spanish skills are required. Listening, speaking, reading and writing at an intermediate level of proficiency is preferred.

The objective of this class is to increase the skills and ability of Spanish speaking law students to communicate with Spanish speaking clients. Students will be exposed to legal terms in various subject areas of law including criminal law, torts, immigration, family law, contracts and consumer protection. Students will be given various reading assignments and expected to discuss the topics in Spanish. Additionally, students will be given writing assignments that may involve either drafting legal documents or client correspondence in Spanish, or the translation of legal documents into Spanish. Students will also participate in mock interviews with Spanish speaking clients seeking legal advice or representation.

The American Jury

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None

This seminar examines the modern American jury, a controversial entity that empowers average citizens to participate in legal decision making. Proponents of trials by jury defend them as evidence of our shared commitment to democracy and liberty. Critics argue, however, that juries are “the apotheosis of the amateur” and are often incompetent, irrational, and biased (both overtly and subconsciously). Drawing from the interdisciplinary writings of legal academics, historians, philosophers, psychologists, and economists, this seminar will examine the historical and philosophical underpinnings of the modern American jury and will critically evaluate how well jurors make legal decisions.

This course will familiarize you with the black letter law governing, issues surrounding, and unresolved questions concerning the modern jury. We will cover a wide array of topics, including the history of the jury, its formation, how well jurors make decisions, verdicts and nullification, damages awards, the death penalty, and the changing role of technology. Seminar grades will be determined through a research paper, presentation, and short assignments throughout the semester.

Transitional Justice: From Impunity to Accountability

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of transitional justice, which encompasses approaches when a society emerges from periods of conflict and repressive governance while confronting questions of how to navigate legacies of grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law. Although a relatively new area, transitional justice refers to a wide range of mechanisms societies may undertake to address these legacies as they transition from periods of violent conflict, repression and strife towards peace, democratic institutions, rule of law and respect for individual and collective rights. Students will become familiar with theoretical and practical objectives of transitional justice mechanisms widely utilized including criminal prosecutions, truth seeking mechanisms, reparations, institutional reforms and lustration.

Universal Human Rights Systems

(3 credits)
Prerequisites: None 

This course provides students with an understanding of the history and procedure of the United Nations charter and treaty-based system, as well as exposure to the relevant criticisms surrounding the political nature and the institutional framework of the United Nations that shapes the promotion and protection of human rights within the system. The course will also discuss how the universal human rights system reflects normative human rights within the individual complaints heard by the Human Rights Council and related treaty-bodies.