Law, Justice, & Society (LJS) Courses

2103 Society and The Law (3) F, SP
This course introduces the central themes for the Law, Justice & Society program. Students gain an understanding of how law relates to society and how legal change relates to broader social change. Students explore the sociological and historical perspective on law and legal change. Focus is given to social and legal theory and to critically analyzing law and legal institutions in relation to equality, justice, and fairness. The course blends class discussion, guest speakers, film clips, and local field trips.

2203 Introduction to American Law (3) SP
This course is a basic introduction to the common and statutory law of the U.S. federal and state systems of law.
It is designed to develop the students’ understanding of American legal concepts and issues and to broaden understanding of American law and its processes. The course will highlight selected substantive areas in American law. The class will travel to Washington D.C. to observe and to interact with the judicial, executive, and legislative branches of our government. A travel fee will be assessed.


We value challenging academic excellence


3103 Dispute Resolution (3) F
This course examines the principles and methods of dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, and formal adjudication. Students will be able to describe the advantages and disadvantages of different types of dispute resolution. Using case-study methods, students will be able to analyze and to provide resolution for a variety of disputes using numerous techniques.

3203 Legal Research and Reasoning (3) F, SP, SU
This course teaches students the fundamentals of legal reasoning through a series of research and writing exercises. Students learn how to use available research resources, including computer databases. Emphasis will be given on improving analytical writing about social issues and legal change.

3303 Influencing Change through Civic Engagement (3) F, SP, SU
This service-learning course allows students to volunteer with a not-for-profit agency, designed to assist with a societal issue such as homelessness, legal aid for the poor, teen pregnancy, or domestic violence. Through class discussions and reflective journaling, students will explore how the law facilitates or inhibits significant social change. This course is designed to meet the SALT Tier II requirement. This course may satisfy the SALT Tier II requirement.

3403 Conflict Management (3) F
This course provides an understanding of conflict in the context of the people involved and their relationship to each other. It draws from both the fields of psychology and sociology to provide a framework for understanding and assisting those parties to acute conflict, who often end up in the legal system. Cross-cultural conflict, communication in conflict, and the psychology of conflict will be explored. Case studies, simulations and role-playing exercises will be utilized.


We value personal interaction between professors and students


3413 International Conflict Management (3) SP
This course explores key questions and concepts in the study of international negotiations and conflict management. Students will learn how different factors and contexts can influence the negotiation process and its outcome. Students will better understand the complexity of conducting international negotiations and mediations by participating in simulations and studying actual cases involving peace and security issues, trade agreements and access to humanitarian aid.

3503 Ethics & The Laws of Compliance (3) F, SP, SU
This course applies ethical theories, research, and practice to the law and justice system. Students will examine the moral dimensions of corporate law, ethical enforcement systems, issues in compliance and a variety of controversial issues associated with the civil and criminal justice systems applicable to business dealings.

3513 The Social Enterprise (3) F
This course focuses on utilizing entrepreneurial approaches to address global challenges. Socio-legal students will be challenged to think creatively about potential solutions to public challenges; extrepreneurially inclined students will be challenged to analyze rigorously the economic, social and political context that defines entrepreneurial opportunity. All students will design a social enterprise and devise approaches for assessing its impact. Skills developed in the course will enable students to act as effective leaders of change effected both through new ventures and through existing for-profit, non profit and government institutions.

390V Internship (1-3) F, SP, SUThis applied learning course allows students to seek a greater understanding of the legal system as an intern in a law-related agency. On-site work hours, written assignments, and regular meetings are required. Credit varies according to the number of hours worked during the semester. This course may satisfy the SALT Tier II requirement.

4103 Law in the Global Community (3) SU
This course explores the tensions between a global economy that deliberately seeks to transcend geographic borders and the law which is historically bound by national jurisdictions. This course will analyze the structures, processes, and principles of different kinds of legal systems. An international class trip to observe first-hand another country’s legal system is required.

4203 Senior Research Project (3) F, SP, SU 
This capstone course requires students to complete a senior research project under the direction of a faculty member. The project should build upon the service work done in LJS 3303, allowing the student to influence society through the law and legal change. Students must demonstrate the ability to design a study, conduct a scholarly literature review, review laws and legal precedents, gather and analyze data, present findings, and create a law-based solution to the societal issue. Written research reports will be presented at a Law, Justice & Society Symposium open to government and community leaders. This course may satisfy the SALT Tier II requirement.


We value small class sizes


4303 Special Topics: [Insert Topic] and the Law (3) F, SP
This course is designed to respond more quickly to the ever-changing issues in the law, justice, and society area. It provides the ability to address current issues and other topics. Examples would include classes such as Immigration and the Law, Children and the Law, Women and the Law.

4403 Mediation: Process, Skills, and Theory (3) SP
This course examines the theory, law, and practice related to third party intervention in the resolution of legal disputes. The course explores mediation as a collaborative process of resolving conflict, the legislative, ethical, and practical constraints on its use, and equips students with the skills needed to serve in a mediation capacity. There is an emphasis on learning through simulation and role-playing exercises.

4413 Financial Management of the Social Enterprise (3) SP
This course focuses primarily on the financial management of new social enterprises and established non profits, exploring topics such as fundraising, grant writing, revenue generation through the provision of services provided, and capital acquisition. Students, many of whom will not have a background in accounting and finance, will explore the practical business implications gained from financial statements and will learn how to manage the firm’s finances to create the best possibility for long-term success. At the end of the course, they will develop a three year financial plan for a start-up social venture and determine how to garner the resources needed to start the venture.

490V Independent Study (1-3) Offered upon request
This course is designed to provide the student with a major or minor from the Institute for Law, Justice and Society the opportunity to pursue independent study or research. Variable credit offered at one, two or three hours according to individual need. Prerequisite: permission of program director.