Classes are conducted Socratically, which requires students to read the assigned material carefully, to think and speak clearly, and to respond to counter-arguments on their merits. Being a lawyer, lobbyist, or policy advocate demands such skills, and the classroom offers a low-risk environment for practice.
Each day, prepare yourself to answer questions from me and and your classmates about any assigned case, its facts, procedural history, and how the court resolved the problem presented. In our discussions, your goals should be to:
- state your claims clearly and precisely;
- provide reasons or evidence for your claims;
- answer all reasonable objections.
Substantive clash on ideas and analysis is expected, but all this takes place within a realm of mutual respect.
If you’re really interested or anxious about my teaching methodology, feel free to look at the materials under “Miscellaneous” on my Teach page. The Personal Statement on Teaching (pdf) and the Rutter Award lecture might be informative (videostream). My pedagogical goal isn’t to make you uncomfortable but to create an environment of active, engaged learning.
During class, please do not run any software applications that are not part of your class participation. That means no personal web browsing, email, instant messaging, P2P downloading, shopping, etc. On the other hand, googling for background information, or searching relevant legal sites is appropriate.
There are two sets of reasons. First, class runs fast, and you can’t afford to scatter your attention. Second, browsing inflicts negative externalities on third parties, including people sitting behind you who are distracted by fast moving images or screen changes. If you think I’m being unreasonable, let’s set up some time to talk.
Mobile phones should be muted. If an emergency requires you to take a call, please exit quietly.
Bottom line: Get in the practice of acting like a young professional, which is precisely who you are.
Also, read my Recording FAQ.
- Jerry Kang, Communications Law & Policy (4th ed. Foundation 2012) (available at the law school bookstore).
- 2014 electronic supplement
- a 3.5 hour open-book in-class examination (in past years, I gave a take-home exam but because of concerns about exam integrity, I’ve switched to an in-class exam)
- class participation (15% of your grade) (measured by your preparedness and contributions to class discussion). It’s not necessarily quantity as much as value-added quality and good-faith engagement.