Syllabus Posted for Federal Court Practice Class at Penn State Dickinson School of Law

December 15th, 2009

This Spring, Judge Gibson and I are teaching a Federal Court Practice class at the Dickinson School of Law. You can download the syllabus here.

Here is the Course Summary:

This course aims to provide you with an understanding of federal court practice. This is not a class in federal court jurisdiction. Nor is this a class in trial advocacy. Rather, this class will expose you to the basics of federal jurisdiction, federal criminal practice, federal civil litigation, as well as federal habeas corpus law and federal employment law. We will invite several guest speakers, including Magistrate Judges, Assistant United States Attorneys, Criminal Defense Attorneys, and Civil Litigators, to share their real-world experiences with you.

This is not a conventional federal jurisprudence class, nor is it a trial practice class. Rather, it is a hybrid course Judge Gibson and I came up with.

The students will be exposed to federal jurisdiction, criminal procedure, civil procedure, habeas corpus, and other doctrinal areas relevant to litigating in federal court. In addition, the students will be responsible for submitting court pleadings, such as motions to suppress, motion for summary judgment, as well as proposed jury instructions and sentencing guideline calculations. Finally, the students will engage in several moot sessions, where they will simulate a suppression hearing, a guilty plea hearing, and a jury charging conference. This class should provide the students with a broad flavor of how to litigate in federal court.  We will have several guests, including federal public defenders, assistant U.S. attorneys, and others. I am very excited.

Perhaps my favorite lesson is the first class. Quite original.

  • United States Constitution, Article III
  • The Federalist Nos. 78-83
  • The Anti-Federalist, Brutus XI, XII, XV
  • Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (Cranch) 137 (1803).

If you know anyone at Penn State Law who may be interested, urge them to sign up soon. There are only a few spaces remaining.