This course will meet at the Washington, D.C. office of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. Room No. TBA.
2300 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037-1122
This course, offered in Washington, D.C., examines the role of law and lawyers in the functioning of the United States federal government, in particular with regards to the modern administrative and regulatory state. We will explore the tremendous power exercised by federal agencies – the “headless fourth branch” of government, according to some commentators – as well as the significant constraints (legal and political) under which they operate. This is not, however, a broad survey of administrative law; we will instead sample a limited number of topics to study in depth, with the aim of understanding how the law emerges from and shapes, for better or worse, the actual day-to-day functioning of the federal government.
The topics will be chosen as a function of current affairs and relevance to students concurrently enrolled in government-related internships or externships. During the second half of the course, students will present on their own summer work, thus affording an opportunity to further enrich the quality of their internship or externship experience.
(1) To learn about the organization of the federal government, especially the executive branch and the mechanisms by which its agencies are held accountable to various constituencies;
(2) To learn about the roles of lawyers with respect to federal government law practice –the roles of lawyer-advisers employed by agencies and by those business and public interest organizations that work with the agencies in a supportive or adversarial role;
(3) To examine the role of the Office of Management and Budget, including the ability of its relatively small staff to wield substantial control over the actions of the various agencies; and
(4) To learn about the movement toward “evidence-based policymaking” within the federal agencies, including the rationale for this shift and the barriers – both political and legal – that exist to the adoption of such an approach.
Our course will be hosted via Desire2Learn, or D2L, and can be accessed at http://d2l.arizona.edu/. For those unfamiliar with D2L, there is a “help” tab in D2L, as well as a help portal at http://www.help.d2l.arizona.edu/node/153.
Course Materials and Software
(1) All readings will be distributed via D2L in portable document format (“PDF”). Adobe Reader X is needed to view PDFs. Use the most up-to-date version to ensure full functionality. Re-download if you are unsure of your version. It can be downloaded for free at http://get.adobe.com/reader/.
(2) For each class, please bring a 3×5 inch index card. These cards, submitted at the end of every lecture, will be used to obtain feedback and track attendance.
(3) The final material is optional: Skype™, a program for online text, audio, and video communication. It can be downloaded for free at http://www.skype.com/ (via “Get Skype”). Search for my username (“prof.david.yokum”) and send me a “friend request.”
|Basis for grading
Grading for Law 596E
Students will be graded on the basis of a combination of class participation, weekly reaction papers, a final presentation, and a final paper. Participation in seminar discussions and the completion of a weekly reaction paper based upon the week’s assigned readings will be worth 40 % of a student’s grade. The remaining 60% will be based upon a final paper of approximately 15-pages in length on a topic chosen by the student and approved by the professor, and an oral presentation to the class on the student’s paper.
Grading for Law 496E
Students will be graded on the basis of a combination of class participation, short papers, a final paper, and an oral presentation. Forty-percent of a student’s grade will be based upon class participation and the completion of three short papers (1.5-2 pages) on three of the topics covered by the weekly readings. The short papers should follow the guidance for such papers that will be provided by the professor. Sixty-percent of the student’s grade will be based upon a final paper of approximately 15-pages in length on a topic chosen by the student and approved of by the professor and an oral presentation to the class on the student’s paper. The student must turn in a detailed outline for the final paper to the professor for feedback, and his or her final grade on the paper will reflect how well the student incorporates any feedback given.