The University of Richmond School of Law introduces thirteen new courses to its 2012-2013 curriculum, including three new classes this fall and ten next spring. 

Professor Tara Casey and Suzanne Corriell, the law library's associate director for reference, research, and instructional services, are co-teaching Public Policy Research and Drafting, a new workshop-oriented course that gives students experience in researching and writing research memos for real-life clients. Corriell explained, "The course contributes to the law school curriculum by allowing students to focus on the process of research and writing while working for a real client with a real research need."

"While the students are getting an overview of public policy law in the class meetings, they also have the opportunity to become fully versed in a very specific research topic—and the students this semester have shown a passion for their particular topics," added Corriell. In addition to regular class meetings, each student team meets weekly to work on their research projects. Each team project addresses a specific social justice issue as requested by their clients. Throughout the semester, teams submit their research plan, outline, and memo to both the class and to the client so that feedback can be incorporated into their revisions. At the end of the course, student teams will present their research memoranda to the clients.

In addition, Professor Casey recruited several outside speakers, including Amy Woolard, Senior Policy Attorney at Voices for Virginia's Children, and Margaret Sanner, Virginia Senior Attorney at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, to talk to the students. "All of the speakers have great enthusiasm for the work that they do," noted Corriell. "The enthusiasm is contagious, and students seem to appreciate the varied perspectives of those practicing policy work."

"It's been fun to work with this class so far," added Corriell. "The students are professional and engaging, and I look forward to reading their final papers and seeing their final presentations."

Professor John Paul Jones taught a new seminar, Innocents Abroad? Civilian Workers in Conflict Zones, during the first half of the Fall 2012 semester. This interdisciplinary seminar addressed the management of risks for civilians working in conflict zones in the service of U.S. policy. The seven-week-long seminar was co-taught by two other UR faculty members, Dr. Peter Smallwood of the Biology Department, who served the U.S. Department of State in Baghdad, and Professor Laura Browder of the American Studies Department, who has published a study of military women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jones explained how the idea for the seminar developed. "We decided that there was a very open and comprehensive understanding of the risks for service members—military personnel—in conflict zones… but we didn't understand that the same thing was true for people engaged in the new phenomenon of outsourcing conflict operations." He and Dr. Smallwood envisioned a class that would construct "a stage on which the stories of those who had succumbed to risks could be told" as well as produce a guide for civilians planning to serve in conflict zones.

During class discussions, students examined private and public law and policy shaping this sort of employment and explored issues such as the adequacy of warning, pre-deployment training, rescue arrangements, and special forms of compensation.

Jones noted that one of the outcomes of the seminar was a digital storytelling component. Students worked in teams to produce digital stories of individuals who have served in conflict zones. Students also turned in a term paper that took the form of written advice to a non-lawyer client who was considering serving in a conflict zone. Jones noted that one of the student projects focused on advice with respect to kidnapping and hostage-taking, and another project addressed arrest and detention by local authorities.

The seminar culminated in an evening discussion with five guests who had served governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO) in conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Students led a wide-ranging discussion on topics such as kidnapping and hostage situations. Jones noted that one of the invited guests had been kidnapped while serving, and another had worked for an NGO as a risk manager who had experience dealing with kidnapping. 

Jones commented on the importance of the seminar, "If you think about its subject matter, it's an inevitable and giant movement to outsource American foreign affairs and military operations to private contractors, so it's a sector of employment law, insurance law, state/private relations, and government contracting law that didn't exist twenty years ago. To the extent that we're training lawyers with respect to employment situations, contracting situations, risk management, and insurance, it seems like an obvious book to put on our intellectual shelf."

Professor Ron Bacigal is now offering Comparative Criminal Procedure to law students as well as undergraduates. The course examines the world's four major criminal justice systems—common law, inquisitorial, the socialist/communist system in Cuba and China, and religious systems such as Islamic Sharia law—and contrasts those systems operating in a sampling of countries in Europe, Asia, and South America with those of the United States. Bacigal noted, "While much is learned about other systems, the insights into the American system may be the most valuable aspect of the course." He explained that while studying systems in place in other countries, "You end up looking at the American system from a different perspective."

Students choose a criminal justice system as the focus of an oral presentation and paper. Bacigal explained, "They can pick one specific country and look at one particular aspect such as confessions or search and seizure, or they can take a look at a country we haven't studied in class and talk about their system."

The course is one of a few classes the School of Law makes available to students enrolled in other schools at University of Richmond, including the School of Arts & Sciences, Robins School of Business, and Jepson School of Leadership Studies. Bacigal said the law school opened the course to undergraduates because they thought students would be interested in the study of foreign criminal justice systems, particularly with the University's emphasis on international programs. Bacigal also said he hoped more undergraduates would sign up for the class when it's offered again next year.

During the spring 2013 semester, students can choose from ten new classes. Professors Ann Hodges and Hank Chambers will co-teach Employment Law; Professor Jessica Erickson introduces a Business Litigation Practicum; Professor Jonathan Stubbs will teach Advanced Constitutional Law; Professor Andy Spalding will offer Anti-Bribery Law in International Business; Professor Chiara Giorgetti will teach two new classes, An Introduction to International Courts and Tribunals and International Arbitration; Research and Instructional Services Librarian Andrew Winston will offer Innovative Technologies in Law Practice; Professor Joel Eisen introduces Law of Clean and Renewable Energy; Professor Alberto Lopez will teach Wills Drafting; and Professor Carol Brown will introduce Housing Law to the law school curriculum. In addition, Professor Meredith Harbach will teach for the second time Regulating Reproduction.