Conflict of Laws

Spring Semester, 2000

Dean Perritt


Special Exercises


Several class sessions of this course will give you an opportunity to develop linkages between your work experience and the subjects of conflict of laws, while at the same time building your skills to work as a member of a legal team, skills that are needed in the real world of law practice, but which rarely are the focus of legal education. 


Two types of special exercises, which will extend over several scheduled class sessions, will precede regular assignments and Socratic instruction in class. 


In the first type of exercise, the class will be broken into a number of teams comprising 6-8 law students.  One member of each team will be designated as its “leader.”  Teams must meet for a total of at least three hours during the scheduled period.  Meetings may be scheduled for times other than the regular class period if all members of a particular team consent, but if alternative meeting times are not arranged, team members are expected to meet during the regularly scheduled class period.


Team members during these initial meetings are expected to get acquainted with each other and particularly to inform each other about their work experiences, past and present.  During the discussions, each team must identify one or more real world situations raising issues within the scope of the subject of conflict of laws.  This subject matter includes enforcement of judgments, especially across jurisdictional lines, jurisdiction in courts to adjudicate cases involving parties from other geographic sovereigns (“personal jurisdiction” or “adjudicative jurisdiction”), and of legislatures and administrative agencies to apply rules to conduct with connections to other geographic sovereigns as well as to their own (“prescriptive jurisdiction”), and deciding which of two or more competing legal rules to apply to a dispute when a dispute has connections with another geographic sovereign and that sovereign’s rules differ from the rules of the sovereign from which the dispute resolver draws its authority (“choice of law”).


The team leader must:


1.                  Report to the entire class and to the instructor by e-mail list serv (a) on the real world examples considered by that leader’s group, and (b) on the specific legal issues raised by one of those real world controversies.  At this stage, students are not expected to answer the questions posed, but to frame them precisely and narrowly so that research assignments could be made based on the issue formulation.  The issues thus framed will provide the context for Socratic interaction in class during the balance of the semester.


2.                  Team leaders must rank order the members of their teams in terms of their contributions to the team discussion.


Team leaders will be graded based the quality of their issue summaries and on the integrity of their evaluation of team member participation.


Other members of the team will be graded based on the quality of their teams’ issue evaluation, combined with their leaders evaluation of their individual contribution.


Later in the semester, the same teams will be reconvened and will be asked to prepare concise analytical reports on issues raised in a real world, transnational business transaction.