Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 2013

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Remedies is a course that consolidates many of the concepts learned in the first year of law school and some from the second. A typical Remedies course will reintroduce principles from constitutional law, compare and contrast torts and contracts, and apply criminal concepts in civil contexts. Teaching Remedies can be both challenging and rewarding. Challenging because it crosses a wide variety of subject areas. Rewarding because it weaves a variety of subject areas into the "seamless web" of the law, eliciting from students an occasional "aha." Early classes in law school tend to separate courses into discrete subject areas, including Contracts, Torts, Property, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, and Criminal Law; later classes, into statutory areas such as Environmental Law, Antitrust, Securities, Intellectual Property, and Antidiscrimination, to name a few. In law schools where core first-year courses are limited to four hours in one semester, and many statutory courses limited to three, professors may well be unable to reach the remedial section of their courses or, if they do, must give it short shrift. Nor do most courses offer students an opportunity to compare and contrast legal theories to determine which would provide a client with the best relief. Most law schools offer Remedies as a stand-alone course. That at least three credit hours can be devoted to it demonstrates that remedial theory cannot be summarized into a few simple principles. Compounding its complexity is that some remedial principles are applicable across many subject areas while others diverge dramatically from subject to subject. At times, the same terminology can be used, unhelpfully, to express dramatically different concepts depending on the subject matter. As a result, I think remedies should be a capstone course that all students take after having some expertise in a variety of subject matters. I know of no law school that offers Remedies as a first-year course. Most offer it to students in either their second or third years. While I think Remedies is best appreciated in the third year, difficulties law schools have in scheduling competing demands likely would prevent limiting it to third-year students. Below follow examples of how I teach students in Remedies to think across course lines while learning remedial theory.

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