Cincinnati Law offers numerous courses that focus on or consider topics relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can browse below for a list of courses regularly offered that meet this criteria. Visit our curricula page to learn more about Cincinnati Law's curriculum, and to review a full list of course offerings for recent semesters.
There is a classroom component consisting of a one classroom credit online class and an optional one credit field placement, which is in person at the Help Center at the Hamilton County Municipal Court. The Field Placement is optional because it is in person at a time when COVID-19 is still a threat and not all students may want to pursue an in person clinical experience. Students may take the 1-credit online class and not the field placement. But students may not take the field placement without taking the one-credit class. In 2015 the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Task Force on Access to Justice released its Report and Recommendations, noting that Ohio courts are “filled with individuals unable to secure legal representation in civil matters and are left with no choice but to navigate an unfamiliar, complex court system alone.” This class will examine the justice gap, where 86% of civil legal problems reported by low-income people received either no or inadequate legal help. The class will have three components: First, we will examine the justice gap in a variety of contexts—housing, criminal cases, immigration and family law matters—inviting in access to justice lawyers to lend their insights and expertise. We will then move towards access to justice interventions, including right to counsel, technology, self-help centers and court process simplification. A third component is an optional in person field placement at the Help Center that will give students a practical experience with access to justice lawyering.
This seminar will examine key constitutional challenges that the United States faces in the early 21st century – issues of public concern that have sparked significant debate about the proper role of constitutional values in contemporary American life. The topics that will be studied include:
- Racial Justice in Criminal Justice
- Constitutional Challenge and Change: The Case of Capital Punishment
- Fraction and Friction in 21st Century American Political Life
- Money, Speech, and Political Power
- Presidential Authority in Times of Global Challenge and Political Polarization
- The Changing Look of American Federalism
- Conscience, Religion, and Constitutional Objection
- Free Market Principles in Constitutional Law
Examination of the topics will draw on a broad range of readings to inform class discussion.
This course will provide you with the fundamentals of asylum and refugee law in the United States, the policies underlying asylum and refugee law, and the federal agencies that implement and enforce those policies. The course will trace the history and development of the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol, and the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980. Students will become familiar with the key actors in the asylum and refugee law arena, including the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the U.S. Congress, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice, and the federal courts. Students will gain an understanding of the refugee definition as interpreted in the U.S. The course will address the limits of refugee law and will assess the current asylum system from both a practitioner’s and a policy perspective – contextualizing asylum law within the need for international and domestic policymakers alike to meet obligations under international conventions while maintaining national security, including addressing the challenges of terrorism and transnational crime.
This course explores the history, text, structure, and policy of federal civil rights litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The course addresses doctrinal, theoretical, and practical issues that shape civil rights litigation. Theoretical issues include the appropriate role of the history of American slavery in interpreting the civil rights statutes, the benefits and drawbacks of private litigation in constitutional development, and the respective roles of federal and state judiciaries in protecting federal rights. Bivens actions, the Federal Tort Claims Act and State claims and immunities will be introduced but not extensively covered. Practical issues include the types of remedies available, the defenses and immunities available to governments and their agents, and the availability of attorney fees for prevailing plaintiffs.
This course will focus on the historical and current relationship between criminal and immigration law. The class will look at the intersection both in the criminal justice system as well as the immigration court system. It will proceed in two parts. First, it will focus on procedural and substantive law. The goal during this part of the course is for students to gain a practical knowledge to take a non-citizen defendant from his arrest in the criminal system through his immigration proceeding with the ability to understand the consequences of the criminal conviction to his immigration status. Therefore, this part will focus on specific grounds of deportation and inadmissibility related to criminal conduct; analyzing the Immigration and Nationality Act, criminal law, and pertinent case law. This part will include topics such as mandatory detention, aggravated felonies, divisible statutes, crimes of moral turpitude, and Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Second, it will focus on policy. The course will discuss current federal, state and local governmental immigration policies; including immigration raids, cooperation between local law enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security as well as and local ordinances aimed at businesses and employers. Policy discussions will include issues of race, national origin, and ethnicity and its relationship, if any, to the increased use of the criminal justice system to enforce immigration law on national security and public safety grounds. This section will address topics including Secure Communities, 287(g), Operation Streamline and state and local immigration legislation such as SB 1070. The course may include class discussion, lectures, Customs and Border Patrol operations tour at CVG, and outside speakers.
This course explores the foundations and central tenets of Critical Race Theory (“CRT”), a scholarly movement that emerged in the 1980s as an offshoot of Critical Legal Studies (“CLS”). Since then, CRT has developed into an expansive and diverse field of scholarship in its own right. Most, however, would characterize CRT as centrally concerned with (1) using critiques of liberalism and colorblind ideology to expose how racism (and, particularly, white supremacy) is structurally and discursively embedded in and perpetuated by the law, and (2) generating and applying more inclusive and liberatory modes of legal analysis, such as intersectionality, to effect lasting social change. CRT scholars over the last 30 years have produced a diverse range of robust CRT spinoffs, such as LatCrit, QueerCrit, AsianCrit, and ClassCrit (and, to be certain, several other “—Crits”); in fact, since its inception CRT has arguably overtaken CLS within the legal academy. CRT’s interdisciplinary reach and impact during the past three decades likewise cannot be overstated, as it has been widely influential across many fields, including (but not limited to) education theory, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and American studies. This course will begin with an exploration of CRT’s origins in Critical Legal Studies, as well as an introduction to “racial formation theory,” which was contemporaneously introduced in the mid-1980s in the fields of sociology and ethnic studies. Following the introductory study of CRT’s origins and key aspects of racial formation theory, several weeks will be spent reading and discussing foundational CRT texts, primarily comprising “first generation” works (in their full and unedited forms) from 1976-1993, as well as a few later writings. After mastering CRT foundations, the course will move on to the more difficult question of CRT “praxis.” That is, how can CRT insights be used to engage more effectively in social justice advocacy and lawyering? How does one navigate the difficult terrain between CRT praxis and conventional legal practices, both as a student and as a lawyer?
The seminar will address a range of issues facing women around the world, and the international and comparative law that has developed to address the equality rights, se critical problems. Initial focus will be upon the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of discrimination against women, a widely ratified treaty. Issues such as reproductive rights, female genital mutilation, honor crimes, equality doctrines and gender discrimination, freedom of religion vs. women’s rights, regional approaches to women’s rights, economic empowerment and employment discrimination, and domestic violence will be amongst the issues covered in the seminar. Students will be required to write a paper and make a presentation.
As we enter another elections season, together with all of the political conversation attending it, it is a good time to consider the nature of our polity and the values it contains.
The United States can be (and has been) described in a variety of ways. Our country is a capitalist democracy or a form of democratic capitalism or a modern liberal democratic state or a pluralist democracy. Note, then, the recurring use of the word “democratic.”
As you know from your study of constitutional law, we have a republican (and representative) form of government rather than a democracy of direct rule by citizens. Nevertheless, we continue to subscribe to the idea that “democratic” values are desirable. What, then, are those values? Where can they be found? Are they to be found in our constitutional tradition and in our political history? Are they to be found in the structure of government? Are they values that can shape the future of our political economy? These are some of the questions that we will address by reading original documents, selected readings, the book Achieving Democracy: The Future of Progressive Regulation (Oxford University Press 2014) and another text to be chosen.
When we teach Feminist Jurisprudence (Fem Jur - Kalsem) and Critical Race Theory (CRT - Houh), in the same semester, we invariably end up in the same place – where feminist legal theory takes into account racial critiques and critical race theory does the same with gender and sex critiques. In other words, our courses converge organically at intersectionality, a word and concept that is often used in mainstream discourse and almost as frequently misunderstood. Our classes intersect, as do the theories, and both fields richly and rigorously examine the necessity and challenges of intersectional analysis and activism. This year rather than coordinating who is teaching which of our favorite pieces, we are collaborating and offering this readings course as a plus-1 during the last five weeks of the spring semester. To register for this course, students must have completed either Fem Jur or CRT in the spring of 2020 or 2021 (in 2021, Fem Jur and CRT are each being offered as 2-credit courses that will be completed before the start of this plus-1). We will be reading stories told in law review articles and essays, but also in short stories, books, and plays by authors such as Kimberlé Crenshaw, Patricia Williams, Sumi Cho, Margaret Montoya, Zora Neale Hurston, Audre Lorde, Derrick Bell, Pauli Murray, Leslie Feinberg, and David Henry Hwang. We also will read intersectional stories in the legal contexts of cases, legislation, social movements, and activism.
In this short course, students will meet daily in 3-hour sessions to explore the roots of structural racism, examine its various manifestations in the U.S. legal system, and critique proposals to eradicate it. Readings will survey historical and legal sources to provide an understanding of race’s role in establishing social hierarchy in this nation.
Disability Law introduces areas of U.S. domestic law and policy that address the civil rights, needs, and treatment of persons with disabilities. The course covers the Americans with Disabilities Act, some discussion of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and the Fair Housing Act, and a brief overview of international disability law, specifically the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Topics include the following: the challenge of defining disability; the social and medical models of disability; the nature and causes of disability discrimination; the proper scope of legal regulation; the costs and benefits of accommodation; the overlapping and distinctive features of regulating discrimination in different domains such as employment, education, and public accommodations; what disability law and theory can teach antidiscrimination law more generally; and the role of extra-legal knowledge in the legal project of responding to disability discrimination.
This course examines legal issues encountered at all levels of education. The course will focus on such problems as academic freedom, curriculum control, censorship, mandatory education, church – state issues, faculty and student rights, tort and civil liability of educational institutions, and educational opportunity, including rights of the handicapped.
This course will introduce students to employment-based immigration law. Students in the course will learn about visa classifications that require an employer/sponsor and permit the foreign national to work in the United States. Students will engage in one or more writing projects dealing with obtaining visas in the employer-sponsored immigration context. The course will be focused on the practice of law and assignments will be similar to those given to a first year associate in the practice.
This course surveys the major legislative and executive provisions prohibiting various types of discrimination in employment. Discrimination is considered in the context of hiring, promotion, discharge, benefits, conditions, and the like. Consideration is also given to the procedures applicable to employment discrimination cases.
This course focuses on the legal relationship between employer and the individual employee. It will cover the common law aspects of that relationship, particularly the employment at will doctrine. It will then examine common law, contract, and statutory modifications of the doctrine. Statutes that may be examined include whistle-blower protection, unemployment and workers’ compensation acts, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and federal discrimination statutes. The course also covers other key features of the employment relationship including privacy concerns and contracts relating to protecting certain employer interests. The course is recommended for students contemplating a labor or employment law, corporate, or general practice.
This course addresses issues of federalism and separation of powers raised by statutes and doctrines which establish and limit federal court jurisdiction. Among the matters addressed are standing, legislative courts, congressional power over federal jurisdiction, the Eleventh Amendment, and the abstention doctrines. Also considered are the role state courts play in the formation and application of doctrines.
In Feminist Jurisprudence, students will study various schools of feminist legal thought, including liberal, radical, cultural, postmodern, critical race, and social justice feminisms, as well as related issues from LGBTQ+ studies. Shifting from theory to practice, the course will conclude with an introduction to participatory action research which is a form of community-based research that is aligned with the principles of feminist legal theory. In previous years, students have "performed feminist jurisprudence" by volunteering at social justice organizations in the community.
This course examines how gender shapes and informs the law and how legal doctrine affects our understanding of gender. The objectives of the course include the following: (1) to provide several opportunities to write and produce quality short papers on gender-related issues; and (2) to determine how the study of gender and feminist theory can enrich the study of law. The course will introduce a variety of theoretical approaches to the study of gender and will cover such substantive areas as employment, education, and family law.
This course examines the development of human rights and the substantive principles and practices of human rights as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other instruments. This course also reviews the regional and international procedures for the implementation of human rights.
This course is designed to provide an understanding of contemporary issues in U.S. immigration law and policy through an examination of the historical, political, and legal considerations that have shaped it. It will analyze various topics, such as proposed travel bans, unauthorized migration, detainers, state and local policies regarding immigration enforcement, sanctuary cities, federalism, removal priorities, immigration detention, constitutional protections for noncitizens, birthright citizenship, various categories of visas of admission, and comprehensive immigration reform. While this course will be grounded in the current issues surrounding how migrants are admitted to, excluded, and removed from this country, contemporary issues within immigration cannot be understood without discussing the historical events, political debates, and laws and policies that established U.S. immigration law. Most fundamentally, immigration law raises the questions of who we imagine ourselves to be as a country, who we really are, and how immigration law has been created to support these conclusions. Therefore, this class will also address the constitutional roots and reverberations of immigration law, its relationship to other areas of law, and its broad policy implications.
In this course, students examine the various types of evidence that might lead to the wrongful conviction of innocent persons. They will also consider the roles police, prosecutors, and defense lawyers play in the criminal justice system, with an emphasis on discovering how errors can lead to the conviction of the innocent.
Practicing personnel related law necessitates close awareness to collective, not just individual, dispute resolution. This class surveys the rights of workers and employers in private and public collective bargaining relationships, including strikes, boycotts, lockouts, contract formation, arbitration, and downsizing issues, using case study, role play with class problem sets, speakers from the federal, state and private sector, and study of statutory and rulemaking requirements.
This course examines labor unions and labor-management relations from both a legal and a social perspective. The course will utilize traditional legal materials such as statutes, regulations and judicial opinions, which will be complemented by social research such as theoretical perspectives and empirical studies from the social sciences. The course aims to provide students with an overview of significant issues and doctrines in labor law; to introduce students to theory and research on labor unions and labor-management relations; and to encourage students to consider how insights from social theory and research can inform legal practice.
This course focuses on legal and literary language and narratives. Specifically, students will examine various literary texts that "perform feminist jurisprudence" by providing a forum for the expression of women's stories and experiences that the law may fail to take into account or consider irrelevant. Students will read several novels, short stories, essays, and poems written by authors of different eras, races, ethnicities, genders, classes, and sexual orientations. Students also will read related statutes, court opinions, and critical articles that help them dialogue on the multiple and possible meanings of feminist jurisprudence.
This course seeks to impart an appreciation of the role of the law as a significant factor in creating or reinforcing social and economic conditions in society. Questions addressed include: what are the problems of the poor generally, as well as of specific sub-populations of the poor? How does the law impact on these problems, for better or worse? How do courts and legislatures contribute to solutions? A body of caselaw, including constitutional law, is considered, along with writings of economists, social scientists and theorists.
The 1963 March on Washington has been remembered largely because of Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech. Other speeches were given that day including one by a young John Lewis who had much to say including: “I appeal to all of you to get in this great revolution that is sweeping this nation. Get in and stay in the streets of every city, every village and hamlet of this nation until true freedom comes, until the revolution of 1776 is complete.” Race & Democracy in Contemporary America is a one-hour Book Discussion course that continues the Democracy in Contemporary America discussions that have been offered in the past. The core idea is to explore the relationship between race and democracy particularly in relation to those normative values that we purport to cherish as noted by John Lewis and many, many others including Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama. We can briefly identify those democratic values as liberty, equality, fairness and the common good. Further, we can trace their development from before ethe Founding until today. We will explore them through readings that will include historical and contemporary cases, statutes, speeches, and videos. In addition to other handouts, the core of the course will consist of reading five short books James Baldwin, Fire Next Time; Eldridge Cleaver, Soul on Ice; Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me; Mark Lilla, The Once and Future Liberal; and Toni Morrison, The Origin of Others. The course is timely and connects us with our history; our revolutionary history. Most particularly, it is my hope that we can explore the relationship between race and democracy and appreciate its contemporary significance and application at a time when it seems that democracy is strained.
This course covers all forms of ultimate relief in civil actions: damages, restitution, and equitable relief. The first portion deals with the damage remedies in tort, contract, real property, and personal property litigation. The second unit analyzes the alternative remedy of restitution, in law and equity. The course concludes with those cases governing specific relief in equity, specific performance in contract, and injunctions in tort.
This course focuses on U.S. constitutional case law as it pertains to immigration and the rights of individuals seeking admission to the United States. Students will read major constitutional cases concerning the Fifth Amendment procedural and substantive due process rights of individuals seeking admission to the U.S. or being removed from the U.S., with a focus on immigration detention and family separation. Students will explore the limits on Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in the context of immigration enforcement. They will learn how immigration enforcement concerns intersect with (and limit) the equal protection doctrine – particularly limits on racial profiling. Finally, students will explore the ways that immigration control concerns impact the First Amendment rights of both citizens and noncitizens. By the end of this short, one-unit course, students should feel comfortable analyzing the constitutional questions raised by contemporary immigration developments, from family detention and separation to exclusionary policies aimed at particular groups. They will be asked to apply their knowledge through participation in class discussion (including in-class exercises) and on a 90 minute, open-book final examination.