Spring 2020 Course Schedule Includes Defending Depositions, Legal Innovation and More

Dec. 3, 2019

A former Arizona Supreme Court justice and the Tucson mayor join the faculty next semester

Each semester, University of Arizona Law offers roughly 100 courses for students to choose from. Amid the core legal subjects you would expect to find at any law school, here you will also find unique electives that offer specialized training, access to industry leaders, and real-world projects not happening anywhere else. 

Take a look at just a handful of the courses available to students this upcoming semester.  

Taking & Defending Depositions (LAW 645E) 

Open to law students and attorneys, this class prepares students to take and defend clients and opponents in depositions, develop and prepare for depositions and understand the basic techniques lawyers employ in depositions. Students in professor Barbara Bergman’s course will learn how to use evidentiary documentation, obtain admissions and use depositions in the trial phase.  

Part of Arizona Law’s trial advocacy curriculum, Taking and Defending Depositions is infused with practical training and emphasizes “learning by doing” in a simulated deposition setting with constructive faculty critique.  

The course has a dozen workshops simulating the preparation, taking and defending of depositions for both lay and expert witnesses, using a breach of contract case file. 

“Professor Bergman brought in a wide range of trial attorneys to coach our class, and the vastly different takes on how to take and defend a deposition were powerful and effective tools,” says Shawnee Melnick (‘19), who took the course during his third year at Arizona Law. “If any law student or new practitioner wants to hone their deposition skills, this is the class for them. I gained confidence in my ability to represent my clients in a deposition and still carry the tools of this class with me today.” 

The course is also open to practitioners, something Brian Chase (‘11) wishes would have been an option years ago.  

“I had taken and defended numerous depositions before attending this course,” says Chase. “This course taught me there was so much more I didn’t know about depositions. I learned great strategies for getting the most out of a deposition, and how to effectively prepare my clients and witnesses to have their deposition taken. The benefit from being able to immediately apply the strategies and get feedback by some of the best trial lawyers around was invaluable. I highly recommend this course to any law student or new trial lawyer.”  

In addition, the program will contain some lectures and demonstrations concerning deposition skills and the issues of professional responsibility and professionalism attendant to the taking and defending of depositions. 

Judicial Opinion Writing (LAW 651B) 

Recently retired Arizona Supreme Court Justice John Pelander ('76) teaches this advanced legal-writing course, specially designed to help students seeking a judicial externship or clerkship. Students will examine the contemporary American judicial opinion and experience the process of appellate decision-making.  

Students in the course will become more insightful readers of court decisions and better advocates by understanding what persuades the decision-maker. Classes will focus on the judicial writing function, with emphasis on topics such as opinion structure, judicial writing style, the relationship between style and substance, and ethical considerations in opinion writing. 

Corporate Governance (LAW 655P) 

Taught by professor of corporate law and finance Bob Mundheim,  Corporate Governance explores some of the major corporate governance issues confronting public corporations in the United States today and the techniques being developed to assure that corporate management properly serves the goals of the corporation and its shareholders.  

Corporate Governance includes the popular annual speaker series, Conversations with Bob Mundheim, which features informal conversations with national leaders in business and law, relating their experiences in and perspectives about corporate governance, markets, ethics, and career development. Students in the class are treated to an additional session with the speakers that is not open to the public. 

This year’s speakers include the chairman of the board of directors of Gogo, Inc., the vice chairman and chief legal officer at Millennium Management, LLC, and counsel at Shearman & Sterling LLP. 

Innovating Legal Services (672A) 

Consumers generally default on debt due to unemployment, illness or other hardships. 80% of them never go to court to defend a debt collection action. What might happen if people could access court online, after hours? Students in the Innovating Legal Services class will help answer that important question. 

Arizona Law’s Innovation for Justice Program is partnering with the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Utah State Court on a first-of-its-kind project: testing a new online dispute resolution platform for debt collection cases.  

The course will be the first observation-based user experience testing of an online dispute resolution platform in the United States. Students will make recommendations to partner organization about how platform design can best serve populations traditionally disengaged from the civil legal system. Innovating Legal Services will be co-taught by professor Stacy Butler (‘02), professor Chris Griffin and professor Sarah Mauet, creative director at UArizona Digital Learning. 

Special Topics in the Law: State & Local Law (LAW 695) 

Students will learn state and local government law and their significance in our Constitutional order from Jonathan Rothschild, who served two terms as the City of Tucson's mayor from 2011 to 2019. The course will review the case law that sets the parameters of the relationship between local and state government and the conflicts that arise as local government experiments with innovative policies in controversial areas. 

“The course is essential to any lawyer who wants to engage with government at either the state or local level,” says Rothschild. “So much of the law we live by is made at either the local or state level. To my way of thinking all lawyers should have this knowledge.” 

Students will also address inter-local relations and metropolitan-area problems to gain an understanding of the service areas and financial opportunities and limitations of local government. 

“I'm anticipating interesting discussions around current topics, and in the end, a group of students skilled and ready for meaningful civic engagement," says Rothschild.  

Click here to view a full course schedule.