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Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences

Course Descriptions



LEST Course Descriptions

View the schedule of classes to determine course offerings by semester.

  • LEST 500 Legal Research and Analysis (3)
    Intensive course on the ways law and regulations are made and interpreted, the sources of legal research and proper styles of legal citation. Students are required to learn how to read and analyze court decisions and to write effectively about legal issues. Required of all students in the first semester upon entering the program.
  • LEST 501 Legal and Ethical Foundations (3)
    In-depth exploration of the organization, history and dynamics of the American legal system; the practical basis of law; how lawyers think and the workings of the adversarial system. Examines how the common law is organized as a field of knowledge and practice and how it functions as an instrument of government in the arena of dispute resolution. Raises issues of law’s relationship to other disciplines such as philosophy, history and the social sciences and assesses law’s effectiveness in promoting justice and social policies.
  • LEST 506 Historical Perspectives (3)
    Explores the Anglo-American legal tradition from a variety of perspectives, including U.S. constitutional history, the role of the common law in the establishment of America’s legal systems and Maryland’s legal history. Considers the broader Western tradition of constitutionalism, limited government, religious toleration and fundamental rights in relation to contemporary legal issues.
  • LEST 507 Legal and Ethical Arguments (3)
    Intensive course on the theory and practice of legal, ethical and policy arguments. Includes case analyses and exercises in the practical application of theories of persuasion. Explores the differing character of arguments for different professional contexts and audiences.
  • LEST 508 Law and Morality (3)
    Study of traditional and contemporary views on the nature of law and the nature of morality, and the ways they relate. Does the American legal system promote goodness and social justice? Topics covered include theories of justice and legitimacy, natural law and natural rights, legal positivism and various applied topics including legal protection of basic rights, equal protection under the law and civil disobedience.
  • LEST 600 Complex Legal Analysis (3)
    Advanced legal analysis and writing. Emphasizes high-level comprehension of cases and statutes, solidification of good legal research techniques and effective presentation of written legal analysis and argument. Students look at important legal issues in a variety of areas, as subjects for class discussion and exercises as well as writing assignments, all as a means of developing skills useful in law.  prerequisite: LEST 500
  • LEST 601 Ethics and Advocacy (3)
    Provides a detailed study of current legal ethics. Promotes understanding of ethical conflicts faced by lawyers in their daily professional and personal lives, demonstrates methods of reconciliation of conflicts among competing ethical rules and standards, and compares and contrasts legal ethics with conventional ethical norms. Surveys the contemporary culture of the legal profession in its various settings, including professional, judicial and educational environments in which legal ethics are embedded. prerequisites: LEST 501, LEST 507 and LEST 508 or permission of program director
  • LEST 602 Origins of Law (3)
    Examination of the concepts that have been used as the basis for legal systems around the world, including common law, civil law and various non-Western and traditional systems. Considers the legal relationship between the individual and the state in these systems as well as the key elements and procedures used by each and what they can tell us about the essential nature of legal systems and the law itself.
  • LEST 603 Law of Contracts (3)
    Explores the elements of a legally enforceable agreement, defenses to contract actions and statutory modifications to the common law of contracts. Considers the balancing of different interests in contemporary contract law, including considerations of fairness, social and economic policy objectives, and individuals' freedom to structure commercial and personal relationships.
  • LEST 604 Law of Business Organizations (3)
    Introduction to the law of business organizations, including their history, function and public policy implications. Forms covered include individual proprietorships, partnerships and corporations as well as newer variations such as limited liability companies. Topics include methods of finance and control and the rights and obligations of the principals, agents and third parties.
  • LEST 605 Areas of Law (3)
    Varying course offering that explores a particular area of law. Course may be repeated for credit when topic differs.
  • LEST 606 Family Law (3)
    The legal problems confronting modem families. Examines the law of marriage, marriage-like relationships, cohabitation and divorce, in the context of the ever-changing definition of family. Also considers legal issues relating to children, including custody, support and the complications arising from reproductive technologies.
  • LEST 607 Property Law (3)
    Basic law of property, including philosophical and ethical justifications and important historical developments in the scheme of ownership in Anglo-American Law. Focus is on current property law from the viewpoint of its underlying rationales and policy considerations.
  • LEST 609 Employment Law (3)
    The law of employment in its social, ethical and historical contexts. Examines common law principles of employment contracts, the employment at will doctrine and a wide range of regulatory regimes governing work. Covers leading cases in depth and in their economic, social and historical contexts. Considers employment law in its practical and principled applications by taking up the ethics of human resources and industrial relations.
  • LEST 610 Legal Topics (3)
    Varying course offering that explores a particular issue, context or method of the law. Course may be repeated for credit where topic differs.
  • LEST 614 Torts (3)
    The civil law of reparation for harm done by wrongful acts. Examines many of the causes of action available under theories of intentional wrongdoing, negligence and strict liability. Considers the range of problems and issues that arise in contemporary practice as well as their historical roots.
  • LEST 615 Criminal Law (3)
    Substantive, procedural and constitutional criminal law. Criminal law involves those actions that society identifies as particularly contrary to morality and society's best interests. Students study the classification of certain actions as crimes and the rationales for such classification, based on the Model Penal Code and Maryland criminal law. Examines the criminal process from investigation through appeal, including features mandated both by state law and by the U.S. Constitution. prerequisite: LEST 500
  • LEST 616 Constitutional Law(3)
    The American constitutional form of government and the amendments establishing individual rights. Focuses on the parts of the U.S. Constitution that are concerned with civil liberties but also with the structure in which such liberties are protected. Emphasizes First Amendment, due process, and equal protection. prerequisite: LEST 500
  • LEST 617 Administrative Law (3)
    The history, function and powers of administrative agencies. Covers administrative agencies on the federal level and parallel state and local government level. Examines the function of administrative agencies generally, including their rule-making and adjudicative powers, and practice and procedure before such agencies. Includes the study of judicial review of administrative agency decisions.
  • LEST 620 Philosophy of Law (3)
    Jurisprudential approach to both historical and contemporary theories of law, focusing on such problems as the justification of authority, the obligation to obey law, civil disobedience, the relationship between law and morality, problems of interpretation and judicial decision-making, and the role of the Supreme Court in a democratic society.
  • LEST 624 Professional Ethics (3)
    An overview of professional ethics in law, business, finance, health care and other fields. Covers ethical concepts that apply across professions as well as many of the specific ethical rules that apply to particular professions. Considers the rules in the context of important legal cases and controversial contemporary problems. Includes the study of ethical theory as well as applications.
  • LEST 625 Topics in Applied Ethics (3)
    Varying course offering that explores a particular topic in applied ethics. Course may be repeated for credit where topic differs.
  • LEST 626 The Trial Process (3)
    The procedural, evidentiary and strategic aspects of litigation. Introduces the basics of pleadings, discovery, motion practice, rules of evidence and trial techniques. Covers how court cases are initiated, prepared and tried. Includes participation in a mock trial.
  • LEST 628 Environmental Law and Ethics (3)
    The pressing ethical, legal and political issues facing the world today that have to do with the relationship between humans and the nonhuman world. Explores environmental ethics through classic and contemporary readings from a wide array of philosophic and literary traditions. Examines the role legal institutions play in our efforts (or lack thereof) to deal with ethical issues involving the environment.
  • LEST 630 Law and History Seminar (3)
    Varying course offering that explores a particular topic in legal history. Course may be repeated for credit where topic differs. prerequisites: LEST 501 and 506 or permission of instructor
  • LEST 696 Legal Studies Internship (3)
    Application of legal knowledge and skills at a nonprofit organization, governmental entity or business. Students select an appropriate site with the approval of the program director. Students learn about the role law plays in the activities or services of the site and how law is used to address issues and solve problems. prerequisite: approval of the program director
  • LEST 698 Internship in Applied Ethics (3)
    Provides observation and firsthand experience of the practice of ethics at designated profit, nonprofit or government organizations. Students work with a mentor at an appropriate organization they have selected and write an ongoing journal of their involvement as well as a critical essay on applied ethics related to their internship experience. Eligible for continuing studies grade. prerequisite: approval of program director
  • LEST 699 Independent Study (1-3)
    Individual research on an academic project of interest to the student in consultation with a monitoring faculty member. prerequisite: approval of program director