Elective Courses

Accounting For Lawyers   LAW 431
2 Hours

This graded course will provide students with an understanding of basic accounting principles and their practical applications to the practice of law. This course is designed to be accessible to everyone and will focus on the mechanics of accounting, the analysis of financial statements, the role of Certified Public Accountants and Auditors, and emerging issues for the accounting field. The purpose of this course is to help students learn to spot financial related problems for their clients and understand basic accounting principles. Performance will be evaluated based on class participation, completion of assignments, and a final exam. Open to 2L and 3L students.

Advanced Legal Research     LAW 643
2 Hours

The purpose of the course is to develop research skills in both print and electronic legal research resources. Through exercises and projects, which may include class presentations, students have the opportunity to select, use, and evaluate a wide range of legal and law-related resources. The course covers state and federal judicial, legislative and administrative materials as well as the use of finding tools, legal commentary, forms and trial preparation resources. Research strategies and efficient and cost-effective use of online legal research sources, including free and low-cost resources as well as Lexis, Westlaw and other subscription online services, are emphasized. Enrollment limited to 15. Offered during Fall and Spring Semesters. Open to 3Ls only during Fall Semester; open to 2Ls only during Spring Semester.

Advanced Trial Advocacy     LAW 1016
2 Hours

The course focuses on advanced instruction on the planning, preparation and execution of a case at trial by instruction on the significant components of a trial and preparation and use of a Trial Notebook. A course problem allows students to construct and execute a case theory by creating Witness Lists, Exhibits Lists, Opening Statements, Direct and Cross Examinations, Closing Arguments, as well as other components of a trial and Trial Notebook. Students will be asked to participate in demonstrations of major components of a trial. Enrollment Limit 30. 3L’s only.  This course ia an experiential course. (Formerly titled Pre-Trial Advocacy–Law 563)

Advanced Writing Group     LAW 661
1 Hours

Sections of this course consist of 5 students and meet one hour a week. Most weeks the group will respond to a piece of writing, sometimes a piece written by a group member and sometimes a piece written by a lawyer or other author. The group will read examples of good writing; read and edit examples of weak writing; work on selected topics of grammar and style; and study advanced writing techniques. The course is graded and carries one credit per semester. Enrollment is limited to students enrolled in the Legal Writing Certificate Program.

Bankruptcy     LAW 440

3 Hours

This course is an overview of debtor-creditor relations. While issues under state law will be considered, the overwhelming emphasis of the course will be on federal bankruptcy law. The rights and obligations of both debtors and creditors under bankruptcy law will be examined, with particular focus on the strategic decision-making process of parties involved in a bankruptcy proceeding. (Previously Debtor/Creditor)

Bar Preparation Course     LAW 673
2 Hours

The course will build on what students have learned about multistate bar subjects and test taking throughout law school. The focus will be on knowledge, skills, and attitudes that have been shown to be helpful in passing the multistate multiple choice exam (MBE) and essay exam. Included will be practice in writing bar essay exams using some of the six multistate topics, insights into how bar exam essays are graded, and practice on MBE type exams. The course is intended to supplement and not replace the commercial review courses. The course will be a one-unit course that is graded pass/fail, is available only to third year law students, has no prerequisites, and has no enrollment limit. 3Ls only.

Business Associations     LAW 412
3 Hours

This course focuses on the law of agency, general partnerships and corporations with some attention to limited partnerships and limited liability companies. Coverage includes the choice of business form and the formation, management and dissolution of each of the principal business forms. Also introduced is federal securities law as it pertains to shareholder suffrage, proxy contests, hostile takeovers and secondary securities transactions.

Client Counseling Competition     LAW 415
1 Hours

During the Spring Semester, Mercer Law students compete for the honor of representing the school in the National Client Counseling Competition sponsored by the American Bar Association. The students selected are given intensive training by one of our faculty members using the school’s video systems for observation and evaluation of counseling techniques. The team competes against other law schools regionally for the opportunity to compete for the national championship.

Corporate Tax     LAW 424
3 Hours

An in-depth analysis of Internal Revenue code sections dealing with income taxation of corporations and their shareholders.  Particular emphasis is given to such areas as transfers to controlled corporations, dividends, redemptions, liquidations, and Subchapter S corporations.  Income Taxation is a pre-requisite.

Criminal Procedure–Constitutional Dimensions     LAW 671
3 Hours

This course focuses on the constitutional provisions that govern the conduct of criminal investigations, particularly the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The principal topics include the law of search and seizure, the law of interrogation, and the exclusionary rule. The coverage of this course complements the course entitled “Criminal Procedure: The Litigation Process,” but both courses are independent and neither course is a prerequisite of the other.

Criminal Procedure: The Litigation Process      LAW 670
3 Hours

This course focuses on the law governing the various steps in the process of litigating a criminal case, including pre-trial, trial, and post-trial phases. Topics include bail, prosecutorial discretion, preliminary hearings, grand jury review, the drafting of charges, discovery, plea negotiations, speedy trial, double jeopardy, pre-trial publicity, jury selection, joinder of charges and defendants, various aspects of trial procedure, and general prinicples of appellate review. The coverage of this course complements the course entitled “Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Dimensions,” but both courses are independent and neither course is a prerequisite of the other.

Employment Law     LAW 664
3 Hours

This course will survey common-law and federal and state statutes regulating the relationship between an employer and an employee. Topics to be covered will include employment at will, terms and conditions of employment, public employment, employment discrimination, wages and hours, employee benefits, occupational safety, workers’ compensation, and termination of the employment relationship. The course will not include coverage of 42 U.S.C. 1981, 42 U.S.C. 1983, or the National Labor Relations Act. (Courses on those statutes are discussed elsewhere. See Civil Rights, Employment Discrimination, and Labor Law.)

Estate Planning     LAW 455
2 Hours

This class is intended to serve as an introduction to basic estate planning techniques. Both tax and non-tax aspects will be considered from the perspectives of the drafting attorney, the settlor/testator, and beneficiaries. Emphasis will be placed on the fact gathering process, drafting, and using the marital deduction, tax credits, gifts, dynasty trusts, insurance trusts, family limited partnerships, charitable split-interest trusts, GRATS, QPRTS, sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts and other estate planning techniques to solve estate planning problems. Prerequisite: Federal Taxation of Wealth Transfers or permission of instructor.

Externship I     LAW 634
3-12 Hours

This course is designed to offer students practical work experience in public service offices and in-house corporate offices while providing faculty supervision and guided reflection. In addition to field work, the course meets for two hours per week in a classroom. The course includes readings, reflective journals, and class discussion, all of which are designed to help students learn from their fieldwork experience. Throughout the course, students explore fundamental questions of meaning and purpose in living a life of service in the law. Students work in approved non-profit public interest offices, governmental offices, and legal departments of private, for-profit corporations; faculty for the course maintain a list of approved placements, but students may petition for a placement to be added.  Students arrange a regular work schedule with their field supervisor and submit weekly time sheets and reflective journal entries to their faculty supervisor.  Students must work in their field placement at least 86 hours for 3 hours of credit, or at least 126 hours for 4 hours of credit.  Third year students with a cumulative GPA of at least 83.00 at the time of registration may take the course for more than 4 credit hours, up to a maximum of 12 credit hours.  Each extra credit hour beyond 4 credits requires an additional 42 hours of fieldwork.  Enrollment is by application and permission of the faculty supervisor. Limit of 30 total students; and a limit of 15 students per section.  This course provides required hours for the Experiential Learning requirement.

Externship II     LAW 635
2-12 Hours

This course is open to students who have completed Externship I.  As in Externship I, students must work in approved non-profit public interest offices, government offices, and legal departments of private, for-profit corporations.  The Director of Experiential Education will maintain a list of approved placements, but students may petition for a placement to be added.  Students must arrange a regular work schedule with their field supervisor and submit weekly time sheets and reflective journal entries to their faculty supervisor.  Students must work at least 100 hours for 2 hours of credit, or at least 140 hours for 3 hours of credit.  Third year students with a cumulative GPA of at least 83.00 at the time of registration may take the course for more than 3 credit hours, up to a maximum of 12 credit hours.  Each extra credit hour beyond 3 credits requires an additional 42 hours of field work.

Although there is not a weekly classroom component as in Externship I, students will attend meetings every two weeks with other students in the class and the teacher of the course. Enrollment is by application and permission of the Director of Experiential Education. Permission to enroll in Externship II will only be granted if the student will have significant learning opportunities in the field placement beyond those available in Externship I. Enrollment limit: 8. The course is graded S/U.  This course provides required hours for the Experiential Learning requirement.

Family Law     LAW 443
3 Hours

This course offers an introduction to family law in the United States today. Examples of topics covered include: marriage, non-marital relationships, parent-child relationships, divorce, custody, support, and the law’s treatment of nontraditional families.

Federal Courts     LAW 461
3 Hours

An in-depth survey of the powers of federal courts under Article III of the United States Constitution.  The course highlights and integrates constitutional topics of fundamental importance to any American lawyer:  the respective powers of the three branches of the U.S. government; the function of federal courts within the constitutional system of checks and balances; the relationships between state and federal courts in civil and criminal litigation in a federalist republic; and state sovereignty and immunity under the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments.  The course also provides an overview of common legal issues in federal courts, including:  justiciability and standing; federal court subject matter jurisdiction; “Section 1983” claims alleging that agents of state or local government have violated federal constitutional or statutory rights; and federal habeas corpus actions.  Graded 3-hour exam or graded paper option.  About 1/3 of final grade turns on class participation, including the student’s work as a leader of one of our classes during the semester.  Seniors only.

Georgia Civil Practice & Procedure     LAW 467

2 Hours

This course is a detailed examination of Georgia civil practice. It is intended to prepare civil litigators for issues they will face from the day they start their practice. The course “walks” through a lawsuit, covering forum selection and venue requirements, pleadings, dismissals and renewals, pretrial issues, statutes of limitations and repose, and procedural aspects of trials and appeals. The focus is on practical issues, particularly tactical advantages that can be realized with a thorough knowledge of Georgia procedural law. There is a midterm examination and a final examination. The format of the examinations is that used by the Georgia Bar Examiners on the Georgia part of the bar examination. The instructor intends the course to be a primer for the bar examination. Limited to third-year students.

Georgia Criminal Practice & Procedure     LAW 466
2 Hours

This course is a detailed examination of Georgia criminal practice with a focus on trial and pre-trial procedure.  It is designed to be a hands-on, relevant exploration of Georgia-specific criminal law and procedure (including both prosecution and defense). Students are evaluated through in-class exercises and a final examination.

Income Tax     LAW 202
3 Hours

This course is a study of the fundamental principles of the Federal income tax system as applied to individuals, including the concepts of income, allowable deductions and limitations on deductions, and the characterization of gains and losses. The course stresses reading and applying the Internal Revenue Code. Other course materials include Treasury regulations, administrative pronouncements, and decided cases.

Independent Research & Writing     LAW 474
1-3 Hours

With the approval of a full-time faculty member, a student may register for independent research and writing after completing the first year. An independent research and writing project is normally undertaken for two hours credit, but in appropriate cases the supervising faculty member may approve registration for one or three hours credit. A student may register for only one independent research and writing project per semester and no more than two projects will be approved for any student. Credit will be awarded, in the discretion of the supervising faculty member, on either a graded or pass/fail basis, upon the completion of a written product suitable for submission for publication. 1-3 Credit Hours

Intellectual Property     LAW 486
3 Hours

An overview of laws that secure rights in, and provide for the marketing of, patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, publicity rights, and personal data. Open to all upperclass students.

Intellectual Property Licensing    LAW 652
2 Hours

This is a practical course designed to introduce upper class law students to the realities of licensing intellectual property.  This course focuses on intellectual property licensing, which is the primary wealth generation and maximization tool available to the owner of an intellectual property.  Through theoretical discussions and practical exercises, we will examine the many facets of the licensing process, including basic to advanced licensing concepts and strategies for various types of intellectual properties; royalty analysis and audits; negotiating strategies; and policing and enforcement.  The course will be taught by synchronous video conferencing.  The final grade will be based on class participation, periodic written assignments, and a final exam.   Limit 20.

International Business Transactions     LAW 480
3 Hours

This course will examine selected legal issues associated with private business transactions across national boundaries, focusing on international sales agreements and financing, import/export restrictions, other forms of transnational business activity, and related risks. The course will explore relevant US laws and regulations, regional trade regimes such as those of NAFTA and the EU, and broader international agreements and institutions, including the WTO. The course will also address relevant comparative legal, business and cultural issues.

Judicial Field Placement     LAW 442
3-4 Hours

One section of Public Interest Practicum I each semester will be comprised of the students who are working for judges. These students will perform research and writing assignments for their judges and are expected to attend hearings, trials, and other proceedings. In addition to field work, the course meets for two hours per week in a classroom. The course includes readings, reflective journals, and class discussion, all of which are designed to help students learn from their fieldwork experience. Students must work in their field placement at least 86 hours for 3 hours of credit or at least 126 hours for 4 hours of credit. The hours are exclusive of class time and travel time. Students arrange a regular work schedule with their judges and submit weekly time sheets and reflective journal entries to their faculty supervisor. Enrollment is by application and permission of the faculty supervisor. Preference will be given to students who register for 4 credits.

Juvenile Court Practice & Procedure     LAW 494
2 Hours

Delinquency, deprivation, status offenses, and dependency in Juvenile Court. History of Juvenile Court, evolution of children’s rights, and trends in juvenile justice. Seminar format with special emphasis on practical aspects of litigation. Enrollment limited to 20. S/U

Law Review     LAW 513

Members of the Mercer Law Review staff and Editorial Board earn academic credit for each year served on the Review. Upon satisfactory completion of the writing, editing, and other work required for each category of Law Review membership, credit will be awarded in the Spring Semester by the faculty advisor upon recommendation of the Editor-in-Chief. Credit hours vary.

Local Government Law     LAW 522
2 Hours

The nature, powers and liabilities of cities, counties and other units of local government and their relationship to state and federal governments. Specific attention is given to liability of local governments and officers, public land acquisition, local government contracts, government financing, limitations and restrictions on powers.

Moot Court Competition     LAW 520
3 Hours

All second-year students are eligible for membership on the Moot Court Board. Students are selected to membership each year based primarily on their performance in Legal Writing II. Board members, in both their second and third years, represent the Law School in various state, regional, and national moot court competitions. The Law School has been quite successful with its competition teams, having won at the state, regional and national levels. Students on competition teams receive invaluable training and experience. In addition, each member of a competition team receives three hours of pass/fail academic credit in the semester in which the competition takes place.

Oxford Human Rights Program     LAW 1013
3 Hours

This class is an exploration of contemporary international conflicts. Areas of study include human rights in and after conflict, humanitarian action, conflict trends, human rights law, and peacemaking with a focus on recent armed conflicts. Students meet weekly from the beginning of the Spring semester until March, at which time they will attend an intensive week-long workshop at Oxford University (accompanied by the course instructor). The workshop in Oxford is a mix of seminars, working groups, and student presentations. The workshop is convened by members of the Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at Oxford University. After returning from the workshop students will complete a substantial paper on an issue related to the program. The course satisfies the Advanced Writing Requirement. Enrollment requires permission of the instructor.

Payment Systems     LAW 427
3 Hours

This course examines the law of commercial payment systems. Articles 3 and 4 of the Uniform Commercial Code will be considered, as well as applicable federal law. Coverage includes the concept of negotiability, the liability of parties and the rights of holders of checks and notes. The law of bank deposits and collections, and the legal relationship between banks and their customers will be discussed. The law of credit cards and electronic funds transfer systems also will be considered.

Pensions/Profit Sharing/Deferred Compensation     LAW 529
2 Hours

A study of statutory provisions and regulations affecting qualified plans under Section 401 of the Internal Revenue Code. Discussion will focus on the necessary eligibility provisions, vesting provisions, contribution provisions, allocation provisions and other requirements mandated by the Internal Revenue Code. Discussion will also focus on the distribution of assets from qualified plans and the income tax ramifications with respect to such distributions. No prerequisites are required but Corporate Tax is encouraged.

Problems in Insurance Litigation     LAW 484
2 Hours

The identification and correlation of the various types of insurance benefits found in personal injury and wrongful death actions, to include automobile no-fault, uninsured motorists, collision, medical payment, liability (public liability and private automobile, homeowners, and business premises liability), hospitalization, and workers compensation. Emphasis on Georgia law. Enrollment limited to 20.

Public Health Law     LAW 544
2 Hours

A study of the law governing the practice of public health by state, local, and federal agencies, as well as health care professionals and institutions. Current issues and their effect on public health law, including AIDS, bioterrorism and privacy legislation, will be discussed.

Real Estate Transactions     LAW 540
3 Hours

A study of the basic elements of a real estate transaction, the methods of financing the purchase of residential property, priority of claims at common law and under the recording system and other methods of title assurance, transfers of interests in encumbered real property, and mortgage foreclosures, concluding with a study of the elements of a commercial real estate transaction.

Remedies     LAW 542
3 Hours

A survey of remedies available through the avenues of equity, restitution, and damages. Emphasis is accorded to the relationships among these areas, and to the difficulties involved in applying “established” rules to actual situations. Seniors only.

Secured Transactions     LAW 428
3 Hours

This is a course on secured transactions and commercial lawyering. Emphasis will be on the creation, perfection, and maintenance of security interests under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code. We will also address in depth issues of priority which result from the creation of security interests. (Formerly Commercial Transactions)

Securities Regulation     LAW 552
3 Hours

This course covers both primary and secondary transactions involving securities. Included are materials addressing the definition of a security; public offerings; exempt transactions; insider transactions; tender offers for corporate control; and antifraud provisions. Business Associations is a pre-requisite/co-requisite. There will be a one-hour mid-term examination and a one-hour end-term examination in lieu of an examination during finals period.

Sports Law     LAW 1011
3 Hours

This course is an introduction to the laws and issues that frame the sports industry and amateur athletics. Contracts, Labor Law, Constitutional Law (1st and 14th amendments), Copyright, the Lanham Act and Collective Bargaining., the ADA, Title IX and an introduction to Antitrust are among the law topics covered during the semester. Weekly topic discussions will include agent representation of professional athletes, the roles of a Commissioner and owners of leagues franchise owners, professional team and league broadcast/social media platform issues, the NCAA and its regulation of college athletics, the student/athlete and 1) eligibility (for admission to college and for matriculating), 2) scholarships, 3) health 4) the Title IX and 5) the ADA. If time permits, some class hours will cover issues in both individual sports and the Olympics. Simulated exercises will be part of the course and course grade, and a graded semester paper will be a primary basis for the course grade. Prerequisite: Labor Law

Summary Judgment Practice     LAW 216
2 Hours

Designed for students with an interest in litigation, this course builds upon legal writing skills developed through the core curriculum. Working with documents from an actual court case, students will read pleadings and depositions to identify relevant issues of fact useful in analyzing a contract and/or tort dispute. Using the identified facts, and working as advocates, participants in the class will then draft a brief in support of a motion for summary judgment, a brief in opposition to the motion, and orally argue the motion. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with litigation practice while simultaneously enhancing written advocacy skills. Students selected for law review and/or participating in a moot court competition are cautioned that this class contains written assignments with several deadlines that fall early in the semester. These deadlines may conflict with other responsibilities. The course will be numerically graded. This course will satisfy the advanced writing requirement. Enrollment is limited to 14.

Summer Externship     LAW 602
2-3 Hours

Students work in an approved public interest or governmental law office under the supervision of a practicing attorney and the general supervision of a faculty member. In addition to the work in the public interest law office, students are required to participate in two two-hour class sessions: the first takes place at the end of the Spring semester and prepares students for their field placement experience; the second takes place at the beginning of the Fall semester and gives students the opportunity to reflect on the experiences together. Students also participate in a web-based, faculty-led guided discussion board concerning issues common to all field placements. Students also turn in regular reflective journals and weekly timesheets to the faculty supervisor. Students must work at least 120 hours for 2 hours of credit or at least 180 hours for 3 hours of credit. Students may not earn more than 3 credit hours in one summer, but the course may be repeated for credit one time, for a maximum total credit over two summers of six hours. Enrollment is by application and permission of the faculty member in charge of the course. The public interest faculty will maintain a list of approved placements, but students may petition for a placement to be added. The course is graded S/U.

Torts II     LAW 560
3 Hours

This course addresses selected topics in the law of civil liability that are not covered in depth in the first-year Torts course. Torts II addresses products liability, defamation, nuisance, damages, and business torts (including fraud, misrepresentation and interference with contractual relationships), and includes common defenses and immunities.

Trial Practice     LAW 564
3 Hours

The course is designed to develop trial skills through the preparation and role-playing of various trial tasks using simulated cases and simulated trial situations. The class sessions consist of one hour of lecture and demonstration and two hours of small section meetings in which each student will practice a particular skill. Each performing student is given an intensive critique by a member of the faculty. After ten weeks of preparation on specific trial tasks, the students participate in both a bench trial and a jury trial. Pre-requisite: Evidence. Enrollment limited to 18 per section. S/U (Pass/Fail)

Wills, Trusts, and Estates     LAW 254.01

3 Hours

This course covers the basic concepts of the gratuitous transfer of wealth, including intestate succession; the general law of wills, including the formalities of execution, testamentary capacity, grounds for challenge, revocation, and revival; will substitutes, including gifts and joint tenancies; health care planning; miscellaneous issues concerning the administration of estates; and basic tax issues

Worker’s Compensation     LAW 571
2 Hours

This course reviews the compensation systems for industrial injuries and occupational diseases. Assigned reading will be from the Georgia courts and workers’ compensation statute. No textbook is required. Emphasis will be on the practice of workers’ compensation law, including student participation in witness examination exercises and case strategy. The course will also look at the medical aspect of injuries when evaluating and preparing for litigation in this area. Assigned cases will be briefed in class as called on by the instructor.