Master of Legal Studies

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At Empire College School of Law, we want to enable our students in the Master of Legal Studies program to pursue diverse career choices through the acquisition of a foundational understanding of the legal system. This program is designed to inform and educate professionals about the fundamentals of the law and help them gain an educated appreciation for the intricacies surrounding the intersection of law, public policy, and the professions.

Master’s candidates take some of the core classes in the traditional Juris Doctor curriculum in order to increase their understanding of the basic building blocks of the legal profession. Professionals from diverse fields, including banking, finance, insurance, education, law enforcement, human relations, and sales and marketing all deal with the law as it is applied to their activities. With increased sophistication regarding legal principles, Master’s candidates can  increase their awareness of and preparation for legal issues which may arise in their daily lives.

Upon completing this Master of Legal Studies degree in California, graduates will be able to identify the elements of both common law and statutory definitions of torts, crimes, and contracts. They will have an expanded knowledge of the elements of constitutional legal issues and how those may be addressed in both their personal and professional lives. They will gain specialized legal knowledge in the fields covered by their elective course offerings, with the ability to choose elective courses which impact or define their particular area of expertise or interest.

At our legal studies school in California, we work to keep our students ahead of the curve by providing them with distinguished faculty who are experts in their specific law area. The legal expertise and industry experience they share in the classroom contribute to our strong reputation in the area for producing high-quality law students. We believe our Master’s degree in Legal Studies gives students the necessary critical-thinking, communication and professional skills to advance in career fields in which postgraduate studies in law are beneficial.

The following outlines our Master of Legal Studies program courses available to you when you study law at Empire College in Northern California. You can also view a sample schedule here

Except as provided in rule 4.30 of the Admissions Rules (Legal education in a foreign state or country), completion of a professional law degree program at this law school other than for the Juris Doctor degree does not qualify a student to take the California Bar Examination or satisfy the requirements for admission to practice law in California. It may not qualify a student to take the bar examination or to satisfy requirements for admission to the practice of law in any other jurisdiction. A student intending to seek admission to practice law should contact the admitting authority in the jurisdictions where the student intends to qualify to sit for the bar examination or to be admitted to practice for information regarding their legal education requirements.

Master of Legal Studies Curriculum

36 Program Units

Introductory Courses

Our Masters of Legal Studies program begins here with the basic foundation of all law: effective research. In these two introductory courses, students will be shown the basic tenets of the U.S. legal system and correct methods for finding material relevant to client needs.

LAW I401 Introduction to Law (1 unit)
Introduces the student to the basic concepts of the law, the historical roots of common law and equity, the precedent system in its practical operation, the modes of reasoning used by courts/attorneys and the fundamentals of statutory interpretation.

LAW I402 Legal Research and Writing (2 units)
An introduction to legal analytical thought, including practical exercises in writing and the fundamentals of legal research that provides a foundation for writing legal papers.

First Year Courses

Our Master of Legal Studies degree program continues into dynamic legal territory as we introduce our students to the complex world of criminal law, the complicated loops of contract law, and sections dedicated to proving negligence, injury compensation and where tort law is separated by civil proceedings from criminal.

LAW 500A/B Contracts (6 units)
Remedies for breach of contract: consideration; offer and acceptance; problems of performance; conditions; impossibility; third party beneficiaries; assignment; Parole Evidence Rule; Statute of Frauds.

LAW 501A/B Criminal Law (6 units)
Nature and sources of criminal law; elements of crimes; analyses of specific crimes; legal defenses; California Penal Code and decisions; procedure.

LAW 502A/B Torts (6 units)
Intentional wrongs to person and property; unintentional wrongs; negligence; duty of persons in control of property; tort liability arising from contractual relationships; liability for defective products; liability without fault; deceit; defamation; malicious prosecution; interference with contractual economic and other legally protectable relations, tort alternatives.

Second Year Courses

Second-year courses in the Master of Legal Studies program enter the fascinating area of civil procedure, limits of court interrogations, examining and using physical evidence during trial, burden of proof, constitutional considerations, tenant law, and the political hot-button issue of eminent domain.

LAW R500 Advanced Legal Research (2 units)
Introduces students to Lexis, Westlaw, and other on-line and CD ROM computer access libraries. Students will be taught to plan a search, perform searching, modify searching and Shepardizing using computer access libraries.

LAW 603A/B Constitutional Law (6 units)
The federal structure: Judicial review, congressional powers, commerce power, state powers and federalism, individual rights, due process, equal protection, state action, freedom of religion, and freedom of expression.

Elective Courses

In order to provide the best law degree program possible to students, Empire College has built an impressive curriculum of electives that help students specialize in unique sectors of the legal field.

In addition to the electives listed below (which is a partial/representative list), required courses from the Juris Doctor program may be taken as electives by students enrolled only in the Master of Legal Studies program with the approval of the Dean.

LAW E502 Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Survey (2 units)
The purpose of this course is to give students an understanding of various dispute resolution processes which have come to be described under the umbrella term “alternative dispute resolution.” Primary emphasis is on arbitration and mediation techniques in the context of those fields most familiar to practicing lawyers. Comparisons are made to standard civil litigation methods as a way to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of each process, much as a lawyer would want to do in advising a client. As time permits, consideration is also given to the general question of the role of the law in shaping and promoting these dispute resolution techniques.

LAW E503 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (2 units)
This course will cover Title I (employment), Title II (State and Local Government Services), Title III (Public Accommodations), Title IV (Telecommunications) and Title V (Miscellaneous) of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as its relationship with California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

LAW E506 Bankruptcy/Debtor-Creditor Law (2 units)Rights and duties of consumer credit grantors and consumer debtors; fair credit reporting; fair debt collection practices and consumer remedies. Creation, scope and administrative function of federal debtor proceedings and arrangements; wage earner plans; insolvency proceedings.

LAW E511 Discovery Workshop (3 units)
Most litigators spend the majority of their time engaging in discovery. This semester-long workshop not only discusses strategic considerations and discovery tactics, but involves a great deal of hands-on experience. Students will be conducting discovery in a mock lawsuit, which will include taking depositions in the presence of court reporters.

LAW E512 Elder Law (2 units)
This course takes an in-depth look at what may well be one of the most hotly debated issues facing our country today – the providing of opportunities, benefits, and care for an ever-increasing aging population. The course will examine such diverse programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and The Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Senior housing, long-term care, elder abuse and neglect, conservatorships, powers of attorney, right to die laws, and estate planning for elderly clients will also be studied as part of the course.

LAW E515 Employment Law (3 units)
This course surveys employment law from its inception in English common law through the most recent developments in “at-will” employment and discrimination. State case law and portions of the Labor Code will also be addressed.

LAW E518 Family Law (2 units)
Practical and theoretical problems affecting the family: marriage, divorce, adoption, legitimacy, child custody, and parental obligations and rights.

LAW E519 Federal Indian Law (3 units)
The course is designed to introduce students to the principal doctrines and rules governing the legal and political relationships between American Indian tribes and the United States Government.

LAW E520 First Amendment and Religion in Public Schools (3 units)
This course will focus on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and how it affects religion in public schools. We will examine various theories and approaches to applying the Establishment Clause, including cases involving religious displays on public property, school vouchers, and school prayer. Special emphasis will be on the creationism-vs.-evolution debate in public school science curricula, from the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial” to the 2005 Kitzmiller “Panda Trial” and beyond.

LAW E523 Immigration Law (2 units)
Discussion of federal power, constitutional rights and issues, plenary power, the foundation cases, due process, and ethics. Consideration of visas, work permits, affidavits of support, court proceedings, asylum, refugees, and more.

LAW E525 Insurance Law (3 units)
A survey of the basic legal aspects of insurance law, including principles of insurable interests, problems of contract formation and interpretation and application for standard policy provisions in various types of coverage. Attention is also given to principles of indemnity, subrogation, and determination and control of the risk transferred from insured to carrier.

LAW E526 Intellectual Property Law (3 units)
Course includes an overview of the intellectual property field including patents, trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, trade secrets, employer-employee relationships, the transfer of intellectual property rights, and the general application of anti-trust and misuse doctrines to such rights.

LAW E528 Law Office Management (2 units)
This class discusses the financial and administrative aspects of owning and operating a law practice. Students learn to use computer programs for calendaring, docketing, client billing, litigation support, and document preparation.

LAW E536 Sexual Orientation and the Law (2 units)
This course will examine some of the rapidly evolving legal issues specifically affecting the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, particularly in California. Substantive issues to be covered include employment discrimination and sexual harassment; discrimination against transgendered and gender non-conforming people; parenting issues; recognition of lesbian and gay relationships, including marriage, civil union, and domestic partnerships; freedom of speech and association; homophobia in schools; and immigration and asylum issues for LGBT people. We will examine these issues with a particular focus on constitutional doctrines, particularly equal protection and due process/privacy, utilizing case law, legal theory, news articles, and film to better understand how the law has developed, the current legal framework, and the practical impact this framework has on those governed by it.

LAW E538 Social Media and Internet Law (2 units)
We will explore how legal principles of privacy, copyright, property, licenses and defamation apply to social media and use of the internet. The first few weeks will be lecture and case study to lay the groundwork for the legal principles. The remainder of the class, students will pick topics to research, write and publish blog posts and create video presentations on the topics. We will use Google+ to publish the class content, and use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to explore legal issues and questions. Students will be graded on their blog posts, presentations and a short position paper.

LAW E541 Trial Practice (3 units)
The course considers litigation problems – practical, legal and ethical – that confront a trial lawyer. Emphasis is given to techniques of client interviewing and investigation, both informal and by use of statutory discovery procedures and pleading. The student gains classroom experience in trial procedures from voir dire examination, opening statements, direct and cross examination through final argument.

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