Law 555 - Legal Theory Workshop
Professor of Philosophy
J.D. UC Berkeley-Boalt Hall, 1985
B.Phil. University of Oxford, 1990
D.Phil. University of Oxford, 2000
This is an unusual course, structured around the Legal Theory Workshop, which brings leading scholars from around the country to discuss their works-in-progress with students and interested faculty. The works-in-progress typically address legal issues from a philosophical perspective. The seminar involves biweekly discussions with visiting scholars, with intervening preparatory weeks in which the class discusses the paper to be presented in the following week. The class focuses on learning how to interact with work-in-progress, including especially learning how to ask good questions. Students will be expected to attend and prepare regularly and to write short "question papers" on the papers presented by visiting speakers. A question paper presents two or three questions for the author of the target paper, explains why they are good questions, and tries to anticipate the best answers to the questions.
No prerequisites or prior background is necessary, but students should be open to in-depth investigation of philosophical and theoretical arguments about legal issues and legal structure. Background will be supplied in the weeks between speaker visits. The course is particularly well-suited to those students who want to explore philosophical and theoretical perspectives on law and their use in legal arguments. Students will gain an exposure to workshop-style discussions of work-in-progress by leading scholars and obtain training in constructive criticism of such work. The course may be helpful to those who plan to write law journal notes, who are considering an academic career in law, or who plan to clerk. The course also provides a nice opportunity to interact with faculty at UCLA in a congenial atmosphere and to meet faculty from other institutions.
The course counts as a core course for the Law and Philosophy Specialization. It may be repeated for credit.