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Course Descriptions

Course Descriptions

Contract Drafting and Strategy (Spring 2018)

  • Course Number: LAW-710
  • Class Number: 03392
  • Instructor: Michael Roster

Course Description

This course requires you to learn from your own work and that of your classmates. As will be expected for the rest of your career, a key function of the course is to help you think independently and become professionally calibrated – that is, comfortable determining the relevant legal principles and then applying them to the client’s needs, priorities and circumstances. A wide range of resources will be available on Blackboard, but it will be up to you to use these and other materials as you think appropriate.

In this regard, the course is based on the concept of “learning by doing,” with the goal that students are functioning at a first-year attorney level or higher in contracts by the end of the course. Feedback will be similar to the types of performance reviews used at law firms and companies.  Among other things, Prof. Roster was a law firm managing partner and practice group chair and then spent 14 years as a general counsel.

The course will start with an introduction to the standard terms and structure of a contract. Students will then examine a broad range of contracts in actual use (typical business agreement, law firm retainer letter, consumer credit card agreement, web site terms of use, etc.) and present to the class their assessment of why provisions were likely drafted as they were and what alternatives might be considered. Students will then draft a simple version of a contract and then write an opinion letter interpreting a complex contract. The final third of the course will be team presentations with the rest of the class functioning as the client’s CEO, CFO, general counsel and other senior managers.

The course will meet in five intensive Saturday class sessions with three going a half day (through lunch on January 13, February 10 and February 24) and two going a full day (January 27 and March 3) since these will be double sessions. The course will be finished before Spring Break.

Grading will be based upon (a) written assignments, which generally will be limited to a maximum of 3 to 5 pages in length; and (b) classroom participation in a law firm type setting, and later through the team projects and presentations. 

Course Details

  • Unit Value: 2
  • Grading Options: Numerical or CR/D/F
  • Schedule: 1/13, 2/10 and 2/24 half day; 1/27 and 3/3 full day
  • Exam: None
  • Writing Requirement: No
  • Skills/Experiential Unit Requirement: Yes
  • Participation: Required and graded
  • Enrollment Limitation: 10 students