A copy of the syllabus in PDF: click here

Extra Credit:

I offer and encourage a variety of extra credit assignments. This work will result up to 10% increase in your final grade.


I will use a points based approach this semester. This rewards you for your work. Most assignments will be graded pass/fail; this means that if you do the work you will get full points. If you do not complete the work you will not get credit. On the Exams your score will reflect the number of correct answers. The Cumulative Essay will be graded using a Rubric which will be provided to you in advance.


Possible Points Task


Cumulative Essay


Disucssion and In Class Assignments


Midterm Exam

12 or 25

Extra Credit: LIR Reader Review Presentations (Extra Credit- up to 25 minutes) 



Final Paper: a comprehensive summary and explanation of the course materials applied in essay format; see below.

Reading Group 1 page summary and 5 minute presentation:


LIR Reader Review Presentations (Extra Credit- up to 25 points)

Practice Long Essay Final Exam –

Online Review for Final Exam

The Paper 

1. We Should Have a Trial! (Part one (1 para)): Briefly describe why you think trials are or are not your preferred method of conflict resolution with the aim of achieving justice. This one-two paragraph introduction should include a definition of justice and an explanation of why you state what you believe (evidence/reason).

2. What Should We Put on Trial? How Should we Decide? (Part 2 Essay): This section’s length will depend on what you believe should be placed on trial. You will likely want to quote  from your classmates in class discussion, quote and cite to the Reader, and provide an explanation of why this particular item is important to you as opposed to other items. For simple and direct items you might write for a page or two; for more complicated items (reparations for example) you may need to extend to three or four pages.

3. LIR D+CPAR 46; What Structure or Form Should We Use For Our Trial? (Part 3 Essay): At a minimum you need to recite what we learned in class about the form and structure of the U.S. legal system broadly speaking: What are the core elements; who are the actors; what is their connection; what are the standards of evidence; and what are the downsides and upsides? You may also want to offer a critical view of this system and/or offer an alternative. This section should be two – three pages.

4. Discussion: What Evidence Should We Use and Not Use? (Part 4 and 5 Essay): This should be very specific and need not be more than one – two pages. You may want to make a chart or table. In a sentence or two you will need to explain why you chose to include and exclude certain evidence.

5. Review and How Will We Know the Trial is Over and To What Effect? (Final Part of Essay – 3 Paragraphs): In this section I am really looking for your impressions and opinions about what you have learned about courts and the legal system (especially historical and structural) in this course. You will defnitely need to quote and cite to the reader. You may also follow this format for the best possible grade: 1) what did you think before you took the class? 2) what is one moment, reading, or experience that informed a change in your thinking or a new way of thinking? and 3) waht do you think now?


Drafts and Outlines:

Feel free to print and share a draft or outline with me along the way. The best thing you can do is go to the writing center in the Library, bring these instructions, and then later come to my office hours or make an appointment with me to go over the paper together.