The required texts for this course (first three below) are available from the Campus Bookstore
• Edward H. Levi, An Introduction to Legal Reasoning, Chicago U.P., 1949 Levi
• Law School Admissions Council, Official LSAT PrepTest, #54 LSAT #54
• Peter M. Tiersma, Legal Language, Chicago U.P., 1999 Tiersma
Assigned reading will also be found on the MyUH website for this course and on LexisNexis Academic. See the Calendar of Reading and Assignments, which complements this syllabus.
Course objectives: This course is intended to foster the development in students of a variety of thinking and writing skills that are thought to be useful in the practice of law and in proving one's fitness for the study of law. An equally if not more important intention is to reflect (in a manner characteristic of the discipline of philosophy) on the nature of those skills as well as their current utility in, and effect on, American society.
Assessment: A ‘plus and minus’ grading scale will be used with numerical equivalents based on A=10, A-=9 down to D=1. The final grade will be based on weighted averages of grades received on essays and tests and on a grade based solely on the quantity of participation exercises credited (together with a possible bonus for contributions to class discussion). Tests will count 40% toward the final grade, essays 40%, class attendance and participation 20%.
The mid-term and final tests will consist of questions (and words to be defined) selected from “review sheets”, which will be issued with the blocks of assignments that will be set periodically throughout the semester. The first of these review sheets is included with this syllabus following the calendars.
This course is writing intensive. One 5-page, one 4-page, four 3-page and three 1-page assignments are due on the dates set out on the summary course calendar; all of these assignments must be completed to pass this course. On all these assignments you will have one week after the return of your essay with comments to redraft it for a better grade, if you are not satisfied with the grade you received on the first draft. Late essays not submitted in time to be returned before this deadline are not eligible for an improved grade.
Late work: Late essays will be reduced by one grade (A- to B+, etc.) and by one further grade for each subsequent week that the essay is not handed in. ‘Participation exercises’ submitted within a week of their due dates receive half credit; no credit after that. Tests taken late may receive a reduced grade at the instructor’s discretion.
Assignments: Reading assignments appear on the course calendar. Writing assignments and participation exercises for the first four weeks are set out on a separate sheet of paper following the first “review sheet” (below). Precise assignments (questions to be addressed, etc.) for the rest of the semester will be set in this way in three to five week blocks closer to the dates the assignments are due.
Students who wish to substitute one or more of the essay assignments with topics of their own choosing, may do so after receiving approval of a proposal from the instructor. (Proposals will normally be based on one law journal article and at least two cases.)
‘Participation’ will involve a variety of assignments including brief written answers to ques tions, and briefs of cases. See ‘Assessment’ for how these contribute to the final grade. To receive credit for a participation exercise, students must be present in class with the responses they have prepared on hard copy. (Email submissions of participation exercises receive half credit.) Students who attend class unprepared or who are unable to attend class may receive half credit for each exercise they hand in within a week of the original assignment (or in unusual circumstances, at a date agreed after consultation with the instructor.)
Advisories 1. LSAT preparation: As part of thinking critically about entry into the legal profession we will look at one LSAT PrepTest and will also do a number of LSAT writing samples as useful exercises, but these activities are not specifically designed to improve students’ scores on the LSAT test. Students who wish to hone the skills that will improve their LSAT scores should make use of the commercially available educational products (guidebooks and courses) designed for this purpose.-
2. Policy on style and on e-mail submissions: All papers must be paginated. Quotations and sources used are to be referenced in any style that conforms to appropriate standards of scholarship. Students may send their papers as email attachments and receive comments via the same medium, provided the attachment has been formatted in a manner that is “ready to print.”The instructor will not print out any emailed papers.
3. Students who need reasonable accommodations because of the impact of a disability, should (i) contact the KOKUA Program, room 013, QLCSS, 956-7511 or 956-7612; (ii) speak with the instructor who will be happy to work the KOKUA Program to meet any access needs related to any documented disability.
4. “Plagiarism includes but is not limited to submitting, in fulfillment of an academic requirement, any work that has been copied in whole or in part from another individual's work without attributing that borrowed portion to the individual; neglecting to identify as a quotation another's idea and particular phrasing that was not assimilated into the student's language and style or paraphrasing a passage so that the reader is misled as to the source; submitting the same written or oral or artistic material in more than one course without obtaining authorization from the instructors involved; or "drylabbing," which includes obtaining and using experimental data and laboratory write-ups from other sections of a course or from previous terms.” (The University of Hawai’i Student Conduct Code)
The consequences of plagiarism are commonly catastrophic.
Phil 317 – Assignments Weeks 1-5
Week 1: Tiersma 19-47
J.E. Tiles What is to be undestood by Critical Thinking
What Law Is: Some Elements of Jurisprudence
Aristotle & Kant Equity (Epieikeia, Æquitas)
Fredrick Schauer In Training with the Greeks
LogRhet.pdf J.E. Tiles Logic and Rhetoric: An introduction to Seductive Logic
This article supports some of the remarks in the selection by Llewellyn in Week2.doc.
Written assignment for Wednesday August 27: Write one page introducing yourself and attach it to, or print it on the back of, the personal information sheet that accompanies this syllabus. In doing so, indicate why you enrolled in, and what you expect from, this course and what, if any, disappointments or misgivings you feel having seen the syllabus.
Written assignment for Friday August 29: Hand in a response to the writing sample in LSAT PrepTest #54 carefully handwritten on photocopies of pages 41-2. On this, and on subsequent assignments like it, you are advised to prepare a rough draft (also on photocopies of pp. 41-2); if you want to measure your performance against the 35 minutes you will have on an LSAT, do so on your drafts.
Week 2: Week2.doc
Ronald Dworkin The Positivist Conception of Rules
Ken Kipnis Lawyers in the Context of the Adversary System
K.N. Llewellyn Logic and Law
Sedley.doc Stephen Sedley Adversarial or Inquisitorial?
An English Lord Justice of Appeal, reviews an American Scholar’s attack on the adversarial system
TilesCCL.doc J.E. Tiles Critiques of the Common Law
Criticism of the Common Law from several quarters and including the inquisitorial-based Civil Law Tradition.
Participation exercise (#1) for Wednesday September 3: “[E]quity [according to Aristotle] serves the purpose of correcting the law and thus of providing “complete” rather than incomplete justice. It is possible to understand Aristotle’s point as a claim about the nature of rules.” [Schauer in Week1.doc]. Set out that point in 3-5 sentences.
Written assignment for Friday September 5: Hand in a response to the writing sample prompt (to be distributed) following the instructions for Aug 29.
Week 3: LSAT PrepTest 53
Riggs v. Palmer [22 NE 188 (NY 1889)] with a model analysis.
Two student-generated model analyses of Hopwood v. Texas [78 F.3d 932 (1996)]
To see the case being analysed, practice using Lexis-Nexis Academic.
Pring v. Penthouse [695 F.2d 936 (10th Cir. 1982)] (with syllabi of 3 cited cases.)
Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee [769 F.2d 1451] (10th Cir. 1985)
Spence. doc Gerry Spence Little People are Entitled to Little Justice
The perspective of a plaintiff’s attorney in the Pring and Silkwood cases.
Participation exercise (#2) for Monday September 8: State briefly (3 to 5 sentences) Dworkin’s distinction between rules and principles (Week2.doc).
Participation exercise (#3) for Wednesday September 10: Explain in 3-5 sentences what adjudication is and the ostensible social purpose it serves. (Kipnis in Week2.doc)
Written assignment for Friday September 12: Using the analyses (Week3.pdf) of Riggs v. Palmer and Hopwood v. State of Texas as models, write a 3 page account of the arguments used by Seth for the court and by Breitenstein in dissent in the 10th Circuit Court’s decision in Pring v. Penthouse (Week3.doc). If you find the subject matter of Pring distasteful, you may write an analysis of Doyle’s dissent in Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee (also in Week3.doc).
Week 4: LSAT PrepTest 53
Gerry Spence Selecting for the Profession of Law
Participation exercise (#4) for Monday September 15: Each member of the class will be assigned two questions from LSAT #51 and will explain why the correct answer is correct and the remaining answers incorrect.
Written assignment for Wednesday September 17: You will be given a copy of an LSAT writing sample to do in class.
Participation exercise (#5) for Friday September 19: Each member of the class will be assigned two questions from LSAT #51 and will explain why the correct answer is correct and the remaining answers incorrect.
Week 5: Tiersma 51-114
Participation exercise (#6) for Monday September 22: Why, according to Tiersma, are there inconsistencies among lawyers in the pronunciation of legal terms derived from non-English languages?
Wednesday September 24: No assignment, review for first midterm.
Friday September 26 First Midterm Test: First Mid-term covering Review Sheet #1. Six terms or distinctions, choose five; four short answer questions, choose two; three essay questions, choose one.