SMNR: Legislative Process
- Semester: Spring 2021
- Course ID: 397S
- Credit Hours: 3
- Course Type: Seminar
- Grading Method: Pass/Fail Allowed (JD only)
- Upperclass-only elective
|FRI||10:35 am - 12:33 pm||TNH 2.124|
This course will be taught in person but with the option of remote participation via Zoom. Please note that this course might become online-only in the event that actual in-person attendance during the semester consistently falls below a threshold to be determined in the exercise of reasonable discretion by the instructor and the Student Affairs Office.
This writing seminar relies on the fact that the regular session of the 87th Texas Legislature will meet about a dozen blocks from the Law School. The seminar first met in 1971, and has been offered almost every regular session ever since. It is limited to law students currently employed part-time or full-time or otherwise similarly occupied with either the Legislature, e.g., committee clerk, legislative aide, etc., or in a situation related to the legislative process, e.g., working with lobbyists, trade associations, law firms, state agencies, etc. Absent prior arrangement with the professor, only a law student with a legislative connection will be able to complete the requirements of the seminar. Balancing law school and the Legislature is always a challenge and this seminar helps manage that challenge. The first class meeting is Friday, Jan. 29, 2021, and continues roughly thru mid-April. This schedule best accommodates the schedules of students engaged in the legislative process. To the extent that history predicts the future, the legislature will primarily meet on a Mon.-Thur. schedule until at least some of, or most of April.
The writing task at hand is for the student to prepare a scholarly case study on a pending legislative proposal or topic with significant legal implications subject to approval by the professor. Topics or specific legislative proposals likely to stir debate or advance the law are much preferred, to the exclusion of topics not meeting these criteria. Once a topic is agreed upon, the student investigates the subject, becomes familiar with present Texas law and current nationwide trends, and prepares two drafts of a seminar paper that provide a comprehensive analysis of the proposal. The first draft may be presented to the seminar during the semester, and the final draft will be due after classes end. It is likely, but not absolutely necessary, that the student will be directly involved in the same topic through employment. Although almost all papers will be so generated, the emphasis of the seminar (and of the paper) is legal analysis, including analysis of statutory language and legisltive procedure.
PREREQUISITES. Approval of the instructor. Without regard to 2L or 3L status, who will have a current legislative connection in the Spring 2021 semester will be given absolute preference for enrolling in the seminar. Please apply during pre-registration; and the instructor will contact each applicant. Students who do not intend to work at the legislature but have taken Professor Brady's Legislative Drafting as Public Policy class, Senator Brown's Legislative Process class, or similar coursework with a prior legislative connection who will not be actively engaged in the 87th session may enroll with the approval of the instructor. A student may enroll concurrently in this class and the Legislative Internship.