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281.1 sec. 1 - Creating and Sustaining Children and Families (Spring 2013)

Instructor: Joan Heifetz Hollinger  (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Units: 3
Meeting Time: M 3:35-6:15
Meeting Location: 136

Course Start: January 07, 2013
Course Control Number (1Ls): 49994 (section 2)
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49991

This seminar is intended for students interested in cutting-edge parentage and family law issues and in devising effective legal and socio-cultural strategies to protect and sustain children both within and beyond our borders.

Biomedical and technological advances as well as dramatic societal and demographic changes are challenging traditional understandings of family and parent-child relationships. A complex and confusing system of state, federal, and international laws and policies facilitates, but also significantly impedes, the legal recognition and protection of our increasingly diverse contemporary families. Particularly at risk of harm because of uncertainty about their legal status are children conceived through assisted reproductive technology, children raised by same-sex parents, children abused or neglected by their biological parents, children “trafficked” from one country to another and undocumented children and youth. Students in this seminar will have an opportunity to think and write about various ways to mitigate the threats to the legal stability and emotional security of these children and their families.

Students will be encouraged to undertake an original project that culminates in a 22-25 page paper that may take various forms, including a theoretical or doctrinal analysis, a case study based on empirical research, a well-crafted legislative or policy proposal, a critical assessment of the efficacy of class action litigation aimed at reforming the child welfare system, or a “Brandeis brief” synthesizing the social science research on children and families relevant to pending federal court appeals, including the litigation challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)that Professor Hollinger is participating in.

Students can use their work in this seminar as a basis for satisfying their Writing Requirement by completing a more substantial paper (30-35 pages) in the Spring or Fall 2013 semester and enrolling in one-unit of Law 299 under Professor Hollinger’s supervision. Several students who selected this option in recent years have had their papers published.


This seminar may satisfy the Writing Requirement, as described above.

A tentative syllabus will be posted during TeleBears. Prof. Hollinger would be pleased to discuss the seminar with potentially interested students either via e-mail or in person.

Exam Notes: P
Course Category: Family Law
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
Law and Society
Public Law and Policy
Social Justice and Public Interest

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