Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

282.1 sec. 001 - Domestic Violence Law Seminar (Fall 2020)

Instructor: Nancy K.D. Lemon  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
View all teaching evaluations for this course - degree students only

Units: 3
Grading Designation: Graded

Due to COVID-19, this class is remote for Fall 2020.
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction


W 6:25 PM - 9:05 PM
Location: Internet/Online
From August 19, 2020
To November 24, 2020

Course Start: August 19, 2020
Course End: November 24, 2020
Class Number: 32225

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 15
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 30
As of: 12/07 09:41 AM

This course will examine the legal system's response to domestic violence. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will cover historical and psychological materials as well as topics in criminal, family, tort, immigration, welfare, housing, employment, human rights, and constitutional law. Ethical and policy issues will be included throughout, as will discussion of how domestic violence affects different groups - people of the global majority (aka people of color), disabled survivors of abuse, LGBTQ survivors, etc.

We will discuss legal issues regarding civil protective orders, how intentional torts have applied to domestic violence, and the erosion of interspousal immunity. In the realm of family law, we will consider how domestic violence is or should be taken to account in custody proceedings, examining how alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation, work or don't work in the context of domestic violence. The class will also look at interstate custody problems affecting battered mothers who flee with their children.

In the criminal section, we will analyze the efficacy of mandatory arrest and no-drop prosecution policies along with liability of police departments and other government bodies for failure to enforce protective orders or to otherwise act to protect victims of domestic violence. The class will cover survivors of domestic violence as complaining witnesses and as defendants, including the claim of self-defense, and the use of expert testimony on the common experiences of such survivors.

We will discuss federal legislation pertaining to domestic violence such as VAWA, firearms prohibitions, and the response to domestic violence in the military. Privacy issues, including cyberstalking and medical personnel reporting domestic violence to police will also be addressed. The class will discuss welfare, housing, and employment issues affecting battered women. We will end with the legal rights and problems of immigrant survivors and battered women seeking asylum in the US and look at domestic violence as an international human rights issue.

We will use a group discussion format, with each student leading part of one class. Several guest speakers and DVD will be included. A 30-page paper in lieu of a final exam is possible, and the paper can qualify as a writing requirement with permission of the instructor.

Nancy Lemon also teaches the Domestic Violence Field Placement (formerly the DV Practicum), 295.6J and 283Q, each spring. While students are allowed to take the field placement without taking the seminar first, they are encouraged to enroll in both courses. Students may take the field placement twice. In it, students work in non-profit, prosecutorial or public defender offices, or with judges around the Bay Area. Topics students work on include prosecution, criminal defense, immigration and asylum law, family law, employment issues, housing, and public benefits. For more information, go to

Nancy K. D. Lemon has been a leading authority on domestic violence law for over three decades. A practicing attorney, she has provided expert testimony in many types of cases. She has worked to craft many pieces of California legislation affecting survivors of domestic violence and their children. Since 1988, she has taught Domestic Violence Law and the Domestic Violence Field Placement (formerly the DV Practicum) at Berkeley Law. She authored the first textbook on Domestic Violence Law in 1996, now in its 5th edition with West. In 2012, she co-founded the Family Violence Appellate Project with two of her students and a former student, where she serves as part time Legal Director. FVAP is the only statewide non profit in California providing free appellate representation to survivors of domestic violence, and has already built a body of precedential cases.

Requirements Satisfaction:

This class may fulfill Option 2 of the J.D. writing requirement with instructor approval. In order to qualify for Option 2, all students in the class must be writing a paper of 30 or more pages. Those students who wish to use this paper for the writing requirement must get instructor approval and submit their drafts for comment and revision.

Option 2 form needed:

Students who elect to take the final exam will not receive writing requirement credit.

Exam Notes: (TH/P) Take-home examination or paper option: students option
Course Category: Family Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Criminal Law
Social Justice and Public Interest

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Required Books are in blue

  • Domestic Violence Law
    Nancy K. D. Lemon
    Edition: 5th ed, 2018
    Publisher: West
    ISBN: 9781683289142
    e-Book Available: Yes
    e-Book procurement note:
    Copyright Date: To Be Determined
    Price: $164.00
    Price Source: user provided

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