2014 - 2015 Academic Catalog

Law and Public Affairs

Overview Requirements Course Descriptions

Law and Public Affairs is an interdisciplinary major including a core set of courses that give students the background to appraise and understand the American political and legal systems. It examines the law as it cuts across themes central to other disciplines and examines how law permeates social, political, economic, and other institutions. Students discover how decisions are made by these institutions and policy is created, and they develop skills in advocacy, research, problem-solving, writing, and critical thinking. Students are also exposed to a global perspective on law and justice, comparing American legal issues and policies to those of other cultures. Graduates are prepared to pursue career opportunities in policy and regulation, advo-cacy, non-profit agency work, government agency work, legal offices for municipalities, or government organizations. Students may also continue with graduate study in such fields as public administration, policy studies, management, political science, and law. A graduate with a degree in Law and Public Affairs is qualified to work as a lobbyist, a city and regional planner, a public or program administrator, a volunteer coordinator, a community outreach coordinator, law firm work - public interest or otherwise, and/or to do corporate work. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.

The following goals and associated learning outcomes delineate what we strive for students to achieve when they complete the major program of study in Law and Public Affairs:

Goal 1: Disciplinary principles
Upon completion of the major program of study in Law and Public Affairs, students will be able to

  1. demonstrate an understanding of disciplinary concepts
  2. demonstrate an understanding of issues of diversity in the field
  3. demonstrate civic/social responsibility


Goal 2: Professional skills
Upon completion of the major program of study in Law and Public Affairs, students will be able to

  1. compare occupations and career paths in the discipline
  2. evaluate ethical and moral issues in a professional/disciplinary context
  3. perform effectively in a professional environment

Goal 3: Analytical thinking skills
Upon completion of the major program of study in Law and Public Affairs, students will be able to

  1. think critically about issues in the discipline
  2. demonstrate effective quantitative reasoning skills
  3. evaluate appropriate source materials

Goal 4: Communication skills
Upon completion of the major program of study in Law and Public Affairs, students will be able to

  1. communicate effectively in writing
  2. communicate effectively orally
  3. demonstrate competence in use of technology and computing skills

Course Code Course Title Credits
Core Courses
CJ323 Justice, Class, Race & Gender 3
COM308 Conflict Resolution & Negotiations 3
COM310 Political Communication 3
ECON103 Economics of Social Issues 3
LS101 Foundations of American Legal System 3
LS202 Legal Research & Analysis 3
LS203 Justice, Law & the Constitution 3
LS301 Legal Writing & Reasoning 3
LS441 Selected Topics in Justice & Law I 3
LS442 Selected Topics in Justice & Law II 3
LS443 Justice Studies Internship & Seminar I 3
LS444 Justice Studies Internship & Seminar II 3
POLS101 American Government 3
POLS201 State & Local Government 3
POLS210 Political Theory 3
POLS320 Policy Making & the Political Process 3
SOC101 Sociological Imagination 3
SOC221 Contemporary Social Problems 3
SOC335 Social Policy 3
Choose 1 from the following:
ENV201 Environmental Law & Policy 3
ENV211 Environmental Science 3
ENV303 Environmental Justice 3
POLS202 Issues in Contemporary Political Thought 3
Choose 1 from the following:
CJ317 Comparative Justice Systems 3
ECON301 International Trade & Finance 3
LS305 Comparative Law & Legal Systems 3
POLS208 Contemporary International Relations 3

Core Curriculum Requirements and remaining Unrestricted Electives: 57 credits

Minimum credits required for graduation: 120

Courses listed below fulfill Knowledge Perspective requirements:

Individuals & Society
LS 101 Foundations of American Legal System

LS101 - Foundations of American Legal System

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the law. Students are introduced to the basics of the legal system in the United States including its organization and operation. The course covers major areas of legal practice and the legal principles that apply. Legal concepts are explained and legal terminology defined.

LS202 - Legal Research & Analysis

This course serves as an introduction to American constitutional interpretation. Topics to be covered include legal precedent, legal issues surrounding the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, the role of the Supreme Court as a political institution, and the Court’s interpretations of issues dealing with the Bill of Rights. Prerequisite: LS 101.

LS203 - Justice, Law & the Constitution

This course serves as an introduction to American constitutional interpretation. Topics to be covered include legal precedent, legal issues surrounding the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, the role of the Supreme Court as a political institution, and the Court’s interpretations of issues dealing with the Bill of Rights.

LS204 - Criminal Law

This course examines the history and contemporary practice of criminal law. Topics include the purposes of the law, categories and general features of crime, elements of criminal offenses for prosecution, and categories of defenses. Prerequisite: LS 101 or CJ 101.

LS210 - Special Topics in Legal Studies

This course provides specialized offerings in Legal Studies in order to satisfy interests of both faculty and students. Examples of topics are: Property or Real Estate Law. Cyberlaw, or Law and Education.

LS212X - Mock Trial Competition

Mock Trial Competition

LS213 - Mock Trial Practicum I

This course engages students in preparing for trial advocacy through analyzing American Mock Trial Competition (“AMTA”) case materials and engaging in the practical skills of questioning witnesses through direct and cross-examination, applying rules of evidence, formulating and making objections, preparing opening and closing statements, and arguing the law applicable to the particular case. Through this course students learn rules of evidence, court procedures, trial strategies, legal advocacy and taking on various roles in courtroom proceedings. Essential skills acquired include debate, public speaking, professional collaboration and teamwork and critical thinking. This “connected learning” course introduces students to law in an applied setting and the students will participate in one or more intercollegiate scrimmages and/or invitational tournament in preparation for the AMTA in February. Participation in LS 2XX: Mock Trial Practicum II (1 credit) and the regional AMTA Mock Trial Regional competition in the spring is required. Students are permitted to repeat this course. Department Chair/Instructor permission required. (Fall Semester as needed)

LS214 - Communication Law

This course provides students with a basic understanding of the law and governmental regulations that apply to communication practitioners. Course topics include the First Amendment, defamation and libel, invasion of privacy law, copyright, advertising regulation, obscenity, pornography, internet law, protecting “news sources” for journalists, FCC regulation of broadcasting, and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Prerequisite: COM 101 or LS 101.

LS215 - Entertainment Law

This course will explore legal and regulatory issues as they affect the entertainment industry including an examination of: intellectual property, antitrust regulation, agent, manager and other entertainment contracts, administrative regulation and constitutional issues in the music, television, live performance and motion picture industries. Prerequisite: COM 101 or LS 101.

LS216 - Mock Trial Practicum II

This course is a continuation of Mock Trial Practicum I. Students refine the skills and knowledgethey developed in Mock Trial Practicum I and they engage deeply in the facts of that year's AMTA caseand the related courtroom procedures.The class will meet regularly, preparing for at least one invitational tournament, and culminating in the AMTA Regional tournament in February.There is also the potential to advance through additional rounds. Students will be required to also meet and practice outside standard meeting times. Participation in LS 213 Mock Trial Practicum I is expected. Students are permitted to repeat this course.Department Chair/Instructor permission required. (Spring semester as needed)

LS301 - Legal Writing & Reasoning

This course focuses on the development of fundamental skills necessary for successful legal writing that could assist in employment in a law office, such as drafting correspondence, developing various documents, and preparing legal memoranda. It looks at legal research, writing, and reasoning as a continuum, since the results of nearly all legal research must be submitted in written form. Legal writing is examined as a three step process. The steps consist of identifying the document’s purpose, audience, and constraints; developing a structure and draft; and editing and rewriting. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisites: LS 101 and LS 202.

LS304 - Litigation Practice

This course is designed to provide instruction pertaining to key areas of litigation. These areas include interviewing, document handling, preparing evidence, interacting with clients, preparing motions, legal arguments and trials. Prerequisite: LS101 of Permission of Dept Chair.

LS305 - Comparative Law & Legal Systems

This course introduces students to the complex issues involved in comparing various laws and legal systems around the contemporary world. The course focuses on the main legal systems in terms of the structure and sources of their laws and against the historical and political background in which these laws were formed. Prerequisite: LS 101.

LS307 - Tort & Personal Injury Law

This course is designed to give the student a basic overview of concepts in tort and personal injury law. Topics to be covered include: defamation, negligence, intentional torts, and general personal injury law. Prerequisite: LS 101.

LS311 - The American Court System

This course provides students with a working knowledge of the major structures and basic legal concepts that underlie the criminal courts. In addition, the course explores the rules of criminal procedure, including their underlying assumptions, how they evolved, and the goals they hope to achieve. Students learn how the dynamics of the courtroom and the criminal justice system itself affect the actual application of the law. Prerequisite: POLS 101 or LS101

LS314X - This Year in the US Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of the United States is the most mysterious, least talked about, and arguably the most influential branch of our federal government. Come explore its origins, history, inner workings, and traditions. Examine some of the personalities and decisions that have altered the course of American history. When someone says, "I'll fight this all the way to the Supreme Court," can his/her case actually get there, and if so, how? Meet the powerful men and women currently on the bench, learn how they got there, and become familiar with their widely divergent views about the Constitution. Last but not least, explore the issues the Court will confront in some of the important cases to be decided this term.

LS320 - Philosophy of Law

This course explores selected philosophical issues in law. Topics include human and civil rights, personal autonomy and the right of the state to regulate conduct, the extent to which an individual’s rights should be sacrificed for the common good, and other concepts of justice.

LS325 - Evidence

This course provides a detailed examination of the law of evidence. Topics include types of evidence, principles of exclusion, evaluation and examination of evidence, competency of witnesses, and the rule against hearsay evidence and the exceptions to this rule. Prerequisite: LS 101 or CJ 101.

LS401 - Justice Studies Internship & Seminar

This course provides an opportunity for participants to be in an individually arranged, college-supervised internship for 12 hours per week in a professional work setting related to the student's interest. Each student is monitored during the internship by the faculty advisor and attends a corresponding classroom seminar each week. Prerequisite: Senior standing and Permission of Dept Chair.

LS402 - Selected Topics in Justice & Law

This upper-level course is designed to identify and discuss issues of justice in society today, including but not limited to issues of gender, race, and other relevant historical and contemporary political issues and movements. It is the capstone course for the Legal Studies major. Limited to Legal Studies majors. Prerequisite: Junior/Senior Standing.

LS441 - Selected Topics in Justice & Law I

This fall portion of the Capstone course is designed to identify and discuss various legal and political issues in society today, including but not limited to issues of gender, race, and other relevant historical and contemporary political topics and movements. This first semester develops the student’s ability to research, write and debate current issues. This is a writing intensive and speaking across the curriculum course. Limited to Legal Studies and Law and Public Affairs majors. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

LS442 - Selected Topics in Justice & Law II

The spring semester of the Capstone course focuses on the process of producing a final legal research paper on one of the topics of the first semester. Students hone their research and writing skills culminating in the presentation of a final capstone project presentation. This is a writing intensive and speaking across the curriculum intensive course. Prerequisites: LS 441 and Senior standing.

LS443 - Justice Studies Internship & Seminar I

This course provides an opportunity for students to be in an individually arranged, college-supervised internship for 120 hours in the fall semester in a professional work setting related to their interest. Each student is monitored during the internship by the faculty advisor and attends a corresponding classroom seminar each week. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

LS444 - Justice Studies Internship & Seminar II

This course provides an opportunity for students to be in an individually arranged, college-supervised internship for 120 hours in the fall semester in a professional work setting related to their interest. Each student is monitored during the internship by the faculty advisor and attends a corresponding classroom seminar each week. Prerequisite: Prerequisites: LS/CJ 443 and Senior standing

CJ323 - Justice, Class, Race & Gender

This course explores issues unique to individuals of different classes, gender, and/or races or ethnic groups. The course focuses on these issues specifically in the context of the American criminal justice and legal systems. Issues of diversity relevant to all aspects of the criminal justice system are examined. Prerequisites: CJ 101, LS 101, PSYC 101 or SOC 101, Sophomore standing.

COM308 - Conflict Resolution & Negotiations

This course helps students to understand the theoretical assumptions, elements, and processes of interpersonal conflict and negotiation, to increase their ability to objectively analyze conflict situations, and to creatively and productively manage conflict. Alternative Dispute Resolution approaches to litigation for resolving conflicts such as mediation, arbitration, and negotiation are examined. Prerequisites: COM 101, LS 101 or BUSS 101; Junior or Senior standing.

COM310 - Political Communication

This course focuses on the complex ideas associated with the role of the press in a democracy. The nature and climate of our political processes, particularly elections, have changed dramatically in the past two generations, due in part to the extensive use and influence of the media. Also, media techniques and strategies used by government and political figures continue to change with the emergence of new technologies and the dominance of global media companies. Students learn how to think critically and analytically about the political press and how journalists and politicians frame public policy issues. This course looks critically at whether or not the American press is truly representative of the civic values of democracy, truth, and responsible citizenship. Prerequisites: COM 101 or POLS 101 or SOC 101.

ECON103 - Economics of Social Issues

This course examines a broad range of social issues from an economics perspective. Designed for non-business majors, the course provides an introduction to economic reasoning and to some basic economic concepts which are then used to analyze a variety of social problems. Possible topics include poverty, unemployment, agriculture, discrimination, crime, pollution, education, health care, social security, and third world development. .

LS101 - Foundations of American Legal System

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the law. Students are introduced to the basics of the legal system in the United States including its organization and operation. The course covers major areas of legal practice and the legal principles that apply. Legal concepts are explained and legal terminology defined.

LS202 - Legal Research & Analysis

This course serves as an introduction to American constitutional interpretation. Topics to be covered include legal precedent, legal issues surrounding the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, the role of the Supreme Court as a political institution, and the Court’s interpretations of issues dealing with the Bill of Rights. Prerequisite: LS 101.

LS203 - Justice, Law & the Constitution

This course serves as an introduction to American constitutional interpretation. Topics to be covered include legal precedent, legal issues surrounding the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, the role of the Supreme Court as a political institution, and the Court’s interpretations of issues dealing with the Bill of Rights.

LS301 - Legal Writing & Reasoning

This course focuses on the development of fundamental skills necessary for successful legal writing that could assist in employment in a law office, such as drafting correspondence, developing various documents, and preparing legal memoranda. It looks at legal research, writing, and reasoning as a continuum, since the results of nearly all legal research must be submitted in written form. Legal writing is examined as a three step process. The steps consist of identifying the document’s purpose, audience, and constraints; developing a structure and draft; and editing and rewriting. This is a writing intensive course. Prerequisites: LS 101 and LS 202.

LS441 - Selected Topics in Justice & Law I

This fall portion of the Capstone course is designed to identify and discuss various legal and political issues in society today, including but not limited to issues of gender, race, and other relevant historical and contemporary political topics and movements. This first semester develops the student’s ability to research, write and debate current issues. This is a writing intensive and speaking across the curriculum course. Limited to Legal Studies and Law and Public Affairs majors. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

LS442 - Selected Topics in Justice & Law II

The spring semester of the Capstone course focuses on the process of producing a final legal research paper on one of the topics of the first semester. Students hone their research and writing skills culminating in the presentation of a final capstone project presentation. This is a writing intensive and speaking across the curriculum intensive course. Prerequisites: LS 441 and Senior standing.

LS443 - Justice Studies Internship & Seminar I

This course provides an opportunity for students to be in an individually arranged, college-supervised internship for 120 hours in the fall semester in a professional work setting related to their interest. Each student is monitored during the internship by the faculty advisor and attends a corresponding classroom seminar each week. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

LS444 - Justice Studies Internship & Seminar II

This course provides an opportunity for students to be in an individually arranged, college-supervised internship for 120 hours in the fall semester in a professional work setting related to their interest. Each student is monitored during the internship by the faculty advisor and attends a corresponding classroom seminar each week. Prerequisite: Prerequisites: LS/CJ 443 and Senior standing

POLS101 - American Government

This is an examination of the basic principles that form the foundation for the structure and practice of American government. The impact of the political system on the citizen is explored along with the central assumptions and concepts that serve as the basis for the field of political science.

POLS201 - State & Local Government

This course begins with the constitutional and legal basis for state and local government. The functions of the executive and legislative branches are examined. Governmental bureaucracy and budgetary processes are studied as well as political parties, interest groups, public opinion, and political reporting in the press.

POLS210 - Political Theory

In this course, central questions in political theory are addressed. What is justice? What is freedom? What is the state? What makes a government legitimate? Is there any general obligation to obey the state? The course also focuses on theories of modernity and communities, the evolution of liberalism and individualism, and the relationship between politics and economics. Readings range from the Greeks to modern thinkers. Prerequisite: ENG 102.

POLS320 - Policy Making & the Political Process

This course examines the dynamics of public policy-making in the United States at the national, state, and local levels. The course explores the factors influencing policy formation in a variety of areas: health, education, welfare, and urban planning. An analysis of how policy outcomes are evaluated is also covered.

SOC101 - Sociological Imagination

This course is designed to help students develop their ability to think critically about the world around them using the framework of sociology. Students explore the relationship between individual and society – how personal experience is shaped by social forces, but also how society is created and changed through individual interaction. The focus is on the interrelationships of groups, social organization, and social institutions such as education, religion, family, and the economic and political order.

SOC221 - Contemporary Social Problems

This course examines conditions and issues that result in tension and disorder. Examples drawn primarily from American society include: labeling and social control of deviants, oppression of minorities, poverty, violence, ageism, and ecological concerns. Prerequisite: SOC 101.

SOC335 - Social Policy

This course examines historical and contemporary factors influencing the making of social policy and introduces the student to processes used to identify and solve social problems. Special attention is given to the relationships of values to social policy and the impact of social policy decisions on the provision of social and human services. Approaches to the analysis of social policy are examined. Prerequisite: Any 200 Level Sociology course.

ENV201 - Environmental Law & Policy

This course examines the role of law and politics in the management of natural resources and the environment. The course first reviews the major US environmental protection legislation and then explores the process of developing and establishing environmental policy related to water, air, energy, and land resources. Historical and contemporary circumstances that influence public policy decisions, the influence of science and technology, social and economic paradigms, and ethics and values are discussed. Even though the emphasis is on domestic U.S. policies and institutions, international issues are addressed, including how US domestic environmental policies influence and are influenced by global forces. This is a writing intensive course.

ENV211 - Environmental Science

During this course, students are introduced to the concept of environmental sustainability. Issues such as climate change, biodiversity, food and agriculture, water resources, and energy are explored. Students are challenged to consider the impact of Lasell College on the environment and will complete a greenhouse gas inventory. Students also examine the role of science and technology in the pursuit of environmental sustainability.

ENV303 - Environmental Justice

All people should have the right to live in and enjoy a clean and healthful environment. However, access to clean air and water, exposure to excessive noise, and access to natural areas is inequitable in our society. This course explores how racial, economic, and cultural backgrounds influence access to a clean and safe environment. Local, national, and international issues of the environment and social justice are explored. Students engage with local community organizations on projects promoting environmental justice.

POLS202 - Issues in Contemporary Political Thought

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to selected contemporary American political issues. The course is designed to create a deeper understanding and interest in these issues and develop students' capacities as citizens who will challenge the present and enrich the future. Its topics change frequently to keep up with the latest developments in the field. Throughout the semester, the local impact of national issues are discussed.

CJ317 - Comparative Justice Systems

This course analyzes differences in global approaches to law enforcement, criminal procedure, criminal law, corrections, juvenile justice, and prevention. The material provides a worldwide overview of cultural and legal traditions that are related to crime. Through cross-cultural comparisons, the course examines whether due process rights must be sacrificed in order to achieve crime control effectiveness and efficiency. Prerequisite: CJ 101 or LS 101.

ECON301 - International Trade & Finance

This course examines theory, tariffs, and import quotas; adjustment mechanisms, foreign exchange, and exchange controls are also covered. Additional topics include the theory of comparative advantage, the causes and consequences of imbalances in the balance of payments or exchange rates, and the evolution of the international monetary system. Prerequisites: ECON 101, ECON 102.

LS305 - Comparative Law & Legal Systems

This course introduces students to the complex issues involved in comparing various laws and legal systems around the contemporary world. The course focuses on the main legal systems in terms of the structure and sources of their laws and against the historical and political background in which these laws were formed. Prerequisite: LS 101.

POLS208 - Contemporary International Relations

Basic concepts and major contemporary problems of international relations are examined in this course. Topics include the Middle East, East-West relations, deterrence versus disarmament, human rights, and developing countries. Throughout the semester, the local impact of national issues are discussed.