Courses in Law and Health Sciences at UC Hastings

UC Hastings' Course Catalog has the most recent information on when courses will be offered, as well as a complete list of courses and course descriptions.


Law and Health Sciences Courses at UC Hastings for Fall 2018:


Gender and the Law (LAW*212)
3 Units
Instructor: Prof. Joan C. Williams
Monday 9:40AM –11:50AM, Wednesday 10:50AM – 11:50AM

This course uses fiction and film as well as traditional legal materials to examine themes related to gender and the law. Topics will vary from year to year, but will generally include basic feminist theory, reproductive rights, pornography, sexual harassment, domestic violence, divorce and economic equality, job discrimination, work/family issues, and how gender is affected by race, class, and sexuality. Students who have taken Feminist Legal Theory may not take this course.


Health Care System Reform: Regulation and Competition (LAW*665)
2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Thomas Greaney
Monday 3:30PM – 5:40PM

This course will cover a number of legal and policy issues that arise regarding provider payment and the delivery of health care services, with a focus on the interplay of competition and regulation. It will first explore how reforms proposed by the Trump administration will change the regulatory landscape for providers, employers and consumers/patients. Secondly, because antitrust law figures prominently in shaping health care systems and reimbursement mechanisms, students will be exposed to the fundamentals of the law, particularly as it affects transactional planning especially involving mergers and joint ventures. Students will be encouraged to write seminar papers on cutting- edge issues arising out of health industry consolidation and the regulation (or deregulation) of payment and delivery.

Healthcare Providers Patients and the Law (LAW*217)
4 Units
Instructor: Prof. Robert Schwartz
Tuesday, Thursday 1:10PM – 3:20 PM

This course will focus on issues of quality control and personal relationships in the health care environment. It will address issues in professional licensing and the accreditation of health care institutions, medical malpractice law (including institutional liability and tort reform), informed consent and the nature of the provider-patient relationship, and confidentiality of healthcare information (including the law surrounding HIPAA and the development of electronic health records).

Insurance (LAW*408)
2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Margie Lariviere
Monday 9:40AM – 11:50AM

The making, administration and interpretation of insurance contracts; governmental (including judicial) regulation of insurance; common insurance contract provisions; subrogation; excess liability of insurers; and property, life and liability insurance policies and problems.

Law and Behavioral Science (Course Number TBA)
2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Emily Murphy
Tuesday 2:20PM – 4:30PM, Friday 9:40AM – 11:50AM

Over the last 30 years, psychologists and economists have joined forces to study how people process information in order to make decisions. This research program (dubbed behavioral economics or, more broadly, behavioral science) has provided an understanding of how people’s decisions deviate from “optimal” choices as well as the consequences of such deviations. In this seminar, we will critically assess the role of behavioral science in the law, starting with “classic” papers and moving to recent cutting-edge empirical studies and commentary.

Law and behavioral science is a potentially broad field with a range of methods and applications. Thus, we will be approaching the diverse material through a critical lens: how does understanding quotidian human behavior matter for the law? At the end of this course, you should have an informed opinion on this question, based on your mastery of the sub-goals of the course and your work on a summative research paper on a behavioral science and law topic of your choice.

Law and Health Sciences Concentration Seminar (LAW*750)
2 Units
Instructor: Prof. Jaime King and Robert Schwartz
Wednesday 4:40PM – 6:50PM

Concentrators must enroll in this course during their third year at Hastings. Hastings students who are not concentrating in Law and Health Sciences and UCSF students are invited to enroll with permission of the instructor. Lawyers, scientists and healthcare professionals interact at many critical junctures. They often navigate treacherous waters together, addressing challenges involving health care reform, bioethical dilemmas, scientific testimony in the courtroom, and more. This interdisciplinary course tackles advanced problems in these and other areas at the intersection of law and the health sciences. It is team-taught by three of Hastings Law & Health Sciences faculty members. It culminates with the student's preparation and presentation of a substantial scholarly research paper that satisfies the writing requirements of the Law & Health Sciences Concentration and of the College. This course is the "capstone" seminar for the Law & Health Sciences Concentration.

Medical Legal Partnerships for Seniors Clinic (LAW*935)
3 Units
Instructor: Prof. Yvonne Troya
Monday, Wednesday 9:40AM – 11:50AM

REQUISITES: Enrollment in Medical-Legal Partnership Fieldwork (936) (Required, Concurrent). (See below)

Through this Clinic, students provide holistic legal services to low-income older adult UCSF and VA patients in collaboration with medical providers. A novel feature of this course is that students meet with patients on-site at a medical clinic and in patient homes and advocate across multiple areas of law including advance health care planning, estate planning, public benefits, and pre-eviction housing.

This clinic will be useful for any student considering general client or transactional-based practice, and will be of particular interest to students considering a career in health law, elder law, estate planning, or social justice lawyering. Students develop key lawyering skills in interviewing, counseling, critical thinking, document drafting, case management, interdisciplinary collaboration, "whole person" lawyering through the representation of multiple clients from start to finish, navigating complex ethical situations, working in teams, and more. Students meet twice weekly throughout the semester for a two-hour seminar class and "caserounds" session in which students gather as a team to present, discuss and strategize about their cases in light of the seminar material. The seminar engages students in thoughtful discussion and practice-based learning about advance planning, public benefits, interdisciplinary ethics, how to evaluate client capacity, long-term care options, elder abuse, and other issues. Students learn about the complex intersection of law and health and its implications for our rapidly aging population. Students must attend a day-long orientation session before the regular semester begins and another session part-way through the semester.

Additionally, students must devote a minimum of 12- 15 hours per week to direct services fieldwork, which includes meeting patients at a UCSF Outpatient Clinic, their homes, and UC Hastings, and working on their cases. Fieldwork units are for non-classroom work and must be taken concurrently. There are no prerequisites and no experience or particular background is required. Admission to the Clinic requires consent of the instructor. Students should contact Professor Yvonne Troya, for more information.

Medical Legal Partnerships for Seniors Field Work (LAW*396)
4 Units

REQUISITES: Enrollment in Medical Legal Partnership Clinic (935) (Required, Previous or concurrent).

Mental Health Law and Policy
3 Units
Instructor: Prof. Lois A. Weithorn
Monday 3:30PM – 6:50 PM

This course focuses on and interweaves analysis of several areas at the intersection of mental health and American law and policymaking. The course addresses the following substantive areas: (1) introduction to historical and contemporary notions of mental disorder and disability and the framework, functioning, and financing of current mental health system; (2) core legal aspects of the mental health treatment relationship (e.g., informed consent, confidentiality and privilege); (3) civil commitment and the movement between institution and community (e.g., shifts in commitment standards and patterns over time, mandated community treatment, availability of community services and the recent impact of litigation under the ADA); (4) mental health and the criminal justice system (e.g., mental health and the adjudicatory process, sentencing, mental health and the prison system, alternative courts); (5) child and adolescent mental health and the law (e.g., interrelationship of mental health issues with minors in the mental health, juvenile justice, child welfare, and educational systems; regulation of psychotropic medication use with minors); and (6) the future of mental health law and policy in the U.S. (examination and evaluation of a range of policy proposals, model programs and alternative approaches). The course is interdisciplinary, integrates analyses of law and policy across substantive areas, and addresses ethical challenges encountered by attorneys who represent persons with mental disorders in civil and criminal contexts.

Reproductive Health: Rights, Access, and Justice (Course Number TBA)
3 Units
Instructor: Prof. Jennifer Dunn
Tuesday 1:10PM – 2:10PM, Thursday 1:10PM – 3:20PM

Are women autonomous decision makers or are we in need of protection? In this seminar, we will focus our attention on laws and policies affecting women's health. Topics covered include abortion access and regulation, forced sterilization and coerced contraception, the effect of environmental toxins on women's health, women's health and the criminal justice system, and disparities in funding and access to services. Threaded throughout the seminar will be questions about the government's responsibility to promote women's health and protect its citizens from harm, and at what point this protection or intervention infringes upon individual autonomy. We will also examine how race, sexuality, economics and other factors influence health care access and the ability to exercise free choice.

Transition from Scientist to Lawyer (LAW*145)
1 Unit
Prof. Robin Feldman
Friday 1:10PM – 2:10 PM

This is an optional enrichment course to help 1L students who have degrees in the hard sciences--e.g. chemistry, computer science, biology, etc.--transition to legal writing and reasoning. Students whose academic experiences lie mainly in the hard sciences may have had little occasion to engage in any writing other than reports of scientific data. In addition, scientific reasoning frequently focuses on considering only directly supportive data and identifying the single best of all possible alternatives. As a result, students with science backgrounds may struggle to adjust to legal reasoning and to the process of exploring all possible pathways.

Lawyers for America Field Work (LAW*966)
8 Units - Year Long
To Be Scheduled

REQUISITES: Enrollment in Legal Ethics: Practice of Law (490), Professional Responsibility (529), or Roles and Ethics in Practice (550) (Required, Previous).

REQUISITES: Enrollment in Criminal Procedure: Adjudicative Process (332) (Recommended, Previous or concurrent).

Satisfies Professional Skills requirement. Open to 5th and 6th semester students selected for enrollment during their 2L year.

This course includes carefully supervised practice experience in the specific law office for which the student was selected. Students will work an average minimum of 32 hours per week. Fellows will be immersed in the work of their placement offices, perform a variety of lawyering tasks, and will be afforded both training and observation opportunities. Fellows making court appearances will need to be certified under the State Bar's Practical Training of Law Students program.

Note that some placements, but not all, are related to health law. Please contact Professor Mai Linh Spencer, to discuss availability of health-related placements.

Legal Externship Program (LAW*933)
1 Unit
To Be Scheduled

REQUISITES: Enrollment in Legal Externship Fieldwork (934) (Required, Previous or concurrent). (See Below)

Satisfies Professional Skills requirement.

This course provides students with the opportunity to participate in an approved externship program at a government agency or non-profit legal organization. The clinic has an academic and a fieldwork component. The academic component focuses on skills training, developing the ability to learn from critical self-reflection, and draws on the students' experiences in their placements to advance not only their understanding of basic principles of substantive and procedural law relevant to their placements, but of the role of lawyers and legal institutions in society as well. Prerequisites and recommended courses vary according to placement. 4th, 5th, or 6th semester students only. For the fieldwork component, students work either 12 or 16 hours per week in a placement approved by the Director of Externships and Pro Bono Programs. Requests for approval for enrollment in the Legal Externship Program must be submitted no later than the first day of classes for the semester. Fieldwork units are non-classroom work and must be taken concurrently.

Examples of health-related legal externship placements: Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, CA Attorney General’s Office- Health, Education & Welfare Section, UCSF Privacy, UCSF Contracts & Grants, UCSF Legal, DOJ Antitrust Division, CA Department of Managed Health Care, San Francisco Probate Court (mental health division) For more information about health-related legal externships please contact Professor Brittany Glidden, Note that you must receive assistance and approval on your externship placement from Professor Glidden before the start of the semester.


Legal Externship Field Placement (LAW*944)
3 Units
To Be Scheduled

REQUISITES: Enrollment in Legal Externship Program (933) (Required, Previous or concurrent).

Satisfies Professional Skills requirement.

This program provides students with the opportunity to participate in an approved externship program at a government agency or non-profit legal organization. The clinic has an academic and a fieldwork component. The academic component focuses on skills training, developing the ability to learn from critical self-reflection, and draws on the students' experiences in their placements to advance not only their understanding of basic principles of substantive and procedural law relevant to their placements, but of the role of lawyers and legal institutions in society as well. For the fieldwork component, students work either 12 or 16 hours per week in a placement approved by Director. Enrollment is contingent on acceptance into a fieldwork placement approved by the Director.

UC Hastings' Course Catalog has the most recent information on when courses will be offered, as well as a complete list of courses and course descriptions.


Law and Health Sciences Courses at UC Hastings for Spring 2018:


US Healthcare System & the Law
LAW 317 - 4 units
Mon & Wed - 9:40am-10:40am
Instructor: Prof. Jaime King

This course will focus on the financing and regulation of the American health care industry, the cost of health care, barriers to access to health care, and bioethics. It will address issues related to private health insurance (including federal and state regulation of employer-provided health insurance), public health insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, other government financed health programs), the structure of the health care industry, the impact of the Affordable Care Act and health reform, new business forms employed by health care enterprises, tax exempt status of health care enterprises, antitrust, fraud and abuse, the legal obligation to provide care, hospital privileging, and ethical questions related to health care, which may include abortion and contraception, assisted reproduction, death and dying, and distributive justice and health care rationing Note: Students who take more than one module of Health Law II online (including Introduction to Bioethics, Overview of the U.S. Healthcare System, Private Healthcare Regulation and Finance, and Public Healthcare Regulation and Finance) will not be eligible to take Health Law II in class. Students who take only one module of Health Law II online may enroll in Health Law II in class. In order to receive the full 4 credits for Health Law II, they must complete an extra project to obtain the additional credit. Students in this situation must speak with the professor at the beginning of the semester to arrange for this additional project. Students who do not contact the professor about obtaining an extra unit project by the end of the add/drop period will not receive full credit for the class.

Health Law: Research Ethics & Compliance
LAW 620 - 1 unit
Wed - 1:10pm - 3:20pm
Instructor: Prof. Sarah Hooper & Prof. Anna Zaret

The advancement of health care and health science depends in large part upon robust and ongoing research that can evaluate effectiveness of a wide array of interventions designed to promote health. This research necessarily involves human or animal subjects, which raises a host of questions about how to protect both the integrity of research methods and the safety and well-being of study subjects. The public and private institutions which engage in such research are subject to a complex body of federal and state laws that attempt to grapple with questions of consent, privacy, use of technology, and the increasingly blurred line between clinical care and research, among other issues. This course will offer students an intensive look at research compliance and ethics from the perspective of a large health sciences research institution. The course will be co-taught with UCSF counsel and compliance officers in order to provide a blend of legal theory and practice-based perspectives. No medical or scientific background is needed for this course.

Food Justice
LAW 673 - 2 units
Tues - 9:40am - 11:50am
Instructor: Prof. Naomi Roht-Arriaza

In this course we will approach the production, distribution, consumption and regulation of food from a social justice perspective. The "food justice" movement seeks to infuse concerns about social equity, sustainable environmental practices, and economic justice into the governance of food systems. We will examine some of the many substantive debates and controversies in which food justice advocates have participated. We will look at the connection between the global management of food-related issues and their local manifestations in California. This very new and still evolving movement is also an interesting case study in the relationship between law and social change, and in how a single issue cuts across local, regional, national and global lines. Food justice issues also span sub-areas of law from environment to labor to human rights to intellectual property to land tenure to international law, and are inherently interdisciplinary. We will look at such issues as global trade in foodstuffs, farmworker health and safety, use of chemicals, sugar and obesity, food deserts, food aid, seed patents and seed sharing, "food security" and "food sovereignty," and other topical issues. We will then turn to alternatives and critiques.

Food & Drug Law
LAW 377 - 3 credits
Tues & Thurs - 10:50am - 11:50am
Instructor: Prof. Marsha Cohen & Prof. Matthew Avery

Many estimate that the federal Food and Drug Administration regulates about a quarter of all consumer expenditures in the United States. Its jurisdiction under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act includes food, drugs, medical devices, biologics, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. This course will introduce students to the regulatory powers of this agency, which are exerted through licensure as well as the adoption and enforcement of regulations, and to the complex statute under which it operates. It will cover the problem of definitions of the regulated products, the premarket approval system for drugs, labeling requirements and allowable claims for foods and dietary supplements, the regulation of the products of biotechnology, and the relationship between this federal regulatory regime and state tort law, among other topics.

Science in Law
LAW 570 - 4 units
Mon & Weds - 1:10pm - 3:20pm
Instructor: Prof. Lisa Faigman

Science intersects with the law in ever-increasing ways, leaving few areas of law practice or policy in which science and/or statistical concepts do not appear in some form. Becoming more sophisticated consumers and users of science is a necessity for many if not most legal career paths. This course provides students with a solid grounding in research methods and basic statistics. Among the topics covered are those related to the social sciences, the natural sciences, forensic identification "sciences," and lie detection techniques. Students need not have any college-level mathematics or science background. Students who have taken Scientific Methods for Lawyers are not eligible for this class. The class satisfies the Scientific Methods requirement for the Law and Health Sciences Concentration.

Public Health & Homelessness
LAW 854 - 2 units
Mon - 4:40pm - 6:50pm
Instructor: Prof. Laura Chiera

This course is a collaborative endeavor between UC Hastings and UCSF that aims to bring together law students and medical students in order to examine and discuss the intersection of medical and legal issues as they effect the homeless population. The goals of the course are for students (1) to understand the history and current state of homelessness in the United States and in San Francisco; (2) to understand the interplay between legal and medical issues as they affect the homeless population; and (3) to understand the legal and social structure that those who seek to empower and advocate on behalf of the homeless population operate within. Topics will include an overview of the causes of homelessness, current public policies addressing homelessness, homeless access to healthcare, the role of substance abuse and mental illness amongst the marginally housed, and the healthcare concerns of specific needs homeless populations.


Global Health & the Law
LAW 515 - 3 units
Thurs - 1:10pm - 4:30pm
Instructor: Prof. Jennifer Dunn

This course will take a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to public health law, exploring how countries provide and regulate health care. The course will begin by examining how health care systems are organized and how they are financed, comparing health care systems from other countries in order to better evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of our own system. The course will cover the “right to health” as it exists in international law, national constitutions, and domestic legislation – as well as the barriers to implementing and enforcing this right. The course will then look at the development of international and national laws governing informed consent, protections for health information, and research on human subjects. Finally, we will explore the rights of the individual and the interests of society, and what happens when individual rights conflict with public health goals. Topics may include: informed consent, research ethics and regulation, medical negligence, access to medical records, immunizations, maternal health, HIV/AIDs, SARS, tobacco and alcohol regulation, assisted suicide and euthanasia, assisted reproduction, and abortion. Students from different concentrations, disciplines and perspectives are encouraged to enroll. An interest in the topic is the only prerequisite to the course.

Sexuality and the Law
LAW 206 - 2 units
Tues - 2:20pm - 4:30pm
Instructor: Prof. Matthew Coles

This course will examine some of the rapidly expanding legal issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity. Substantive issues to be covered include the decriminalization of sodomy; the recognition of lesbian and gay relationships, including marriage, civil union and domestic partnerships; employment discrimination and sexual harassment; immigration; gender identity issues; and the establishment and limitation of rights of expression and association. This course will use sexuality and gender theory, case law, and legislation to examine the law's evolving treatment of these fundamentally diverse and fluid communities.

Public Health Regulation and Advocacy: Vaccines
LAW 444 - 2 units
Tues - 2:20pm - 4:30pm
Instructor: Prof. Dorit Reiss

This course introduces students to issues in public health law using the lens of vaccines. It provides an introduction to the constitutional framework setting the powers of states to regulate public health, including the police powers and freedom of religion. It introduces the regulation of certain medical products by the FDA. It addresses the tension between federal and state law, the role of social movements in creating and influencing the legal network, and ways to reform it. It also teaches the students basic information about the vaccines currently on our childhood and adult schedules, their benefits and risks, and how the legal framework interacts with preventing disease. In addition to teaching a body of substantive knowledge, the course will provide interested students the opportunity to work on a reallife legal project by soliciting such projects from nonprofit and public immunization organizations. Working on a project requires taking an additional one-unit non-GPA course.

Startup Legal Garage: Biotech Module
LAW 992/993 - 5 units
Tues - 2:20pm - 4:30pm, Fieldwork days TBD
Instructor: Prof. Robin Feldman

A program of the Institute for Innovation Law, the Startup Legal Garage gives students the opportunity to participate in providing legal services for earlystage startup companies. The students are supervised by leading law firms throughout the Bay Area and beyond. In the Startup Legal Garage, UC Hastings students work directly with clients providing them with first tier corporate and intellectual property legal services.

BioTech Module: Students work on intellectual property matters, predominantly, “Freedom to Operate” research issues. This program works with companies from the QB3 Startup In a Box program. QB3 is an entity of the state of California founded to encourage startups out of the labs of UCSF, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz.

Medical-Legal Partnership for Seniors Clinic
LAW 935/936 - 6 units
Mon & Weds - 9:40am - 11:50am
Instructor: Prof. Yvonne Troya

For more information visit our MLPS Students page