Maurer Law School introduces summer institute

Understanding legal practices pertaining to social issues and government regulations is an important part of citizenship even if a student is not planning on law school.

IU students will be given the opportunity to develop their understanding of legal practices at Maurer School of Law’s inaugural Summer Law Institute, which will be May 15-25.

The institute is for all undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about law regardless of their current major or future endeavors.

Austen Parrish, Maurer School of Law dean, said the courses are not only for students considering law school but for any student who is interested in law or wants to add a talking point to their résumé.

“Students these days are trying to build their résumés in different ways, and we thought it might be helpful for students to be able to take a course where they could add another line item on their résumé,” Parrish said.

There will be two noncredited courses offered for students who attend the institute.

Legal Analysis, Communication and Rhetoric will provide students with concrete law skills

Hot Topics in Media and Entertainment Law will offer students practical law skills.

Students can enroll in both courses, but they require separate enrollment and a $1,000 course fee each.

The courses will be capped at 50 students to ensure students have a more personal relationship with the professors.

Professor Robert E. Downey, who will teach Legal Analysis, Communication and Rhetoric, said because the courses are not for credit, he hopes students will use the institute to focus on learning without the stress of having to perform well.

“I hope the class will be fun because it will lack some of the pressure that comes from a credit baring class,” he said. “I’m hoping students will really be free to learn and develop their skills in an environment that’s very nurturing.”

Downey said his course will not be a theory course.

Rather, it will focus on providing students with legal analysis and advocacy skills.

This means his course will concentrate on writing, he said.

Downey said he will also address the intersection of law and society throughout the course by exploring how legal reform influences the students’ daily lives and social issues.

“I think the students can get out of it as much as they want,” he said. “I think it can be a really fun exploration of a topic maybe students don’t really know that much about.”

Professor Joseph A. Tomain will teach Hot Topics in Media and Entertainment Law.

He said his course will present fundamental media and entertainment laws through current examples.

The course will cover trademark law, copyright law, invasion of privacy law and more using current situations.

These include as Hulk Hogan’s recent lawsuit against Gawker Media and the Rolling Stone magazine’s “A Rape on Campus” story, since they are cases that are prevalent within the media.

Tomain said because people are living in a digital age, it’s important for citizens to have a basic understanding of media and entertainment laws for both their careers and their personal lives.

“When we live in a self-governing society, where you need to have an informed citizenry, understanding these important issues about speech and press rights is critical for everyone,” Tomain said.

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