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Super CLE Week XXIX: March 12-21, 2009

Register Now graphicUniversity of Minnesota Law School faculty members are, for the 29th time, using spring break to offer continuing legal education opportunities on a range of relevant topics.

A total of 55 CLE credits have been applied for (including 3 ethics and 2 bias). For more continuing-education information, contact Law School CLE at LSCLE@umn.edu or 612-625-6674.

All courses will be held in Room 25. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m., courses start at 9:00 a.m.

For more information on CLE at the U of M Law School please visit the CLE home page.

Super CLE Brochure

March 12, 2009 - Family Law in Difficult Times

Thursday, March 12
Family Law in Difficult Times

6.25 CLE credits

Professor Brian Bix
University of Minnesota
Law School

Difficult economic times raise special problems within and for Family Law. This CLE will focus on a number of these special problems: e.g., the application of the new bankruptcy rules to claims arising out of a divorce, how sudden changes of income and wealth are treated within the context of spousal support claims, child support claims, modification of support claims, the division of wealth connected to pensions or future income streams, and claims of "dissipation of assets." Beyond those topics, the CLE will also discuss a number of other central topics that display the way that Family Law has been changing in recent years, particularly as these changes relate to financial claims.

March 13, 2009 - Real Estate in Troubled Times

Friday, March 13
Real Estate in Troubled Times

6.25 CLE credits

Gregory E. Spitzer
Bradley V. Ritter
Jeffrey S. Rheeling
Jessica L. Simons
Paul Hastings

Has Real Estate Gone Green and Other Questions of Our Time?

This course will focus first on the Five (5) "W's" of Going green: Who is behind the Green Movement in Real Estate? What does it mean to be "Green" in Real Estate transactions today? Where in the United States does going "Green" matter? When, if ever, will building "Green" be the industry standard? And, Why do we care about going "Green?" During this portion of the presentation, we will review sustainability, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, environmental quality issues and a host of other topics. We will also consider the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification Standards of Silver, Gold and Platinum, and the differences, benefits and application process for each level. The second part of the course will address making your lease "Green." Lease provisions will be reviewed and analyzed from both the Landlord's and Tenant's perspective. Consideration will be given to occupancy and rental questions, common area charges, permitted uses, lease defaults and more. Finally, the course will review other recent developments in real estate law, economic development, leasing and bankruptcy matters for real estate attorneys and general practitioners.

March 14, 2009 - Responsibilities of Directors, Officers and Lawyers After the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Recent Developments in State Corporate Law

Saturday, March 14
Responsibilities of Directors, Officers and Lawyers after the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Recent Developments in State Corporate Law

6.25 CLE credits

Professor Richard W. Painter
University of Minnesota
Law School

This course briefly reviews fundamentals of securities law and fiduciary duty under state corporate law and then focuses on two major developments that have substantially enhanced legal duties imposed on directors, officers and lawyers who work for public companies.

The first development is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), which requires among other things that public companies have audit committees that supervise preparation of financial statements, certifications from top officers that financial statements are not misleading, and internal controls designed to detect fraud and other problems. The Act also requires lawyers to report securities law violations up the ladder to senior management and, if necessary, to the board of directors. The course will review each of these requirements, SEC rules and other developments in the six years since SOX, and practical steps that corporate officers, directors and lawyers have taken to comply with these requirements.

The second development is an enhanced duty of directors to monitor corporate conduct under state corporate law. Simply waiting for "red flags" suggesting misconduct is no longer sufficient. Directors are required to be informed about compliance issues and in turn put pressure on officers and lawyers to keep directors informed and to implement compliance programs. The course will review the relevant case law in this area and specific ways in which companies can assure that this duty to monitor is complied with.

The course will end with discussion of specific factors that can increase or decrease liability exposure for directors, officers and lawyers in civil suits from private plaintiffs and government enforcement actions, including criminal prosecution. Topics covered include document retention, email, the attorney-client privilege, corporate conflict of interest polices, and corporate dealings with government officials who are subject to their own conflict of interest rules. Discussion will include both substantive law and practical steps to comply with the law.

March 16, 2009 - The First Amendment: The First 90 Years, 1918-2008

Monday, March 16
The First Amendment: The First 90 Years, 1918-2008

6.25 CLE credits

Professor Dale Carpenter
University of Minnesota
Law School

This CLE will examine the Supreme Court's interpretation and application of the First Amendment's speech and religion clauses. It will begin with theories of the role of speech in a free society. It will then examine the first inklings of judicial protection for speech starting with the World War I Espionage Act cases.

Categories of 'unprotected' speech will be analyzed, including incitement, fighting words, libel, threats, and obscenity. The critical distinction between content-based and content-neutral restrictions on speech will be discussed in cases involving matters like flag-burning, nude dancing, and zoning restrictions on adult establishments. An introduction to the freedom of association will also be included.

Both of the First Amendment's religion clauses will be analyzed. The free exercise of religion will be considered in cases involving government-imposed burdens on the practice of religion, including the denial of unemployment compensation for workers who observe a Sabbath and prohibitions on the use of illegal substances for sacramental purposes. The Establishment Clause will be discussed in the context of cases involving government subsidies to religion, the presence of religion in public schools, and the display of religious texts and symbols (e.g., the Ten Commandments) on public property.

March 17, 2009 - Recent Developments in Corporate Law

Tuesday, March 17
Recent Developments in Corporate Law

6.25 CLE credits

Stacey T. Kern
Jonathan V. Temps
Ameer I. Ahmad
Fawn N. Nonaka
Paul Hastings

This course will begin by examining the global developments that have led to an increased focus on and proliferation of investments in and transactions involving alternative "green" energies, such as wind power, as opposed to merely traditional oil & gas transactions. During this portion of the presentation, we will discuss the effects of the volatility in the price of oil, the troubled TNK-BP joint venture in Russia, and the nationalization of the Venezuelan oil industry, as well as other global economic factors that emphasize the importance of the development of green energy alternatives. We will also analyze the current domestic response to the increased demand and interest in renewable energy, such as the federal production tax credits.

March 18, 2009 - Accounting and Finance for Lawyers

Wednesday, March 18
Accounting and Finance for Lawyers

6.25 CLE credits

Professor Edward S. Adams
University of Minnesota
Law School

Cash and Accrual Accounting. Materiality. Financial Ratio Analysis. Net Present Value. Discounted Cash Flow Analysis. The Capital Asset Pricing Model. The Efficient Markets Hypothesis. Are you familiar with these terms? Do you understand these concepts? Can you communicate with others using these terms? Do you understand accounting and financial concepts utilized by and central to your clients? Do you believe you might be a more valued attorney to your clients if you did? This course provides you with an overview of accounting and finance from the perspective of the practicing attorney. Among other things, this course will teach you how to:

  • Understand basic accounting principles;
  • Read an annual report and analyze financial statements;
  • Look beyond mere numbers to gauge the real financial performance and strength of a an entity; and
  • Employ cash flow analysis to value a business or determine the potential financial rewards of an investment opportunity.

March 19, 2009 - Contracts for International Sales of Goods

Thursday, March 19
Contracts for International Sales of Goods

6.25 CLE credits

Professor Oren Gross
University of Minnesota
Law School

The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (“CISG”) is an international code that attempts to harmonize and standardize substantive contract law pertaining to international sale of goods transactions. Significantly, CISG is a self-executing treaty which creates a private right of action to individuals and firms before courts in the United States. Moreover, when applicable, CISG supersedes state law and specifically the Uniform Commercial Code. Unfortunately, despite the growing use of CISG in international transactions due both to more countries becoming Contracting States and individual parties adopting CISG as the law that governs their contractual relations, few law school courses deal with this significant source of law. However, in the modern globalized market, lawyers cannot afford unfamiliarity with CISG and its unique principles and rules.

This seminar will discuss, among other things, the following issues:
  • The scope of application of CISG
  • Opting-out of and into CISG
  • CISG’s general principles (e.g., good faith)
  • Contract formation (rules of offer and acceptance; battle of the forms)
  • Contract formalities
  • Obligations of the parties
  • Breach of contract issues
  • Remedies
  • Excused performance

March 20, 2009 - Understanding the Current State of the Law in Trademarks, Copyright and Related Areas of Intellectual Property

Friday, March 20, 2009
Understanding the Current State of the Law in Trademarks, Copyright and Related Areas of Intellectual Property

6.25 CLE credits

Professor Daniel J. Gifford
University of Minnesota Law School

This course will review developments in trademark, copyright, and related areas of intellectual property. Illustrative of the topics to be covered are:
  • Trademark Protection, Infringement, Dilution, including:.
    --Impact of Moseley v. V. Secret Catalogue, 537 U.S. 418 (2003); revised federal dilution law; Minnesota Anti-dilution law; and
    --Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., 539 U.S. 23 (2003) involving the relation of the trademark law to copyright law.
  • Trade Dress, design protection issues, including Traffix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc., 532 U.S. 23 (2001) and its progeny; comparison of the design protection capabilities of trademark, copyright and other laws.
  • Internet Domain Names and the Anticybersquating Consumer Protection Act.
  • Copyright generally, including its scope and limitations.
  • Fair Use Analysis: its evolution; what is and is not transformative; reverse engineering of computer programs; photocopying practices; new approaches to art and music; other developments.
  • Moral Rights, incorporated into U.S. law pursuant to the Berne convention.
  • Software Protection under copyright law and its erosion.
  • Contractual Provisions for Copyright Owners under shrinkwrap and similar licenses.
  • Copyright Misuse doctrine and its reach. The outlines and scope of this doctrine are in flux.
  • The Antitrust/Copyright Interface, which is gaining increasing and widespread attention.
  • The digital challenge to the copyright paradigm:
    --File sharing and the Grokster litigation [Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., 545 U.S. 913 (2005)].
    --The interplay of technology and law in the protection of copyrighted works under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its anti-circumvention provisions and under earlier legislation.
    --The early digital compromises.
    --Does the advance of digital and encryption technology require a revision of the fair use doctrine?

In reviewing recent developments, the course will tie recent developments to the basic cores of trademark, copyright, and related laws. The course is designed to provide assistance to practitioners with, and without, prior experience in intellectual property.

March 21, 2009 - Ethics and the Practice of Criminal Law and Identifiying and Eliminating Bias and Discrimination in the Legal System: Codes, Cases, and Other Constraints

Saturday, March 21
Ethics and the Practice of Criminal Law and
Identifying and Eliminating Bias and Discrimination in the Legal System: Codes, Cases, and Other Constraints

5 CLE credits including 3 ethics and 2 bias

Professor Stephen M. Simon
University of Minnesota Law School

The Morning Session (Three Hours)

Ethics and the Practice of Criminal Law

This course will examine ethical issues, from both the prosecution and defense perspective, that have arisen in actual criminal cases. We will use these cases as vehicles to discuss the application, interplay and often the conflict of the rules of professional conduct, attorney-client privilege, competency of counsel and the duty of the prosecutor to seek justice. Criminal cases are fast moving and criminal trials, by their very nature, inherently involved many ethical issues. An attorney facing an ethical issue during a criminal trial or pre-trial court appearance must make a rapid decision about how to proceed. Often the decision involves conflicts between the rules of professional conduct, the attorney-client privilege and the defendant’s constitutional entitlement to a competent attorney. Ethical issues arising in criminal cases that Professor Steve Simon has participated in over the past 30 years will be the vehicles to discuss Ethics in the Practice of Criminal Law. Over the last 30 years Professor Simon has been a public defender, a prosecutor, an attorney in private practice doing criminal defense work and, for the last 28 years, Director of the Misdemeanor Defense and Prosecution Clinics at the University of Minnesota Law School. Professor Simon is also the founder and director of the Judicial Trial Skills Training Program at the law school. We will also discuss ethical issues that participants the course have experienced in their own practice.

The Afternoon Session (Two Hours)

Identifying and Eliminating Bias and Discrimination in the Legal System: Codes, Cases, and Other Constraints

In 1989, the Minnesota Supreme Court's Gender Fairness Task Force issued its final report. In 1993 the Task Force on Racial Bias issued its report. Since 1989, over 40 jurisdictions, both state and federal, have issued reports on gender or race bias in the legal system. Minnesota has also done studies of the issues faced by persons with disabilities in the legal system. These studies have uniformly found, to one degree or another, that gender and race bias by lawyers, judges, court personnel, parties and witnesses are still a fixture of the legal system. Professional rules, both for lawyers and judges have been amended to reflect the reality of these findings. The Rules and codes attempt to define such behavior as unprofessional. In many jurisdictions, lawyers are prohibited from engaging in conduct that violates laws against discrimination, or from engaging in conduct which would be considered sexual harassment. Judges have an affirmative duty to prevent biased behavior in their courtrooms.

What does this all mean for the practicing lawyer?

In this half-day course we will examine a number of issues in this challenging and changing area:
  • Is the system really biased: what do the studies show?
    -Behavior by lawyers and judges
  • What do the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit?
    -Dealing with clients and witnesses
    -Hiring practices
    -Courtroom behavior
  • What does the Code of Judicial conduct require?
    Controlling behavior of lawyers
    Reporting conduct to Disciplinary authorities
  • What do the cases say?
    -Lawyer and judge discipline
    -Tort law
    -Criminal law
  • Does the First Amendment limit the extent of prohibitions on speech or conduct?

The course will review the studies, Rules, Codes and cases. We will discuss specific scenarios for lawyers and judges and discuss the appropriate actions for lawyers and judges to prevent and correct conduct which violates professional norms.