MLS Course Information

In order to obtain a Master of Legal Studies degree (General MLS), a student must complete 30 credit hours of coursework.

Students may choose from one of five concentration areas:

  • Environment and Natural Resources
  • Human Resources
  • Patents and Intellectual Property
  • Social Justice and Non-profit Management
  • International Law and Human Rights

Other options are available based on a student’s professional goals.

Please note: if interested specifically in Environmental and Natural Resources Law, you may also consider an MLS with a major in Environmental and Natural Resources Law.

Please click here to find out about Denver Law’s extensive elective course offerings.
The current class schedule for Sturm College of Law can be found here.

Required Courses:

All Master of Legal Studies students must take L4707 – American Legal Systems, Research, and Writing. (3 credits)

Students must choose at least two of the following. (3-4 credits each)

Administrative Law | L4025

This required course provides an introduction to the administrative process of government. Topics include Constitutional issues of separation of powers; delegation of legislative and judicial power; legislative and judicial authority in government agencies; agency exercise of policy-making functions; and controls imposed on agencies by administrative procedure legislation, Constitutional principles, and judicial review of agency action. (3 credits)

Civil Procedure | L4120

This introductory course examines how Constitutional statutory and judicial rules frame the determination of court controversies. They also explore the doctrines, remedies, and other principles pertinent to judicial dispute resolution. (4 credits)

Constitutional Law | L4164

This introductory course examines the role of the United States Supreme Court and, in particular, the Court’s power in exercising judicial review in cases interpreting the U.S. Constitution. The course focuses primarily on two topics. First is the doctrine of Separation of Powers: examining the structure and interrelationship of the three branches of the federal government, Congress, the Executive Branch, and the federal judiciary. Second is the doctrine of Federalism: the relationship and power distribution between the federal government and state governments. In addition, all sections will devote part of the course to an introduction to at least one aspect of the large field of individual constitutional rights. The specific rights covered will vary by instructor. Among the possible topics are: the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the First Amendment, and/or the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause. Students who wish to gain a deeper understanding of these topics are strongly encouraged to take Constitutional Law II. (4 credits)

Contracts | L4175

This required course includes consideration of the restatement of contracts and the relevant provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code. Legal protection accorded contracts: remedies and measure of recovery; damages; specific performance; restitution. Elements of agreement: preliminary negotiations; agreements unenforceable for indefiniteness; mutual assent. Consideration and the seal; bases of contractual liability; consideration; reliance and estoppel; mutuality. Problems of offer and acceptance; termination of offeree’s power of acceptance; contracts concluded by correspondence; unilateral contacts—notice, knowledge; revocation of offer; contracts implied from conduct; special problems of consideration; third-party beneficiaries; assignment; effects of changes or unforeseen circumstances; conditions in contracts; problems of draftsmanship: express and implied conditions; conditions precedent, subsequent and concurrent; severability of contract provisions; procedures after default and The Statue of Frauds. (4 credits)

Criminal Law | L4195

The course explores the definition of crime and criminal liability. (4 credits)

Legal Profession | L4425

This required course is the study of the legal profession in American society. Topics include the history, structure, and function of the legal profession; the role of lawyers in the delivery of legal services; standards of professional ethics (including the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Rules of Professional Conduct); professional responsibility problems that confront the legal profession; developments in the delivery of legal services; disciplinary procedures; and admission to the practice of law. (3 credits)

Property | L4490

This course introduces selected topics relating to rights and interests in land and personal property. These topics include estates in land and future interests; private and/or public restriction of land use; conveyancing; interests and estates in land; and landlord/tenant relations. (4 credits)

Torts | L4610

This introductory course considers compensation for private wrongs, covering harm to persons and property, with attention to legal theories of intentional torts, negligence and strict liability. (4 credits)

Flexible Area Concentrations:

Please select at least three courses in one specialization area. (2-4 credits each)

Environment and Natural Resources

Please click here for descriptions of currently available courses for the Environment and Natural Resources concentration.

Human Resources

Advanced Topics in Anti-Discrimination Law | L4039

This seminar allows students who have already been exposed to anti-discrimination law to go into further depth in this area in order to explore its cutting edge issues. The seminar’s initial focus will be on (1) why and how we protect certain groups in the employment context, and (2) concepts of intent and causation in disparate treatment law (i.e., what exactly does it mean to say that an employer “intentionally” discriminated or that the employer discriminated “because of” an employee’s race or sex), and (3) methods of proving intent and causation. It will also deal with intent and causation in the area of sexual harassment. However, the remainder of the seminar will be largely driven by the students’ interest, as students will select their own paper topics and make multiple presentations to the other students on those topics. So a broad spectrum of topics tends to be addressed. The student papers in this course will be of the academic variety. That is, they will need to go beyond simply summarizing black letter law or doctrine; they will require original thought, such as understanding trends, analyzing, or critiquing current doctrine. The papers will be 20-30 pages. Students will turn in a detailed outline, a rough draft, and a final draft. Completion of this paper will satisfy the Upper Level Writing Requirement. (Prerequisites: A course in Employment Law or Employment Discrimination Law, though not necessary, is highly suggested. In some cases, other courses or experience will suffice.) (3 credits)

Employment Law – Benefits | L4224

This course is a statute and case law course. The course introduces students to Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the important federal law that controls the design and operation of virtually all employee benefit plans. The course offers students an understanding of the application of ERISA and how ERISA issues arise in business and private law practice. The classroom scenarios include lecture, problem solving and role playing to identify the kinds of experiences students likely will experience in private practice. (3 credits)

Gender and the Law | L4260

This course examines the role of gender in many areas of the law, including employment discrimination and reproductive rights. It provides perspectives on the effects of gender-based hierarchy on the structure of the law and legal processes. Explore contemporary feminist jurisprudence and the impact of women in the legal profession. (3 credits)

Health Law | L4276

This survey course introduces students to how the legal environment of health care shapes both its quality and its distribution. The course begins with a foundation in how health care is both provided and financed in the U.S., including managed care, Medicare, and Medicaid. This foundation sets the stage for studying the laws and policies that impact health law, including ERISA, antitrust, fraud and abuse, the False Claims Act, Stark, and HIPAA. This course does not focus on bioethics or medical malpractice. Students must submit a publishable quality paper on a health law topic approved by the professor. (3 credits)

Labor Law | L4355

Labor Law provides a background of modern labor relations law and union pressures with an historical review of the laws that shape this field. Laws covered include the National Labor Relations Act; National Labor Management Relations Act; Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959; Civil Rights Act of 1964; employer unfair labor practices; union unfair labor practices; internal affairs of labor organizations; collective bargaining and settlement of labor disputes; and state labor legislation. Also, it explores employer and union labor practices and manners in which disputes concerning these practices may be resolved. (3 credits)

Labor/Civil Rights Law Seminar | L4356

This seminar includes several readings surrounding doctrines of labor and employment law that deal with the issue of race. Readings are in the area of Critical Race theory and Civil Rights. (Prerequisites: Survey of Employment Law and Labor Law) (3 credits)

Poverty Law | L4469

This course provides an introduction to the relationship between law and poverty in the United States, with particular attention paid to how the law shapes the lives of poor people and communities. The course will include readings on the extent of poverty in the United States, access to justice, and selected legal problems (such as housing and homelessness, education, low-wage work, income support and welfare reform), with a focus on the rights-based aspect of poverty law and social policies that attempt to ameliorate poverty. Students will have the opportunity to choose either: (1) a Service Project with a public interest organization (which will meet the Public Service requirement of the law school); (2) a Research Paper (which will meet the Upper Level Writing requirement); or (3) a Final Exam. (3 credits)

Poverty and Low-Wage Work in America | L4708PLW

Poor people in America work. This seminar will explore the relationship between employment laws, low-wage work, and domestic policies as they relate to workers’ rights and poverty. The course will begin by exploring the extent of poverty in the United States, access to justice, and select legal problems and social policies that attempt to ameliorate poverty. The class will examine wage and hour protections and immigration policies that impact low-wage workers. Particular focus will be given to the employment realities of communities of color and women, where the majority of low-wage workers are concentrated. Students will have the opportunity to choose either: (1) a Service Project with a public interest organization (which will meet the Public Service requirement of the law school); (2) a Research Paper (which will meet the Upper Level Writing requirement); or (3) a Final Exam. (3 credits)

Race and Civil Rights | L4510

Does the continued consideration of race in making law and social policy move us closer to achieving equality and social justice for all? This is one of the themes which is explored in this course. The class addresses the role of race in the areas of employment, housing, voting rights, education and criminal law. (3 credits)

Sexual Orientation and the Law | L4543

This seminar offers an opportunity for students to study the relationship between law and sexual orientation. Historically, law in this country consistently and pervasively regulated the realm of human identity and behavior we call sexuality. However, questions and claims challenging traditional assumptions about sexual orientation have surfaced in the last twenty-five years. Our study of sexual orientation and law allows students to view the relationship between law and society through a new lens, that of sexual orientation. Specifically, students examine issues of sexual orientation arising in areas ranging from Constitutional law, criminal law, employment law, family law, health law, immigration law, to tax law. They discuss some or all of the currently controversial issues relating to sexual orientation and law. This includes such topics as the proliferation of both nondiscrimination laws and anti-gay initiatives like Amendment 2 in Colorado; the Constitutionality of laws prohibiting specified sexual behavior between different-sex and same-sex adults; the Constitutionality of laws limiting the right to speak about sexual identity, public and private employment; and discrimination against same-sex couples with respect to marriage, parenting, health benefits, and taxes. (3 credits)

Worker’s Compensation | L4680

The course covers compensation for employment-related injuries, addresses administrative practice before compensation boards, and analyzes issues that concern the relationships between standard litigation and administrative remedies. (3 credits)

Patents and Intellectual Property

Computers and Internet Law | L4145

Computers and Internet Law is designed to consider the areas in which computer technology and the legal environment intersect. This includes legal protection of computer software; contracting for computer services; computer data banks and privacy; the check-less society; and the relationships between Federal Communications Commission policies and computers. (3 credits)

Copyright Law | L4214

This course covers the major copyright law doctrines. Topics include the subject matter of copyright, the scope of protection, rights conferred, infringement doctrines, defenses, remedies, and attention to particular industries and recent developments in the law. Students should take L4310 – Intro to Intellectual Property prior to enrolling in this course. (3 credits)

Cyber Law | L4196

This course will explore how various legal regimes are being stressed, and may need to be re-evaluated and/or adapted, as they are being applied to human interactions on the Internet. Specifically, we will examine how the collection and transmission of information over the Internet does and should affect the application of various legal doctrines (personal jurisdiction, contracts, libel, privacy, obscenity, anonymous speech, copyright and trademark). (3 credits)

Intro to Intellectual Property | L4310

This survey course covers the basics of United States intellectual property law, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. The course addresses the policies underlying the protection of intellectual property and compares the different ways organizations and individuals can use intellectual property to protect their interests. This course is intended both for students who want an introduction to intellectual property and for those who intend to pursue a career in intellectual property law. (3 credits)

Media Law | L4433

This course addresses the First Amendment, statutory, and common law regimes under which the news media operate in the United States, ranging from the seminal New York Times v. Sullivan to the recent decisions on anonymity for online bloggers. This course is designed to provide opportunities for serious study/discussion of legal issues affecting the news media, as well as opportunities for practical experience in the tasks confronted by today’s media lawyers. Because a media lawyer’s tasks involve intense amounts of writing, the course will have four to five practical writing exercises, ranging from the drafting of a complaint to a motion to quash a subpoena, and the like. (3 credits)

Patent Law | L4471

This course reviews the major patent law doctrines. Topics include patentability requirements under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101, 102, 103, and 112, claim construction, various infringement doctrines, affirmative defenses and remedies. (3 credits)

Protecting Intellectual Property in International Business Transactions | L4415

The first portion of this seminar will cover topics such as general international conventions and treaties designed to protect intellectual property; conventions and treaties designed specifically for patents, trademarks and copyrights. Students will determine what protections to try to seek for a variety of intellectual property examples and, in pairs, if possible, negotiate and draft a licensing agreement, a manufacturing agreement, an employment agreement or some other agreement that embodies international intellectual property issues. Students will then choose a topic, such as patent, trademark or copyright issues in a particular region or particular industry. Each student will prepare a presentation for the class on the topic. Then the student will use the class feedback in conjunction with research for the presentation to complete a paper on the topic. The drafting and paper will take the place of a final exam. The paper qualifies for the Upper Level Writing Requirement. (3 credits)

Trademark Law | L4115

This course covers the major trademark law doctrines. Topics include the acquisition and preservation of trademark rights, false advertising claims, infringement doctrines, defenses, and remedies, with attention to internet issues and recent developments in the law. (3 credits)

Social Work and Non-Profit Management

Crimmigration Law Seminar | L4561

This seminar addresses the historical and contemporary relationship between criminal and immigration law. In particular, the course explores how individuals perceived to have violated a criminal offense are treated in the immigration law system, how individuals thought not to be citizens of the United States are uniquely affected by criminal procedure norms and substantive criminal law, and how states and the federal government have sought to police criminal activity by noncitizens. In the process, course participants will learn to analyze constitutional, statutory, and regulatory provisions concerning immigration, as well as procedural and substantive requirements concerning criminal proceedings as they affect noncitizens. Participants will also consider the motivations that resulted in various enforcement policies grounded in civil or criminal law related to immigration and immigrants. (3 credits)

Critical Race Reading Seminar | L4701

This seminar provides a unique opportunity for Denver Law students to earn one credit by studying a significant topic related to the law and racial justice. The seminar will allow students to begin to develop 1) a substantive understanding of the application of critical race theory to a variety of contemporary legal and social issues, and 2) a sense of professional identity through the examination of lawyering practice in the context of critical race theory. Topics discussed generally change each semester to respond to current events and pressing needs and interests. (2 credits)

Elder Law | L4203

This course explores a range of issues relevant to legal counseling of elderly clients. Students learn to counsel their clients in areas such as Medicaid, guardianships, and right-to-die issues. (3 credits)

Extremism and the Law | L4246

Racism. Sexism. Gay-bashing and immigrant-bashing. These are the creeds of America’s domestic extremists. From the Ku Klux Klan to the Westboro Baptist Church, hate groups represent our nation’s ongoing battle with domestic terrorism. In this course, students analyze the ways in which extremist groups impact the law. How should hate and extremism be defined in the domestic context? In what ways do extremist ideologies and hate groups influence mainstream ideologies and policies? How do the activities of domestic terrorists influence the development and implementation of laws? Are laws, such as hate crimes statutes, desirable? How should our nation balance the First Amendment rights of hate mongers with the rights of others and with the harms inflicted on others? When should hate speech, for example, become legally actionable? This course touches on many areas of the law, including torts, criminal law, employment discrimination and the First Amendment. (3 credits)

Family Law | L4240

This course is an examination of laws that involve and/or regulate families. Students learn the legal rights of families in cases incidental to marriage or without marriage. This includes child-parent relationships and the dissolution of marriage. This class also provides students with an understanding of new familial relationships. (3 credits)

Federal Indian Law | L4300

This introductory course surveys the body of “Federal Indian Law,” focusing on the legal relationship between Indian nations and the United States, including implications of this relationship for states and individual citizens. The course covers the historical origins of federal Indian common law, the development of federal Indian policy, and tribal sovereignty in the modern era (tribal property, jurisdiction, criminal and civil governance, and economic development including gaming). It may provide a brief introduction to the Indian Child Welfare Act, religious and cultural freedoms, tribal law, and indigenous peoples in international law, if time allows. (3 credits)

Gender and the Law | L4260

This course examines the role of gender in many areas of the law, including employment discrimination and reproductive rights. It provides perspectives on the effects of gender-based hierarchy on the structure of the law and legal processes. Explore contemporary feminist jurisprudence and the impact of women in the legal profession. (3 credits)

Health Law | L4276

This survey course introduces students to how the legal environment of health care shapes both its quality and its distribution. The course begins with a foundation in how health care is both provided and financed in the U.S., including managed care, Medicare, and Medicaid. This foundation sets the stage for studying the laws and policies that impact health law, including ERISA, antitrust, fraud and abuse, the False Claims Act, Stark, and HIPAA. This course does not focus on bioethics or medical malpractice. Students must submit a publishable quality paper on a health law topic approved by the professor. (3 credits)

International Law and Human Rights

Human Rights Law | L4290

The course provides an introduction to international civil and political rights and economic, social, and cultural rights in the international arena. It also covers the means available to protect such rights of the individual and groups. The focus is on the implementation part at the United Nations and other international, regional and national settings. (2 credits)

Immigration Law | L4295

This is a study of the historical development and current jurisprudence in American immigration law. The course examines such concepts as sovereign authority, exclusion, expulsion and asylum, and current developments in the area. (3 credits)

International Human Rights | L4319

The seminar begins with a general overview of international human rights as put forth in the International Bill of Rights. The second part of the course focuses on the emerging area of corporate social responsibility and human rights. The last part of the seminar consists of student presentations on the topics of the research papers required for the course. (3 credits)

International Human Rights: Indigenous People | L4288

This course explores some of the major contemporary legal issues facing indigenous peoples across the globe. The course covers issues as far ranging as: how indigenous groups are defined under the law; ethical and legal issues pertaining to indigenous self-governance including the tension between minority rights, individual rights, and democratic precepts; the uneasy application of self-determination law to indigenous self-governance; the implications of human rights, environmental, intellectual property, and international trade regimes for indigenous peoples; and international legal texts affecting indigenous peoples, such as the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the option of the individual student, this course can be used to satisfy the Upper Level Writing requirement (ULW). (3 credits)

Juvenile Law | L4350

This course examines the legal parameters surrounding juveniles. Students gain a basic understanding of juvenile law, such as the legal definition of who is considered a child and the allocation of power between the state, parent(s), and the children. The class examines what protection the Constitution provides children and the historical development and philosophy of juvenile justice to understand the foundation of juvenile law. The focus of the class also includes an examination of rights of abused children and children who are delinquents and status offenders. (3 credits)

Latinas, Latinos and the Law | L4708L

This course will examine present-day and historic treatment of Latinas and Latinos in U.S. law and culture. Special attention will be paid to the diversity within and the different histories of the groups that comprise Latinas and Latinos. A significant portion of the course will be devoted to examining the state of race relations in the United States along with attention to Critical Race Theory and the emerging critical Latina/o legal theory movement known as “LatCrit.” Students will be graded on reflection papers, two other short writing projects, and classroom participation. (3 credits)

Negotiation and Mediation | L4460

This course introduces students to negotiation and mediation theory and practice. The course focuses on the development of the analytical and interpersonal skills necessary to be successful in negotiations and mediations, whether as advocates or neutrals. Readings will include case studies and articles from law, business, psychology and social work written by theorists and practitioners. Negotiation and mediation skills will be developed by dispute simulations in which the students will have the opportunity to play the roles of clients, advocates and neutrals. Readings and simulations will draw from a wide variety of dispute subject matter, such as civil litigation, family, victim-offender, commercial, employment and public disputes. (3 credits)

Multiculturalism, Race and the Law Seminar | L4446

This course is designed to examine the interstices of cultures, race, identity and the law as manifested in legislation and jurisprudence. Through case law and articles, we will uncover and examine the ways in which legal systems define and promote certain racial and cultural activities, identities, and classifications and discourage others. Some are advanced as legitimate, and deserving of protection, and others not so. These endorsements have a significant impact on the makeup of American society. We see ourselves as a melting pot of cultures and peoples from all over the world, but do our laws really promote this vision? Have our laws evolved to promote racial and cultural harmony, or to discourage it? While most discussion will focus on these issues as they appear in the United States, we will also discuss cases and materials from other nations, including Australia, Canada, India, Israel, Europe and Africa. Race and culture have played a pivotal role in historical and current political events and these will also be examined from a global perspective. There will be no final exam, but written work will be assigned throughout the term, and a final research paper is required. (3 credits)

Poverty Law | L4469

This course provides an introduction to the relationship between law and poverty in the United States, with particular attention paid to how the law shapes the lives of poor people and communities. The course will include readings on the extent of poverty in the United States, access to justice, and selected legal problems (such as housing and homelessness, education, low-wage work, income support and welfare reform), with a focus on the rights-based aspect of poverty law and social policies that attempt to ameliorate poverty. Students will have the opportunity to choose either: (1) a Service Project with a public interest organization (which will meet the Public Service requirement of the law school); (2) a Research Paper (which will meet the Upper Level Writing requirement); or (3) a Final Exam. (3 credits)

Race, Class and Reproductive Justice | L4378

This course examines how the legal regulation of human reproduction affects women of different race and class statuses, resulting in a two-tiered system of reproductive rights in the United States. It covers not only the constitutional jurisprudence since Roe v. Wade, but a variety of other topics, including: access to contraception; abortion protests and the First Amendment; the criminal prosecution of pregnant women under feticide and “personhood” laws; wrongful birth and selective abortion; reproduction and incarceration; and reproductive issues relevant to LGBTs. The seminar is designed to improve students’ practice skills in addition to conveying substantive knowledge about the course topic. It will include at least three simulated exercises, intended to provide experience in ethical and professional role issues, written and oral advocacy, client communication, and statutory analysis. There will also probably be a short “thought” paper based on the readings and class discussions. (3 credits)

Sexual Orientation and the Law | L4543

This seminar offers an opportunity for students to study the relationship between law and sexual orientation. Historically, law in this country consistently and pervasively regulated the realm of human identity and behavior we call sexuality. However, questions and claims challenging traditional assumptions about sexual orientation have surfaced in the last twenty-five years. Our study of sexual orientation and law allows students to view the relationship between law and society through a new lens, that of sexual orientation. (3 credits)

Students may also earn up to 6 semester credits from DU another unit, including courses offered by the Master of Science in Legal Administration program. Department pre-approval required.