Fall 2022 Course Schedule

American Legal Institutions (LLM Only) (LAW-580-001)
William Berenson

Meets: 01:00 PM - 02:50 PM (W) - Warren - Room N102

Enrolled: 40 / Limit: 45

Administrator Access


There are no notices at this time.


Designed for foreign students in LLM programs, the course is a survey of the core substantive areas of American law and the legal profession in the United States. It also provides an overview of Anglo-American common law.

Textbooks and Other Materials

The textbook information on this page was provided by the instructor. Students should use this information when considering purchases from the AU Campus Store or other vendors. Students may check to determine if books are currently available for purchase online.

The primary text for this course is Abernathy, Law in the United States: Cases and Materials, 3rd Edition, published in 2021 by the International Law Institute in cooperation with Georgetown University Law Center (hereinafter, "Abernathy"). It is far from ideal, but it is the best text currently available for treating the wide range of topics covered in this course. You may be able to pick up a used copy of the 2nd edition, published in 2016, which, will be significantly less expensive than new and used copies of the 3rd edition. The 2nd edition has 90% of the same materials. If you do that, try to get a copy of last Spring’s syllabus, which will give you the page numbers for most of the assigned readings for each of the 14 classes. Additional required reading for the course is in American Legal Institutions, Supplementary Reading Materials – Fall 2022, (“Supplement”), and on the class MYWCL Webpage (“MYWCL”), as assigned below.

You may want to purchase for reference and background reading K. Hegland, Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law In a Nutshell, 7th Ed.(West, St. Paul 2017). We will not discuss this book directly in class; however, it should be of great use to those who are not familiar with common law analysis techniques and it is a good simplification and synthesis of those techniques for those who are. The entire book, and particularly the pages recommended herein, will assist you greatly in reading the other materials assigned in this class and in your other classes. If you want to economize, you may be able to buy the 3rd Edition (2000) or the 4th (2003) used. There are few differences between the three.

The weekly readings “marked “Required” under the heading in Abernathy, the Supplement, and the Class MYWCL Webpage are mandatory. Those marked “Of interest” are for your further edification. Many of the “Of interest” materials are on the MYWCL page, the Supplement, or otherwise available on line, at the reserve desk at the library, or in the general library collection.

We will not discuss every case in the required readings and you will not be responsible on the Final Exam for cases and other materials listed as required that we do not discuss in class. Nonetheless, reading what is required will be necessary for most of you to get the most out of my lectures and class discussion. And by the way, you do NOT have to memorize case names.

You should purchase a good legal dictionary for use in this course and your other studies at the Law School. I suggest Blacks. Many of you will want to purchase bilingual English/your native language) legal dictionaries as well.

Over the past few years, I have adopted the practice of sending out by email and posting on the MYWCL page a detailed outline of the weekly lecture, as well as copies of the hypotheticals to be discussed in office hours. Keep a lookout for those documents. You will find them very helpful.

Finally, you should consult MYWCL/ALI regularly for announcements, modifications to the Syllabus, and podcasts of make-up classes. Also, I may post on the page additional materials of interest. for your reference.

First Class Readings


Video, “Staying Healthy,” on class MYWCL page. Supplement or MYWCL: Bates v. Arizona, Syllabus; Goldfarb v. Virginia, Syllabus; Supreme Court of New Hampshire v. Piper; ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Preamble and Scope, Rules 8.3 -8.5, 5.1 -5.3, Preamble, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 1.5, 1.6, 4.1, 1.13, 1.18, 3.3; Summary Sheet -- “Pillars of Rules of Professional Conduct”

Of interest:

Hegland, Introduction to the Study and Practice of Law in a Nutshell (hereinafter "Hegland"), any edition (1-7): Section 20 to Rule XI of the Rules Governing the District of Colombia Bar, at MYWCL; 2022 Bar Admissions at https://www.ncbex.org/publications/bar-admissions-guide/; Statistics on Malpractice and Discipline, class MYWCL page.


Use your MyAU username and password to access the syllabus in the following format(s):