The courses of the Columbia Summer Program 2019 are to be announced. To paint a broader picture of our previous courses please see below information.

Courses for 2018

Courses that are marked with (*) are mandatory. 

Tax Policy by Professor Alex Raskolnikov

This course will introduce students to fundamental issues of U.S. federal income taxation, including the choice of tax base, the extent of redistribution, the choice of taxpaying unit, tax incidence, imputed income, and tax arbitrage. It will also give students a taste of the Internal Revenue Code, U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence, and the academic critique of judicial decisions and statutory choices reflected in the U.S. tax law. All of the key concepts and choices to be discussed are not U.S.-specific.

Constitutional Law by Professor Mark Barenberg*

This course explores the basic structure of the United States Constitution; judicial review; separation of powers;federalism; Congressional power; freedom of speech, press and religion; equal protection; and, privacy.

Contracts by Professor Joshua Mitts*

This course introduces the common law approach to contract law. We explore judicial theories of promise-making, contract formation and interpretation, remedies for breach, and excuses. We will identify the contours of "ideal" contract law and assess the extent to which American law departs from the ideal.

Corporate Law by Professor Curtis Milhaupt           

This course considers selected topics in United States corporation law. The topics center around the role of law in structuring the relationships among shareholders, management, and other stakeholders in modern business corporations. In addition to introducing students to the relevant bodies of law, the course may address the business and policy considerations at stake in various contexts.

Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring by Professor Ed Morrison

This is a brief survey of the United States Bankruptcy Code, with special emphasis on Chapter 11 corporate reorganization. To what extent does the bankruptcy process protect firms from creditor collection efforts? What other risk do creditors face? Who runs the firm in bankruptcy? The second week of the course turns to special issues in corporate reorganizations. Since at least 2000, most Chapter 11 cases have concluded in a sale of the entrie firm (a "going concern sale"), not a traditional reorganization. Examples include Lethman Brothers, Chrysler, and General Motors. Why have going-concern sales become a dominant outcome in Chapter 11? Under what conditions do we see sales instead of reorganizations? Do the answers to these questions depend on whether the firm is a financial institution (e.g., Lehman) or a non-financial business (e.g., Chrysler and General Motors)?

Health Law and Policy by Professor Kristen Underhill

The health care sector comprises more than a sixth of the United States economy.  But why does the US health care system differ so dramatically from the rest of the world?  How do we pay so much more for care than other countries, while national health outcomes are no different from elsewhere?  Are lawsuits against healthcare providers to blame?  This course will provide an overview of health care in the US, including rights to health and health care, governmental involvement in care financing, liability for medical malpractice, issues in patient autonomy, and regulation to advance public health.

Torts by Professor Benjamin Liebman

This class will provide an introduction to central issues in American tort law. Torts is the common law field governing civil liability not arising out of contract. The sweep of the field is exceptionally broad, and tort law has long been one of the most contentious topics in the American legal system. In recent decades, tort law principles have been front and center in successive waves of novel disputes, ranging from toxic substance exposure and an array of mass injury cases, to tobacco and handgun litigation. Moreover, the law of torts supplies background principles of causation, damages, and mental state that animate the interpretation of many modern regulatory and statutory regimes.

In this course we will discuss some of the fundamental prnciples that underlie American tort law, as well as crucial contemporary issues. Topics to be covered will include the role of scientific evidence, medical malpractice, products liability punitive damages and alternatives to the traditional tort system (including the 9/11 compensation fund).

Litigation by Professor Brett Dignam*

The Litigation and Moot Court course will introduce students to the principles of American civil litigation.  Students will examine relevant rules and discuss cases that flesh out those rules. They will also have the opportunity to develop trial skills though the presentation of evidence, examination of witnesses and presentation of oral arguments in the context of a mock trial.

Study materials

Participants will be provided with readers. Study materials will be distributed upon arrival.

Preliminary reading

Before attending the Program, participants are advised to read:

G. Fletcher and S. Sheppard, American Law in a Global Context: The Basics (Oxford University Press).