Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Faculty Publication: Craig Allen on Teaching Admiralty Law at the UW

Perhaps no other legal topic conjures richer historical images than admiralty law. One can imagine the wooden ships on the high seas, sails in the wind, crashing through the waves.

In spite of the images, admiralty law is far from being a historical relic. In Getting the "Story" out: Teaching Admiralty at the University of Washington, St. Louis Univ. L. J. 621-32 (2011), Professor Craig Allen points out that admiralty touches a number of current legal issues.

Through the article, Professor Allen introduces admiralty as a highly relevant and engaging subject. Though not directly tested on the Washington State Bar, Professor Allen points out that many third year students find the course to be invaluable in bar preparation. Many bar-tested issues are reviewed through the admiralty course, including concepts in constitutional law, torts, and civil procedure.

In addition to unique subject matter, the admiralty course at the UW is taught in an innovative fashion. Shunning the traditional law school model, admiralty is taught as a “mastery course.” In contrast to traditional law courses, mastery courses emphasize more practical problem-solving skills. Rather than a single essay exam, students are given a number of written assignments over the quarter that require them to answer strategic questions that lead to an ultimate outcome.

Admiralty Law courses at the UW are currently offered in alternating years. Sadly, two courses, International Law of the Sea and the Marine Law and Policy Seminar will not be offered this year. However, U.S. Coastal and Ocean Law will be offered in the Spring.

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