Law, Language & Values

Fall 2017
Prof. Daniel Klerman


I will be organizing lunches with small groups of students. Sign-up sheets will be availble in class. Lunches are on the 4th floor outdoor patio and will usually take place on Fridays starting at 12:30. The door to the roof patio is between rooms 433 and 434. Please meet me near the doors to 433 and 434 at 12:30. Discussion need not be limited to LL&V. In fact, I hope it's not. To preserve an informal atmosphere, I will limit lunch to 10 students. Please bring your lunch or purchase it before 12:30.


Because I will be posting an audio recording of each class as well as my PowerPoint Slides and model answers, it may be tempting to skip class. To counteract that temptation, class attendance is mandatory.

Class Participation

Participation in class discussion is an essential part of the learning process, because it helps you get more comfortable with public speaking and thinking on your feet, and because lisenting carefully to answers provided by fellow students helps you see things from different perspectives. My empahsis on class participation and writing (below) reflects my view that students learn most when they are actively engaged rather than passively read and listen.  This view goes back at least to Benjamin Franklin, who wrote, "“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”  I will call on students randomly, whether they volunteer to answer a particular question or not. I will sometimes ask for volunteers.  If you are particularly anxious about being called on in class, please talk to me so that we can find a way to make you more comfortable.

Email Me If You Will be Absent or Unprepared

If you are unprepared for class or you know you will be absent, please e-mail me at well before class begins (at least 15 minutes, and preferably the night before). It is better for everyone if I do not call on someone who is absent or unprepared.  If you email me for this purpose, please put "LLV" in the subject line so that I know to read your email before class begins.

Laptops and Other Screens

Devices with screens -- laptops, tablets, cellphones, eReaders, iPads, Kindles, and similar devices --- may not be used during class for notes or for any other purpose. While in class, please focus on thinking, not note taking. To make most note taking unnecessary, I will distribute my PowerPoint slides and post an audio recording of each class.

Prof. Klerman's Office Hours

M 11/27 2-3PM in Rm 460

Th 12/7 noon-5PM in Rm 460

Fridays, 3-4PM starting in Rm. 101 (where I am teaching LLV 2-3PM) and then in my office (Rm. 460)

Other times by appointment.

I will also try to answer as many questions as possible in the classroom immediately after each class, unless I have a conflicting obligation. 

Note that office hours are canceled when that day's class is canceled (e.g. 9/22, 10/6, and 10/13). Make-up office hours will be announced

Teaching Assistant Office Hours

Thursdays 1-1:50PM  in Library Room 307A.

You can also email a TA to schedule a meeting. (See contact info below)


Teaching Assistant Names and Email Addresses

Katy Carlyle.
Jong-Min Choi
. jongmin.choi.2019@lawmail.usc.ed

Jihyuk Song.

Prof. Klerman's Contact Information
Phone: (213) 740-7973
Fax: (213) 740-5502
Office: Room 460
Mailbox: Room 305


Prof. Klerman's Assistant, Chris Emerson


Phone: 213 740 2099

Office: Rm. 444

Note that Chris Emerson is not a law student.  He is a full-time USC employee.  In some places, he might be called a secretary.

Class Schedule and Materials

The topics to be covered in each class are tentative and subject to change at any time (with adequate notice, of course). Note that class on Fridays will go until 3PM (not 2:50).  This will obviate the need to schedule a make-up class for September 22 and October 6. The review class will make-up for October 13. 


Class #

Date Topic Slides Model Answers Handouts
1 M 8/21 Smith v US LLV01 LLV01M  
2 F 8/25 Garrett, Warden Grim LLV02 LLV02M  
3 M 8/28 Weber LLV03 LLV03M  
4 F 9/1 National Society, In re Akers-Baker Transfer (1) LLV04 LLV04M  
  M 9/4 No Classes. Labor Day      
5 F 9/8 Common Law I LLV05 LLV05M  
6 M 9/11 Common Law II LLV06 LLV06M  
7 F 9/15 Common Law III LLV07 LLV07M  
8 M 9/18 Common Law IV: Jones v UP LLV08 LLV08M  
  F 9/22 Class Canceled      
9 M 9/25 Dworkin & Scalia; US v Diamond LLV09 LLV09M  
10 F 9/29 Cost-benefit analysis LLV10 LLV10M  
11 M 10/2 Non-monetary costs/benefits LLV11 LLV11M  
  F 10/6 Class Canceled      
  M 10/9 No USC Law Classes      
12 T 10/10

Monday Classes meet on Tuesday


LLV12 LLV12M  
  F 10/13 Class Canceled      
13 M 10/16 Coase Theorem LLV13 LLV13M  
14 F 10/20 Sarnoff LLV14 LLV14M  
15 M 10/23 Cleaner Skies LLV15 See 10/27  
16 F 10/27

Double class. 1-3PM

Cleaner Skies (continued)

Information & Gilson


LLV16M Cleaner Skies

LLV16M Information

17 M 10/30 King v Burwell LLV17 LLV17M  
18&19 F 11/3

Double class. 1-3PM

Rights I.

Rights II. Gould Virus


No model answer for Trolley Problem etc.

LLV18 (Gould Virus)

20 M 11/6 Legal Realism LLV20


21 F 11/10 Rules & Standards LLV21

Exam memo for In re Akers Baker Transfer


22 M 11/13 Drug Discovery & Distribution Act LLV22 LLV22M  
23 F 11/17 2009 Exam (Los Paisanos) LLV23 See LLV24M below


24 M 11/20 2009 Exam (To Have Once Been a Beetle) LLV24 LLV24M

2016 Exam (Brown Lung)

2015 Exam (Kidney Transplants)

  F 11/24 No USC Classes. Thanksgiving Break      
  M 11/27 Class Canceled      
  F 12/1

TA-Led Review Class (Optional)

2016 Exam (Brown Lung)

  2016 Model Answer  
25 Th. 12/7

Review Class. 10AM Rm. 101.

2015 Exam (Kidney Transplants)

  2015 Model Answer  


Writing Assignments
I plan to assign short, graded writing assignments for each class. These assignments serve three very important functions. (1) Writing helps you think more clearly. (2) These writing assignments are good practice for exams. (3) These writing assignments are good practice for the writing you will be doing in your legal careers. 


My assistant, Chris Emerson, will email you your writing group number.  The PowerPoint slides explaining the assignment will state which writing group should do which question(s).

These writing assignments will be short. You will be responsible for roughly one question per class. Sometimes you will be responsible for two or three questions. Sometimes you will be reponsible for zero questions.  If you have written one, thoughtful, single-spaced page (with reasonable font and margins), you may stop and receive full credit, even if you have not fully answered the assigned question or questions.  If you answer the assigned question(s) thoughtfully in less than one pages, that is also fine. You are also free to write more than one pages. In fact, I encourage you to write more than one page, if you think you need more than one page to throroughly answer the assigned question(s), although that will rarely be necessary. However, if you are pressed for time, you may stop when you have written one page.  That is, you are required to either (a) answer the question(s) thoughtfully (whether that takes less than one page or more than two page), or (b) write at least one thoughtful page (even if you don't fully answer the question(s)). I don't expect polished prose. I just want to ensure that you are thinking carefully about the issues.

When you submit your writing assignments, please use the following format for the document name:


[Last name][First name][Group number][Number of class for which assignment is due][Short description of assignment]


So, if I was in writing group 1 and was turning in the assignment for the second class on questions relating the Garrett readings, the document would be named:




Using this naming convention will make it much easier for the TAs to keep track of your assignments.

Writing assignments should be submitted in Microsoft Word format by 1:45PM to Blackboard. To submit through Blackboard, log on to Blackboard through the portal or by typing in your browser's address box. Select the course (Law Language and Values), navigate to “Assignments” (left-hand navigation pane), and locate that day’s writing assignment. Upload your assignment in Microsoft Word format and click “Submit.”  You will not receive a confirmation email, but you can confirm the assignment was submitted successfully by returning to the assignment’s page on Blackboard.


You may discuss the questions with classmates (and, indeed, I encourage you to do so), but assignments must be written up independently. You may not consult persons who have taken LLV before. You may not research any of the assignments. You must do them solely by consulting class materials. The only other source you may consult is a legal dictionary or regular dictionary. You you may NOT use the internet to research the law or find cases that you think are relevant. You may not consult any materials prepared by me for a prior year's class nor any materials prepared by former LLV students. At the bottom of each assignment, please type:


I have not consulted any materials other than those assigned for this class and a dictionary.

Writing assignments will be read and commented on by the class TA. He or she will also pass along to me papers which he thinks either (a) do not show adequate effort or (b) show outstanding understanding of the materials. Grades of those who, in my opinion, submit papers not showing adequate effort may be decreased, while grades of those who, in my opinion, submit outstanding papers may be increased. You may skip four writing assignments assigned to your group without permission or making them up. In addition to answering questions assigned to your writing group, you are encouraged to answer questions assigned to other writing groups, because you will learn by writing out the answers and from the feedback the TA provides.  If you turn in answers to questions not assigned to your writing group, you will get a small amount of extra credit. 

For writing assignment grades, click HERE to open the link and find your writing group number at the bottom of the spreadsheet. To preserve anonymity, your grade is listed according to the webnumber my assistant, Chris Emerson, will have emailed you.

If you turn in only answers to the required questions, you will probably get a 7. If one of your answers is outstanding, you will receive a 9. If your answers show inadequate effort (which is rare), you will get a 0. 


If you turn in answers to all the questions (required and mandatory), will will probalby get an 8. If one of your answers is outstanding, you will receive a 10. If your answers to the mandatory questions show inadequate effort (which is rare), you will get a 0. 

If no required questions were assigned, but you turn in answers to answers to all optional questions, you will probably get a 1.  You will get a 3 if one of your answers was outstanding.  You will get an "N" if your your writing shows inadequate effort.

If you turn in answers to the required questions and some, but not all, optional questions, your paper will be graded as though you had turned in answers only to required questions, except you have more chances to get a 9, because there are more answers that might be outstanding.  Turning in answers to optional questions is also worthwhile, even if you do not answer all the optional quesitons, because you will learn from writing out your answers and from feedback from the TAs.

If no required questions were assigned, but you turn in answers to some, but not all, optional questions, you will probably receive an N.  If one of your answers is outstanding, you will receive a 2.  Turning in answers to optional questions is also worthwhile, even if you do not answer all the optional quesitons, because you will learn from writing out your answers and from feedback from the TAs.

If you fail to turn in a required assignment by the beginning of class, you will receive a zero.

If you turn in an assignment late (but before class begins), an asterisk (*) will be added to your grade.

If your failure to turn in a required assignment is excused by me, you will receive an E.

Note that TAs are instructed to give count as "outstanding" only the two or three best answers to a question.  Also, answers to questions that are easy (and therefore that nearly everyone answers equally well) cannot count as "outstanding."


The chart below summarizes the grading system. If the criteria for more than one grade bewteen 1 and 10 seems to apply, the higher grade is granted:

0 -- Paper not turned in, not received by 2PM of day due, or shows inadequate effort
1 -- Good answers to all optional questions

2 -- Outstanding answer to at least one question

3 -- Outstanding answer to at least one question & good or outstanding answers to all optional questions,
7 -- Good answer to required question(s)

8 -- Good answers to all required and optional questions

9 -- Outstanding answer to at least one question & good or oustanding answer to required question(s)

10 -- Oustanding answer to at least one required or optional question & good answers to all other required or optional questions
E -- Excused. Paper not received, but for reason accepted by Prof. Klerman. Other assignment turned in as substitute on another day.
N -- No mandatory writing assigned for that day, and no optional writing turned in; Or optional writing turned in, but not complete and no outstanding answers, or shows inadequate effort.

* added to one of the above grades-- Late paper (e.g. received between 1:45AM and 2PM of day due)



Audio Recordings
Audio recordings of every class will be posted soon after the relevant class has ended.  To access recordings, log onto Blackboard, choose the relevant course, and click on "Content” in the left panel.


Model Answers
Model answers to all class writing assignments will be distributed after all question have been discussed in class. Distribution will use Hogo, a secure document sharing and distrubtion service.  I wrote these model answers myself.   Model answers cannot be printed, downloaded, or shared.  This enables me to reuse questions from year-to-year, and ensure that no students have an unfair advantage through access through answers to the prior year's questions. Even if you figure out how to defeat Hogo's security provisions, please do not share model answers with students in future classes or anyone else.  Giving answers to future students will not really help them (because they will not have the benefit of learning the material themselves) and will cause unfairness.

Newspapers and Public Radio

If you don't already do so, I strongly encourage you to start keeping up with current events by subscribing to a daily newspaper and/or listening to public radio. As a lawyer, you need to understand business, politics and culture in order to understand your clients' problems and perspectives. In addition, such understanding will help you interview better for jobs, make you a better citizen, and make you a more interesting conversation partner at parties and other events. As a student, you are eligible for substantial discounts. In particular, I recommend:

The Wall Street Journal. $1 per week print and digital subscription.

The New York Times. $1 per week web and smartphone subscription.

KPCC. 89.3 FM. online at Free mobile apps.

Note also that, if you are planning to live in a different city after graduation, you can listen to the public radio station(s) for that city on the web and via free mobile apps. That way you can get relevant local as we well as national and international news. Many cities' newspapers are also available online, but local newspapers are not a substitute for national newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

Limited Circulation of Class Materials
Class materials, including model answers, PowerPoint Slides and audio recordings, are for use by Fall 2017 LLV students only. You may not share them with future LLV students or anyone else. Doing so would be a violation of both USC Law School rules and copyright law. The purpose of this policy is to preserve my ability to ask some in-class questions in future classes. If model answers, PowerPoint Slides, audio recordings, or other class materials are shared with next year's class, students with access to those materials will have an unfair advantage and will be deprived of the benefit of working out the answers themselves.

Reading Ahead

I do not recommend reading ahead, because each reading builds upon the prior class's discussion. So, if, for example, you try to do both Monday's and Friday's readings over the weekend, you will not be able to fully comprehend Friday's readings, because you will not yet have had the benefit of Monday's class discussion.  If you have extra time, I suggest you review rather than read ahead. If, because of special circumstances, you need to read ahead, please let me know and I will give you the assignment in advance.  If your need to read ahead is related to a disability for which confidentiality is desired, please contact the appropriate administrator so that your request can be transmitted to me anonymously.


Unless specifically stated, I neither expect nor encourage you to do legal research when preparing for my class.  Legal research is a very important skill, but it is not a significant part of this class.  When I assign questions, I expect you to answer them based on class materials.  Even when I give you a question that is based on a real case, I discourage you from trying to find the case upon which the question was based. I discourage research for three reasons.  (1) I may have changed the facts of a case, so the reasoning in the case may not be applicable to the question I have asked.  (2) In class, I am seldom looking for a single right answer.  Rather, I am hoping that you will discover several plausible ways of addressing the legal issue. If you find a case on point, you may find one plausible answer to my question, but not other plausible answers.  (3) The key goal of this class (and most of your legal education) is to help you learn how to make good legal arguments on your own.  If you find legal arguments through research, you won't develop the skills you need to formulate your own legal arguments. For similar reasons, I discourage you from trying to consult materials from prior years of my class (and former students are forbidden to share them with you).


Blackboard Quizzes

For some classes, I will post multiple-choice questions to Blackboard. They can be found in the "Assignments" section of Blackboard. These questions are to help you learn the material. They are required, but I do not plan to include your scores in your grades. Nevertheless, please note that I can see if you have completed the quizz and how you did. If I find that a substantial number of students are not completing the Blackboard quizzes or are not taking them seriously, I reserve the right to start including Blackboard quizz grades in your final grade. If I do so, I will announce the change in class, and only quizzes taken after the announcement will count toward your grade. After you “submit” your answer to each question, please be sure to click on “ok” in the lower right hand corner to “review results.” This will tell you if you got the right answer, and it will provide an explanation of the legal reasoning behind the correct answer. This feedback is a key part of why I am putting questions on Blackboard. I want you to get feedback on the easy questions (the ones I put on Blackboard) before you tackle the harder questions (the ones we will discuss in class).


Exam Info

In class exam (multiple choice). Friday, December 8, 9AM. Open book. Calculator and Dictionary ok.

Take home (essay or essays). Friday, December 8, 1-9PM. Open book. Information from Dean Jones:

The take-home exam should be available electronically on the myLaw Portal. You should be able to download it from the portal and re-upload it to the portal within the time limit. Students will not pick up a physical exam, nor will they have to return to campus to submit the completed exam.

Prof. Klerman’s exam(s) will be available to download at 1:00pm on each scheduled exam date. The exam timing is 8 hours and all exam answers must be uploaded to the law portal no later than 9:00pm on the designated exam date.

Students type in Word. Softest is not an option for a take home exam. 



Assignment for First Class

I. Email my assistant, Chris Emerson, by 9AM Friday morning, August 18.

The subject line should read: LLV webnumber

The Body of the email should have two pieces of information

1. The first name you would like me to use in class.  For example, if your first name is "Michael," put "Mike" if you would like me to use that nickname or "Michael" if you would like me to use your formal name.

2. A phonetic guide to any part or parts of your name that are hard to pronounce. For example, I might write, "Klerman rhymes with turban."

Chris will email you back with your writing group and web #.  For an explanation of your writing group and web #, see "Writing Assignments" below.

II.  Please make sure that you received an email from me on Tuesday, August 15, at your address.  If you did not receive an email from me, please contact USC Law Computing Help to resolve the issue. More generally, please make sure that you have set up your email so that you can easily check your account at least once a day.  Not infrequently, I send clarifications or modifications of assignments through email, and it is important that you receive such emails.  More generally, although you may prefer texting or social media for personal communication, email remains the standard for professional and business communication, so it is a good idea to get used to checking your email regularly. 

III.. Read this webpage carefully. We will not review its contents in class, but you are responsible for all of the rules and policies described on it.

IV. Take the Blackboard quizzes labeled "Administrative Q1," "Administative Q2" through "Administrative Q5."  Each "quiz" is one question, so there are 5 questions.  They are easy and relate to the class policies on this webpage. (See (9) above). For instructions and information on Blackboard quizzes, see below under the heading "Blackboard Quizzes."

V. Purchase the course materials from Copy Vision (Law School Room 18). Materials should be available by Wednesday morning, August 16.  

VI. Read items 1-4 (pp. 1-17) in course materials.  If you want to start reading before the materials before they are available at CopyVision, you can download the readings for the first assignment by clicking here.

VII. Look up any unfamiliar words or legal terms. For legal terms, I strongly suggest a good legal dictionary, such as Black's Law Dicionary. The library has copies of Black's.  

VIII. Be prepared to answer the 9 questions listed below. We will discuss them in class. Make sure you have reasons for all your answers. Where appropriate, be able to back up your answers with specific references to the text of Smith v. United States. I strongly encourage you to write (or type) out answers to these questions. Unlike later writing assignments, this one is not mandatory, but if you send your answers to your TA prior to class, s/he will provide feedback. See instructions below (under the heading "Writing Assignments") for how to submit a writing assignment.


1) What is O’Connor’s best argument in favor of her interpretation of the statute?  

2) Which of O’Connor’s arguments did you find least persuasive?  

3) What is Scalia’s best argument in favor of his interpretation of the statute?  

4) Which of Scalia’s arguments did you find least persuasive?  

5) Scalia emphasizes interpreting words in their context. What about the context of § 924(c)(1) supports the idea that "uses a firearm" should be interpreted to mean "uses a firearm as a weapon." In what context would "uses a firearm" have a different meaning?  

6) Question 3 on pages 13-14 of the readings.  

7) Question 11 on p. 16 of the readings. 

8) Do the opinions make any reference to evidence of what Congress intended in passing 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)?  

9) Suppose, during the formal debate preceding passage of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1), a Senator said the following: “I think this is a wonderful statute. We need to make sure that those who use guns while committing drug crimes serve long prison sentences so they don’t cause further harm to the community. Of course, the statute should only apply where the offender discharged or threatened to discharge the gun. Other situations don’t really count as ‘using’ a gun.” Should the Senator’s statement influence judicial interpretation? Would it matter if the number of Senators making similar statements were 2, 10, 60 or 80? Would it matter if the Senator making the statement was the chair of the committee which drafted the legislation? Would it matter if the vote on the statute was 51-49, and the Senator who made the statement voted for the statute, but would have voted against it if he thought judges would interpret the statute broadly?  





Statement on Academic Conduct and Support Systems

[This is an official USC statement, not written by Professor Klerman]


Academic Conduct:

Plagiarism – presenting someone else’s ideas as your own, either verbatim or recast in your own words – is a serious academic offense with serious consequences. Please familiarize yourself with the discussion of plagiarism in SCampus in Part B, Section 11, “Behavior Violating University Standards”  Other forms of academic dishonesty are equally unacceptable. See additional information in SCampus and university policies on scientific



Support Systems:

Student Counseling Services (SCS) - (213) 740-7711 – 24/7 on call

Free and confidential mental health treatment for students, including short-term psychotherapy, group counseling, stress fitness workshops, and crisis intervention.


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

Provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Relationship & Sexual Violence Prevention Services (RSVP) - (213) 740-4900 - 24/7 on call

Free and confidential therapy services, workshops, and training for situations related to gender-based harm.


Sexual Assault Resource Center

For more information about how to get help or help a survivor, rights, reporting options, and additional resources, visit the website:


Office of Equity and Diversity (OED)/Title IX compliance – (213) 740-5086

Works with faculty, staff, visitors, applicants, and students around issues of protected class.


Bias Assessment Response and Support

Incidents of bias, hate crimes and microaggressions need to be reported allowing for appropriate investigation and response.


Student Support & Advocacy – (213) 821-4710

Assists students and families in resolving complex issues adversely affecting their success as a student EX: personal, financial, and academic.


Diversity at USC –

Tabs for Events, Programs and Training, Task Force (including representatives for each school), Chronology, Participate, Resources for Students