MS in Government Affairs and Advocacy
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Masters of Science in Government Affairs and Advocacy Course Requirements


  • Title
  • Credits
  • This course introduces students in the M.S in Legal Studies program to the basics of the U.S. Legal System, including the structure of the federal courts, use of precedent, and methods of reading, analyzing and synthesizing case law. Basic terminology and principles of common law subjects - including torts, contracts and property - are introduced and explored through case law readings. In addition, the course will provide experience in the research and writing skills necessary for effective legal analysis and clear oral and written communication, including hands-on experience using Schaffer Law Library and electronic resources.

  • Examines fundamental and practical issues of federal and New York administrative law. Deals with the scope of power of administrative agencies and the relationship of such agencies to other branches of government. ​​​

  • Understand and identify ethical issues faced by members of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches at the federal, state and local levels. Examine real current events and hypothetical issues to consider both prosecution and defense processes raised by ethical transgressions. Understand the components of individual action, organizational structure, organizational culture, rule of law and societal expectations to gain best practice knowledge. Learn ethical responsibilities of attorneys in government service and the ethical obligations of government employees who are not attorneys.

  • Introduces the structure, powers and functioning of local governments and their interaction with the state. Topics include police and municipal liability, home rule powers, emergency preparedness, Indian law, land use regulation, open government laws, gun control and pertinent hot topics. Course includes in class exercises, outside speakers and various experiential assignments.

  • An approved field placement related to government affairs and advocacy

  • This course will address the constitutional basis for and history of paid lobbying; the legal and ethical restrictions a lawyer-lobbyist needs to consider; the role of money and politics in lobbying; and practical elements of how to be an effective lawyer-lobbyist. Both the Federal and State level will be examined. The goal of the course will be to combine the study of legal and constitutional principles governing lobbying and the enactment of legislation with exposure to practical issues faced by the lawyer who participates in the legislative process.

  • Credits: 3

    The Thesis class is the capstone of the MSLS and LLM program. Students will learn about research, writing and proposal frameworks specific to Thesis projects. Then, each student will 1) Propose a topic; 2) Outline and research the paper; 3) write and submit the Thesis; 4) orally present on the submission. Students will have a choice to write a Thesis paper on a topic of their choosing within the concentration, or conduct an approved project through their work.

  • Credits: 3

    This course will introduce students to fundamental topics in the law of government that are essential for lawyers in public service and lawyers who work closely with government. Topics covered include strategies for making law and policy; structure of government, including state and local government; oversight and governmental investigations; legislative processes; public finance; the Freedom of Information Law and other government-transparency statutes; criminal statutes applicable to government officials; and how to sue government officers.


8 Credits from the Below Courses

  • ​Focuses on developing general analytical framework for understanding environmental law, including development of common law, with emphasis on statutory and regulatory techniques for pollution control.

  • ​This course will examine the underpinnings of environmental and natural resources law by exploring the foundational ideas governing the use, protection and allocation of the environment and natural resources.  Among the subjects covered will be competing theories of entitlement, including those represented in the concept of property in the common law tradition, humans as conquerors or citizens of nature, the public trust, and nature as an economic resource. Drawing from both legal and non-legal sources, students will examine the historical circumstances of laws governing nature, will consider the modern application of those laws, and will investigate in depth the social, political and economic policy implications of regulating nature.

  • This course will provide an understanding of the legal and administrative tools that local governments employ in regulating land use. Land use law involves the interests of developers, environmentalists, homeowners, interest groups and other political actors, all of whom participate in creating the character of a particular community. This course will focus on actual and simulated case studies to identify the often-contentious politics of urban growth. We will cover basic legal structure of the decisionmaking process relating to the constitutional limitations on development, environmental controls on land use, zoning and planning, the impacts of development on public infrastructure and smart growth responses, and environmental justice. Because politics, economics and social norms play critical roles in the development of land, we will also examine the different, often diverging influences of land use patterns.

  • Credits: 2

    ​Provides 25 hours of training equivalent to the New York State Unified Court System training program for community mediators. Prepares students to serve as court-affiliated mediators and to counsel clients more effectively regardless of their area of law.

  • ​Introduces negotiation skills, offering hands-on experience preparing for and negotiating legal issues.

  • ​This course will explore the origins of the current healthcare crisis, systematically examine some of the current methods for containing healthcare spending, and probe whether those methods are successful and equitable. The course will also explore the government's role in dealing with bioethical issues regarding, inter alia, physician assisted suicide, reproductive technologies, cloning, stem cell research, and organ transplantation.

  • This course examines the legal foundation for states and local governments to incur debt (municipal securities) and finance infrastructure. It reviews the federal law regulating the sale of municipal securities and disclosure requirements for investors, and federal law which permits interest on municipal securities to be tax-exempt. These fundamentals are examined through various financing structures employed by Wall Street investment bankers, together with case law and think-tank policy which guide the development of the modern municipal securities marketplace.​

  • This problem-solving course in health policy will integrate doctrinal instruction with experiential learning.  Students will learn substantive law and skills by participating in a variety of simulated exercises.  Students will also attend meetings held, for example, at Albany Medical Center, the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, and the New York State Department of Health. These meetings will give students exposure to the real-life workings of the health care system and an opportunity to determine how to approach a legal issue and give appropriate, practical advice.

  • This is a survey course that deals with issues arising under the United States Constitution. Topics that may be covered include judicial review, separation of powers, scope of federal and state regulatory power, and the protection of individual rights.​

  • This is a survey course that deals with issues arising under the United States Constitution. Topics that may be covered include judicial review, separation of powers, scope of federal and state regulatory power, and the protection of individual rights.​

  • Credits: 2

    This course examines federal and state law governing the conduct of elections and the financing of campaigns. It considers ways in which the law governing the political process affects and reflects political power relationships. Topics that may be covered include the right to vote, redistricting, administration, the Voting Rights Act, political parties, party governance, political action committees, the role of the courts, and campaign financing.

  • Covers the federal healthcare fraud protection laws relating to false claims, kickbacks, physician self referrals, and hospital emergency treatment requirements. Examines the unique ways in which the healthcare industry is regulated to protect consumers and the federal healthcare programs (Medicare and Medicaid) from fraud.

  • This course examines the impact of technology on information privacy law, while examining the evolution of the right to information privacy and personal autonomy under Constitutional, tort, statutory and international law. This course will explore how the law should balance privacy rights with national security concerns, given the advent of new technologies and information structures. This course will examine modern privacy developments involving, inter alia, social media, video surveillance, “big data” practices, DNA databanking, the collection of health information, cybersecurity, airport body scanning, drone technology, and Internet privacy and cryptography. This course is required to complete the Concentration in Law and Cybersecurity.

  • This course explores the legal aspects of health care compliance. At both the federal and state levels, the course addresses the statutory, regulatory, and case law that comprises the complex legal backdrop in which the healthcare industry operates. The course introduces the history, purpose, and substance of healthcare regulatory compliance programs and addresses legal doctrines concerning protected information, patient's rights, HIPAA security and breach, compliance issues in healthcare business transactions, and special topics related to substance use, mental health, HIV, genetic information, and minors.