The Law 

From Capitol Hill to the county courthouse, the workings of law in American society have shaped, and continue to shape, our way of life. The Law course exposes Summer Scholars students to the many facets of the American legal system. The groundwork for this exciting track will be laid in the exploration of the United States Constitution as well as current legal issues. Students will participate in an active investigation of the court system, from both a civil and criminal law perspective. Through a combination of class lectures delivered by dynamic instructors and expert guest lecturers, the class will also investigate various areas of substantive law, including tort law and intellectual property law.

During the first week, students are introduced to the American Legal System, the weight of legal authority, the various areas of the law, and what lawyers actually do. Students explore human rights law, trafficking, immigration and forms of discrimination, and students research and present on a human rights violation. Guest speakers include an immigration lawyer and a human rights lawyer. The second week students delve into the Constitution and the Supreme Court as well as the appellate process.

During the two weeks, students visit the the St. Joseph County Juvenile Justice Center, and also travel to Chicago to hear oral arguments at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Academic Director

Christine Venter

Christine Venter is the Director of the Legal Writing Program. She earned her B.A. degree from the University of Cape Town and her law degree from the University of Cape Town School of Law, where she was Editor in Chief of the Law Review. She also holds an LL.M in International Law and Human Rights (summa cum laude) from Notre Dame Law School and a J.S.D., also from NDLS.

After graduation Professor Venter worked as an associate for a South African firm specializing in civil rights litigation. After relocating to the US she worked for a firm specializing in international business law, and later did legal aid work in the US.

She is a member of the Legal Writing Institute, the Association of Legal Writing Directors, and is an Editor of The Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.

Professor Venter teaches Legal Writing I, Legal Research and Writing II, and Gender Issues and International Law. She also teaches International Moot Court and serves as the coach to the International Moot Court team.