Lazarski University Faculty of Law and Administration is proud to begin the enrolment procedure in the first edition of the American Law Summer School. The programme will cover all of the most important areas of American law and will be run by two experienced American lawyers: Judge Thomas A. Spieczny (El Paso County Court at Law, Texas) and Attorney Stanley M. Serwatka (Assistant U.S. Attorney, Western District of Texas El Paso Division).

The programme is addressed to students of Law and Administration, lawyers and all those who are interested in American Law.

The programme covers 40 hours of classes which will be held from 20 June to 1 July 2016. Our professors will strive to implement teaching methods and approach common for American law schools.

The School's programme covers the most important areas of American law: constitutional law, civil law, criminal law, administrative law, civil and criminal procedures, commercial and business law. The programme will focus in particular on the specificity of American common law system, the importance of case-law, and the rules regulating legal professions in America. Participants will improve their linguistic skills and, by working on case-law under supervision of experienced practitioners, they will develop their analytical skills and learn practical dimensions of jurisprudence.

Upon a successful completion of the Summer School, the participants will be awarded an American Law Summer School participation and graduation certificate.


Dates and place

The course will last two weeks. Classes will take place on weekdays from Monday 20th June until Friday 1st July 2016 (there are no classes on the weekend of 25-26 June).

Hours: 5.30-9.00 p.m.

Room no. 7, Lazarski University campus, ul. Świeradowska 43, Warsaw


I. History and Government Structure

  • Some Constitutional history
  • Government Structure under the 1789 Constitution
  • Separation and balance of power among the three branches
  • States and Federalism
  • The impact of governmental structure on the legal system (overview)

II. Legal Methodology

  • Sources of law and their hierarchy
  • Common law
  • Statutory law in the common law system
  • Statutory interpretation methods
  • The form and general nature of case law
  • Legal reasoning process in case law
  • Legal research techniques and the form of legal argument

III. Adversary System and Jury Trials

  • Characteristics and rationale of the adversary system
  • Juries
  • Adversary jury trial and the lawyer's role in it
  • Evidence law
  • Criticisms of the adversary system
  • Criticisms of the jury system

IV. The Legal Profession

  • Legal education and admission to the bar
  • Issues in the regulation of practice
  • Types of practice
  • Minorities and women in the legal profession
  • Legal ethics

V. The Judicial System - An overview of court systems and judges

  • Trial Courts and appellate courts: Basic characteristics and interrelationship
  • State and federal court structure and characteristics
  • Judges and methods of judicial selection
  • Other judicial officials and assistants
  • Subject-matter jurisdiction of state and federal courts

VI. Federalism Complications in the Judicial System

  • Laws applied in federal and state courts
  • Simultaneous litigation in state and federal court

VII. Administrative Law. Law and procedures of administrative agencies

  • Types and purposes of administrative agencies
  • Rule-making functions of agencies
  • Adjudicatory functions of agencies
  • Judicial review of agency action
  • Presidential and congressional controls on federal agency action

VII. Administrative Law. Separation of powers and federalism issues involving agencies

  • Administrative agencies and separation of powers
  • Federalism and sovereign immunity limits on suits to redress illegal federal and state agency action

VIII. Civil Procedure. The course of a civil lawsuit

  • The pleading stage of the case
  • The discovery stage
  • Motion for summary judgment and the final pretrial conference
  • Trial procedure
  • Judgments in civil cases: money damages, equitable relief and costs
  • Effect of judgments
  • Resolving cases without litigation

IX. Civil Procedure. Complications of federalism

  • Personal jurisdiction in state and federal courts
  • Forum non conveniens
  • Recognition of judgments: the "Full Faith and Credit" requirement
  • Choice of law rules

X. Criminal Procedure. Outline of the criminal justice process

  • Arrest, formal charges and the first appearance
  • Preliminary hearings, indictments or information, and Pre-trial Motions
  • Trial
  • Sentencing procedures in criminal cases
  • Appellate review of convictions
  • Resolving criminal cases without trial

XI. Constitutional criminal procedure

  • Introduction and preliminary comments
  • Limitations on investigative techniques and apprehension of suspects
  • Rights at the charging stage and pre-trial release
  • Rights at trial
  • Effect of prior proceedings: Double jeopardy guarantee
  • Limitations on punishment
  • Rights on appeal

XII. Constitutional Law. Judicial review, structure and powers

  • Judicial review
  • Limits on judicial review by federal courts
  • Legislative powers of the federal government and the relationship between the states and the federal government: vertical federalism
  • The relationship between the states: horizontal federalism

XIII. Individual rights

  • State action
  • Rights to equal protection of the laws
  • Substantive due process rights
  • First Amendment freedoms of expression
  • First Amendment religious freedoms

XIV. Contract law

  • Formation of contracts (offer, acceptance and consideration
  • Interpretation of contracts
  • Issues in performance of contracts
  • Grounds for non-performance of contracts
  • Breaches and repudiations of contracts
  • Remedies for breaches of contracts

XV. Commercial law

  • Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
  • Consumer protection laws

XVI. Tort law

  • Torts in perspective
  • Types of torts by degrees of fault
  • Torts vindicating particular interests
  • Relief available in tort cases
  • Administration of the tort system of compensation

XVII. Real and personal property

  • Nature and forms of property
  • Defining interests in real property
  • Personal property
  • Rights and obligations of owners of real property
  • Government control over real property

XVIII. Transfers of Property interests

  • Real estate purchase transactions
  • Development and sale of condominiums and cooperatives
  • Other methods of transferring interests in property
  • Leasing property: landlord-tenant law (residential and commercial)
  • Succession of property interests upon death of the owner
  • Establishment and operation of trusts

XIX. Intellectual property

  • Copyright law
  • Patent law
  • Trademark law
  • International intellectual property protection

XX. Family Law

  • Marriage
  • Dissolution of marriages
  • Non-traditional relationships and family law
  • Child custody issues outside divorce
  • Problems in the intact family

XXI. Criminal Law

  • General considerations
  • Elements of a crime
  • Specific offenses
  • Defenses to criminal liability
  • Peripheral actors, anticipatory crimes and enterprise criminality
  • Criminal sanctions

XXII. Business Law

  • Business organizations
  • Regulation of offers and sales of corporate securities
  • Bankruptcy
  • Antitrust laws
  • Labor laws
  • Environmental laws

XXIII. Tax Law

  • Sources of law and basic concepts in federal tax law
  • Federal income tax
  • International tax issues
  • Other federal taxes
  • State and local taxes
  • Administration of tax laws

XXIV. International Aspects of United States Law. International law and its application in the United States

  • Sources, forms and hierarchy of international law rules
  • International law in the U.S. legal system
  • War powers and military intervention under U.S. law
  • Remedies for violations of international law

XXV. International litigation in U.S. courts

  • Extraterritorial reach of U.S. law and the judicial process
  • International enforcement of judgments
  • Suits involving foreign states and their official acts


Judge Thomas A. Spieczny: Princeton University and Vanderbilt Law School graduate. Worked as an attorney for the U.S. Department of Labor and for a national labor union. Since 1974 has lived in El Paso (Texas, USA) where he has practiced law as a solo practitioner for thirty years and handled a variety of cases but mostly served as a plaintiff's civil rights lawyer. Since 2005 until present has been serving as Judge in the El Paso County Court at Law 7, presiding over both civil and criminal dockets. Admitted to the United States Supreme Court and multiple Federal Courts of Appeals. Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for over twenty-six years. Recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer. Served two three-year terms on the Board of the El Paso Bar Association. He has worked extensively on the Bar's Continuing Legal Education (CLE) committee. Current member of the Board of Directors of the El Paso Children's Hospital. In 2015, he was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Law and Administration of Lazarski University.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stanley M. Serwatka: Case Western Reserve University and Temple University Law Center graduate. Worked as a litigation lawyer (Duane, Morris and Heckher; Scoggins and Associates; Johnson, Allen and Serwatka), trial attorney (U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service). Since 1989 until present, Assistant United States Attorney in Western District of Texas El Paso Division. He is responsible for criminal case prosecutions, mostly in fraud, drugs, terrorism, public corruption and immigration. Admitted to the United States Supreme Court and multiple Federal Courts of Appeals. In 2013-2014 elected Chairman of Grievance Oversight Committee. For 18 years worked as an adjunct faculty member at the El Paso Community College, teaching American Government & Politics and State and Local Government courses.


Applicants for the American Law Summer School should be enrolled at the University level or hold a recognized degree. Non-native speakers of English must demonstrate competence in the language at the B2 level.

Necessary documents:

Tuition fee:

  • students and graduates of Lazarski University - PLN 1,000
  • others - PLN 1,500
  • it is possible to settle the tuition fee in instalments, with 50% paid at the moment of enrolment and 50% by 1 June 2016

The tuition fee does not cover accommodation or meals in the duration of the Summer School.

All the documents shall be delivered to Recruitment Office:

Room 63, ground floor, sector F
Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Tel: (22) 54 35 555
e-mail: rekrutacja@lazarski.edu.pl


More information about the Programme:

Dominika Harasimiuk, PhD
tel. 022 54 35 319