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Legal Skills Program

The Legal Skills Program teaches fundamental lawyering skills through simulated and real-world assignments and is critical to student success. The legal skills faculty are experienced practitioners who:

  • help students engage with problems they will face in practice
  • provide extensive feedback illustrating how practitioners solve those problems

Timeline: 3-semester program

Four areas of development

Legal reasoning

Students learn the building blocks of legal analysis: arguments based on rule, analogy, and policy. They learn to interpret statutes and common-law rules. And they learn the critical skill of applying the law to the facts of their cases, both to predict how the law will apply and to advocate for their clients.

Legal writing

Students learn the conventions and style required for:

  • predictive memos
  • trial-level briefs
  • appellate briefs

Faculty emphasize the needs of the attorney or judge who will read the students' work product and the high professional standards their writing must meet in practice.

Legal research

Students learn the sources of primary and secondary authority, as well as the many print and online finding tools they may have available to them in practice. They then learn to develop and execute research strategies tailored to the varying situations that practitioners face.

Lawyering skills

Simulated and real-world assignments introduce students to essential lawyering skills beyond legal research and writing. Students learn to put their analytical skills into context as they engage in such tasks as:

  • client interviewing
  • client counseling
  • collaboration
  • fact analysis
  • negotiation
  • oral argument
  • problem solving

Faculty involvement

In the first year, students receive instructions from full-time faculty members. In the third semester of the program, students learn from a group of dedicated, experienced practitioners who have taught in the program for several years.

The program works closely with administration, the faculty, and the Academic Success Program to provide students with opportunities to participate in writing and advocacy across the curriculum.

Advanced coursework

In the second and third years of law school, students have the opportunity to continue their legal skills education through advanced coursework. The advanced curriculum includes:

  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice
  • Criminal Motion Practice
  • Trial Practice
  • Law Review
  • Individual Study Projects
  • Moot Court
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