Learning the Law. Learning to write.
The School of Law's Legal Skills Program for first year students is unique in the way it integrates training in legal writing and research skills with learning "the law," that is, the first-year doctrinal curriculum. In the first semester, you will receive analysis, research, and writing skills training in connection with either Criminal Law, Torts, or Civil Procedure in a course called Introduction to Lawyering Skills. This six- or seven-credit course is led by faculty, with assistance from adjunct faculty and student teaching assistants. As a result, you will experience the relationship between doctrine and skills as it really exists in the practice of law.
In your second semester of law school (or fourth semester for evening students),you will take Introduction to Advocacy, which advances skills training in the context of a simulated lawsuit. You will learn the fundamentals of persuasive writing by preparing trial-level and appellate briefs as well as arguing your case in a moot court setting that consists of lawyers and judges from the community. You will receive most of your training in small groups led by experienced legal practitioners and judges serving as adjunct faculty members.
Becoming a Teaching Assistant in the Legal Skills Program.
Upper-level students who serve as teaching assistants play a vital role in the Law School's first year Legal Skills Program, which consists of four courses: Introduction to Lawyering Skills/Criminal Law, Introduction to Lawyering Skills/Torts, Introduction to Lawyering Skills/Civil Procedure I, and Introduction to Advocacy. During the summer, teaching assistants help with the preparation of research and writing exercises. In the fall they instruct a small section of first-year students in legal analysis and legal research or other duties prescribed by the assigned Introduction to Lawyering Skills faculty member. In the spring, their work includes helping students prepare for oral arguments. Teaching assistants do not receive academic credit for their service, but are paid for a full academic year or, in some cases, for one semester only. For more information or to apply to be a teaching assistant, please contact Leslie Metzger.