Lawyering Skills I
Lawyering Skills I is an introduction to the American legal system and the skills that competent lawyers must possess in order to thrive within it, principally legal writing, research, and analysis. The program is problem-based and thus the students will learn to “think and write like a lawyer” through working with fact patterns that will simulate actual lawyering experiences. Through practice, redrafting, and intensive individual feedback from the Lawyering Skills professors, the students will learn to write and reason in the specific organizational format that the legal profession demands. As an integral part of learning this organizational method, the students will also be introduced to the skills of legal research and the uniform system of citation known as the Blue Book.
Goals of Lawyering Skills I
By the end of the course, students will have developed the following skills and be able to:
- Analyze legal rules as articulated by judicial opinions, statutes, and other legal authorities
- Recognize, define, and organize legal issues
- Distinguish significant legal issues from lesser legal issues
- Analyze the facts of a present case and compare and contrast them to the facts in precedential cases
- Locate legal authorities
- Understand the hierarchy of authority
- Update authority
- Integrate authority appropriately into written work
- Synthesize legal rules, combining information from several authorities
- Apply legal principles to the facts of a present case
- Use correct grammar, syntax, diction and punctuation
- Write with clarity, precision, conciseness and reliability
- Use the proper citation form
- Comply with the proper format for the document
- Present legal information orally to supervisors and colleagues
Students will be assigned a case that they will brief. This writing introduces the skill of factual and case analysis, as well as giving many of the students their first introduction to caselaw.
Throughout the course of the semester, students will be assigned various citation exercises that will introduce the students to the Blue Book and teach them legal citations.
The students, with the aid of a partner, will make a class presentation on an assigned topic dealing with citations. The presentation should be designed to familiarize the entire class with the relevant material, and creativity and the use of multimedia is encouraged.
Objective Tort Memorandum of Law
The students will write a complete memorandum of law based upon a “closed universe” of materials provided by the professor. The students will be introduced to fact and case analysis, rule synthesis, analogical reasoning, rule application and policy arguments.
Objective Tort Memorandum of Law Rewrite
The students will rewrite their objective tort memo by incorporating the professor’s suggestions and taking under advisement class discussions. The Rewrite will allow the students to research outside caselaw and requires that new case from outside the “closed universe” of research be added.
Case Research Problem
The students will pick a topic of their choosing and will research the case in both book and electronic forms, tracking the case from beginning to end through various resources.
Secondary Sources Research Problem
The students will pick a legal topic of their choosing and learn the various secondary sources that exist in the legal field. The students will learn how to locate and use these secondary sources in both book and electronic form.
Statutory Research Problem
The students will learn how both federal and state statutes and their legislative histories for their chosen legal topic. The students will use both electronic and book sources.
Administrative Law Quiz
The students will learn about administrative law and how it can be used and researched in the practice of law. The students will be quizzed on their comprehension of the presentation.
Rule 11 Memorandum of Law
The students will research and write a legal memorandum that deals with more than one issue and integrates the procedural requirements of litigation. The Memorandum will also introduce students to statutory reasoning and analysis, as well as allowing the students to conduct their own legal research. The Memorandum will be evaluated on the completeness of its legal analysis, clarity, precision, and reliability.
Rule 11 Memorandum of Law Rewrite
The students will meet with their professor and be required to produce an improved Memorandum that includes correct citations and formatting. The students will be expected to use all the principles learned in the class.
Rule 11 Presentation
The students, as Associates, will present their Memorandum to their professor who will be playing the role of a fictional Senior Partner. The students will be expected to present their legal findings, analysis, and opinion.