Legal Skills Program

The Legal Skills Program is designed to teach practical lawyering skills, with the aim of turning out new graduates who are practice-ready. The program encompasses courses and experiences in legal research and writing; litigation and non-litigation skills, such as mediation; and professional development.

On this page:

Legal Analysis, Writing & Research Program (LAWR)

During their first year, students learn the basics of legal analysis, writing and research. In this year-long course, students focus on a most basic skill: using language with precision, clarity, and persuasiveness. They also learn the fundamentals of traditional and computerized legal research and obtain extensive practice in legal writing with regular feedback. Upper-division students are required to take a third semester advanced course.

Litigation Skills

Basic courses in trial technique - how to make an opening statement, examine and cross-examine a witness, and make a closing statement - and more advanced trial advocacy courses, most of which are taught by judges and legal practitioners. This area also covers trial and other non-appellate moot court competitions.

Trial Advocacy Technique Classes: A one-semester course that teaches the fundamentals of trial advocacy as students prepare and try a civil or criminal case. Each week, the students work on different aspects of the case and the trial process. They also learn the nuts and bolts of lawyering, such as how to:

  • Use exhibits to present their case in a dynamic and persuasive manner,
  • Refresh a friendly witness' recollection, and
  • Impeach an adversary witness with a prior inconsistent statement or omission.

Students are critiqued and analyzed by their instructors and fellow students, with the goal of helping them to identify and refine their voices and styles so they can be the most effective trial lawyers possible.

Trial Advocacy Competition Program: Deepens and intensifies the training for students especially interested in litigation. Students test their advocacy skills against their peers from across the nation.

Non-Litigation Skills

Non-Litigation Skills includes courses in negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, mediation and counseling. Students also will have the opportunity to participate as an editor for the School of Law's wide array of scholarly journals.

Appellate Advocacy Skills

Appellate Advocacy Skills comprises of appellate-style moot courts and other writing-based competitions, as well as courses designed to teach the basics of brief-writing and appellate oral advocacy.

Academic Support and Professional Development

The Academic Support Program provides support for students preparing for the bar exam and other professional development services.