The Lawyering Skills Course meets on its scheduled days from 12:25 to 3:25 P.M. For about half the class time, students meet in four small groups under the direction of a visiting instructor. Each student is assigned to one of the discussion groups. The balance of the time, the class meets as a whole.
The Course provides students the opportunity to "learn by doing" under the close supervision of experienced practicing attorneys. During the semester, students complete approximately 30 written and participatory assignments and receive prompt critique from the instructors. Written materials and demonstrations by the teaching teams often serve as models for students' assignments.
The subject-area segments of the Course are taught by teams of practicing attorneys. The Skills Intensive Training Unit involves more than 30 attorney instructors. Additional attorneys participate in other aspects of the Course. Overall, approximately 70 lawyers serve as teachers during the semester. Because a lawyer's role varies based on firm size, economic status of clients, and the community in which the lawyer practices, we try to recruit teaching lawyers who reflect the diversity of practice in the state of Wisconsin.
The learning objectives of the Lawyering Skills Course are:
- To immerse students in practicing many of the skills and techniques they will use in their first years of law practice;
- To demonstrate, and provide insight into, the way a lawyer handles criminal, civil and administrative cases; engages in estate planning, probate, real estate, and family law matters; counsels business clients; serves as a guardian ad litem; and manages time and professional practices;
- To provide an opportunity for students to experience how lawyers solve client problems, interview and counsel clients, draft documents, plan and process case files, negotiate, mediate, and advocate, all in the context of factual situations students are likely to face as lawyers;
- To foster understanding of and commitment to high standards of professional responsibility to clients, the justice system, and the community, through the examination of ethical and professional dilemmas that arise in daily law practice; and
- To offer a realistic basis for making decisions about law as a career.
The Lawyering Skills Course does not fill all the needs of students moving from law school to law practice. For example, the course does not address certain skills that other courses in the curriculum emphasize: appellate advocacy, legal research, brief-writing, and trial advocacy. Also, the Lawyering Skills Course does not provide a foundation, in breadth or depth, in any area of substantive law. However, students will learn some substantive law during the semester and will acquire the tools necessary to lay a strong foundation in those areas as they move into practice.
The Lawyering Skills Program Office is in Room 5226 of the Law School.
Gretchen Viney, Director, Room 5230, 262-8048; email@example.com
Ralph Cagle, Clinical Professor, Room 5224, 262-7881: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynne Faulkner, Administrative Assistant, Room 5226, 262-8561; email@example.com