Program Goals and Learning Objectives

  1. To understand the United States legal system and lawyers' principal roles in that system.
  2. To read, understand and use cases to construct legal arguments.
  3. To read, understand and use statutes and other enacted rules to solve legal problems or construct legal arguments.
  4. To predict the probable judicial resolution of simulated legal disputes.
  5. To write a memorandum predicting the probable judicial resolution of a simulated legal dispute in a form that conforms to basic professional conventions regarding analytic support, organization and style.
  6. To conduct basic legal research.
  7. To recognize excellent writing in and about law, and to learn techniques for improving one’s own writing.
  8. To learn techniques for time-management, self-reflection and collaboration to support ongoing acquisition of information and skills necessary for successful academic study and professional practice.
  9. To learn techniques of persuasive written advocacy.


To understand the United States legal system and lawyers' principal roles in that system.

Objectives

Students will understand:

  • How lawyers interpret and use the texts of U.S. law in advising clients and preventing and resolving disputes.
  • The basics of U.S. legal culture: U.S. Constitution, U.S. legal institutions, and federalism.
  • The sources of federal and state law and their primary texts.
  • The concepts of binding authority, persuasive authority and stare decisis.
  • The development of the common law.

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To read, understand and use cases to construct legal arguments.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Brief a case opinion, accurately identifying the issue on appeal, holding, judgment, procedural history, material facts, rules of law, reasoning and policy choices.
  • Evaluate a case opinion from multiple perspectives: e.g., use of precedent, reasoning, and rhetoric; reliance on historic, economic or political sources and cultural or social values; and attention to prospective impact.
  • Construct a synthesis of multiple case holdings

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To read, understand and use statutes and other enacted rules to solve legal problems or construct legal arguments.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Understand the basic theories and practice of legislative enactment and interpretation.
  • Understand the relationship between cases and statutes, and the appropriate uses of each in solving legal problems.

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To predict the probable judicial resolution of simulated legal disputes.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Recognize legal issues in simulated scenarios.
  • Identify and categorize material facts in scenarios.
  • Identify and synthesize relevant rules of law from one or more primary legal authorities.
  • Identify and evaluate analogies and distinctions between facts in the sources of the rules and in scenario facts.
  • Deduce, articulate and explain a conclusion of law based upon the application of a rule of law to scenario facts.
  • Identify and evaluate reasons for choosing among competing analyses of the rules of law or applications of rules to facts.

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To write a memorandum predicting the probable judicial resolution of a simulated legal dispute in a form that conforms to basic professional conventions regarding analytic support, organization and style.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Write clear and concise paragraphs supporting and evaluating the components of a conclusion of law.
  • Identify and employ effective organizational techniques.
  • Use standard formal English, including correct grammar, syntax, punctuation, and mechanics.
  • Understand when and how to support a legal assertion.
  • Use standard legal citation format.
  • Progress toward mastery of professional diction and style.

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To conduct basic legal research.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Find and retrieve legal texts, in electronic and print formats, at a level of competence sufficient to support first-year course work.
  • Understand basic legal bibliography and print finding tools.
  • Develop efficient and effective skills on Westlaw and Lexis/Nexis.
  • Understand basic internet legal research techniques and identify and evaluate databases for legal information.
  • Construct a research plan that identifies issues and relevant types of legal authorities for simulated client scenarios.
  • Memorialize research findings regarding a simulated scenario in a concise written summary that:
    • Orders all legal authorities pertinent to the scenario in a hierarchy determined by relevance to the scenario.
    • Describes each legal authority in sufficient detail to make its relevance apparent.
    • Includes accurate and complete citations.
    • Would be sufficient to support drafting of a law office memorandum.

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To recognize excellent writing in and about law, and to learn techniques for improving one’s own writing.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Develop a basic ability to identify and employ an appropriate format, organization, level of detail, style and tone for conveying a legal analysis, advice or advocacy to various simulated lay or professional audiences.
  • Begin to develop a personal “voice” for writing about legal matters.
  • Distinguish between effective and ineffective legal writing in various contexts.
  • Be able to provide constructive editorial advice for a peer’s writing about legal issues.

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To learn techniques for time-management, self-reflection and collaboration, which are necessary for successful academic study and professional practice.

Objectives

Students will:

  • Learn to use effective briefing, note-taking, and drafting techniques.
  • Learn to manage time to support collaborative activities.
  • Understand the relation between effective work habits and meeting professional responsibilities.
  • Reflect on their own learning process.
  • Be able to collaborate with peers in a group problem-solving process.
  • Understand the relation between ongoing acquisition of information and skills and meeting professional responsibilities.

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To learn techniques of persuasive written advocacy

Objectives

Students will:

  • Learn rhetorical techniques for framing legal issues, presenting a compelling account of relevant facts, and articulating legal arguments to persuade judges or other legal actors.
  • Learn the basic structure of and formatting requirements for persuasive legal pleadings (motions, briefs, and other forms) in trial or appellate courts.
  • Develop written and oral communication skills that maximize the impact of the lawyer’s own credibility.
  • Understand a lawyer’s professional responsibilities and ethical duties in the context of oral and written advocacy.

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Last updated 10/8/2013