In addition to developing practice skills through live client representation in clinics, externships, and pro bono programs, NDLS students can hone a range of lawyering skills through hands-on simulation courses that require them to perform lawyering tasks.
Trial Advocacy Skills
The Law School has long been a national leader in trial advocacy training. Most students participate in one or more of the Law School’s trial advocacy training programs. The flagship Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (LAW 75710) brings top litigators and judges from around the country at the beginning of each semester for a week-long workshop, followed by continuing training and simulated trials throughout the course of the semester. The Comprehensive Trial Advocacy (LAW 75709) course, taught by local judges and lawyers, also covers a broad range of trial skills and allows students to conduct simulated trials. Many NDLS students also participate in the Deposition Skills (LAW 75715) course, taught by full-time faculty and local litigators. The Moot Court – Trial (LAW 75747) course is an advanced litigation training program for members of the NDLS trial teams consisting of a semester of classroom instruction followed by participation in the National Trial Competition and the American Association for Justice mock trial competitions. Finally, student groups occasionally sponsor teams to participate in other trial competitions. Recent competitions have included the Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition and the Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition.
Appellate Advocacy Skills
The Appellate Advocacy Seminar (LAW 73314) provides an advocacy-oriented look at the appellate process, including providing students a chance to hone both written advocacy and oral advocacy skills. Students in Moot Court – International (LAW 75745) receive classroom training and participate in the Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. All first-year students are invited to participate during the spring semester in an appellate advocacy competition from which members of the Moot Court Board are selected. Moot Court Board members can earn co-curricular credit while participating in prestigious national moot court competitions such as the ABA and New York National competitions. Student groups also sponsor teams to participate in other national moot court competitions. Recent competitions have included the Asylum and Refugee Law National Moot Court Competition, the Frederick Douglas Moot Court Competition (BLSA), the IASLA Space Law Moot Court Competition, the George Washington Religious Freedom Moot Court Competition, and the Saul Lefkowitz Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition.
Other Skills Courses
Lawyering skills are not limited to trial and appellate advocacy, of course. Much law practice is transactional in nature. Moreover, effective lawyers must perfect skills in client relations, negotiation, and other basic skills that apply to all forms of practice. The Law School offers hands-on courses in Negotiation (LAW 70727), Alternative Dispute Resolution (LAW 75717), and Legal Interviewing and Counseling (LAW 70810) . In 2012, the Law School launched a new Transactional Law Intensive (LAW 75111) course during which students work with simulated clients to carry out a business transaction. Finally, a Law School team competes every year in the American Bar Association’s Client Counseling Competition.
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