Skills Courses

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In addition to developing practical skills through live client representation in clinics, externships, and pro bono programs, Notre Dame Law students can hone a range of lawyering skills through hands-on simulation courses that require them to perform various tasks required of lawyers.

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 to develop the skills necessary to be a trial lawyer through exercises such as depositions and trials. 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 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 Notre Dame Law 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 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.

Transactional Skills

Transactional Law Intensive (LAW 75111) allows students to work with simulated clients to carry out business transactions. Contract Drafting (LAW 75701) gives students hands-on training in drafting basic contracts. Trade Dress and Design (LAW 70136) explores the legal protection available for various types of design, such as industrial and architectural design, by having teams of students interview and develop legal advice for design students on how to protect their creations.

Universal Lawyering Skills

Regardless of their area of practice, all lawyers engage in client interviewing, counseling, and problem-solving. Courses that help students develop the skills common to all parts of the legal profession include Negotiation (LAW 70727), Alternative Dispute Resolution (LAW 75717), and Legal Interviewing and Counseling (LAW 70810).