Sequenced Skills Building

Overview Skills Clinics teach students the core competencies that they will need as they enter practice, preparing them for a range of career paths.  For example, our trial advocacy skills clinics teach aspiring litigators how to prepare and deliver opening statements and closing arguments, to conduct direct and cross examinations, to introduce documents and other exhibits into evidence, and to make and respond to evidentiary objections. Our transactional skills courses give students the tools to structure transactions in line with client objectives, to negotiate strategically in the client’s interest, and to draft documents that serve a client’s goals.  In our skills clinics, we break out each of the skills that students need in a particular area of legal practice.  For each skill, we explain how the skill is used in legal practice; we show students how to perform the skill and have students repeatedly practice the skill in a series of increasingly complicated and difficult simulations; and we provide students with detailed and individualized feedback.  That process of repetition, increasing complexity and continuous feedback allows students to effectively master complex skills.   

Related CoursesAcquisition Financing Transactions

This course provides an overview of modern financing transactions, focusing on leveraged buyouts. Students negotiate a non-disclosure agreement, analyze the enforceability of a letter of intent, prepare a due diligence memorandum and prepare a commitment.

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Business Deals

This transactional clinical course teaches students how to negotiate basic business contracts such as leases, junk bond indentures and loan agreements. After studying principles of contractual interpretation and negotiation, students engage in five or more negotiating projects. For each project, students prepare a written analysis proposing strategic and tactical objectives and then implement their plans in actual negotiating sessions and drafting exercises.

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Cappello Trial Advocacy Clinic – Simulated Trial Advocacy

This course teaches students the skills needed to conduct civil jury trials, including conducting direct and cross examinations, making opening statements and closing arguments, using exhibits and making and responding to evidentiary objections. These skills are taught through a combination of lecture, discussion, demonstration and simulated role-playing exercises, culminating in a videotaped mock jury trial.

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Criminal Trial Advocacy

This course explores the theoretical and practical aspects of the criminal trial process and provides training in the skills needed to represent the prosecution and the defense in criminal trials: fact analysis, conducting direct and cross examinations, making opening statements and closing arguments, using exhibits, and making and responding to evidentiary objections. The course culminates in a videotaped mock trial before a judge and jury.

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Deposition and Discovery in Complex Litigation

This course focuses on the practical and theoretical aspects of deposition and discovery practice in civil cases. Students prepare for, take and defend depositions and prepare discovery plans in simulated cases.

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International Commercial Arbitration

This course provides students with the fundamental legal and jurisdictional underpinnings of the international commercial arbitration system: dispute resolution; the procedural mechanisms for conducting international commercial arbitrations; the domestic judicial tools to compel parties to arbitrate commercial disputes rather than proceed in domestic courts; and the enforcement of international commercial arbitration awards in domestic courts.

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Lawyering Skills

This is the students’ foundational clinical course and focuses on practice-oriented legal analysis. During this yearlong clinic, students develop the analytic skill set needed by practicing lawyers and desired by legal employers. Students are introduced to fundamentals of legal reasoning, the structure of objective and persuasive arguments, effective written analysis, legal research methods, statutory interpretation, compelling oral advocacy, fact investigation, client counseling and negotiation.

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Negotiation Theory and Practice

This course provides an overview of the theoretical issues confronted by negotiators and gives students an opportunity to practice and hone their negotiating skills. Topics include negotiation preparation; integrative and distributive bargaining; the effect of psychological factors and social norms in negotiation; unique issues that arise when lawyers are involved in negotiation; legal rules affecting the negotiation process; the personal styles of negotiators; differences between two-party and multi-party negotiating situations; the role of trust and emotion in negotiation; and the use of mediation as a technique to facilitate negotiation. Students conduct weekly negotiations to develop their negotiation skills.

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Pretrial Civil Litigation

This course provides a real-world overview of how pretrial civil litigation is conducted and explores how lawyers strategically use each step in the pretrial litigation process to advance their clients’ interests. Students receive hands-on training in conducting case analysis, taking and defending depositions, arguing motions and conducting negotiations.

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