The goal of this class is for students to develop skills working with sophisticated clients on complex issues that lack easy answers and to simulate the practice of law in a way that a young associate is likely to experience it whether at a large law firm or in a small legal office. The primary focus is interviewing and counseling business clients and drafting client-related communications.
The first part of the class is split into five two-week segments. In the first week of each segment, the class will study a legal issue and prepare to interview the client. Then, one student interviews the client about a simulated scenario in a conference call as the rest of the class observes. After the call, the class assesses the legal issues and strategies for responding. Students must then decide what advice to give.
In the second week of each segment, the class evaluates potential responses and prepares to advise the client. Another student counsels the client as the class observes. The focus of the class is on client communications, legal strategy, and developing professional skills, and students will gain exposure to the types of issues commonly faced by corporate counsel, including contract negotiations and potential claims.
Students will also practice working in a law office environment by sending emails to the professor that simulate reports to a supervising attorney and by submitting timesheets showing work they have completed. The final three weeks focus on a 15-page paper that will require independent research on a complex legal topic assigned by the professor. Through these exercises, students will learn to speak confidently with experienced business executives, collect information efficiently from busy professionals, and deliver practical, business-oriented legal advice orally and in writing.