PUBLISHED:January 28, 2010

Professor James Coleman leads the way in practical-skills training

When it comes to integrating practical-skills training with substantive legal education, James Coleman, the John S. Bradway Professor of the Practice of Law, is essentially a one-stop shop, particularly in the area of criminal law. Coleman co-directs the Wrongful Convictions Clinic, the Appellate Litigation Clinic, and the Federal Defender Integrated Externship program. Each offers specialized skills training, he says.

» Wrongful Convictions Clinic: “The focus is on fact development and analysis. It’s an intensive course in which students get to work with facts — and that’s a lot of what lawyers do.” (Co-director: Clinical Professor Theresa Newman ’88)

» Appellate Litigation Clinic: “This is writing intensive, as students write appellate briefs and focus on legal issues, as opposed to fact development. This also is a course about legal advocacy at the very highest level; about collaboration — students work on cases in teams — and about professionalism, what is expected of an appellate lawyer who has a client in a case where the court has appointed us to present the legal argument.” (Co-director: Senior Lecturing Fellow Sean Andrussier ’92)

» Federal Defender Integrated Externship: “With its focus on trial-level advocacy, this trains students to think on their feet. Oral argument [in appellate cases] is something entirely different from what happens in a courtroom where you have to put on witnesses, undertake direct and cross examination, and argue before a judge.”