PUBLISHED:January 12, 2015

Wintersession 2015: Learning, building, and discovering new skills

Wintersession 2015 Michael Samway '96 and Eugene Lao '95 with Lawyering Inside a Global Technology Company class

Over 400 Duke Law students spent the last few days of their winter break sharpening their practical lawyering skills during the Law School's fifth annual Wintersession.

During four days of classes taught by faculty and practitioners – including many alumni – students got hands-on instruction in such areas as deposition strategy, drafting discovery requests and motions, and the intellectual property concerns specific to video game creation.

Milan Prodanovic '16 took a class on the roles and responsibilities of in-house counsel taught by two Atlanta-based alumni: Allen Nelson ’89, executive vice president, general counsel, corporate secretary, and chief administrative officer at Crawford & Company, and Gray McCalley '79, vice president and general counsel of Printpack Inc., and a member of the Law School’s extended faculty. Prodanovic said the instructors provided first-hand insight into the issues and challenges they face as corporate counsel. “I walked away from the course with a deeper appreciation of the overlap between business and legal issues that general counsels tackle on a daily basis,” he said.

Eugene Lao JD/LLM '95, vice president and deputy general counsel at DocuSign, taught Lawyering Inside a Global Technology Company along with Michael Samway JD/LLM ’96, the former vice president and deputy general counsel at Yahoo!, where he led the international team.

“I wanted to share with students what I wish I would have known when I was in law school,” said Lao. Wintersession builds on the “great theoretical foundation” students receive at Duke Law, he said, by giving them the time to delve into subjects and skills that will make the difference between just "knowing the law and being a good lawyer."

Ryan Berger '17 enjoyed a course designed to offer 1Ls an introduction to the vocabulary and the process of commercial transactions, The Counselor and the Client: The Corporate Context. "The class helped synthesize the business skills I had previously as a finance major in college and skills I have developed in law school to apply them in a corporate law setting,” he said.

Berger looks forward to attending Wintersession as a 2L and recommends it highly. “It allows you to branch out and learn new things and to possibly develop new interests or discover new career paths.”