PUBLISHED:November 24, 2010

Wintersession, Jan. 5-7: Build skills, have fun

Duke Law students will have the opportunity to refine professional skills, explore topics they might not otherwise have time to investigate, and network with alumni and other professionals during a new three-day program dubbed Wintersession.

Wintersession offers a slate of highly practical and focused courses as well as a number of extracurricular programs focusing on career planning, professionalism, and personal development during an intense three-day event slated for Wednesday, Jan. 5, through Friday, Jan. 7, 2011.

The courses are worth one-half credit each; extracurricular programs are non-credit. All are fee-free to Duke Law students. Courses are open to all 2Ls, 3Ls, and LLM students (1L students will be engaged in writing courses during Wintersession) with a maximum of two courses per student. Extracurricular programs are available to all students. Registration opens on Nov. 30.

The goal of the program is to offer students a chance to focus on particular professional skills as they prepare for summer employment and beyond, says Elizabeth Gustafson, associate dean for academic affairs. “Of course, our Career Center offers many of these sorts of programs throughout the academic year, and many of our core courses integrate skills development,” she said. “But students are often hard-pressed to take advantage of every opportunity during a busy semester. Wintersession will give them a chance to focus on some of the skills or topics they might not otherwise fit into their schedules.”

Each course involves two three-hour class sessions and, when possible, will be interactive. In Deposition Practice, for instance, students will take simulated depositions and receive feedback from practitioners and classmates. International Human Rights will focus on a case study of a current controversy in international courts. In Capital Markets Financing and Advanced Business Strategy, students will work through a complex simulated business transaction.

Wintersession is the newest in a long line of programs developed by Dean David F. Levi to integrate professional skills development into the Law School’s curriculum and to prepare students for work and life in the legal profession.

“We want to give our students every opportunity to hit the ground running when they begin their legal careers,” said Dean David F. Levi. “Wintersession courses are focused on particular professional skills and cover topics that don’t necessarily require an entire semester of study. They will give students a chance to try something new, something that they perhaps couldn’t commit to with a full course but are interested in trying nonetheless. My hope is that this will be a fun way for our students to further develop as professionals and lawyers.”

Guest instructors and speakers are prominent in their fields ⎯ among them are two former judges, eight law firm partners, four in-house and general counsel, the associate director of enforcement for the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the chair of the U.S. International Trade Commission. Fourteen of the instructors are Duke Law alumni. Duke Law Professor Jim Cox will teach an Introduction to Accounting course using the casebook he wrote.

See the Wintersession website for more details.