The Legal Profession Course

Today, we continue our coverage of our third year curriculum with a look at the Legal Profession course, the year-long lecture series devoted to the discussion of contemporary issues confronting lawyers and the practice of law. A quick note before we get started. At the conclusion of yesterday’s post, I referred to this as a semester-long course. Last year, it was a semester-long. This year, it is a full year in length.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the Legal Profession course:

Depending upon a student’s level of interest, the course can be worth one or two credits. There are twelve, two-hour sessions offered over the course of the year. One session is offered during each immersion (one in the fall, one in the spring) and all students are required to attend these sessions. After that, if the student wishes to earn only one credit for the course, he/she must attend four of the remaining ten sessions. If the students intends to earn two credits for the course, he/she must attend eight of the ten remaining sessions. In addition, students are required to submit a ten page paper on any topic that has a direct relationship to the legal profession. This course is graded pass-fail.

Here is the list of topics from this year’s course:

Alternative Business Systems for Law Firms (Required – Fall Immersion)
The Lawyer in a Global Market (Required – Spring Immersion)
The Electronic Lawyer
White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers
Life As Legal Aid Lawyer
The Perfect (And Not-So-Perfect) Associate
Lawyers in the Criminal Justice System
The Lawyer Entrepreneur
Professional Identity
Social Science Skills for Lawyers
The Future of Law Practice
On Having Influence

We asked Jim Moliterno, the professor who leads/designs this component of the third year, a few questions about this course:

What is the purpose of the Legal Profession course?

There are critical topics regarding the legal profession that do not fit neatly anywhere else in the curriculum.  The Legal Profession course exists to expose the students to these topics.  Examples of the topics include the economic systems of the legal profession, its culture, its current events and trends and challenges.

What topics did/will you cover during this year’s program?

The topics include The Future of Large Law Firms, The Perfect Associate, Lives and Work of White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers (same for Legal Aid Lawyers),  Lawyers as Entrepreneurs, Lawyers in the Global Legal Economy, On Having Influence, Women’s Issues in the Legal Profession, The Electronic Lawyer (Note: A full list of the topics can be found above).

 What do you hope students get out of these discussions?

I hope the sessions assist students in becoming “of the legal profession.” The 3L curriculum is in part designed as a transition year between the role of student and the role of lawyer. One piece of that is the sense of belonging to the legal profession. I hope students leave the Legal Profession sessions feeling more like they have a stake in the future of the legal profession, more like they will have some role in its future development, and more like they should care about the health of the profession beyond their own practice area.

How do you feel it fits within the larger context of the third year?

As the students experience the role of lawyer in the immersions, clinics, externships, and practicum courses, the Legal Profession course gives them a place in the 3L curriculum to pause and reflect on the context of their experiences.

Tomorrow, we will discuss the law-related service component of the third year. This component requires all students to complete at least forty hours (40) of legal service to the public and/or service to the legal profession during their third year.

Click here to see all our blog coverage on the third year

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