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TOP 20 THINGS EVERY LAW GRADUATE NEEDS TO KNOW… HOW TO DO John Ammann Director of SLU Law Clinic Tricia Harrison Assistant Clinical Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "TOP 20 THINGS EVERY LAW GRADUATE NEEDS TO KNOW… HOW TO DO John Ammann Director of SLU Law Clinic Tricia Harrison Assistant Clinical Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 TOP 20 THINGS EVERY LAW GRADUATE NEEDS TO KNOW… HOW TO DO John Ammann Director of SLU Law Clinic Tricia Harrison Assistant Clinical Professor

2 The Evolving Art of Practice Ready Where did this come from? How did the question evolve? ABA Task Force on Law Schools and the Profession: Narrowing the Gap requirement of practical skills courses McCrate Report Carnegie Report Changing legal marketplace-crash of 2008

3 What do students need to know McCrate Report Very specific areas Specific knowledge Understanding Awareness appreciation

4 Example of McCrate Report Fundamental Skill Counseling understanding of the various ethical rules and professional vales that shape the nature and bounds of a counseling relationship between layer and client This is knowledge

5 Another example Appellate An understanding of the processes for taking an appeal including The types of factors that should be considered in deciding whether to take an appeal Once that decision is made, the analytical processes for identifying the range of issues and selecting those to be raised Various skills, concepts and processes required for effective written communication

6 Where is the skill? How do you find, fill out and file a Notice of Appeal? What do the local rules say is required in the actual brief? Record on appeal? How to read a transcript and create a statement of facts from the record? How do you e-file?

7 Example of McCrate Communication: Presenting ones ideas or views with precision, clarity, logic, and economy; Choosing appropriate terms, phrases, and images Applying the mechanics of language (grammar, syntax, punctuation) in an effective manner, Attending to detail (proof reading)

8 How do you do this? Examples Observation Discussion Skills Practice Real live experience This can be done in every class not just clinics!

9 Top 10 Skills our alums think every graduate should know HOW to do Survey of 100 alums Limitations Litigation heavy Civil practice Small firms Less than 10 years in practice Most had taken clinic during law school All stayed in St. Louis or Missouri metro area

10 Top 10: Number 1 Communication The ability to communicate with clients cannot be stressed enough. (comment from responder) How to effectively and appropriate communicate in both written and oral form with: Judges Opposing counsel Partners Staff (including paralegals and how to use them effectively) clerks

11 Comments from recent grads Client letters plain English Purpose of communication When court is and the importance of being there List of things to do Deadlines, etc Letters to opposing counsel & other professionals Oral communication with opposing counsel how to deal with the obnoxious, bellicose, a**hole on the other side Biz letters communication Punctuation, grammar and spelling, clarity

12 Comments regarding communication continued How to find resources good language from other attorneys work Forms prepared by local bar/practice manuals Asking for help Helping students know their strengths and weaknesses in communication Practice, practice, practice

13 Top 10: Number 2 Knowing the Rules of Procedure, how to find them and apply them Including the local rules of different jurisdictions The skill of drafting documents related to those rules Complaint Petition Answer Discovery requests Bill of particulars

14 Top 10: Number 3 Negotiations skills How to resolve conflicts (with clients and opposing parties) How to settle a case Including drafting a settlement agreement How to draft attempt to resolve letters Mediation statements Doesnt have to be a separate class, should be discussed throughout

15 Top 10: Number 4 Interviewing and Counseling skills Clients From first phone call/meeting to signing the fee agreement How to gather information How to analyze the information How to provide options How to deal with difficult clients Witnesses How to gather information How to take notes Affidavits Preparation for depos/court

16 Comments from recent grads Client counseling needs to include the ethical dilemmas that arise and how to apply the ethical rules How to manage client expectations all clients want to know 1). how much, 2). how long and 3). what are the next steps. We must teach how to anticipate these questions and answer them before it comes up.

17 Top 10: Number 5 Depositions Plan it Organize for Prepare witnesses for Defend

18 Top 10: Number 6 Oral skills Overall presentation skills How to present to different groups Clients Courts juries marketing Opportunities to present information is important Motion argument Argue to trial judge Appellate court Jury trials

19 Top 10: Number 7 Direct and Cross Examination of a witness The actual skill How to organize it What questions to ask How to ask it When to not ask a question When to stop

20 Top 10: Number 8 Drafting documents Complaints Motions Settlements Including attempt to resolve letters Transactional documents Contracts Real estate agreements Business deals

21 Comments Each course should contain a how to section. Such as, draft a contract in Contract Law. In Civil Procedure, view and complete normal forms in a civil case. Have the students use Missouri Practice to find and create forms needed everyday in the real world. The number of lawyers who graduate law school without ever having drafted a law suit should rightly leave the public bewildered and asking: How can you graduate from law school if you've never drafted a law suit?, or, alternatively, If they didn't teach you how to draft a law suit in law school, what DID they teach you?"

22 Comments One of my first assignments was to draft an amendment to a sale contract. I had no idea how to do this. I was also assigned to work on a closing checklist. I had no idea how to do this and had never even seen a closing checklist before. I had very little transactional drafting instruction in law school.

23 Top 10: Number 9 Organization, Work Ethic, time management Soft skills Not fixing the problem for them when they are stuck Accountability Problem solving Setting high expectations How do you juggle it all

24 Top 10: Number 10 Thoroughness of research Where to start When to end Appropriate cases to use Practice, practice, practice You cannot just teach this first year in LRW Must have them continue to practice the skills throughout their three years

25 Comments Versatility in different research formats is highly important and not focused on enough in law school. Many new attorneys start out on their own or join small practices where they do not have access to Lexis Nexis or Westlaw, and they have to utilize other avenues of research, so it would be helpful to know how to find and navigate these free or less expensive programs. Knowing how to do complete research without breaking the clients' budget. How to use Missouri Practice set. how to access non-traditional research.

26 USING SKILLS TO TEACH THE LAW AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: Show and Tell, not Tell and Show

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28 Litigation Entry of Appearance Traffic Case Electronic Filing/Filing New Cases Learning Jurisdiction Draft a complaint Demand letter first? Divorce Discovery ---- electronic Toxic torts Draft a Motion For Change of Judge To Suppress Draft a Judgment Medicaid lawsuit

29 Transactions Draft an Agreement Representation Agreement Settlement Agreement in a class action for the homeless Draft a Power of Attorney For a member of the military Draft a Will For a person with AIDS Draft a business formation document For a minority owned business

30 CUSTOMIZING YOUR SKILLS State Bar Exam Topics State Bar CLE Goals Needs of Employers Needs of Clients Needs of Society Interests of Students

31 Comments from alum In my first time in court after I graduated, I could not find a job, and a friend of mine asked me to help him with a speeding ticket. I told him to come to Court dressed in a suit, and I would take care of it. When the prosecuting attorney asked me Have you filed your entry?, I looked at him like he was speaking Mandarin Chinese. How could my law school have failed to teach me about the existence of something SO BASIC? What an embarrassment. Kids should not have to learn of such a basic legal document in Court and be schooled in front of a client by the opposing attorney

32 Theres Plenty of Time 3 years 84 weeks 1,260 hours Show and Tell And Show Again


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