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Supervising a JD Certificate Program Adrienne Brungess Professor of Lawyering Skills Director, Capital Certificate & Commendation Programs Pacific McGeorge.

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Presentation on theme: "Supervising a JD Certificate Program Adrienne Brungess Professor of Lawyering Skills Director, Capital Certificate & Commendation Programs Pacific McGeorge."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supervising a JD Certificate Program Adrienne Brungess Professor of Lawyering Skills Director, Capital Certificate & Commendation Programs Pacific McGeorge School of Law

2 What is a Certificate Program? A Certificate Program Recognizes specialization in a particular study of law and supplements a JD. Is generally designed to provide a guide for selecting electives in specific areas of study. Helps students develop skills that employers seek in applicants. Provides students an opportunity to develop further competitive distinction.

3 Examples of Certificate Offerings Many law schools have a certificate or similar offering:

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12 Certificate Background Certificate programs became more popular in the 1990s in part because of the flexibility a certificate offers: Not regulated by ABA; not a “degree” Has no formal institutional or universal meaning Programs are relatively easy to implement Require less administrative expense than LL.M. Larry Catá Backer, Specialization in Legal Education by Means of Certificate or Concentration Programs, Law at the End of the Day (Thursday, May 18, 2006) at

13 Some of the Benefits Many schools have the faculty resources and courses in place; thus, creation of a program does not require much modification to the current system. Certificate programs are a cost-effective means to provide academic guidance to students seeking a specialized program of study. Provides a means of informing employers of a student’s specialization. Aids in recruitment of prospective students as students may be drawn to an institution that provides specialized study. A prospective student may use certificate programs as a way to assess faculty quality in a particular area of law. Larry Catá Backer, Specialization in Legal Education by Means of Certificate or Concentration Programs, Law at the End of the Day (Thursday, May 18, 2006) at education-by.html; Kevin E. Houchin, Specialization in the J.D. Curricula: A National Study (2003) at education-by.html

14 Benefits, cont. A certificate program can help the law school to meet its information and guidance roles. For faculty, certificate programs can serve as an efficient gateway for the counseling of students. Faculty, even those not involved in the fields covered by the certificate program, can make use of the curricular requirements of the certificate to help students develop a personal program of study that maximizes their years in law school. Programs of study leading to the award of a certificate can be developed consistent with the general mission of the Law School to produce well-rounded lawyers. Larry Catá Backer, Specialization in Legal Education by Means of Certificate or Concentration Programs, Law at the End of the Day (Thursday, May 18, 2006) at legal-education-by.htmlhttp://lcbackerblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/specialization-in- legal-education-by.html

15 Some of the Weaknesses Inconsistent definitions and requirements both within a law school and among different schools Establishing programs with similar form will decrease student confusion and failures to complete Administratively, similarity may reinforce the school’s distinctive culture Basic organizational uniformity can make it easier to publicize programs outside the school Uniformity among schools may make certificates more meaningful to employers Becoming a haven for marginally performing students Larry Catá Backer, Specialization in Legal Education by Means of Certificate or Concentration Programs, Law at the End of the Day (Thursday, May 18, 2006) at in-legal-education-by.html; Kevin Houchin, Law School: Consistent Labels for Specialized JD Programing, Lawyerist.com, Law School, Legal Careers, (March 15, 2011) at labels-for-specialized-jd-programing/http://lcbackerblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/specialization- in-legal-education-by.htmlhttp://lawyerist.com/law-school-consistent- labels-for-specialized-jd-programing/

16 Administration Models Program administration should be used to integrate all faculty working in a common field. Two general models of governance The single administrator model. Governance-by-committee model. The basic difference between the two models is that a single person is ultimately responsible for decisions under the single director model and more than one person, collectively, is responsible for decisions under the other. Larry Catá Backer, Specialization in Legal Education by Means of Certificate or Concentration Programs, Law at the End of the Day (Thursday, May 18, 2006) at legal-education-by.htmlhttp://lcbackerblog.blogspot.com/2006/05/specialization-in- legal-education-by.html

17 Do Employers Care? 120 representatives of NALP hiring firms completed surveys; they represented almost every state. “It is clear that participation in a specialized program does not automatically make a candidate more attractive to potential employers, but it can happen – and most likely does. When competition for jobs becomes tight, candidates must use every weapon in their arsenal to secure a job offer.... So, while specialization isn’t an automatic advantage in the job market, it’s not very likely to hurt the candidate. Because a graduation from a specialized program has more potential to help than potential to hurt the candidate’s odds of getting an offer, specialization might very well prove itself worth the effort in a highly competitive job market.” Kevin Houchin, Law School: Consistent Labels for Specialized JD Programing, Lawyerist.com, Law School, Legal Careers, (March 15, 2011) at

18 Kevin Houchin, Law School: Consistent Labels for Specialized JD Programing, Lawyerist.com, Law School, Legal Careers, (March 15, 2011) at specialized-jd-programing/ p. 27http://lawyerist.com/law-school-consistent-labels-for- specialized-jd-programing/

19 McGeorge’s Capital Certificate

20 Capital Certificate in Public Law & Policy The Capital Certificate Program is a 16-unit course of study and experiential learning that students may pursue at the same time as they earn a J.D. Capital Certificate students complete a series of required and elective courses specially designed to equip new lawyers with the skills and knowledge base to succeed in government and public lawyering careers. The Capital Certificate curriculum includes courses in agency law and statutory interpretation, a capstone seminar, and a required externship or clinic experience.

21 McGeorge’s Capital Certificate Capital Certificate in Public Law & Policy The curriculum ensures that students graduate with real life experience and on-the-job contacts within the government and public lawyering community. In the capstone seminar, students look in-depth at issues of government theory and practice, and write a paper of publishable quality. Students participate in student groups, attend events, and network with alumni members in California, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere who work in government and public lawyering careers.

22 McGeorge’s Capital Certificate Careers in Government and Public Lawyering Government Jobs Governments at the federal, state, county and city level employ attorneys to work with executive branch officers, agencies, legislative bodies and courts. Government Jobs Nonprofit Organizations/Public Interest Jobs Public interest lawyers work in organizations representing particular types of needy clients, in public interest law centers or advocacy organizations engaged in impact litigation and legislative work, and other types of nonprofits, which usually employ at least one attorney to do a number of different types of legal work. Nonprofit Organizations/Public Interest Jobs Private Firm Jobs Many different types of specialties practiced by law firm attorneys involve government or public lawyering. These include lobbying or other types of political law or legislative practice, representing governments or government bodies as clients, such as cities, counties or school boards, and representing private corporate or individual clients in practice areas subject to heavy government regulation, such as communications, employment, environmental, health or immigration. Private Firm Jobs

23 What do I do, exactly? Meet with applicants and review academic and professional goals Answer a lot of questions and review requests for waivers or accommodations Make appropriate referrals (students and grads) Review all graduating senior transcripts for satisfaction of requirements Sign and confer certificates Assist in course planning Assist in marketing efforts

24 Professional Benefits Director title Increased public exposure and campus visibility Connections to local attorneys, judiciary, alumni Increased interaction with administration and faculty (Capital Center scholars, Dean of Students, Career Development Office) Allows more direct participation in the school’s strategic plan and marketing Filled a position as student liaison that others found undesirable Largely satisfies commitment/service to the campus obligation Contributed recently to my overall “resume” for promotion consideration Exempts me from most committee work

25 Closing Q & A (time permitting)


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