Elective Skills Courses

Professional skills courses are courses that teach those skills generally regarded as necessary for effective, responsible and reflective participation in the legal profession. Professional skills include legal research and professional writing skills, counseling skills, interviewing skills, litigation skills, transactional skills, negotiation skills, mediation skills, legal drafting skills, legal problem solving skills, legislative drafting and lobbying skills, and other legal practice skills. Professional skills courses teach these skills in multiple ways, but always include using experiential learning techniques, including actual or simulated client representation.

Advocacy Skills Courses

A sub-group of our professional skills courses are listed on the two year curriculum planner as “Advocacy Skills Courses.”  These courses teach the practice skills used by lawyers in representing clients, through forms of advocacy that include litigation, transactional representation, and legislative lobbying, and that use the teaching devices of simulation and “learning by doing” that fulfill the “professional skills” requirement. Note that some courses that fulfill the professional skills requirement and would fit into this category are instead listed under substantive law headings because they are so closely tied to a substantive area of study. (See, e.g., patent litigation, listed under “Technology and Intellectual Property.”) And note also that some courses that meet the professional skills requirement do not involve advocacy. (See, e.g., quantitative methods, listed under “Jurisprudence and Social Policy.”)


Beginning with the 2010 fall entering class, all students must take a professional skills course, a live-client clinic, or a field placement, in their second or third year.

The list of courses satisfying the professional skills requirement is growing each year. It currently includes:

  • Advanced Entertainment Law Workshop
  • Advanced Legal Research
  • Advanced New Business Counseling Practicum
  • Advanced Trial Practice
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Child Welfare Law & Litigation
  • Civil Trial Practice
  • Criminal Field Placement Seminar (with field placement)
  • Criminal Pretrial Litigation
  • Criminal Trial Practice
  • Death Penalty Clinic Seminar (with clinic participation)
  • Depositions
  • Domestic Violence Practicum
  • Drafting Legal Documents for New Businesses
  • EBCLC Seminar (with clinic participation)
  • Environmental Field Placement Seminar (with field placement)
  • Ethical Issues for the Trial Lawyer
  • General Field Placement Seminar (with field placement)
  • International & Foreign Legal Research
  • International Human Rights Law Clinic Seminar (with clinic participation)
  • IP in the Entertainment Industries
  • Judicial Externship Seminar
  • Labor & Employment Arbitration
  • Land Development and Investment: The Art of the Deal
  • Law & Rhetoric (Persuasion)
  • Lawyers and Entrepreneurship: Business Plans
  • Legal Interviewing & Counseling
  • Local government impact litigation
  • McBaine Moot Court Competition
  • Mediation
  • Negotiations
  • New Business Counseling Practicum
  • Patent Litigation
  • Pre-Trial Civil Litigation
  • Quantitative Methods I 
  • Samuelson Clinic Seminar (with clinic participation)
  • Social Justice Skills & Practice Issues
  • Social Justice Workshop: Legislative Advocacy
  • UCDC Law (D.C. study program)
  • Veteran’s Law Practicum
  • Workshop on Development of the Environment