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243.6 sec. 1 - Skills of Exceptional Lawyers -- Social Intelligence and The Human Dimension (Spring 2014)

Instructor: Jeffrey Newman  (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Units: 3
Meeting Time: Tu 3:35-5:25 & Th 3:35-4:25
Meeting Location: 240/240

Course Start: January 07, 2014
Class Number (formerly Course Control Number) (Non-1Ls): 49652

Exceptional litigation and counseling lawyers and judges show excellence at reading people, building trust, having difficult conversations, being listened to, improving judgment, enhancing creativity, managing people, time and career, dealing with stress and finding happiness in their work. Recent studies show that there are learnable skills in most of these areas that almost everyone can get better at. These human dimension skills are mostly what distinguish exceptional lawyers from lawyers generally.

The goal of this course is to gain appreciation of the importance of human dimensions in everyday legal and personal tasks and ways to get better at them. Leave the class with an appreciation of the available science, training + habits to improve these skills, having improved trust building and conflict resolution skills and having produced your own self-investment plan to continue this improvement after the class is over.

Readings draw from studies in social intelligence, happiness studies, client management, conflict resolution and career development. Students will become conversant with the growing body of applicable scientific, assessment and training tools, and the opportunities for practicing Human Dimension Skills to provide better outcomes for themselves in their legal careers.

Law school is primarily focused on teaching future lawyers to ‘think like lawyers’ and have a broad knowledge base of legal principles, and emphasizes issue spotting, rational thinking, research, clear writing and argumentation. However, studies have shown that proficiency, even excellence, in these skills is not sufficient and does not predict successful or satisfying legal careers. Rather these are necessary, but not sufficient, skills.

In work by Shultz and Zedeck, cited to all the Boalt skills faculty and the legal teaching community nationwide, they identified 26 “effectiveness factors” that help predict who will be an effective lawyer, and I believe you will find that in this class we will work on skills and insights related to the vast majority of them (see CAPITALIZED items).

(1) Analysis and Reasoning, (2) CREATIVITY/INNOVATION, (3) Problem Solving, (4) PRACTICAL JUDGMENT, (5) Researching the Law, (6) Fact Finding, (7) Questioning and INTERVIEWING, (8) INFLUENCING and Advocating, (9) Writing, (10) SPEAKING, (11) LISTENING, (12) Strategic Planning, (13) Organizing and MANAGING ONE’S OWN WORK, (14) Organizing and MANAGING OTHERS (Staff/Colleagues), (15) NEGOTIATION SKILLS, (16) ABILITY TO SEE THE WORLD THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS, (17) NETWORKING and Business Development, (18) Providing Advice and COUNSEL & BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS WITH CLIENTS, (19) DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS within the Legal Profession, (20) EVALUATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND MENTORING, (21) PASSION AND ENGAGEMENT, (22) Diligence, (23) INTEGRITY/HONESTY, (24) STRESS MANAGEMENT, (25) Community INVOLVEMENT AND SERVICE, and (26) SELF-DEVELOPMENT.

This class is intended to start students on a life-long learning process of developing these Human Dimension Skills that are the other “ and overwhelmingly more difficult to learn aspect (because they require buying into their importance, committing with strong motivation to improve, and constant application, re-enforcement and learning over a lifetime and a career) “ of what it takes to be both happier and more successful in your career.

It is NOT the expectation of this class that you will leave proficient at these skills. No 14-week small-unit class can do that. The expectation is that you will leave with improved skills, your eyes more open, your antennae less wooden, your attentiveness to yourself and others a bit heightened, and most critically a belief in the importance of these skills, a dedication to investing in them and an idea of how to do that “ for the rest of your life. Along the way we hope to have some fun and generate enthusiasm for this endeavor.

This course satisfies the Experiential Requirement.

Exam Notes: P
Course Category: Simulation Courses
This course is cross-listed in the following categories:
Negotiation and Dispute Resolution

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No reader.

Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.

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