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Law Summer Courses

On Being a Lawyer 309-SM2

October 29, 2013

Effective lawyering involves not just competent legal skills, but also a sense of professional purpose and identity that will allow the lawyer to effectively represent clients, thrive individually and as part of a professional community. In this intensive workshop-style course, students will explore what it means to be a professional, authentic lawyer. Students will look at issues such as:


  • Establishing and maintaining trust with one’s clients and understanding the role of respect for and consideration of one’s clients and others.


  • Fostering civility, individual and social justice, and integrity.


  • Exploring the personal meaning that legal work has for the practicing attorney and the attorney’s sense of responsibility for the profession.


In exploring these issues, students will actively engage narrative practices and exercises.  Specifically, students will engage in close reading of narratives, reflective writing, attentive listening, and autobiographical exercises.


By engaging these practices, students will develop interpersonal skills and reflect on their professional identity as lawyers.  Specifically, students will develop skills that foster empathic lawyer-client relationships, learn narrative communication strategies for client-centered and life-balanced practice, and cultivate collegial alliances. In addition, these practices will allow students to reflect on their own values and character as they explore what it means to be a professional, authentic lawyer.


Course materials will include reading short stories and articles and watching and reflecting on assigned movies. Students will write several short narratives over the course of the workshop and will write a paper (due 2 weeks after the course is over) reflecting on an interview with a practicing lawyer or an individual who has been a party to a legal proceeding.


Readings and movies may include the following:

Anthony G. Amsterdam and Jerome Bruner, Minding the Law (Harvard University Press).

Essential Qualities of the Professional Lawyer, Paul Haskins ed. (ABA 2013).

Jerome Bruner, Law, Literature, Life.


Movies: Philadelphia, Departures, and Class Action.


Satisfies the seminar requirement;

Optional: may satisfy WIE.

For more information:

Professor Anne Villella
2 Credits
Class Meets: Friday July 11 & Saturday July 12. 
                      Friday July 18 & Saturday July 19
Time: Friday:  5:00pm - 9:30pm
          Saturday 9:00am - 5:30pm
Room: Seminar A
Exam: None
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