Lawyering I & II and Upper Division Courses
Lewis & Clark Law School emphasizes analysis and writing, allocating 6 credit hours for Lawyering I & II. Our first year courses focus on objective and persuasive legal writing, respectively. In fall semester, you will learn how to predict the most likely outcome to a legal question. You will gain basic knowledge of research strategies and techniques. You will understand the components of a single legal argument and how to organize multiple legal arguments within a document. After learning how to synthesize, organize, and write about the law, you will draft an objective memorandum of law for a supervising attorney.
In the second semester, the focus shifts to persuasive writing. You will learn how to write for a different audience—a court. The major assignments will be an appellate brief and preparing an oral argument from that brief. Each April, first-year students prepare and present oral arguments before panels of local attorneys and judges at the Multnomah County Courthouse.
Small Classes and Individual Attention
Lawyering I & II will give you individual attention and in-depth feedback. Small Lawyering classes—typically from 20-24 students—provide more opportunity to engage with professors and peers. Each first year student has rich opportunities for feedback through numerous one-on-one individual conferences with Lawyering professors, intensive peer-review sessions, and in-class workshops on writing and citation.
Upper-level students serving as Teaching Fellows provide another great resource for guidance or feedback. Teaching Fellows review and critique student work, mentor students, and conduct workshops on topics like taking exams, research, or citation basics. Fellows are also available to conference with students.
Upper Division Classes
Our program offers many upper division classes and seminars including Advanced Legal Writing, Contract Drafting, Legal Persuasion and Rhetoric, Race and the Law, Statutory Interpretation, and topics in Criminal Justice and Public Interest Law. Seminars are small, usually ranging from 8-15 students, so that each student can get individual attention and feedback.
Oregon Supreme Court Visit
Each year, the Oregon Supreme Court hears oral arguments on our campus. As a student, you will get to see appellate briefs and oral arguments up close. You will also get to interact with justices from our state’s highest court.
Oral Arguments at the Ninth Circuit
In spring semester as you begin to prepare to argue your issue for 1L Moot Court, consider attending oral arguments at the Ninth Circuit. Watching other advocates can help you improve your own skills! Check the court’s schedule here to find out when you can attend.
Lawyering Program Policies
A. GRADING PHILOSOPHY:
As your only skills course in the first year of law school, Lawyering will teach a wide range of skills you will need in practice. Lawyering is a required course in which students may receive a grade of Honors Pass, High Pass, Pass, or No Pass (F). Students will not be graded on a curve. The basic competencies of legal research, reasoning, and writing are the most fundamental skills a lawyer possesses. Consequently, all students should reach a level of competency expected of practicing lawyers. Because this course teaches the fundamental skills every attorney needs, students would be disadvantaged to be graded on a curve and ranked individually. Instead, all students have the opportunity to achieve excellence.
While your goal in some courses may be short term—that is, a good grade—Lawyering requires a somewhat longer perspective. You are building a solid foundation for your entire legal career (including your career as a law student), when you develop your reasoning and communication skills. The skills you learn in Lawyering will not only help you in practice, they will also help you excel on your law school exams. Your hard work now will pay off handsomely when you take law school exams, when you get your first summer clerking job, and when you accept your first attorney position after graduation.
Lawyering skills are the ones you will use every day in practice. You will learn many skills an attorney needs such as critical reading and thinking, professionalism, cooperation, and peer learning. Many times this year, you will work with other students. In Lawyering you can focus all your energy on learning these skills instead of worrying about your individual rank in the class. Your Lawyering course will be a tremendous amount of work. We trust you will recognize the rewards.
B. INDIVIDUAL WORK:
The Lewis & Clark Honor Code is an important document to the law school community. Read it on line in What’s What. The Honor Code explains that the law school prohibits plagiarism. Plagiarism includes the failure to adequately credit sources when paraphrasing ideas, as well as blatant “lifting” of text. This applies to both published and unpublished material (including the work of other students). Read the plagiarism chapter in this Supplement for more information.
Every year, questions arise concerning the degree to which students may work with one another on their assignments. General guidelines follow. You should address questions to your professor. If you are in doubt, ask.
We encourage open discussion of ideas and legal theories. Therefore, we encourage you to discuss ideas with your Lawyering classmates. You may not ask your Lawyering classmates or anyone else for answers to your assignments.
You may explain your research process to fellow Lawyering classmates and research together when your professor allows. You may not, however, give another student the answer itself, nor may you mark the pages where the answer is found.
All written work must be a product of your individual effort. Passing off another’s work as your own is plagiarism. You may ask your professor or any Teaching Fellow to review your Lawyering assignments, outlines, drafts, and final documents. You may also ask non-lawyers or non-legal trained friends or relatives to proofread your work or read it for clarity, but they may not substantially revise or edit your work. In addition, those readers may not comment on your analysis or content. Finally, you must not ask to see another student’s work or share your work unless directed to do so by your professor.
A student who violates any of these rules may receive a failing grade for both semesters of Lawyering and may also be subject to further proceedings under the Honor Code. Honor Code sanctions range from written reprimand to expulsion. Failure to report a suspected violation may also be a violation of the Honor Code.
1. A student shall not take a book outside the library without first checking the book out.
2. A student shall not hoard books. Hoarding means removing a book from its assigned shelf space for more than three hours at a time. This includes intentionally reshelving a book in an improper location. Hoarding also includes possessing more than six library books at any time.
3. A student shall not deface books.
The Library staff is a helpful resource. The staff’s willingness to assist you is directly related to your patience and willingness to observe the library rules.
Your professor will explain how, when, and where to hand in assignments. To assure confidentiality, students may not pick up graded papers for other students. No classes may be skipped in order to complete Lawyering assignments.
E. ORIGINALS AND COPIES:
All papers must be word-processed. In addition to the copy you turn in, you must be able to produce an additional copy of each assignment.
1. Students must regularly attend class to receive credit in the course.
2. Students should inform the professor ahead of time of necessary absences.
3. Students who miss class are responsible for finding out what was covered, collecting any handouts, and for completing any in-class work.
1. Satisfactory completion of all assignments, including in-class exercises, is required to receive credit for Legal Analysis and Writing.
2. Many required assignments will be collected and critiqued, but not graded.
1. All work is due on the assigned day at the assigned time.
2. Any requests for extensions must be submitted in strict accordance with the professor’s requirements.
3. In extraordinary circumstances, a student may request an extension no later than 24 hours after a paper is due. Such a request must include an explanation as to why the request was not made in a timely manner.
1. All students are expected to comply with the requirements set forth above. Failure to comply may result in receiving a grade of No Pass (F) for the semester. All students must receive credit for both Lawyering I and Lawyering II to graduate.
2. A professor may require a student to rewrite any assignment that is not of satisfactory quality.
3. If a paper is handed in late the grade may be reduced one or more grade levels. For repeated offenses, the student may receive a grade of No Pass (F) for the semester.