Lawyering Skills

Fall 2004 — Tuesdays & Thursdays 10:55 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. — Borchard Conference Room

Goals, Methods & Grades

Course Goals — In this class you will learn how to ethically and effectively communicate in the law office – how to interview clients and witnesses, give legal advice, and negotiate disputes.  You will study case-planning and strategy.  You will also explore personal preferences in the practice of law and consider the roles of lawyers in providing access to justice and engaging in public interest lawyering.  This course is a prerequisite for the Mediation and Advanced Negotiations course next taught in Spring Semester 2005.

Clinical Experiences — Because these skills and insights are best acquired through actual involvement in legal practice, we ask each student to participate in a clinic, pro bono work, or a paid clerkship that allows you to observe and practice these skills and which provides professional experience to reflect upon.  The Civil, Criminal and Mediation Clinics can provide these experiences. 

Instruction and Assessment — The Counselor-at-Law text presents the theoretical framework and guidelines for employing the basic lawyering skills of interviewing, counseling, and case-planning.  The Legal Negotiation text provides the theoretical framework and guidelines for negotiating.  During class we will watch videotaped demonstrations, engage in role playing exercises, and debrief these simulations.  An important goal in skills instruction is being able to demonstrate skills in a controlled, experimental setting.  Accordingly, each student will be videotaped in a mock client interview, a mock client counseling session, and a mock negotiation. These videotapes will be individually (and privately) critiqued and graded.

An equally important instructional goal is that you understand your individual style, strengths and preferences.  Accordingly, feedback on your videotaped performances will also focus on your individual tendencies.  

The third goal is to support your reflection about the practice of law, your place in legal practice, and how lawyers serve clients. Additional readings and class discussion will address these concerns.  Here, too, it is important that you have actual experiences in practice settings to contemplate.  You will be asked to reflect upon your representation of clients, the skills you observe and employ, and the institutions you encounter. 

Over the course of the semester, you will be required to submit three short (3-5 page) papers (one each on interviewing, counseling, and negotiation).  Each paper will discuss your observation of, preparation for, or participation in an interviewing, a counseling session, and a negotiation, respectively.  Each paper will report on what you have done or observed and then critically analyze that experience in light of relevant concepts you have learned in the course.  One of the three papers may deal with a role play in which you participate in class, but at least two of the papers must deal with actual client-related situations outside of class.  If you take a clinic during Fall Semester 2004, you should write at least two of these short papers about your experiences in your clinic.

For you to get the full benefit of your small group discussions, you should submit each of these papers at the beginning of the respective small group discussion session (i.e., on Tuesday, September 21st for your interviewing discussion group; on Thursday, October 21st  for your counseling discussion group; and on Thursday, November 18th for your negotiation discussion group). 

At the end of this semester, you will be required to submit a substantial (12-15 page) final paper critically analyzing your live lawyering observations and experiences in light of at least two relevant concepts you have learned in the course.  This paper may draw upon your short paper(s) and class discussions.  If you take a clinic during Fall Semester 2004, you should write the substantial paper about your experiences in your clinic.  If you would like to have your paper reviewed before you submit it to be graded, you may submit a draft paper by the last day of classes, Thursday, December 2nd.  The deadline for submitting your final paper is Friday, December 17th in order to guarantee a timely grade.

Grades — Grades will be based upon the videotaped interview, videotaped counseling session, videotaped negotiation, the three short papers, and the final paper as follows:

Classroom participation also may be considered in assigning grades.  Unexcused absences may be taken into account.  If you must be absent, please leave an email, voicemail, or written message.



Prof. Jim Holbrook – Call or stop by most days
Room 230   585-9693 (days)   539-0622 (evenings)

Clinic Coordinator Trina Rich – Call or stop by most hours of the day:
Room 220  581-8660

                                      Lawyering Skills — Schedule — Fall 2004



Aug. 24 Introduction — Goals for the Course; Three Models of Counseling

CL: Ch. 1; handouts; in-class skills exercises

Aug. 26: The Attorney-Client Relationship

CL: Ch. 1-2; video demos; in-class skills exercises

Aug. 31 —  Communication Skills; Beginning the Interview

CL: Ch. 3-4; video demos; in-class skills exercises

Sept. 2:  Skills Exercises  —  Client Interviews I

Sarat & Felstiner, Law and Strategy in the Divorce Lawyer’s Office

Sept. 7: Skills Debriefing; Exploring Client’s Story

CL: Ch. 5-6

Sept. 9:  Skills Exercises  —  Client Interviews II

Sept. 14:  Skills Debriefing; Interviewing Ethics

Handout on ethical issues in interviewing

Sept. 16: Dealing with Clients

CL: Ch. 2, 9, 11; handout on personality needs

Sept. 21:  Small Group Discussion: Interviewing       Submit short paper on interviewing

Sept. 23:  Counseling the Client 

CL: Ch. 7-8; video demos

Videotaping of Interviews – To be videotaped between Sept. 20 and Sept. 24.   Reviewed by appointment.

Sept. 28:  Skills Exercises — Client Counseling I

Sept. 30:  Skills Debriefing; Counseling Ethics

Handout on ethical issues in counseling

Oct. 5:  Skills Exercises  — Client Counseling II

Oct. 7:  Skills Debriefing; Decision-Making  in Counseling

Oct. 12:  NO CLASS  — Fall Break

Oct. 14:  NO CLASS  — Fall Break

Oct. 19: Bad News Counseling

CL: pages 157-64; handouts; in-class role play

Oct. 21:  Small Group Discussion: Counseling

Submit short paper on counseling

Videotaping of Counseling – To be videotaped between Oct. 25 and Oct. 29.   Reviewed by appointment.

Oct. 26: Factual Analysis; Case Development

Handouts on factual and legal analysis

Oct. 28:   Positional Negotiation

LN: Ch. 1-5; mini-skills exercises

Nov. 2:  Problem-Solving Negotiation

LN: Ch. 6-9; mini-skills exercises

Nov. 4:  Skills Exercises — Negotiation I

Nov. 9:  Skills Debriefing; Negotiation Preparation

Handouts on effective negotiation preparation

Nov. 11:  Skills Exercises — Negotiation II

Nov. 16:  Skills Debriefing; Settlement Agreements Handouts on drafting settlement agreements

Nov. 18:  Small Group Discussion: Negotiation

Submit short paper on negotiation

Videotaping of Negotiations – To be videotaped between Nov. 15 and Nov. 19.   Reviewed by appointment.

Nov. 23: Mediation

CL: Ch. 10 and LN: Ch. 12

Nov. 25: NO CLASS — Thanksgiving Break

Nov. 30: NO CLASS — Monday classes meet

Dec. 2: LAST CLASS — Small Group Discussion

Thursday, Dec. 2 — Optional deadline for submitting a draft of Final Paper

Friday, Dec. 17 — Deadline for submitting Final Paper

The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities.  If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to Barbara Dickey, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and to the Center for Disability Services (CDS) to make arrangements for accommodations.  CDS is located at 200 South Central Campus Drive (Union Building), Room 162, or you can call 801-581-5020.

All written information in this course can be made available in alternative format with prior notification.

Copyright 2006 Jim Holbrook. Teachers are free to copy these materials for educational use in their courses only, provided that appropriate acknowledgment of the author is made. For permission to use these materials for any other purpose, contact the author.