Monday, January 10, 2011

Creating a course to teach students what a real transactional lawyer does

From the blog Concurring Opinions:

It was not until I left practice and started teaching that I truly appreciated the gap between legal education and legal practice. I know that statement is not a new revelation; many have discussed the lack of practical skills imparted to students during their three years of law school.

. . . .

This fall, I co-taught Business Planning with my colleague, Dan Goldberg, who focuses his teaching and scholarship on tax law. Dan and I worked together to prepare lesson plans and assignments, and we co-taught each class meeting. In fact, we structured the class to simulate a small law firm; Dan and I played the role of the tax and corporate partners, and the students played corporate associates.
. . . .
Students worked in teams and drafted parts of key documents relevant to a transactional law practice. These documents included a limited liability company operating agreement, an asset purchase agreement and a registration statement. Students also reviewed sample documents from public transactions and participated in strategy and counseling sessions with the hypothetical client during the seminar meetings.
. . . .

That was our primary objective—to help students start to put the pieces of their legal education together and try their hand at transactional practice before they have to do it for real clients. The class included many of the components of a traditional law school class—theory and doctrine—but it did so in an unfamiliar environment. One in which students did not necessarily know all of the facts, had to grapple with their clients’ objectives (which sometimes changed and sometimes were unrealistic), anticipate the opposing party’s objectives, develop solutions for their client and translate those solutions into definitive documents. As Dan often reminded the students, advising clients and doing deals are much easier the second, third and fourth times around.

You can read the rest here.

Hat tip to ATL.


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