Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Practical Training: Valparaiso

Yesterday, I listed preLaw Magazine's 20 Most Innovative Law Schools.  Today, I am focusing on Valparaiso, which preLaw mentioned for its practical training program.

Here is the description of Valpariso's curriculum from its website:

"Valparaiso University Law School provides a comprehensive study of the foundations of law, an introduction to its substantive areas, and the opportunity to study areas of specific interest. The curriculum focuses on legal analysis, practical training, perspectives on law, legal research, and legal writing."

PreLaw emphasizes Valparaiso's Intro to Experiential Learning Class.  Here is the rest of its first-year curriculum:


  • Seven-week sessions expedite assessment and feedback
  • New courses on the foundation of legal analysis and professional communications taught by senior faculty
  • Students engage in live-client contact in the first semester of law school.


Rigorous training in legal writing begins in the first year and extends into the second and third years at Valparaiso Law. This includes not just traditional seminars but courses on appellate advocacy, legal drafting, legal journalism, and subject-matter specific advanced legal writing and drafting courses. Valparaiso Law graduates have a reputation for strong legal writing and research skills, and the new curriculum has embraced and enhanced that strength.


Required Courses: Full-Time First-Year Studies

Fall Semester (Two seven-week sessions, total 14 credits)
100/101 Contracts I & II (full semester) Cr. 2.5 & 2.5
110/111 Criminal Law I & II (full semester) Cr. 2 & 2
131 Legal Research I (full semester) Cr. 1
135 Foundations (first 7 wks.) Cr. 2
145 Legal Communications (second 7 wks.) Cr. 1
170 Torts I (second 7 wks.) Cr. 2
315S1 Professionalism Education Requirement Cr. 0

Spring Semester (Two seven-week sessions, total 16 or 17 credits)
120/121 Civil Procedure I & II (full semester) Cr. 2.5 & 2.5
130 Legal Writing I (full semester) Cr. 2
160/161 Property I & II (full semester) Cr. 2.5 & 2.5
171 Torts II (first 7 wks.) Cr. 2
181 Legal Research II (full semester) Cr. 1
182 Legal Methods (full semester) Cr. 1

MANDATORY for all 1Ls that are on probation or in the bottom quartile of the class at the end of their first semester:
191 Intro to Experiential Learning (full semester) Cr. 1
315S2 Professionalism Education Requirement Cr. 0"

Valparaiso also emphasizes practical training in the second and third years: "Valparaiso Law has long been a stronghold of clinical and externship training. Our practical skills training extends from the beginning of the first semester to third-year practicums, nationally recognized externships, and eight live-client clinics in one of the oldest clinical programs in the country."

(Scott Fruehwald)

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