The foundation of any legal career is the ability to write. Tulane places special emphasis on writing through its first-year Legal Research and Writing program as well as through a number of other intensive writing opportunities during the second and third years of law school. Tulane also emphasizes other lawyering skills in its curriculum, through its live clinics and simulation courses.
Tulane's first-year legal research and writing program takes students through a series of research and increasingly more complex writing problems. The course culminates in the writing of an appellate brief and an oral argument before a panel of faculty judges.
After the first year, the Law School offers a number of opportunities for students to hone their writing skills under faculty supervision in seminars and clinics, through directed research projects, and through moot court competitions and the various law journals published at Tulane.
Students seek out significant writing experiences in their second and third years even in the absence of a formal requirement. Typically, 80 percent of each graduating class enroll in a seminar or directed research project requiring the preparation of a full-fledged paper, produce a note or comment for one of our journals, write one or more briefs for a moot court competition, prepared briefs or motion papers in our live clinics, or assist in the drafting of a court opinion in connection with a judicial externship.
Tulane has expanded its skills offerings beyond its clinical courses to encompass simulation courses in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration, as well as its course in trial advocacy. Tulane offers a basic course in Alternative Dispute Resolution that includes simulations to help students develop skills in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. In addition, Tulane has an advanced negotiation and mediation advocacy course and another course in mediation. These courses are also taught using the simulation model. Faculty include negotiation exercises in various upper level courses such as Advanced Bankruptcy. Drafting is stressed in Legislation and in higher-level planning courses in the areas of estates and trusts/successions, business transactions, land use, and real estate financing.
Tulane's Trial Advocacy course is a semester-long series of simulations in trial skills, taught by top-notch litigators. Taught both semesters, the Trial Ad course helps students to develop courtroom skills such as direct and cross examination, introduction of documents, work with expert testimony, and opening and closing statements. In simulated trials of complete cases, students learn trial preparation and strategy development. Course sections of 10 to 12 students are taught each semester by 25 experienced trial attorneys and judges who work closely to coach and critique students.
Finally, Tulane's student-run Moot Court program engages substantial numbers of students each year in both trial- and appellate-level preparation and argument.
The primary objective of Tulane's externship program is the enhancement of students' learning through experience. Students engage in practice-oriented learning in three settings: state and federal courts, public interest organizations, and government service.
Work performed at field placements provides dual benefits: experiential learning opportunities for students and valuable service to the community. Through externships, students earn credit and have the opportunity to:
- gain professional skills and problem-solving expertise
- study professionalism and the ethical requirements for lawyers
- examine lawyers' roles in the delivery of legal services and ensuirng justice for all
- develop specific lawyering skills or learn a specific area of law
- explore career interests in a variety of legal jobs and build a professional network
- expand exposure to potential employers
- provide community service
Tulane's externship program offers year-long externships for 3Ls, semester-long field placements for 2Ls and 3Ls, and summer placements for rising 2Ls and 3Ls. Summer externships are portable; students may undertake approved field work locally, nationally, or internationally.
The Law School's clinical education program offers students the opportunity to gain experience representing actual clients in real situations under the direct guidance of Tulane professors who serve as supervising attorneys. Students simultaneously learn advocacy skills and the necessary substantive law. We have developed a multidimensional clinical program that permits as many as 90 students each year to participate. Most of our clinics limit enrollment to third-year students.
More information on Clinics