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Boot camp readies students for legal practice

January 27, 2014

Click here to view the 2014 Intersession Slideshow

Toronto-based Axel Kindbom (L ’96) discusses a key contractual clause with 3L Chris Haws as the team prepares to negotiate the purchase of a craft brewery.

Toronto-based Axel Kindbom (L ’96) discusses a key contractual clause with 3L Chris Haws as the team prepares to negotiate the purchase of a craft brewery.


New York attorney Michelle Bergman (L/MBA ’94) advises students before they go into a negotiation.

New York attorney Michelle Bergman (L/MBA ’94) advises students before they go into a negotiation.


Ann Huntley (L ’91), a deputy district attorney in San Jose, helps a student prepare to argue a motion in criminal court.

Ann Huntley (L ’91), a deputy district attorney in San Jose, helps a student prepare to argue a motion in criminal court.


New Orleans-based attorneys Chris Teske (L ’00) and Lynn Luker (L ’81, LLM ’85, LLM ’92) give instructions to students in the Intersession boot camp civil litigation track.

New Orleans-based attorneys Chris Teske (L ’00) and Lynn Luker (L ’81, LLM ’85, LLM ’92) give instructions to students in the Intersession boot camp civil litigation track.

Photos by Digital Roux Photography

The verdict is in: Tulane’s 3rd Annual Intersession boot camp gave students hands-on training and an opportunity to learn directly from some of the nation’s top lawyers and judges. And participants again called it invigorating, insightful and excellent preparation.

Feedback following the Jan. 6-10 program included praise from students as well as lawyers who volunteered their time as instructors in the three tracks — civil litigation, transactional law and criminal practice.

“You are justifiably proud of a cutting-edge program,” said Terry Oxford, managing partner of Susman Godfrey’s Dallas office, who committed to return for the full week again next year. Oxford was joined for the camp by fellow partners Warren Burns and Daniel Charest, who graduated together from Tulane Law in 2004.

Lawrance Bohm, a leading California trial lawyer who can claim two of the state’s top-10 jury verdicts last year, returned to the program for the second time and hired five students while on campus. Bohm, who was awaiting a jury verdict in a trial, also gave his deposition-practice small group unexpected insight, letting them in on a special court hearing via cellphone when jurors sent questions to the judge.

As in past years, student evaluations, submitted anonymously, delivered rave reviews:

“It was a great look into what the first few years of associate life looks like.”

“The attorneys were able to give insight into the world of transactional law and give guidance on actual solutions to issues that I would not have found in normal classroom instruction.”

“To be able to get feedback from a federal judge was phenomenal.”

The 163 students in this year’s program undertook a rigorous curriculum that included nightly preparation for the next day’s real-world assignments, including depositions and due diligence; and small-group work, such as prepping witnesses and hashing out a purchase agreement. Students in the criminal and civil litigation tracks capped the week by arguing a motion in court before a sitting judge in U.S. District Court or Orleans Parish Criminal District Court in downtown New Orleans.

Instruction included a gripping presentation by New Orleans attorney Scott Bickford, who demonstrated deposition-taking techniques after a dramatic confrontation staged in the classroom. Attorney instructors offered constructive criticism along with a bounty of practical advice about being prepared, communicating with clients, respecting legal adversaries and being trustworthy before a judge.

Bickford (L ’82) was among dozens of alumni who help plan and execute the boot camp as a way of closing a training gap for new lawyers and giving new Tulane Law graduates an advantage in the marketplace.

One student summed up the experience this way: “This has been the most valuable experience I have had so far in law school.”

 
   


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