DU’s Trial Practice III: The Mentor’s Practicum allows law students the opportunity to hone their trial advocacy skills while giving back to their community. Mentors spend one day each week working on trial skills in a traditional advanced trial practice classroom setting. Students spend an additional day each week teaching Denver High School Students critical life skills through mock trail. The focus includes teaching critical thinking, oral communication skills, professional writing, and teamwork. Professors David Schott and Lindsey Webb teach this course.
Enrolling in this course requires professor approval, including completing the Mentor’s Practicum Application.
AN OVERVIEW OF THIS COURSE
- The Mentor’s Practicum has been described as
“…a law school course with a brain AND a heart”;
“…a course that required me to process legal theories and stratagems, and translate them in a language understandable to laypeople – like a future client”;
“…unlike any other course I have ever taken in my life”.
THE HISTORY OF THE COURSE
- The course was launched in 2007 and was designed to help law school students apply critical thinking and communication skills that will be required of them in their professional practice, all-the-while helping grow our next generation of critical thinkers
- The course proved to be a “Win-Win-Win”. It’s a “win” for…
- The Mentors – because teaching a subject is the best way to learn it (“Teach it once, learn it twice”). Mentors teach trial strategies, evidence, case analysis, client counseling, and more.
- The Law School – because it promotes our mission of community involvement.
- The Students – because it more fully develops the life skills high school students – critical thinking, professional writing, oral advocacy, teamwork…through mentoring.
ACCREDITING & GRADING
- The Practicum is a 2-semester course, earning Mentors 3 credits per semester (6 total)
- Both semesters are graded, and grades are based on: Weekly Journals (250 to 500 words); In-class participation; Field Work (at the high schools); Final Trials each semester
HOW IT WORKS & THE TEACHING PHILOSOPSHY OF THE COURSE – “Teach, Model, Perform”
- The class meets once a week (Tues 12-2:30) for the Mentors to refine their Trial Advocacy Skills. This is a Trial Practice III course, and thus the Mentors challenge each other at a high level.
- The Mentors also engage in “field work” weekly for 2.5 hours at a local high school. The Mentors are split between 2 schools, and then split into 2 squads within each school.
- The Mentors always have their lesson plans ready prior to going into the school. The Professors teach the Mentors about each lesson plan. The Mentors model the plan, then teach their students.
- No Mentor ever have to teach a class alone. The teacher is always present and is the disciplinarian.
- The course is a bit more work during tournaments: Providence Cup – Oct; CBA – February.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
- Both 2L’s and 3L’s can participate in the course
- The number of Mentors selected is uncapped. It is dictated by how many applicants are qualified.
- Selection into the course is by “Professor Approval.” Complete the Questionnaire and submit it to Professors Schott & Webb.
- Interviews occur after Questionnaire submission. If accepted, the Professors complete registration.
- Completion of Evidence or Trial Practice I is not required to apply, however exposure to trial advocacy is highly recommended (CU/DU Cup, STLA, etc.), and applicants are required to take Trial Practice I in the summer before the course or concurrently during the fall.
- The Mentors Practicum seeks law school students with a penchant for working with kids, or who have experience in counseling/teaching – e.g. camp counselors, Teach America, etc.