TRIAL PRACTICE III – THE MENTORS PRACTICUM
Professors Schott & Webb
1. 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”.
- As one Mentor revealed, “Watching a seventeen year old girl, who six months prior lacked the confidence to stand up and state her name, now deliver a textbook cross-examination of a live witness in front of a room full of strangers, left me amazed. …the fact that this teen achieved this six days prior to her giving birth to her first child, left me powerless – I was awed.”
- 2. 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.
- 3. 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
- 4. HOW IT WORKS & THE TEACHING PHILOSOPSHY OF THE COURSE – “Teach, Model, Present”
- The Professors teach it. The Mentors model it. The Students present it.
- 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. Mentors challenge each other at a high level.
- Mentors always have their lesson plans prior to going to the school.
- Mentors then have 2.5 hours of “Field Work” in squads of 3 Mentors. (W or Th 2:45-4:30)
- No Mentor is responsible for teaching alone. The teacher is always present and is disciplinarian.
- The course is a bit more work during tournaments: Providence Cup – Oct; CBA – February.
- 5. THE APPLICATION PROCESS
- WE NOW ACCEPT MENTOR APPLICATIONS IN NOVEMBER FOR THE SPRING SEMESTER
- 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 on The Advocacy Department website 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.