February 2, 2007

The Legal Skills and Professionalism Program at Atlanta's John Marshall Law School


The Legal Skills and Professionalism Program at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School takes a holistic approach to preparing students for success during and after law school. John Marshall developed its Program with two goals in mind: higher bar passage rates and developing client-ready graduates who can practice law independently after obtaining a law license. The Program offers a cohesive approach to legal problem solving: students utilize tools they learn in their first year to solve increasingly complex and varied legal problems in the courses that follow. The Program begins with Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I and II in the first year. Building upon what is learned in the first year, students further develop their analytical and writing skills in two upper-level writing courses – Pretrial Practice and Procedure and Legal Drafting. Upper level elective courses such as Negotiation, Mediation, Trial Advocacy, Client Interviewing and Counseling, and Advanced Appellate Advocacy offer further opportunities for students to hone their legal problem solving skills. A professionalism component is built into every course in the Program, preparing students to confront and resolve real-world professionalism and ethics issues as they learn to solve legal problems and meet client goals. The Program relies heavily on a hands-on approach – each Program course provides opportunities to participate in simulated oral arguments, client conferences, negotiations or other exercises. The Program also provides support for several national and intra-state mock-trial, moot-court and other skills-based competitions, in which John Marshall students compete against other law schools. In addition, students can gain valuable experience in the field through the school’s Externship Program. John Marshall Legal Skills Faculty come to the School with diverse but expansive practice experience, including medical malpractice litigation, commercial litigation, administrative law, domestic relations practice, and corporate/transactional work. The Legal Skills Faculty are active in the Georgia legal community, involving practitioners in judging student oral arguments, guest speaking, and sponsoring workshops.