Learning Outcomes

Students in the library

The Learning Outcomes set forth here are the faculty’s description of the aims of a comprehensive legal education for each student. The overarching goal of the faculty is to vest in our students the entire range of concrete lawyering skills necessary to most effectively perform as legal professionals at the local, state, national, transnational, and international levels in the 21st century. Every course in the Law School’s curriculum is designed to achieve some but not all of the Learning Outcomes. Categories 1, 2 and 3 address knowledge outcomes, and categories 4, 5, 6 and 7 address skills outcomes. Category 8 addresses professional values outcomes.

I. KNOWLEDGE

Category 1 — Substantive rules of law. Each graduating student must have demonstrated knowledge of the basic rules of law and the diversity of law practice as contained in:

  • the first-year curriculum: Civil Procedure, Torts, Criminal Law, Legal Argument and Factual Persuasion, Problem Solving I, Property, Contracts, Constitutional Law, Problem Solving II, Practicing Law in a Global World: Contexts and Competencies.
  • the upper-level required courses of Professional Responsibility and Problem Solving III.
  • in addition, each graduating student must have at least 12 credit hours of coursework requiring hands–on work of the type performed in law practice, and at least 6 of those credit hours must be earned in a “real” setting as opposed to a simulated setting.

Category 2 — Preparation for the bar examination. Each graduating student must take a minimum number of courses covering subjects and skills typically tested on the bar examination. The minimum coursework for bar preparation is the first-year curriculum, Problem Solving III and Professional Responsibility.

Category 3 — Sources of law and the process of law creation and evolution. Each graduating student must understand:

  • the roles and differing characteristics of sources of law: the common law; legislation, administrative regulations; treaties and judicial interpretation of legislation, regulations, treaties and constitutions;
  • the processes through which law is made and changed, and how those processes differ from one source of law to another; and
  • the different roles that state and federal law play in the process of lawmaking.

II. SKILLS

Category 4 — Research. Each graduating student must have demonstrated the ability to:

  • devise and implement a coherent research plan to effectively resolve specific legal issues.
  • identify and employ the fundamental tools of legal research, whether in print or electronic format.
  • evaluate different types of resources and assess their appropriate use as reference or authorities.  

Category 5 — Writing. Each graduating student must have demonstrated the ability to:

  • write analytically and persuasively; and
  • draft legal documents such as contracts, legal memoranda, client communications, opinion letters and briefs.

Category 6 — Basic legal analysis, fact development and law-finding. Each graduating student must have demonstrated satisfactory or better performance in the following:

  • extracting rules and policy from cases, statutes, and administrative regulations and analyzing, applying, interpreting, and arguing differing interpretations of rules and statutes;
  • conducting investigation of facts;
  • identifying legal issues in fact patterns, and applying rules and policy to facts;
  • weighing evidence to reach factual inferences;
  • constructing arguments and identifying flaws in an argument;
  • presenting analysis orally; and
  • using policy to analyze and persuade.

Category 7 — Entry-level lawyer capabilities. At the level of proficiency required for effectiveness as an entry-level lawyer and in a manner appropriate to a student’s professional goals, each graduating student must have demonstrated satisfactory or better performance in most of the following learning outcomes:

  • strategic legal research and strategic planning regarding research; 
  • problem solving in light of a client’s objectives: anticipating consequences and assessing risks;
  • recognizing the most common ethical and professional liability dilemmas and resolving them with high professional standards;
  • recognizing how international and foreign law can affect a client’s rights and knowing how to respond;
  • negotiating in dispute, transactional, or regulatory contexts;
  • communicating with clients and others; 
  • interviewing;
  • performing basic trial or other dispute resolution system tasks (including using the rules of evidence);
  • using procedural tools such as motions and discovery;
  • knowing how to read transactional and financial documents, including financial statements;
  • utilizing experts and expert knowledge;
  • working collaboratively; learning from experience through self-critique;
  • managing projects within time and resource limitations;
  • presenting orally outside of litigation; and
  • using technology in legal practice.

III. PROFESSIONAL VALUES

Category 8 — Professional Identity and Perspectives. Each graduating student will understand:

  • the structure of the legal profession and the role of lawyers in the profession;
  • how to conduct one's self in accordance with standards of professional conduct. For example, knowing how to apply the principles and policies reflected in the law governing lawyers, including a lawyer’s duty of loyalty to clients, fiduciary duties, and obligation of competent representation;
  • the important role that cultural competency serves in a lawyer’s ability to deliver competent legal services to clients; 
  • the expectations of employers and others with respect to lawyers’  knowledge, skills, qualities, and behavior; and
  • a lawyer’s commitment to and expanding access to justice to those who lack the resources to hire a lawyer.