Albany Law School challenges students to think like professionals from the first day of law school. Students are assigned to “firms” representing parties in a year-long simulated legal dispute and are introduced to the legal system, ethics, and the skills and values of the profession.
In the course of representing a client throughout two semesters, students begin fact development by interviewing clients, exploring the statutes and cases relevant to the client's situation, and learning analytical and writing skills by producing legal documents needed to represent the client.
The skills introduced through highly structured research and writing assignments in the first semester are honed in the second semester as students engage in fact development on a second issue through a discovery process that emphasizes the relationship between law and facts, conduct independent legal research, and write and re-write the relevant legal analysis first in a trial court memo and then in an appellate brief. Through this process, students receive a thorough grounding in statutory analysis, rule synthesis, and analytical legal writing. By participating in settlement negotiations and appellate arguments, students also develop their analytical skills through oral communication exercises that reinforce the written assignments.
Albany Law School has long recognized that by placing legal writing exercises in the context of legal problem solving and learning through experience, students are better prepared and practice ready.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Raymond and Ella Smith Distinguished
Professor of Law