Texas Tech University

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is "Legal Practice"?

A: Legal Practice is a first-year course that is an introduction to the legal system and practice expectations.

Legal Practice I covers case synthesis and statutory analysis, as well as the principles and practice of legal writing, legal research, and client interviewing and counseling. It also introduces legal citation format. In this first semester, students will write objective legal analyses in the format of office memos and client letters.

Legal Practice II extends the principles of objective legal writing to persuasive legal writing and oral argument. It also introduces alternative dispute resolution ("ADR"), with a focus on negotiation and mediation, as well as contract drafting. Students will also write trial- and appellate-level briefs.

Q: Do I have to take both courses?

A: Legal Practice is a full-year, six-credit course that all first-year law students are required to take.

Q: How does Legal Practice prepare me for legal practice?

A: Legal Practice is designed to teach 1-L's about the writings and legal processes that are encountered by lawyers in everyday practice.

Q: What kinds of backgrounds and experiences do the Legal Practice professors have?

A: All of Texas Tech's Legal Practice professors have a wide variety of both teaching and practical experience. All Legal Practice professors have been teaching at Texas Tech for at least two years (some, more than 10), and some have additional teaching experience at schools across the country, such as the University of Puget Sound School of Law and Albany Law School. The practice experience of the Legal Practice professors includes experience in highly regarded national and regional law firms, in state and federal clerkships, and in the state and federal government. Legal Practice professors are licensed in New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Texas, and The District of Columbia, as well as admitted to practice in a variety of federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.

Q: Does Legal Practice include instruction on grammar?

A: The Legal Practice faculty provide instruction on grammar during class. Furthermore, throughout the year, optional workshops on grammar and writing may be offered. These workshops will typically reinforce the materials taught in class or review information that students should have learned in the past. Students may also seek additional instruction from the law school's writing specialist, Dr. Natalie Tarenko.

Q: Does Legal Practice include instruction on Computer Assisted Legal Research?

A: The Legal Practice faculty and librarians will teach computerized legal research in both the classroom and in supplemental workshops. Attending these workshops is required when they are listed on the syllabus as the subject matter for a specific class period and otherwise as noted.

Q: What writing assignments will a student have in Legal Practice?

A: The writing assignments include legal memoranda, contracts, client letters, and trial and appellate briefs.

Q: How much legal research is required?

A: Learning how to conduct legal research is a major part of the class, and students will likely spend much time in the library or online conducting legal research.

Q: What system of grading is used by the Legal Practice professors?

A: Each Legal Practice professor uses his or her own system for grading, and your professor will explain his or her system to you. Each Legal Practice professor also grades the work of his or her own students, and your grades will only be affected by the performance of other students within your section; the performance of students in another section does not affect your grade. The LP professors generally follow the suggested median as set out in the Student Handbook.

Q: What is the student-to-professor ratio in the Legal Practice Program?

A: The student-to-professor ratio is approximately 20 to 1 at Texas Tech.

Q: Are there other resources for assistance in Legal Practice besides the professor?

A: Each section of Legal Practice is assigned a student teaching assistant (a Legal Practice Teaching Fellow) who assists the professor with that section of students. The teaching assistants are hand-picked by each professor and are students who excelled while they were in Legal Practice. The teaching assistants keep office hours and regularly mentor and help the students in their section. Students also have access to a writing specialist (Dr. Natalie Tarenko) and the law librarians.

Q: Why is Texas Tech Legal Practice Program so excellent?

A: Tech's program is superior for several reasons. First, the faculty members come from a diverse, distinguished, and practical background. Second, the Legal Practice course is aimed at providing each student with a diverse array of practical research and writing experiences so that he or she is familiar with these areas when he or she graduates and enters the practice of law; the faculty is truly dedicated to providing each student with these practical skills. Finally, the small student-to-professor ratio in the Legal Practice Program assures that each student gets the attention and assistance that he or she deserves.