Legal Practice Program: A Team Dedicated to Student-Centered Learning
The Texas Tech University School of Law offers first-year students six credit hours in Legal Practice ("LP") courses. Legal Practice I and II are part of a two-semester sequence that introduces them to the writings and legal processes that are encountered by lawyers in everyday practice.
The Legal Practice Program at Texas Tech Law is currently ranked the 16th top legal writing program in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.
The emphasis on professional skills in this top-ranked program requires an experienced group of professors to teach Legal Practice I and II. The professors who teach Legal Practice come from a diverse, distinguished, and practical background, and they have experience in highly regarded law firms, in state and federal clerkships, and in the state and federal government. This breadth of experience enriches the education of Texas Tech law students. Moreover, the team includes a full-time writing specialist and several law library faculty who add to the success of our program.
All full-time professors who teach Legal Practice are tenured, full professors of law who have been teaching at Texas Tech Law for at least seven years (with one at Texas Tech Law for more than seventeen years). Furthermore, they are respected legal scholars in a variety of subject matters including teaching pedagogy, adoption and foster care, reproductive justice, and environmental law.
The LP Courses
Legal Practice I (Fall semester)
The first course in the two-semester sequence covers a variety of skills and knowledge—taught in the context of client-centered representation—to start the students' journey to practicing law. This three-credit hour course is an introduction to the legal system covering case synthesis and statutory analysis, as well as the principles and practice of legal writing, client interviewing and counseling, and legal research.
Upon completion of Legal Practice I, which satisfies the ABA's requirement for a first-year writing experience under Standard 303(a)(2), students will be able to do the following:
- Demonstrate knowledge of professional and ethical conduct in the legal profession.
- Identify and describe the structures of the U.S. and Texas court systems.
- Conduct basic legal research using secondary and primary sources.
- Select and analyze relevant legal authority.
- Demonstrate competent legal analysis, reasoning, and problem-solving skills.
- Demonstrate effective communication with a mock client.
- Use proper legal citation.
Legal Practice II (Spring semester)
The second course in the two-semester sequence is a simulation course that focuses on persuasive legal writing, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), and appellate advocacy. The ADR component introduces negotiation skills, mediation, arbitration, and other ADR-related concepts. The persuasive legal writing component includes drafting a pre-trial brief and an appellate brief, and the appellate advocacy component includes presenting an oral argument. These practice skills are taught in the context of a simulated case or legal scenario so that students can maximize their learning in real-world contexts. Thus, this course provides substantial experience that is reasonably similar to the experience of a practicing lawyer. Students also have multiple opportunities for self-evaluation as they complete the course assignments.
Upon completion of Legal Practice II, which is an experiential course under ABA Standards 303(a)(3) and 304, students will be able to do the following:
- Demonstrate awareness of ethical obligations when advocating for a client and when interacting with the courts and with judges.
- Identify and describe the basic forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and choose among their appropriate uses.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the basics of contract drafting.
- Effectively conduct legal research.
- Competently write a persuasive pre-trial brief and appellate brief.
- Demonstrate knowledge of the form and function of appellate advocacy.
- Use proper legal citation.
- Present an effective oral argument.