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 a client letter.

Legal Practice II extends the principles of objective legal writing to persuasive legal writing and oral argument. It also introduces alternative dispute resolution (ADR) and contract drafting.

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. Students typically have the same professor for both Legal Practice I and II.

Q: Why is the Legal Practice Program at Texas Tech Law 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 courses are 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. 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.

Q: How does the Legal Practice Program prepare me for the legal profession?

A: In a nutshell, the Legal Practice courses are 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 professors who teach Legal Practice have?

A: All of Texas Tech's Legal Practice professors have a wide variety of both teaching and practical experience. All full-time professors who teach Legal Practice are tenured, full professors of law and have been teaching at Texas Tech Law for at least seven years (one more than seventeen). The professors who teach Legal Practice have experience in highly regarded national and regional law firms, in state and federal clerkships, and in the state and federal government. Furthermore, they are respected legal scholars in a variety of subject matters including teaching pedagogy, adoption and foster care, reproductive justice, and environmental law. Professors who teach in the nationally ranked Legal Practice Program 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.

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 will be offered. Students may also seek additional instruction from the law school's full-time writing specialist, Dr. Natalie Tarenko.

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

A: The Legal Practice faculty and the Law Library faculty work collaboratively to teach computerized legal research in both the LP classroom and in research workshops.

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

A: The writing assignments include legal memoranda, a client letter, a contract, a pre-trial brief, and an appellate brief. Thus, students will have the opportunity to illustrate their legal writing skills in a variety of assignments during the two semesters of Legal Practice.

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

A: Each professor who teaches Legal Practice uses his or her own system for grading, and your professor will explain his or her system to you. Your semester grades will be affected only by the performance of other students within your LP section; the performance of students in another section will not affect your grade. The professors who teach Legal Practice 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 17 to 1 at Texas Tech Law. This small ratio allows professors who teach Legal Practice to cultivate a positive, supportive learning environment in which they can provide meaningful feedback to students throughout each semester.

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

A: Each section of Legal Practice has a student teaching assistant (a Legal Practice Teaching Fellow) who assists the professor with that section of students. The teaching assistants are selected by each professor and are students who excelled while they were in Legal Practice. The teaching assistants regularly mentor and help the students in their section. Students also have access to our full-time writing specialist (Dr. Natalie Tarenko) and our stellar Law Library faculty.