Learn critical lawyering skills in your first year.

Through simulated legal disputes, you will learn critical litigation and transactional lawyering skills in Boston University School of Law’s first-year Lawyering Program. Classes of no more than twenty students are taught by full-time Lawyering faculty, with embedded research instruction provided by BU Law’s research librarians. Upper-class Lawyering Fellows provide additional support on Lawyering Skills assignments and serve as peer advisors to students.

The yearlong Lawyering Program introduces students to three critical categories of lawyering skills:

General Lawyering Skills

First, students focus on foundational lawyering skills, including objective writing, analysis, and oral communication. Through a series of written assignments, students learn to analyze complex legal questions, research the law, and develop professional legal writing skills in an objective context. Students develop their oral communication skills by conducting a client interview and presenting to a senior attorney.

Advocacy Skills

Next, students build on those general lawyering skills by focusing on persuasive writing and advocacy skills. During the spring semester, students participate in the J. Newton Esdaile Appellate Moot Court Program. Students draft a brief, which requires them to research the disputed issue thoroughly before writing a persuasive appeal to the court. Students then present their case in oral argument before a panel of moot court judges made up of students, lawyers, and faculty. For many students, this first-year experience inspires them to later participate in upper-class moot court competitions within BU Law and on teams that compete against other law schools regionally and nationally. It also provides the perfect training ground for future litigators.

Transactional Skills

Finally, students expand their lawyering skills through an introduction to transactional skills. The Lawyering Program’s transactional simulation has been recognized by Bloomberg Law’s Law School Innovation Program. Students are introduced to transactional concepts such as client counseling and negotiations through interactive discussion and “hands-on” exercises—both in and outside of class—that require students to do what lawyers do in solving client problems and achieving their objectives. This includes (1) determining the client’s goals; (2) determining the legal constraints and opportunities that affect the client’s ability to get what they want; (3) determining the relevant facts; (4) identifying multiple options for action; (5) assessing the various options to generate possible recommendations; (6) counseling the client; and (7) negotiating and drafting agreements.