Learning the skills of legal reasoning, research, and writing is essential to becoming a practice-ready attorney—and teaching these skills is a top priority at Widener Law Commonwealth. By providing three semesters of Legal Methods courses we provide a foundation for our students to build on as they complete their education and enter the legal profession.
In the first semester of law school, our students take Legal Methods I, a three-credit course focused on predictive legal analysis. Students are taught how to critically read and analyze the law by writing and rewriting documents a junior associate or judicial clerk would write. We are able to provide our students with extensive written feedback and multiple conferences throughout the semester because our classes are taught in small sections by mostly full-time tenure-track or long-term faculty.
In the second semester of law school, our students take Legal Methods II, a two-credit course focused on persuasive legal analysis. Students are taught both written and oral advocacy by writing a motion memo and an appellate brief, and presenting an oral argument. Remaining in the same small sections with the same professor throughout their first year enables our students to receive meaningful assessment and to develop strong professional relationships without faculty.
In addition to the first year Legal Methods courses, our students build upon their skills by taking a two-credit Legal Methods III course which they choose from an array of offerings focused on developing professional and competent lawyers. These courses are taught either by full-time faculty or our highly accomplished adjunct faculty who, as currently-practicing attorneys, offer students an additional perspective.
Best Practices in Legal Education: How Live Critiquing and Cooperative Work Lead to Happy Students and Happy Professors (PDF)