Course Details

Practicum: Judicial

The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with a solid understanding of the federal courts, judicial decision-making, and the role of the law clerk. Although the Seminar topics may vary semester to semester, they may include: the role of the law clerk, opinion drafting, judicial qualifications and selections, the Judicial Canon of Ethics and ethical considerations, the role of ideology in decision-making, judicial misconduct, and sentencing. In addition to weekly assigned readings, the class reads and discusses Judge Richard Posner's book, The Federal Courts. In addition, students work 12 to 15 hours a week as law clerk externs for Federal District Court Judges, Magistrate Judges, Federal Court of Appeals Judges, and state court judges. Working under the close supervision of the judges and their law clerks, students conduct research and draft memoranda and opinions. In addition, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the work of judges, students participate in the work of chambers and observe courtroom proceedings. Students maintain reflective journals about their field placement experiences and class discussions and respond each week to assigned questions about specific topics. Students submit two installments of their journals, and each installment of the journal accounts for one-third of the student's final grade for the course. At the end of the semester students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the judiciary. This presentation and weekly class participation account for one-third of the course's grade. Successful compliance with the externship requirements and the expectations of the Judge are also essential.

Catalog Number: CONPUB 647
Practice Areas: Civil Lit. and Dispute ResolutionConstitutional Law & ProcedureLegal Skills DevelopmentProcedure Practice Area
Additional Course Information: Not a lottery course,  Requires Practicum Placement

Course History


Fall 2014
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Andersen, Wayne
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 21


Spring 2014
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Andersen, Wayne
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 33


Fall 2013
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Andersen, Wayne
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 26


Summer 2013
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Spies Roth, Susan (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 27     Actual: 29


Spring 2013
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Andersen, Wayne
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 17     Actual: 27


Fall 2012
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Andersen, Wayne
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 17     Actual: 22


Summer 2012
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Spies Roth, Susan (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 22


Summer 2012
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Spies Roth, Susan (courses | profile)
Section: 2     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 27


Summer 2012
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Spies Roth, Susan (courses | profile)
Section: 3     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 15     Actual: 18


Spring 2012
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Section: 1     Type: Practicum     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 18     Actual: 26


Fall 2011
Title: Practicum: Judicial
Faculty: Wilson, Cynthia A. (courses | profile)
Andersen, Wayne
Section: 1     Type: Practicum     Credits: 4.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 24