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 Resolution, Constitutional Law & Procedure, Legal Skills Development, Procedure Practice Area
Additional Course Information: Not a lottery course, Requires Practicum Placement