Lawyer as Problem Solver

Lawyer as Problem Solver

What does it mean to "think like a lawyer" in the 21st Century?
Modern lawyers facilitate problem solving for clients in settings outside the courtroom or boardroom. Attorneys find themselves leading meetings, managing teams, and developing and exploring solutions beyond fitting facts into a legal framework.

To serve clients effectively, lawyers need skills in oral and written communication, interviewing, integrative negotiation, dispute resolution, ethics, creativity, coalition-building, decision-making, teamwork, and leadership.

Lawyer as Problem Solver (LPS), a program for first-year and LLM students, highlights these skills with an emphasis on group learning. Students step outside the classroom and into the role of attorney. The curriculum uses hands-on exercises to bring key principles to life.

The 2014 Lawyer as Problem Solver Program will take place on:

  • Thursday, January 16, 2014
    • 4:00-6:00 pm - Class
  • Thursday, January 30, 2014
    • 4:00-6:00 pm - Class
    • 6:00-7:30 pm - Reception

On these dates, students will elect to participate in two of the following five LPS sessions:

  • Client Counseling and Interviewing
    This session introduces students to the skills involved in working with and communicating with clients. Students will learn how to gather relevant facts and important information during an interview with a client as well as how to use the information from the client and from legal and other research to counsel the client on both legal and practical issues.
  • Communication in the Legal Office
    This track introduces students to communication issues encountered in law practice and provides advice on how to succeed in those encounters. Students will engage in role playing and debriefing of interactions including taking an assignment, short persuasive verbal communication, and lengthier presentations, including the use of audio-visual aids, such as PowerPoint.
  • Negotiation and Conflict Management
    This session addresses the role of lawyer as negotiators in both deal-making and dispute situations and focuses on the creative, as well as the competitive aspects of negotiation. Students will assess their conflict style and learn how to manage high conflict situations.
  • Understanding Financial Data
    Using Microsoft Corporation as a case study, students in this session will learn about the kinds of incentives that motivate managers to select various methods of reporting income, the extent to which these decisions reflect the reality of the corporation's financial well-being, and the interplay between managers, analysts, and the capital markets. This module will cover the basics for students new to financial data.
  • Improvisation Skills for Lawyers
    Lawyers are always thinking on their feet! This session provides a safe space for students to learn helpful skills to make them better at public-speaking, presentations, interviews, small-talk, networking and much more. The presenters have a fast-paced interactive agenda that will have you learning, speaking and improvising.
  • Public Speaking
    This session provides the basics for how to become successful at public speaking. Students will learn how to deal with "stage fright," as well as the other fears and challenges that come from with being in front of an audience. Students will learn about delivery skills, as well as how to make dry, informational material entertaining and interesting.
  • The Emotionally Intelligent Lawyer
    In today's competitive job market employers seek individuals who not only possess the threshold intellectual and technical capabilities but also a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence (EI). EI is the ability to accurately recognize and effectively manage emotions in ourselves and with others. EI separates typical from outstanding lawyers and is often what determines who soars to the top in any firm. Attend this didactic-experiential session to continue developing the "people skills" needed to navigate key inter- and intrapersonal dynamics at the core of all work. In particular, the session will focus on developing four of the most critical aspects of EI: self-awareness (maximizing strengths), self-management (leading yourself effectively), optimism, and empathy (accurately perceiving others emotions). To do this students will identify the top three EI competencies they feel relate to successful legal practice, learn skills to develop a more optimistic outlook so they improve their overall emotional state and therefore performance, identify key attitude and behavioral reaction patterns impacting their ability to maintain poise under pressure, and finally, learn the 6 habits of highly empathic people. The research is clear that leaders who are self-aware, manage themselves effectively, and can accurately read others emotions get the best results in both their professional and personal life.

There will be a networking reception for all first-year students to mix and mingle with attorneys from our sponsor firm Mayer Brown, Latham & Watkins, and Sheppard Mullin.