The Lawyering Program focuses on teaching the real-life skills employed by practicing attorneys. All first-year students are enrolled in the program’s full-year Lawyering course, which incorporates legal writing, legal analysis, legal research, client counseling and interviewing, and oral presentation.
All first-year students are enrolled in the program’s full-year Lawyering course, which is taught in small sections. The course curriculum incorporates myriad lawyering skills, including:
Client counseling and interviewing
Written assignments are set in the context of working in a simulated law office (or judge’s chambers). Students’ work is extensively critiqued (by the professor and teaching assistants), and regular professor-student conferences are the norm.
In the fall semester, students work primarily on predictive memoranda (memoranda that objectively analyze the merit of a potential or ongoing legal dispute) and an oral presentation. Just before the spring semester, an intensive week of classes devoted to the course allows students to hone and expand their legal skills.
In the spring semester, students focus on preparing persuasive documents (those that might be submitted to a court). The course culminates with a moot-court argument, in which students orally argue the position taken in their written document.
Throughout the academic year, skilled law librarians teach the fundamentals of conducting legal research through both print and on-line resources. Various assignments, moreover, allow students to enhance and refine their research skills.
Upper-class students also play a significant role in the Lawyering Program. Each year, approximately twenty-four upper-class students serve as teaching assistants — known as Honors Fellows — for the Lawyering course. Honors Fellows, who receive both individual and group training, work closely with their professor and the first-year students. By all accounts, Honors Fellows not only greatly aid the first-year students but also benefit from a rewarding and immensely educational experience.
Written assignments are set in the context of working in a simulated law office (or judge's chambers). Students' work is extensively critiqued (by the professor and teaching assistants), and regular professor-student conferences are the norm.
On May 12, 2022, Cornell Law School’s Death Penalty Program received the Award for Excellence in a Public Interest Case or Project from the Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA). The award honors the work of the Capital Punishment Clinic, the International Human Rights Clinic, the Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide, and the Death Penalty Project, representing the efforts of Professors Sandra Babcock, John Blume, Sheri Johnson, and Keir Weyble, as well as generations of their students, alumni, community partners, and clients.