The lawyering program assigns students to "firms" representing parties in a year-long simulated legal dispute, introducing the student to the legal system, ethics, and the skills and values of the profession.
In the course of representing a client throughout two semesters, students begin fact development by interviewing clients, learn to research by finding the statutes and cases relevant to the client's situation, and learn analytical and writing skills by producing legal documents needed to represent the client. The skills introduced through highly structured research and writing assignments in the first semester are honed in the second semester as students engage in fact development through a discovery-like process that emphasizes the relationship between law and fact.
Students further conduct independent legal research, and write and re-write the relevant legal analysis first in a trial court memo and then in an appellate brief. Through this process, students receive a thorough grounding in statutory analysis, rule synthesis, and analytical legal writing. By participating in settlement negotiations and appellate arguments, students also develop their analytical skills through oral communication exercises that reinforce the written assignments.
The Lawyering Program enables students to begin the transition from layperson to lawyer by learning to be an attorney through simulations. The Lawyering Program coordinates with the Albany Law Clinic & Justice Center to prepare students for the role of an attorney, with full responsibility for a client's case in one of the law school's many clinics.