In 2013, Valparaiso University Law School became the only law school in the country to replace the traditional law school curriculum with a curriculum that provides feedback in 7-week sessions, and immediately immerses you into the lawyer’s fundamental role as counselor and communicator. Inherent in this role is a necessary skill set of interviewing, counseling, problem-solving, and the ability to communicate with clients in a professional manner.
Alongside your doctrinal courses, you will experience classroom opportunities to hone these skills as well as supervised live-client exposure – you and each of your classmates will personally experience what it is to be a lawyer.
2L Steven Harper says, “I feel I’m getting more education from the outset – more bang for my buck – because I’m learning essential skills alongside Contracts and Civil Procedure.”
Breakdown by year:
1L: FIRST YEAR: The first year’s focus is on developing core competencies, including problem-solving and client skills. The curriculum is presented in four seven-week sessions with tight integration of professors and instruction both within each session and from one session to another. Spanning the first year is a Praxis course, in which first-year students will be exposed to live-client experiences. Praxis is designed to offer a context for the substantive first year courses. There is also an emphasis on developing problem-solving skills, writing and research.
2L: SECOND YEAR: The second year focuses on values and core foundational/bar courses including Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Evidence, and Trust and Estates. The context of practice experience continues throughout the second year. The goal is for students, at the end of the second year, to be sufficiently well prepared to take a bar examination and to be ready for the third year of law school.
3L: THIRD YEAR: The third year facilitates a smooth transition from law school to career and practice. It provides clinical and practicum experiences which include intensive offerings that integrate courses into specific practice areas. Mentors, client-based experiences, targeted skills, and advanced study in writing and research are key components of the third year. The third year also closely integrates the academic enterprise with career planning by having students continue to develop and implement personal career plans.