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Experiential Learning and Skills   

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To become a great lawyer, students must practice the hands-on skills of lawyering. Whether it is making a winning argument before an appellate court, negotiating an outstanding settlement for a client, or drafting the complex contract needed to perfect a merger, Seton Hall offers students the opportunities needed to excel.

Through the required courses -- Introduction to Lawyering, Appellate Advocacy, and Persuasion and Advocacy, students acquire the written and oral skills needed for the practice of law. Students learn how to properly make an argument and convince others of their position.

Skills Curriculum

The Skills Curriculum focuses on participation and simulation, through classroom experiences such as mock trials, drafting legal briefs and contracts, and representing a party in a mediation. These courses have limited enrollments (generally 10-16 students per section), thereby allowing significant interaction with and feedback from faculty. Many of these classes are taught by adjunct professors who are experts in the area. For example, federal judges and experienced trial lawyers teach many of the litigation skills courses.

Curriculum Planning
Persuasion and Advocacy is a prerequisite for the advanced litigation and clinical classes, and students who are interested in further developing their skills for legal practice should take Persuasion and Advocacy early enough in their law school career to allow room for these advanced courses. To enroll in Advanced Civil Trial Practice and Advanced Criminal Trial Practice, students must also have completed either the one-semester Evidence course or at least one semester of the full-year Evidence: Theory and Practice course. Advanced Civil Trial Practice is a prerequisite for Trial of a Civil Matter and Advanced Criminal Trial Practice is a prerequisite for Trial of a Criminal Case.

To enroll in clinical courses, students must first complete courses in Persuasion and Advocacy, Evidence, and Professional Responsibility.

Some skills courses are only offered once per year, while others may be offered only in alternating years. Thus, students should plan ahead for skills courses. In addition, other advanced skills course may be added to the curriculum in future semesters.

Limitations on Number of Skills Courses Counted Toward Graduation

No more than 15 credits of skills and self-directed work credits will be counted toward graduation. In addition to skills courses, this includes, externships, skills competitions, independent research, and clinics (non-classroom component only). Credits earned for Legal Research and Writing, Appellate Advocacy, and Persuasion Advocacy are not counted toward the 15-credit. Students are permitted to take more than 15 credits pf skills and self-directed work; however, only 15 of those credits will be applied toward the graduation requirements.

There are some limitations regarding related classes counting toward the graduation credit requirement. For example, students are not permitted to take both Advanced Civil Practice and Advanced Criminal Practice to meet the requirement. Where such limitations exist, they will be listed in the course descriptions.

  • Advanced Skills Courses

    In the advanced litigation skills courses, students can hone their lawyering skills. Some of the advanced courses in criminal and civil trial skills are taught by federal judges. These judges bring their years of practical experience as well as their time on the bench to bear on teaching students both the science and art of law through hands-on exercises. The small class size for these courses gives students the chance to practice their skills and receive feedback from the professor in every class.

  • Alternative Modes of Dispute Resolution

    One of the fastest developing areas of legal practice is in alternative modes of dispute resolution. While not every practicing attorney will find himself or herself conducting a trial before a judge, nearly all attorneys will engage in some form of mediation or negotiation. Seton Hall offers a range of classes in the area including: Advanced Negotiation Skills, Advanced Mediation Skills, or Advanced Arbitration Skills. In each of these classes students learn the theory and strategy behind dispute resolution and then apply those theories to practice in simulated mediation, negotiation, and arbitration.

  • Transactional Skills Course

    The transactional skills course is an exciting and practical bridge between the substantive law involved in transactions and the application of law to an actual deal.  Focusing on real deals and real problems, experienced adjunct faculty conduct the course in an interactive seminar setting.  Part of the course is the negotiation and the drafting of documents associated with a model transaction, such as confidentiality agreements, letters of intent, due diligence document requests, asset purchase agreements, and opinions of counsel.  Another part of the course focuses on special problems associated with transactions, such as restrictive covenants.  Ethical issues encountered in transactional practice are discussed throughout the course.  Everyone participates and professors are invaluable sources of in-depth knowledge.

  • Pro Bono Programs, Externships and Clinics

    Seton Hall offers students multiple opportunities to develop their practical skills and gain hands-on experience by working in real lawyering contexts.

    Students participating in Seton Hall Law’s award-winning Pro Bono Service Program gain exposure to on-the-ground lawyering and can make a difference in someone’s life starting as early as their first year. The program allows students to volunteer at a nonprofit organization for a semester based on their area of interest in a diverse range of not for profit organizations including community development, criminal justice, mental health, and youth programs.

    Visit Pro Bono Program for more information >>

    Through the Center for Social Justice (CSJ) clinical program, upper-class students move from the classroom to the real-world as they represent clients and handle cases from start to finish. Each of the clinics focuses on a particular area of the law, but all share the commitment of promoting social justice by working on behalf of the underrepresented.

    Visit Clinical Courses for more information >>

    Externships provide an excellent opportunity to work alongside practicing attorneys and learn from direct work experience—while earning 2 academic credits. Externships are available with approved not-for-profit and government organizations, entertainment companies, and state and federal judges.

    Visit the Externship Guide for Students for more information >>

  • Competitions

    Seton Hall sponsors teams of students who perform at interscholastic intra-school competitions in mock trial, international moot court, and dispute resolution. Participation in these competitions is an excellent way for students to develop their legal skills and learn how law is practiced. Below you will find a brief description and contact information for each competition.

    Intra-school Competitions

    Ronald J. Riccio First Year Moot Court Competition
    The Ronald J. Riccio First Year Moot Court Competition is an intra-school competition open to all first year day and evening students. Held during the spring semester, students are given a fact pattern along with applicable case law. They must then make a series of simulated oral arguments in front of a panel of student judges. Competitors who advance to the quarterfinal rounds will be invited to join the interscholastic moot court board.
    Eligibility: Open to all 1Ls in good standing (day and evening)
    Contact: Professor Jodi Hudson, hudsonjo@shu.edu

    Eugene Gressman Moot Court Competition
    The Gressman Competition is an intra-school appellate advocacy competition offered each spring. Second and third year students participate in teams of two. Each participant receives one credit. To earn the credit, the team must write a brief and argue one compulsory round. After the compulsory round, the top 32 teams compete in single elimination rounds until one team wins. The final argument is judged by members of the judiciary. United States Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Third Circuit Judges Maryanne Trump Barry and Michael Chagares, and New Jersey Supreme Court Justices Helen Hoens, Deborah Poritz, and Barry Albin are just a few of the many distinguished jurists who have judged the final night. Awards for the competition are given to the Finalists, Semi-Finalists, Best Brief Authors, and Best Oral Advocate.
    Eligibility: Open to all 2Ls and 3Ls in good standing who have completed Appellate Advocacy or who are enrolled in the course during the semester of participation.
    Enrollment: Participants enroll in the course as part of the standard registration process for spring courses. As part of the course, students will receive details on all competition deadlines.
    Contact: Professor Charles Sullivan, charles.sullivan@shu.edu

    Interscholastic Competitions

    Mock Trial Competition
    The Seton Hall Mock Trial Board (MTB) trains students to participate in national mock trial competitions. Students learn how to conduct a trial, from opening statements to direct and cross examination and closing arguments. As part of the selection process for the team, students will participate in a Closing Argument Competition in the fall semester. In the spring, students will participate in a national trial competition.
    Eligibility: All students may apply to join the MTB but only students who have finished their 1st semester of their 2L year may compete.
    Contact: Professor Jamie Pukl-Werbel, jamie.werbel@shu.edu

    Interscholastic Moot Court Competitions
    The Interscholastic Moot Court Board at Seton Hall School of Law is an organization dedicated to competing in Appellate Moot Court competitions throughout the country. Comprised of approximately thirty students, Board members engage in competitions ranging from criminal law to family law, internet law to constitutional law, and entertainment law to civil rights law. Each Board member competes in one competition per year, with a few students competing in one each semester depending on their success. The Board is an excellent way to improve both writing and oral advocacy skills.
    Students interested in the Interscholastic Moot Court Board can obtain membership in several ways. First, students finishing as Semifinalists and Finalists in the Gressman Moot Court Competition may be invited to join the traveling Board. Students competing in the Ronald J. Riccio First-Year Moot Court Competition and finishing as Quarterfinalists or better may also be invited to join the Board.
    Eligibility: Open to all law students in good standing who have completed at least one semester of law school.
    Contact: Professor Jodi Hudson, hudsonjo@shu.edu

    Jessup International Moot Court Competition
    The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition is the world's largest moot court competition, with participants from over 500 law schools in more than 80 countries. The competition is a simulation of a fictional dispute between countries before the International Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the United Nations. Each team prepares oral and written pleadings arguing both the applicant and respondent positions of the case.
    Enrollment: Participation in the Jessup competition is coordinated by the Seton Hall Law School International Law Society.
    Contact: Professor Kari Panaccione, kathryn.panaccione@shu.edu

    Dispute Resolution Competitions
    The Seton Hall Dispute Resolution Society (DRS) prepares students to perform at interscholastic competitions in mediation, negotiation, arbitration, and client counseling. The DRS recruits new members each year through an intra-school negotiation competition. The DRS board in conjunction with the faculty director of the ADR curriculum selects students to compete in ABA sponsored and other national dispute resolution competitions.
    Eligibility: All Students may apply to join the DRS but only students who have finished their 1st Semester of their 2L year may compete.
    Contact: Professor David White, david.white@shu.edu

  • Interscholastic Moot Court Board

    Through Seton Hall’s Interscholastic Moot Court Program, students compete in Appellate Moot Court competitions throughout the country. Students engage in competitions addressing such issues as criminal law, health law, trademark law, juvenile law, and civil rights law. Students are selected for the Moot Court Board, composed of approximately thirty-two students, based on their writing and oral advocacy skills as demonstrated through their participation in the Eugene Gressman Moot Court Competition for upper-class students, the Ronald J. Riccio First-Year Moot Court Competition, and the John J. Gibbons Moot Court Competition. A student must be a Board member to compete in an interscholastic moot court competition. Jodi A. Hudson, Esq., a Seton Hall law graduate and a certified Civil Trial Attorney, has served as Director of the Moot Court Program since 2000.

  • Persuasion & Advocacy Course Video Review Signups

    Current students sign up for video review sessions after they have been videotaped in a Persuasion and Advocacy class.

    If you have any questions about video reviews or Persuasion and Advocacy class, please contact Professor Maya Grosz at maya.grosz@shu.edu.