Because the law is changing rapidly, and because the evidence is that the majority of lawyers will change jobs and career emphases over time, today's law student needs both the skills and the knowledge necessary for lifelong learning and professional development. SIU was at the forefront of standard-setting and forward-looking law schools which train students in a wide range of skills required for legal practice.
Lawyering Skills I and II engage students in a critical understanding of the different models of lawyering and legal practice, as well of professionalism and the ethical practice of law. Students learn about legal analysis and reasoning, legal writing, legal research, client interviewing, client counseling, advocacy, and negotiation. While the course encourages the development of excellent individual skills, students also learn to work cooperatively with classmates.
The feature that sets SIU's approach to lawyering skills apart, however, is its understanding of the complex relationships between legal doctrine, legal theory, and legal skills. In Lawyering Skills I and II, skills are not presented as separate from law, but rather, as interconnected.
We offer simulation-based learning in addition to the typical classroom instructional model. We offer small class sizes where active learning and student-centered teaching techniques are used. Problem-solving and transactional lawyering skills, which are often neglected in curricula at other law schools, are an important part of the course. Finally, while we offer our students challenges, we also offer them support.
At Southern Illinois University School of Law, our goal is to train lawyers who will be equipped to be active agents for change and improvement of the law, who are highly skilled and reflective, and who will be able to serve the needs of a wide range of clients. For more information about the Lawyering Skills Program, call 618.453.8648 or e-mail at sliemer@siu