What Exactly IS “Lawyering”?
Apart from the breadth of its academic and career resources, renowned professors, and beautiful buildings in the heart of Greenwich Village, NYU Law offers something else that no other school can match: Lawyering.
Lawyering is a required, year-long 1L course and is somewhat similar to many other law schools’ Legal Research and Writing courses, though they can hardly be considered equals! The Law School’s Lawyering Program gives students a practical look into the legal world and is staffed with incredible professors to do just that. Because of the small number of students in each Lawyering class, the professor and students have an opportunity to bond on a level much deeper than the likely one formed with other first-year teachers. The Lawyering professors, and even the TAs, serve as wonderful assets during what can be an immensely stressful first semester.
After this course, students walk away with myriad legal tools they can toss into their “skill” toolbox. Right off the bat, students enhance their public speaking skills by giving persuasive off-the-cuff arguments in front of other students. As frightening as it may be at the time, the experience you gain by doing so throughout the course is extremely valuable to your future career as a lawyer (or really any profession) and is nothing like getting cold-called!
More invaluable is the tremendous amount of time spent prepping students for composing and drafting legal briefs while stressing the importance of proper citation for case references. Equally valuable is the hands-on experience the students get with “clients,” played by the teaching assistants, in a professional setting. Groups of first-years prepare, plan, and conduct an interview and counseling session with a potential client who has an issue that needs to be investigated in order to determine if a legal claim exists. Then, once the “attorneys” have looked into the situation, they must properly give her legal advice and guidance about the appropriate next step.
The course itself is laidback and enjoyable, and working with classmates in such close quarters fosters the growth of new friendships. While you are encouraged to do well in order to develop necessary lawyering skills, the pressure to do so is relieved by the fact that the course is not factored into your GPA, unlike at other law schools. Instead of focusing on letter grades, professors tailor their teaching methods and feedback to the needs of each student to ensure significant improvements with every student submission. In addition, the course meets a few times a week throughout the semester, ending three weeks prior to finals to ensure ample time for studying.
All in all, the course embodies yet another valuable feature separating NYU Law from the rest of the pack.