Clinic students attend a weekly two-hour class. The Lit Clinic Professor lectures on varied topics, with a focus on skills not covered in other law school classes. Practicing attorneys, judges, and other members of the legal community also bring their special insights to the class sessions. Through lectures, interactive classes, and simulations, students develop skills in the following areas:
- Interviewing and counseling
- Jury Focus Groups (most semesters)
- Expert witness examination
- State district court case practice and procedure (a bench trial in North Carolina for infractions and misdemeanors).
Students practice their courtroom advocacy skills before a real judge during mock state district court trials in the second week of class. This simulated exercise introduces them to local rules and procedures, and prepares them to try cases as soon as their clinical field experience begins. About half of the class will intern in criminal law for the first half of the semester; the other students, during the second portion of the term.
A local law firm often allows Clinic students to serve as focus group participants for real cases using the firm’s state-of-the-art facilities. This provides multi-facted insights to the students about the litigation process and the art of trying cases.
The expert witness simulations that occur later in each semester involve real experts in various disciplines, e.g., medicine, arson detection, etc. This gives students a chance to see how difficult it is to examine someone with actual expertise in the subject area.
Professional ethics and values are heavily emphasized in Clinic class. Ethical issues are also frequently raised in our clinic students’ weekly reflections, which are read and commented on by the Litigation Clinic Professor. We close the semester with a classroom discussion that focuses on lawyering, ethics and professionalism.