The faculty at Golden Gate University School of Law unanimously approved changes to the first-year curriculum to go into effect with the class that matriculates in the fall of 2010. They have decided to allocate a total of five credits to Legal Writing & Research for first year students (2 credits in the fall and 3 credits in the spring). They believe that this will better prepare their students for legal work in the summer and for subsequent upper division writing courses.
In addition, they are very excited to create first-year electives that will have no more than 25 students and introduce students to a range of skills other than legal writing and research. Students will be able to select these spring semester electives, some of which will focus on transactional skills, for example working with unmarried co-habitants who want to put their understanding in writing. Other electives will focus more on litigation skills in the context of alleged employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or enforcing environmental laws through citizen lawsuits. Golden Gate University will also offer one or two electives that focus on statutory interpretation and jurisprudence.
Earlier this year the Golden Gate University School of Law faculty unanimously adopted the MacCrate skills and values as objectives of our JD program. Creating these first-year electives will ensure that all students are not only introduced to skills such as client counseling and negotiation, but are also able to practice these during their first year and reinforce the analytical skills that they learn in the doctrinal courses.
GGU School of Law welcomes thoughts from others who are working on similar courses. Please comment below.