California Western -- Ruth Hargrove
Courses Taught - Ruth M. Hargrove

Introduction to Legal Skills

Legal Skills I

Legal Skills II

Legal Research & Writing: Selected Topics

Pretrial Practice


Required one-week course, which students attend during the first week of school (the week before substantive courses begin).  Focuses on teaching students those skills that make the successful law student and ultimately the successful lawyer.  These skills include the structure of the court system, case briefing, rule synthesis, deductive reasoning, analogical reasoning, and issue analysis.  Students will also receive instruction on outlining, exam preparation, use of study aids and study groups, and time management.  No credit, as this course is considered part of Legal Skills I.
LEGAL SKILLS I - Legal Research, Analysis, and Objective Writing (2 units)
Required first trimester course.  An intensive, comprehensive, and practical learning experience.  Focuses on developing the research, analytical, and writing skills necessary to be a successful lawyer in today's world.  Students are introduced to legal research  through use of the major tools available for actual problem research.  Students are also introduced to objective legal writing, including instruction and practice in skills of legal problem analysis and in techniques of clear, concise writings.  Students will research and write at least one interoffice legal memorandum.  Emphasis is on giving students a foundation they can use independently in evaluating and improving their own legal work throughout their careers.
LEGAL SKILLS II - Legal Research, Analysis, Persuasive Writing, and Oral Advocacy (2 units)
Required second trimester course (or third semester for part-time students).  An intensive, comprehensive, and practical learning experience.  Building on the skills learned in Legal Skills I, students will focus on honing and refining their research skills, writing persuasively, and oral advocacy.  At a minimum, students will research and write a memorandum of points and authorities and an appellate brief.  Students will also prepare and engage in oral argument.
Topic: Trial Motion Practice
This is a practice-oriented class that will build on the research, writing, and advocacy skills the students mastered in Legal Skills I and II. The course will focus on a variety of pre-trial, trial, and post-trial motions, and will prepare students for the type of work they will typically handle as law clerks, legal interns,  and lawyers. The class will require both persuasive writing and persuasive oral advocacy, and will include a "moot court" component.
A practical course designed to acquaint students with typical law and motion matters.  Students will write and argue three motions.  At least one of these will be argued in the context of a Moot Court competition and will be judged by practicing lawyers and/or judges.  The class will emphasize persuasive writing and persuasive oral advocacy.  Classroom time will be used to practice both oral and written advocacy skills.  The written work will be graded; the oral advocacy is pass/fail.  However, the finalists in the Moot Court competition will receive the customary engraved placques, suitable for hanging prominently in one's law office.  Enrollment is strictly limited to 14 students.

Full course descriptions are available in PDF format on the J.D. Curriculum page.

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