The STEPPS program is designed to teach professional responsibility, ethics, and lawyering skills in an engaging context that emphasizes prevention and problem solving. Students receive 3 credits per trimester for the combination of their classroom work and active participation on simulated cases.
In each of the two trimesters, students will attend a weekly large group class and a 16 person Law Office small group session. Each Law Office is directed by a faculty member (“Supervising Attorney”). The large class uses a combination of lecture, discussion, problems, and in class exercises. In law office meetings students learn and practice lawyering skills by using simulated cases and role-play exercises.
Students will have opportunities to learn and practice the fundamental lawyering skills of interviewing, counseling, case planning, negotiation, mediation, problem solving, and prevention analysis. Students will receive feedback and evaluation on each skill. Advanced research and writing assignments will include drafting of a variety of types of legal documents.
Preventive practice is one of the unique points of emphasis for the program. Students will examine the special skills necessary to address prospective potential problems and counsel clients about them. While such skills are crucial for transactional work, they are also relevant in the litigation context, and will be embedded in most cases that students handle in the program.
Exposure to a variety of areas of law and diverse lawyering skills will help students begin to evaluate the options available for legal work in their future. Work environment is a key factor in determining what kind of job will provide satisfaction, and the STEPPS law office will offer opportunities to explore questions related to career settings. In addition, the offices will examine the challenges of balancing personal and professional goals. The STEPPS program will be an ideal opportunity to begin to identify and address the career satisfaction concerns that present life long and evolving challenges.