The STEPPS Program utilizes a wide array of teaching and learning methods. The traditional lecture appears only on rare occasions. The “lecture sessions” led by Professor Casey focus on solving problems through a collaborative approach, and acclimating students to the multiple choice format on the Bar Examination.
The law office sessions utilize a vast array of pedagogical methods, including the “fish-bowl,” role-plays, video recording sessions, video-based evaluation, “quick-writes,” individual reflections, and peer review. Students learn through active experiences and through reflecting on their experiences.
STEPPS will provide students with opportunities to learn through a variety of methods.
- Skills are learned through practice with appropriate feedback, as well as from reading about the general theories that are applicable.
- Accordingly, students will read and discuss general principles which, in turn, will be supplemented with exercises performed in the law office meetings and video recorded work on the simulated cases.
- Students will be provided with evaluations and feedback.
- Self evaluation techniques will be taught and used throughout as well.
Students will have a variety of opportunities for writing:
- Some assignments will involve research and memoranda about legal issues presented by the cases.
- At least one major assignment will involve written persuasive advocacy.
- The cases will also require drafting a variety of legal correspondence and documents, depending on the nature of the specific cases.
- Feedback will be provided on written work and in many instances rewrites will be required as they would be in real law office settings.
Students will work on cases in teams.
- This will promote brainstorming, collaboration, and supportive feedback.
- Each team will work on several different cases over the course of the year.
- These cases may involve transaction problems or litigation.
- Although students will work in teams, all written work will be graded individually.
- The law office setting is conducive to simulating the progress that an associate would make on the path to increased responsibility within the office.
- By the end of the program, students will be able to perform many common lawyering tasks at a level close to what would be expected of new members of a real law office.
- Each student will also accumulate a portfolio of work product that can be used in connection with future intern opportunities and ultimately for job search purposes.