How does the STEPPS Program develop “practice-ready” lawyers?
The STEPPS Program prepares students for practice by bringing the practice to the law school. More than twenty
experienced practitioners serve as adjunct professors in the STEPPS Program. These practitioners often serve as
managing partners and sit on the hiring committees of their respective firms: they know first-hand what the market
is looking for because they are the market.
The STEPPS Program allows students to work with these experienced practitioners for a full academic year.
Why Use the Law Office Setting?
The STEPPS Program help students learn to apply law and legal doctrine to facts and situations like those faced by
lawyers in practice.
- The use of simulated cases allows students to gain experience without the risk of consequences to real clients
and provides students with opportunities to experiment as they learn.
- Professional responsibility issues are planted in each of the simulations, giving students the opportunity to
address ethical issues in context. Students learn through experience and internalize and remember the rules and
- The standardized client method - where actors play the role of client in video recorded interactions - allows
each student to face legal issues and ethical dilemma in real time. Students review and learn from their video
recorded performances, receiving feedback from colleagues and expert practitioners.
- The law office setting places the student in the environment where they will work as lawyers. Some sections of
STEPPS meet in the law office of the adjunct professor, immersing the student in the role of lawyer.
Law Office Setting Details
- Each student will be part of a law office with approximately 12 students.
- An experienced attorney supervises each law office.
- Each law office meets for approximately 85 minutes each week.
- The activities in the law office meetings include many things that normally occur in real law offices, including
case rounds, strategic discussions of issues, and even keeping time sheets and billing. The law office culture
stresses teamwork, collegiality and collaboration. In addition, law office meetings provide opportunities for
skills exercises, discussion of ethical problems from the cases, and evaluation and feedback on performances.
- The law office meetings also present opportunities to discuss career issues and to experience work environments
that are important to job selection and career choice.
Supervising Attorneys - STEPPS Adjunct Professors
- The Supervising Attorneys are accessible to members of their law offices for individual consultation and
conferencing. These individual conferences cover not only performance and feedback but also career advice.
- The Supervising Attorneys provide individual feedback on the written work and the lawyering skills performances
that students perform in the STEPPS Program.