Experiential Learning Opportunities

Kelsey Gitlin is an LLS student blogger.


Hello again, Jury of Peers! Today we are talking experiential learning and all the benefits. I’m not going to lie, I was very scared to take experiential classes because I thought I wasn’t ready and was going to look stupid compared to everyone else, but that was not the case. I really enjoyed my experiential learning and I encourage you to do as much of it as you can while in law school.

I really wanted to do a clinic but, unfortunately, the stars never aligned. However, I have taken many experiential classes that I want to share with you.

First things first: Trial Advocacy. I truly think this is a class everyone should take, whether you’re interested in going to trial or not. It gives so much context to so many of the classes you take like evidence, criminal procedure, and legal writing. It also helped me test out being a trial lawyer to see if it was for me. I got to work in a group to try to convict a drunk driver which was a really eye-opening experience. The class itself doesn’t have a lot of reading so it’s a great elective to add in if you have a particularly heavy reading load as well.

The second class I took that I also believe everyone should take is Motion Picture Contract Drafting. I know, I know, it might sound boring but I actually had a really fun time in the class. We got fake deal memos every week and basically did scavenger hunts through template contracts to make a contract that fit the deal memo. To be honest, contracts was not my favorite 1L class, but after taking this class and getting context, I definitely changed my tune.

The third class I took was intro to negotiations. The thing I loved most about this class was my partners in our midterm and final negotiation. Most of law school feels like you’re fighting by yourself, so having a teammate felt really good. Getting to call to debrief after and re-live the highlights was amazing. I feel like I didn’t get a ton more out of this class than negotiation classes I took for my business major, which is why I wouldn’t recommend everyone take it like the previous two, but if you’re interested, it definitely gives you practice in legal negotiations.

The last experiential class I took is not marketed as one but I consider it to be one: ethical lawyering. In that class we do a client counseling portion of the class where you meet with a client then write a memo about it. I personally think that being able to create rapport with clients is a huge part of the job so getting a few chances during that class to meet and discuss a case was a huge plus for me.

Hopefully I’ve allayed some of your fears (if you had any) about experiential learning at Loyola. Everyone is really kind and willing to help you if you struggle in these classes just like any of your other classes. There are so many ways to earn your experiential units that truly the only “wrong” way to do it is to not invest yourself in them.

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