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These learning outcomes represent the summation of the California Western experience. They identify the skills, knowledge, and values that California Western graduates should have when they complete their studies. There is no expectation that a graduate will be proficient in every element. Rather, the California Western graduate will have had the opportunity to develop experience and competence in many of these elements, which we believe are necessary for the practice-ready attorney.

Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate substantial knowledge and understanding of legal rules and doctrine by:
    1. Articulating legal rules in core subject areas, including those tested most frequently on the bar exam as well as the student’s chosen specialty area.
    2. Stating the elements and component parts of rules, the policies and social context that give rise to legal rules, and the trends in these subject areas.
  2. Explain the legal system and legal institutions of all three branches of government, including the role of the lawyer within that system.
  3. Explain the meanings of legal language and terminology.
  4. Explain the role of case law and precedent in our legal system.
  5. Explain the role and process of statutory and regulatory law.
  6. Describe the rules of statutory construction.
  7. Explain the rules of discovery in civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings.
  8. Explain the objectives and processes of structuring civil transactions.
  9. Describe the theoretical frameworks for lawyering skills including interviewing, counseling, negotiation, advocacy and mediation.
  10. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of various processes for resolving problems.

Students will be able to:

  1. Find, understand, organize, and articulate (verbally and in writing) legal rules and the components or elements of legal rules by:
    1. Using cases, treatises, secondary materials and classroom studies to extract and synthesize legal rules.
    2. Determining when a rule announced in a judicial opinion constitutes binding precedent, including the ability to distinguish “holdings” from “dicta.”
  2. Use legal doctrine to solve problems by:
    1. Identifying and articulating clearly the legal issues in a factual scenario, distinguishing non-issues from bona fide legal issues.
    2. Expressing the position of dissenting and concurring opinions.
    3. Reconciling conflicting authorities.
    4. Separating, combining and sequencing arguments to formulate a coherent legal theory.
    5. Evaluating effectiveness of legal theories and predicting decisions by relevant authorities.
    6. Showing why some application of a rule or concept calls for an extension, limitation, or rejection of another rule or concept.
    7. Identifying compelling equities in a factual context.
  3. Apply statutory and regulatory law to solve client issues by:
    1. Interpreting statutes using rules of statutory construction.
    2. Applying statutory law in a creative way to further client goals.
  4. Correctly apply legal language and terminology.
  5. Conduct an interview in a structured and thoughtful manner, including:
    1. Building rapport and trust.
    2. Gathering information.
    3. Identifying goals.
    4. Formalizing relationships.
  6. Counsel clients objectively, respectfully, and effectively, including:
    1. Identifying client objectives and priorities.
    2. Working with clients to identify possible alternatives and examine the pros and cons of each.
    3. Empowering the client to make decisions about goals and procedural options.
    4. Addressing the root causes underlying the client’s problems.
  7. Conduct effective legal research, including:
    1. Creating an efficient and comprehensive research plan and implementing it.
    2. Using hard copy and digital resources to find, understand, and organize rules of law, their elements, and the policies behind them.
    3. Ensuring that cited law is current and applicable.
    4. Using proper citation format in all legal writing.
    5. Using librarians and professional staff to assist when needed.
  8. Gather facts to further client goals, including:
    1. Forming hypotheses about relevant information.
    2. Identifying missing information and creating a plan to gather it.
    3. Testing hypotheses through preliminary information gathering and, if necessary, forming new hypotheses and/or seeking additional information.
    4. Gathering information from legal and non-legal sources.
    5. Evaluating reliability and strategic significance of information.
  9. Draft professional documents for litigation, such as:
    1. Complaints and other pleadings.
    2. Motions and briefs.
    3. Discovery documents.
    4. Legal correspondence and memoranda.
    5. Internal office documents.
  10. Draft professional documents for transactions, such as:
    1. Sales contracts, service contracts and franchise agreements.
    2. Business entity formation, operation and transfer documents.
    3. Wills, trusts and powers of attorney.
    4. Pre-nuptial, separation and marital dissolution agreements.
    5. Financing and loan agreements, mortgage and security agreements.
    6. Employment agreements.
    7. Real estate contracts and deeds.
    8. Commercial and residential Lease agreements.
    9. Licensing and intellectual property agreements.
    10. Regulatory compliance documents.
  11. Communicate effectively, including:
    1. Organizing and delivering cogent and persuasive verbal communications in one-on-one, group and advocacy forums.
    2. Organizing and delivering cogent and persuasive written communications in a multitude of written forms, including social media.
    3. Active listening
  12. Using other communication skills, including:
    1. Demonstrating empathy.
    2. Demonstrating sensitivity to cultural issues.
    3. Organizing concepts.
    4. Addressing the designated audience.
    5. Identifying and responding to the interests and perceptions of others.
  13. Conduct effective negotiations, including:
    1. Determining the client’s objectives and possible solutions.
    2. Determining the objectives of the other side.
    3. Articulating the difference between positions and interests in a factual context.
    4. Applying listening skills to encourage dispute resolution.
    5. Strategically and ethically sharing information.
  14. Advocate for a client in a legal setting and/or educate an audience, including:
    1. Representing a client at a trial or administrative hearing demonstrating: understanding of trial (or administrative) processes (stages of trial); strategic introduction of evidence and use of objections; clear opening statements, effective direct and cross examination, and persuasive closing arguments.
    2. Making an appellate argument demonstrating: ability to articulate legal issues; knowledge of the facts of the case; effectively responding to questions posed by the court; logically and clearly weaving facts, law, and policy into persuasive arguments.
    3. Representing a client in a transactional setting, understanding the lawyer-client relationship, determining the client’s goals, explaining alternatives, developing creative strategies for achieving goals, negotiating and drafting documents, and assuring compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements.
    4. Representing a client in a mediation demonstrating: collaborative attitude toward resolving the problem; knowledge of the facts of the case; sensitivity to both sides’ non-legal concerns.
    5. Effectively presenting information to an audience (non-adversarial settings).
    6. Facilitating discussion.
  15. Collaborate, including:
    1. Working effectively on a team demonstrating: clear communication; responsibility for outcome; give and take feedback to improve work product and environment.
    2. Demonstrating respect for colleagues, peers, supervisors, and staff.
    3. Working effectively with professionals from other disciplines (understanding the role of each discipline and avoiding jargon).

Students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to conduct themselves with honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, empathy, civility, and cultural competence.
  2. Behave ethically, including:
    1. Conducting themselves according to the Rules of Professional Responsibility (and relevant state and local rules of practice).
    2. Recognizing ethical dilemmas and consult, when necessary, with a supervisor or other appropriate mentor or authority.
  3. Articulate, and demonstrate where feasible, the fundamental values of the profession, which include:
    1. Dedication to service of clients.
    2. Striving to reach a high level of competency.
    3. Representing clients competently.
  4. Exercise professional judgment (consider not only legal issues, but also political, economic, social, ethical, relational, and emotional implications of problems and potential courses of action).
  5. Adopt, where feasible, a preventive and proactive view toward solving problems, taking into consideration the causes, rather than just the effects, of such problems.
  6. Demonstrate self-awareness and reflective capacity, including:
    1. Learning from mistakes.
    2. Articulating personal preferences and biases, and actively working to counteract them.
    3. Demonstrating concern for the experiences of others.
  7. Maintain a commitment to pro bono and public service.