Legal Interviewing and Client Counseling (Chacko)
M 4:30PM - 6:20PM
Tanenbaum Hall 320
This course focuses on the fundamental lawyering skills of legal interviewing and client counseling. Through a combination of classroom discussion, reading, writing, simulations and peer evaluations, students will learn about and practice the skills necessary for effective representation of clients. These skills include: effectively formulating questions and actively listening, identifying legal problems and clarifying client objectives, identifying potential strategies and working collaboratively with clients, and communicating difficult information to clients.
This course will provide opportunities for experiential learning and reflective discourse. Students will engage in regular exercises with each other in class. The exercises will allow students to develop and practice interviewing and counseling in real-world contexts. Through careful observation of themselves and other students during these exercises, students will reflect upon their methods, provide feedback to their peers, and further refine their interviewing and counseling skills.
Required Texts: Binder, Bergman, Tremblay & Weinstein, Lawyers As Counselors: A Client Centered Approach (3rd Ed.) Other Required Materials: Additional materials, including readings and exercises, will be distributed in class or electronically. Audio/Visual Support: Some of the simulations may utilize video recording to facilitate development and feedback. We will address the logistics in class.
Course Grading Students will be evaluated based on the following criteria: (1) Weekly written reflections and questions. Each student is required to keep a journal in which the student’s reflections upon course materials and exercises are recorded. Students are encouraged to independently explore and reflect upon other, related materials that may be of particular interest to them. Students should also record reflections about their experiences interviewing and counseling clients during the semester. Each student should share at least one reflection or question with me, via e-mail, every week; the reflection or question should relate to that week’s assigned reading or discussion/ simulations from the prior week’s class. This should be sent to me via email at least an hour before class begins. [35%] (2) Preparation for class, attendance, and participation. Due to the use of simulation exercises, which depend on each student playing an assigned role, class attendance and participation in class discussions and exercises is mandatory. Students are expected to provide feedback to their peers during in-class simulations. Effective participation in class discussions and simulation exercises requires completion of reading and writing assignments prior to class. [35%] (3) Formal Planning & Self-Critique: Each student (working individually or in teams of two) will submit two written plans: one prior to an interview, a second prior to a client counseling session. The interviewing and counseling sessions will be videotaped. After the skills exercise has been completed, the student will then self-critique the plan and the exercise. These planning and critiquing documents will be evaluated, along with the videos, by the instructor. [30%]
Skills Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of the individual course skill; Demonstrate the ability to receive and implement feedback; Demonstrate an understanding of how and when the individual course skill is employed in practice.
"LAWYERS AS COUNSELORS" by Paul Bergman et al