Innovation: Boston University starts Lawyering Lab

Boston University School of Law students will now get an intensive introduction to real world lawyering skills during their first year in the school’s new Lawyering Lab.

The Lawyering Lab is a one-week, one-credit, required first-year course where students learn lawyering skills. It is taught by BU Law faculty the week before the start of the spring semester.

“The course requires students to marshal the legal concepts they have learned, and to bring them to bear on a real world problem,” said Kent Coit, one of the professors who will be teaching the Lawyering Lab. “Students will practice key lawyering skills to achieve a client’s objectives within the bounds of the law.”

Teams of students will take on the roles of attorney for corporate clients in a business transaction. Just like practicing lawyers, students will be presented with a problem and asked to view it through their client’s perspective. The problem is based on an actual transaction between a large U.S. company and a small foreign firm to commercialize medical device technology owned by the foreign company, and the subsequent litigation between the companies.

Students will work together to determine their client’s goals and identify legal constraints and opportunities.

“The Lawyering Lab is part of a comprehensive effort by BU Law to increase student understanding of the competencies that they will need as practicing lawyers, deliver a curriculum that builds on the School’s excellent teaching while introducing students to a wider range of lawyering skills, and teach students how to both assess their own professional development and strengthen any skill deficiencies,” said BU Law Dean Maureen O’Rourke.

 Prior to the Lawyering Lab, first-year students will be provided with a confidential self-assessment tool that will evaluate their strengths and the areas in which they need to develop as professionals. In the semester following the Lawyering Lab, students will take courses that integrate small-scale simulations into the classroom lectures, thereby building on and reinforcing the work they have done in the lab.