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Skills Training Programs

The USF School of Law offers a range of professional skills offerings that prepare our students for the practice of law. 

USF School of Law: Developing Legal Skills

The foundation of our program is a 6-unit, full-year Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis class that introduces all first-year students to the basic skills needed to become a successful lawyer. After their first year, students continue to build their skills by choosing a practical curriculum tailored to their career goals and interests.

Legal Research, Writing, and Analysis: The legal writing class is the foundation of our skills programs. Students learn to research and write in a small group setting where they get lots of feedback from their professors. Students end their first year ready to move on to our advanced skills offerings.

Advanced Skills Electives: Starting in their second year, students can choose from an array of skills courses to prepare them for externships, in-house clinics, and practice. Our advanced research classes, taught by expert librarians, push students to be expert researchers. Appellate advocacy, transactional skills, trial practice and mediation all give students the opportunity to focus on specific skill sets in the safety of a classroom setting. 

Moot Court Programs: Students who want to pursue their oral and written advocacy after the mandatory first-year exercise can try out for our competitive teams or work as teaching assistants to the legal writing faculty for the 1L moot court program.

Intensive Advocacy Program: Students can prepare themselves for a career in litigation by participating in a two-week intensive trial practice class. Top San Francisco trial lawyers teach this rigorous program as a mirror of a real trial—it’s intensive and effective. Students get an invaluable mentorship opportunity while being immersed in trial practice. 

Clinics: From criminal defense to investor justice, our clinics offer valuable opportunities for students to get real-world experience while working under the direct supervision of a professor. 

Externships: Each term, students work for judges, government agencies, and private firms gaining invaluable real-world work experience while earning academic credit. Students still are under the supervision of the law school, but are working directly for a practicing attorney in their area of interest.