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Practice Skills & Pro Bono Opportunities

To graduate students who are practice ready, the Center on Professionalism integrates comprehensive training in a wide variety practice skills with their clinical and pro bono experiences. Boot camps on securities law and mergers & acquisitions, sessions on such practical skills as working with spreadsheets, and tutorials on legal research offered through the Penn Law Library, all become part of a Penn Law student’s toolkit.               

Mergers & Acquisitions Boot Camp

Students are introduced to legal and business issues arising in private mergers and acquisitions by working on practical exercises designed to simulate the steps of a typical transaction. Exercises include drafting a letter of intent, considering issues in due diligence, and drafting and negotiating an acquisition agreement. Students will have the opportunity to make presentations, to actively participate in discussions, and to receive real-time feedback from practicing lawyers.

Spreadsheet Modeling Program

To help you prepare to effectively work with clients’ financial documents, prepare reports for meetings of your non-profit’s board of directors or submit budget requests at a government agency, we are providing a program on spreadsheet modeling, which will prepare you to work more effectively with Excel and give you a head start in understanding and manipulating client data. Craig Brody, a long-time computer skills training instructor at Wharton, will provide a full day program in a small-group setting. This program will cover Excel fundamentals, such as editing data and utilizing formulas and charts, as well as more intermediate-level skills including statistical functions and the ability to link to other Microsoft Office applications.

Securities Law Boot Camp

Students are introduced to legal and business issues arising in representing a public company with reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 by working on practical exercises that simulate reporting and compliance issues faced by securities lawyers. Exercises include reviewing and revising an issuer’s earnings release, drafting an acquisition Form 8-K and preparing risk factors for a Form 10-K. Students will have the opportunity to draft securities filings, interact with simulated clients and receive real-time feedback from practicing lawyers

Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies

The Gittis Center for Clinical Legal Studies is the endowed home of Penn Law School’s vibrant clinical program which includes major “live client” clinics and an exciting array of externships at diverse practice settings. As one of the nation’s premier teaching law firms, the Penn Law Clinics are specially designed to help students develop core lawyering competencies drawn from challenging experiential learning opportunities. Read more.

Pro Bono 101

So that students may fully appreciate the professional responsibility of all lawyers to engage in pro bono legal service, and also embrace the impact that you can have on your education, your career, and your community through service, the Toll Public Interest Center requires that all 1Ls attend an orientation session. This class will be taught to each 1L cohort by 2Ls and 3Ls who will serve as Pro Bono Mentors for the cohort throughout the spring semester. In this orientation session, 1Ls will be encouraged to devise a pro bono plan that will most effectively achieve their personal and professional goals. 2Ls and 3Ls will participate in an extensive training session to enable them to facilitate this important discussion.

Pro Bono Academy

Pro bono work develops skills, but also requires them. In order to help our students offer the most effective pro bono legal service, the Toll Public Interest Center will be offering workshops throughout the spring semester to help students strengthen particular legal skills including advanced legal research, cultural competency in working with poverty clients, and oral and written advocacy.

Get Published!

The Law School requires that your Senior Research & Writing paper demonstrate “proficiency in scholarly research and writing under close faculty supervision” with “an opportunity for constructive faculty criticism regarding avenues of research, analysis, organization, and style.” Whether you are writing a seminar paper, a journal comment, or a paper for independent study, why not get it published and add some sparkle to your resume? This workshop takes you through the process, including topic selection, preemption checking, and submission strategies.

Federal Legislative History

What is the legislative intent of a statute? In order to answer this question, you must assemble all the documents generated when a bill is going through Congress. This is a favorite assignment given to summer or young associates because seasoned lawyers have forgotten, or never learned, how to perform this intimidating task. Come to this tutorial to learn the basics. You will be prepared to impress your supervising attorney.

Administrative Law: Federal Rules and Regulations

Regulations affect our conduct in matters ranging from the air we breathe to the food we eat, from workplace safety to disability discrimination, from taxes to international trade. Increase your value by learning how to find these regulations and by getting some hands-on experience with a large and pervasive part of federal primary law. An especially helpful class if you are planning to practice in Washington D.C. Bring your laptop!

Using HeinOnline: Beyond PDFs of Journal Articles

Did you know HeinOnline has more than just pdfs of legal journals and the U.S. Code? Did you know you can use MyHein to create a personal search account to save bookmarks and searches and add notes to searches? Did you know that the HeinOnline Library is the world’s largest image-based legal research collection and covers more than 9 centuries of legal history? Learn about some of the more unique databases and see how you can maximize your searching capabilities. Have something you’d like us to explore in HeinOnline? Bring examples to the session or email them to me in advance. 

Federal Tax Research

Can’t I just Google my federal tax research question? While Google may give you a start, for more sophisticated and thoughtful research and analysis, attend this session for a framework on sources of tax authority (i.e., statutory, administrative, and judicial) and an introduction to mandatory and persuasive precedent. We will use a hypothetical and Westlaw to illustrate a basic research strategy useful for many types of tax questions.

New York Legal Research

Heading for the Big Apple? Learn what’s unique about the legal sources of the Empire State. Impress the hiring partners with your superior research skills. This tutorial will acquaint you with basic New York legal research sources, including statutes (McKinney’s), administrative regulations, and case law (West’s New York Digest and the New York Jurisprudence). This workshop will focus on electronic versions of these materials that are available on WestlawNext, Westlaw and Lexis.  We will also talk about form books frequently used in New York, resources of the New York Practicing Law Institute, continuing legal education materials, legal directories, and legal newspapers. Finally, free internet sources relevant to New York practice will be discussed.

California Legal Research

Going to California to clerk for the summer or to begin a full-time practice? Surprise your colleagues with your research knowledge and skills. This workshop will acquaint you with fundamental California legal research materials, including statutes (West’s & Deering’s), administrative regulations (Barclay’s), and case law (California digests and reporters). We will also discuss secondary sources, form books, legal directories and legal newspapers frequently consulted in California.  Local customs such as the “depublication” of court opinions and the implications for the researcher will also be evaluated.  Finally, free internet resources relevant to California practice will be discussed.

Pennsylvania Legal Research

Planning to clerk or to begin full time employment in Pennsylvania?  Impress the hiring partners with your superior research skills. This tutorial will acquaint you with basic Pennsylvania legal research sources, including statutes (Purdon’s), administrative regulations (Pennsylvania Code), and case law (West’s Pennsylvania Digest and the Pennsylvania reporters).The workshop will focus on electronic versions of these Pennsylvania legal materials that are available on WestlawNext,  Westlaw and Lexis. We will also talk about form books frequently used in Pennsylvania, resources of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, continuing legal education materials, legal directories, and legal newspapers. Finally, free internet sources relevant to Pennsylvania practice will be discussed.

Westlaw and Lexis Search Strategies

A recent survey of Penn Law 2Ls and 3Ls found that many students wished they had better command of advanced search techniques in Westlaw and Lexis during their summer employment. Prepare for this upcoming summer by refreshing and expanding your search skills! This workshop will re-introduce you to both platforms and highlight helpful functions and shortcuts to save you time and give you the confidence you need to jump into any research assignment.

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