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Integrating Docrine and Skills in First-Year Courses: A Transactional Attorney's Perspective

Journal of Legal Writing Institute, Vol. 17, p. 409, 2011

18 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2011  

Celeste M. Hammond

The John Marshall Law School

Date Written: September 9, 2011


Todd Rakoff, Martha Minow and Michael Mogill are among critics of traditional legal education taught from Langdellian approach of analyzing appellate court opinions. Calls for reform have come from the American Bar Association in the MacCrate Report and from the Carnegie Foundation Report on Legal Education. Preparation of students for lawyering, rather than a career as a law professor, is becoming the goal. An increase in availability of clinical/live client experiences supports meeting this goal. Lawyering for many graduates will involve advising business clients about legal risks and achieving goals. The role of the transactional lawyer is receiving attention as Tina Stark and others urge an “integrated transactional curriculum, much like the integrated litigation curriculum that prepares law students for dispute resolution. Students, most of whom will work as transactional attorneys, need to encounter the transactional model in their first semester or at least their first year of law school. The author discusses progress in developing a transactional curriculum and what students should learn about transactional skills and the law as 1 L’s. Taking the part of the real estate attorney, the author provides two examples of how the transactional perspective can be introduced in a first year Property course of the sort she teaches at the John Marshall Law School. She uses a client interview, negotiation of terms of a residential lease to teach landlord tenant law in the context of practice. She uses a video trip to The Sea Ranch in Northern California as the basis for teaching: servitudes; reviewing legal document of Covenants, Conditions and Regulations (CC& Rs) in this shared ownership community; analyzing the needs of a real estate client and writing a business letter advising the client; and teaching “takings.”

Keywords: legal education, transactional, skills, first year, Carnegie Foundation, Martha Minow, Property course, CC&Rs, interviewing, negotiating, letter drafting, takings

JEL Classification: K11, K12

Suggested Citation

Hammond, Celeste M., Integrating Docrine and Skills in First-Year Courses: A Transactional Attorney's Perspective (September 9, 2011). Journal of Legal Writing Institute, Vol. 17, p. 409, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Celeste M. Hammond (Contact Author)

The John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
312-987-2366 (Phone)
312 427 5280 (Fax)

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