Skills through simulation: From introduction to mastery
Mitchell Hamline was a pioneer in the use of videotape to both teach skills and critique student performance, and we remain a leader in helping students sharpen their skills for practice, even if the format is now streaming video and laptops. Learn and refine skills through simulation starting in your very first class, Legal Writing, and further refine and master them as you continue to use simulation throughout law school.
Simulations help students begin to integrate their skills in legal analysis with their own values and experiences, which is the first step to forming a professional identity. They give students the opportunity to pull together the various pieces of lawyering and give them practice finding the words to do the right thing.
Starting with Legal Writing in the first year, progressing through required courses that teach the advocacy and problem-solving skills all lawyers need, and advancing to other upper-level simulation courses and “practice intensives” that integrate doctrine and skills.
Mitchell Hamline’s Legal Writing program is a foundational offering, required for all first-year students, intended to master fundamental client representations skills. Students meet in small groups to practice interviewing and counseling clients, writing memos and letters, researching the law, negotiating contracts and settlements, reasoning about a client’s situation in light of the law, settling cases, and arguing motions.
Skills simulations are a key feature of the Mitchell Hamline teaching method. Students are presented with realistic scenarios and play a variety of roles in the resolution of the issues at hand. Feedback from professors and practitioners is incorporated in real time.
Practice-intensive courses allow students to simulate the work that lawyers do but with greater support and supervision than new lawyers commonly experience in practice. These courses integrate doctrine and skills in small-class settings that rely on significant involvement from practitioners in the field.