Message from the Dean |  Mission Statement |  How to Reach Us | South Texas Home  



 

Seminars

 


 Students are limited to an aggregate maximum of six (6) semester hours credit on Off-Site Clinics, On-Site Clinics and the Hospital Law Externship. 

DROPPING ADVOCACY COURSES:

Drops after the first day of classes result in adverse consequences to your professor and classmates who are depending on the active participation of every registered student. The opportunity to participate has also been taken away from waiting list students who were closed out of the class. Accordingly, a student will not be allowed to drop an advocacy course (Appellate, Civil Pretrial, Civil Trial and Criminal Trial) or other clinical course after the first day of classes, except with express written permission of the professor. If the professor does not give permission and a student chooses not to fulfill his/her class obligations, the student will be given an "F" for the course.

PREREQUISITES

CIVIL PRETRIAL ADVOCACY:  Must have completed 45 semester hours and have taken or be concurrently enrolled in Texas Pretrial Procedure and not be on academic probation.

CIVIL TRIAL ADVOCACY: Must have completed 45 semester hours and Evidence and not be on academic probation. Civil Pretrial Advocacy no longer required to be completed before taking Civil Trial Advocacy.

CRIMINAL TRIAL ADVOCACY: Must have completed 45 semester hours, Evidence and have taken or be concurrently enrolled in Criminal Procedure and not be on academic probation.

FAMILY LAW TRIAL ADVOCACY: Must have completed 45 semester hours, Evidence and not be on academic probation.

NOTE:  Students may receive credit toward graduation for only one Trial Advocacy course ( Civil trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy or Family Law Trial Advocacy).

APPELLATE ADVOCACY: One semester hours credit. Normally offered in the fall and spring.

Prerequisite: Completion of Legal Research & Writing II and completion or concurrent completion of the first 30 hours of required courses.

Students are divided into teams of two members. Each team prepares an appellate brief and presents oral arguments in a competition. (The Leroy Jeffers Competition is conducted in the fall and the Spurgeon Bell Competition takes place in the spring.) Students practice and develop skills in legal research, brief writing and forensic persuasion. No final examination. Graded honors pass, pass or fail. Students are encouraged to register for Appellate Advocacy in their first semester or session after completing their first 30 required hours.

CIVIL PRETRIAL ADVOCACY: Two semester hours credit. Offered in the fall and spring.

Prerequisite: Must have completed 45 semester hours, Civil Procedure and Texas Pretrial Procedure and not be on academic probation. These prerequisites are strictly enforced.

The structure of the course involves students in preparing a realistic civil case against an opponent. Students engage in all aspects of pretrial discovery and motion practice, including client interview, attempts to settle, drafting pleadings, paper discovery, taking depositions, procedural and dispositive motions and pretrial orders. (See "Dropping Advocacy Courses" above).

CIVIL TRIAL ADVOCACY: Three semester hours credit. Offered in the fall and spring.

Prerequisite: Must have completed 45 semester hours and Evidence and not be on academic probation. Civil Pretrial Advocacy no longer required to be completed before taking Civil Trial Advocacy.

The structure of the course involves students in trying a realistic civil case against an opponent. Students engage in all aspects of the trial, including trial motions, voir dire examination of jurors, opening statement, examination of witnesses and closing arguments.

NOTE: Students may receive credit toward graduation for only one Trial Advocacy course (Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy, or Family Law Trial Advocacy). (See also: "Dropping Advocacy Courses.")

CRIMINAL TRIAL ADVOCACY: Four semester hours credit. Normally offered in the fall and spring.

Prerequisite: Must have completed 45 semester hours, Evidence, and have taken or be concurrently enrolled in Criminal Procedure, and not be on academic probation. These prerequisites will be strictly enforced.

This course is designed as an introduction to trial tactics in Texas criminal cases, including the introduction and exclusion of evidence at trial and the teaching of special techniques in areas such as juror voir dire, opening statement, impeachment, objections and final argument. For the first nine weeks students are assigned problems which involve performance of a segment of a trial. Students take the role of attorneys and witnesses. During the balance of the semester the students are divided into prosecution and defense teams. Each team uses and entire class period to try a mock criminal case.

NOTE: Students may receive credit toward graduation for only one Trial Advocacy course (Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy, or Family Law Trial Advocacy). (See also: "Dropping Advocacy Courses.")

FAMILY LAW TRIAL ADVOCACY: Three semester hours credit. Offered periodically.

Prerequisite: Must have completed 45 semester hours, Evidence, and not be on academic probation. These prerequisites will be strictly enforced.

This course is designed to simulate the resolution of a family law case. Students begin with an initial client interview, and proceed with emergency temporary hearings, issue identification, discovery, attempted settlement, and trial. Special issues peculiar to family law are addressed such as client control and communication in the family law setting, expedited hearings, and children's issues. Since the majority of family law cases are resolved without a jury trial, the course focuses on resolution of a family law matter in a bench trial. Limited to 14 students.

NOTE: Students may receive credit toward graduation for only one Trial Advocacy course (Civil Trial Advocacy, Criminal Trial Advocacy, or Family Law Trial Advocacy). (See also: "Dropping Advocacy Courses.")

INTERVIEWING & COUNSELING: Two semester hours credit. Offered periodically

Examination of the attorney-client relationship, including establishing the relationship in the initial interview; billing arrangements; the importance of continuing communications; case analysis; decision making; counseling with the client as to case development and strategy; preparation of the client for settlement negotiations as well as trial; termination of the relationship, including the collection of fees. Students will conduct several mock interviews of clients and witnesses throughout the semester.

MEDIATION: Two semester hours. Normally offered in the fall, spring and summer.

Provides the student with an in-depth working knowledge of the mediation process, along with an appreciation of legal, ethical and practical considerations. The numerous uses and styles of mediation will be covered, ranging from labor negotiations to child custody matters. Students will also become acquainted with the Texas Alternative Dispute Resolution Act and local court rules as they relate to the mediation process.

MOCK TRIAL LITIGATION: Two semester hours credit. Normally offered in the fall and spring.

Prerequisite: Completion of the first 30 hours of required courses, but completion of fewer than 60 semester hours.

This course is designed to provide intensive training in trial advocacy and culminates each semester in the Mock Trial Competition. Each class will have limited enrollment, and students are divided into teams of four. Each team prepares for the direct-cross-examination of witnesses, opening and closing statements, and trial motions. Students practice and develop skills in theory development, evidence analysis, forensic persuasion and litigation advocacy. No final examination. Graded honors pass, pass or fail. (See "Dropping Advocacy Courses" above.)

MOOT COURT COMPETITION: One semester hour credit. Normally offered in the fall, spring and summer.

Prerequisite: Completion of the first 30 hours of required courses.

Students are selected by the director of Advocacy because of their interest and ability in Appellate Advocacy competitions. The course is limited to students who are members of a competition team or brief writers for a competition team engaged in one of the inter-law school moot court competitions. Once accepted to a competition, it is the student's responsibility to officially register for Moot Court through the Registrar's Office. This must be done during the semester of the competition. No retroactive approval will be granted. This course may be taken for one credit per semester up to a maximum of (3) hours credit. Graded honors pass, pass or fail.

N.B.: There is an aggregate maximum of six (6) hours credit for students taking credit hours in two or more of these four different courses: Moot Court Competition, Law Review, Corporate Counsel Review and International Trade Law Journal.

TRANSACTION STRUCTURING & DOCUMENTATION: Two semester hours credit. Offered periodically.

Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed 60 credit hours, which must include any two (2) of the following electives: Agency & Partnership, Corporations, Corporate Finance, Corporate Taxation, Environmental Law, Real Estate Finance Law, Secured Transactions, Securities Regulations.

Students will explore the structure and documentation of a moderate complex commercial transaction such as a leveraged buyout of a corporation, a sale of a chain of stores, or the refinancing of the operating line of credit for a sizable business. Coverage will include professional responsibility issues frequently encountered in such transactions. There will be no final examination, but students will be graded primarily on documents each student will draft and turn in at the end of the course, and may be graded in part on written assignments turned in during the semester. The class will meet two times per week for two hours of substantive work and two hours per week for a document drafting laboratory. Limited to 16 students.

VOIR DIRE / JURY COMMUNICATION: Two semester hours credit. Normally offered in the fall.

The course focuses on substantive instruction and clinical experience in techniques for effective jury communication in all phases of the trial. Particular attention is given to jury selection and techniques for conducting an effective voir dire.

CLINICS

NOTE: Students are limited to an aggregate maximum of six (6) semester hours credit in Off-Site Clinic, On-Site Clinic, and the Hospital Law Externship.

ACADEMIC INTERNSHIPS: Normally offered in the fall, spring and summer.

Students wishing to participate in an Off-Site Clinic are encouraged to communicate with Assistant Dean Dennis before registering for the course to explore the many available options for field placements in order to choose the one that best satisfies their professional and personal goals. Registration in the course requires that a separate form be filled out by the student and then approved by Assistant Dean Dennis prior to registration. These forms are available in the Registrar's Office.

All students participate in a seminar which draws upon their experience in the field, focuses on essential lawyering skills and values, and enriches the students' understanding of legal institutions and the work of a lawyer. In addition, each student must write a reflective weekly journal that explains their perceptions and insights about the work experience, the lawyering process, the experience of clients, and other issues. Final conferences with the professor are required, as are signed timesheets.

No student may receive compensation for work performed at the Academic Internship. All students must spend at least eight hours per week at their field placement. Sixty hours of work are required for each credit hour received. Students may begin their work one (1) week before the start of the semester in which they are enrolled. Students in an Academic Internship will receive two grades: one hour will be graded under traditional standards and will depend on the course specific elements, plus an evaluation of the student's professionalism. The other hour(s) will be graded pass/fail.

Students participating in an Academic Internship for a second semester must register for a different placement; e.g., a legal services provider and a state court; a federal court and a D.D.'s office etc.

CRIMINAL PROCESS CLINIC: Three or four semester hours credit.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of all courses required for graduation (with the exception of the substantial writing requirement) and not less than 60 credit hours. Completion of Criminal Procedure is suggested.

Senior students are placed in the office of Harris County District Attorney, or in the District Attorney's Office of neighboring counties. Potential placement sections are felony, misdemeanor, welfare fraud, domestic violence, and environmental crimes. Depending upon placement, students may observe and participate in pretrial investigation, plea negotiations, and trial. All students will increase their knowledge of criminal substantive and procedural law, and clarify their professional objectives.

JUDICIAL PROCESS CLINICTwo to three semester hours credit.

Prerequisite: Not less than 45 credit hours. Completion of Texas Pretrial Procedure, or concurrent enrollment is suggested.

Students arrange their own placements with local federal and state  judges on both the trial and appellate level. During these Clinics, students observe how the law works in practice, what lawyers do and what judges expect. All students will apply their analytical skills and improve their legal research and writing abilities through the production of legal memoranda.

PUBLIC & GOVERNMENTAL INTEREST CLINIC: Three or four semester hours credit.

Prerequisite:  Successful completion of all courses required for graduation (with the exception of the substantial writing requirement) and not less than 45 credit hours. Completion of Texas Pretrial Procedure is suggested.

Students serve with local nonprofit agencies, or with charitable organizations. Potential placements include the Legal Aid Society, the Texas Defender Project, Catholic Charities, Texas Accountants and Lawyer's for the Arts, Houston Volunteers Lawyer Program, and many others. These placements provide access to the Houston legal community and give law students the opportunity to expand their professional skills and identify challenging and fulfilling work possibilities.

Students who have completed 60 credit hours are encouraged to acquire a temporary bar card and thereby increase opportunities to apply their knowledge in practice under the tutelage and supervision of a licensed attorney.

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL PROCESS CLINIC: Three or four semester hours credit.

Prerequisite:  Successful completion of all courses required for graduation (with the exception of the substantial writing requirement) and not less than 45 credit hours.

Students may enroll in this academic internship while they are students in the Leiden Semester Abroad Program. Students work under the tutelage of defenders or prosecutors involved with the United Nations' Ad Hoc International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Students fulfill their field work while in Leiden, and complete their coursework upon their return to the South Texas College of Law campus.

NOTE: Prior approval and a personal interview with Assistant Dean Dennis are required before a student can register for this course.

HOSPITAL LAW EXTERNSHIP: Two semester hours credit. Recommended: Two consecutive externships totaling four hours. Normally offered in the fall, spring and summer.

An externship program designed to provide advanced students with realistic experience in the routine legal problems encountered by hospital in house counsel. Students are expected to participate with counsel in recognizing and developing solutions to legal issues pertaining to the hospital corporation, its business operations, the medical staff and the patients. A detailed report concerning these experiences is required at the conclusion of the externship.

There will be regular interim conferences between in-house counsel, the faculty member and the student. Completion of Hospital Law or Legal Medicine is strongly recommended before enrolling in the Hospital Law Externship. Hospital placement is coordinated between the faculty, in-house counsel and the student. Students are requested not to make independent placement contact with hospital counsel.

NOTE: Prior approval and a personal interview with the professor are required before a student can register for this course. Applications are available in the Registrar's Office.

ON-SITE CLINIC: Three or four semester hours credit. Normally offered in the fall, spring and summer.

Prerequisite: Students must have completed 45 semester hours, all required courses (with the exception of the substantial writing requirement) and any pre-clinic courses.

 

1. Enrollment in each On-Site Clinic is limited. Participating students are expected
to contribute 50 working hours in the Clinic for each hour of academic credit
received. Class meetings will develop the student's familiarity with the
substantive law affecting Clinic matters, as well as develop strategies for
pursuing particular Clinic cases and hone lawyering skills.

 2. Grading for the On-Site Clinics is performed under the traditional letter grade
system. Grades are dependent on elements that are course specific plus an
evaluation of the student's professionalism.

3. The On-Site Clinics are located approximately three blocks from the college
campus at 1602 San Jacinto Street.

GENERAL CIVIL CLINIC:

This live client clinic offers a unique opportunity for student interns to develop skills within the experience of "real world" cases. Student interns are assigned responsibility for a variable case mix early in the semester. Interns interview the client; perform any necessary factual investigation and legal research; communicate with outside sources; draft and file and necessary documents; organize and maintain proper file documentation; interact with other students, office , personnel and court staff; perform pre-hearing strategies; accompany the attorney for court appearances; conduct actual client representation at administrative hearings not requiring a temporary bar card; and evaluate appellate grounds for review.

Clinic interns face the challenges and burden of direct client representation where decisions have an impact on another human being. All work is performed under the direct supervision of the Clinic faculty and staff. Case and client facts are utilized during the lecture component of the class.

Each student is required to present and relinquish a notebook detailing the manner in which hours were accrued and the status of each case at the conclusion of the semester/session and prior to receiving a grade.

Interns are encouraged to see the complex webbing of legal theory and concepts; ethics and professionalism; legal and social policy; and substantiate law in the hands-on environment of a small office practice while still in the protective nest of the educational setting.

MEDIATION CLINIC:

Prerequisite: Mediation

Students participate in simulated mediation exercises in the classroom. During the semester, students will serve as the third-party neutral, settlement advocates, and the the parties to the dispute. Emphasis is on a broad-based exposure to the development, research and practice of mediation through skills training. Students are encouraged to supplement their in-class training with volunteer mediation, co-mediations and observations which are coordinated through The Center for Legal Responsibility and similar pro bono ADR providers.

 

 

 

 

Office of the Registrar

  Quick Links



South Texas College of Law · 1303 San Jacinto Street, Houston, Texas 77002 · 713-659-8040
Please send comments or questions to: webmaster@s
tcl.edu