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Loyola College of Law since the mid-1980's requires 2L & 3L students to achieve a certain number of skill credits in order to graduate. The skills curriculum allows students an opportunity to learn necessary skills for lawyering, such as, factual investigation and counseling, trial practice, communication and negotiation, administrative boards and law office management. Courses are taught by practitioners, judges and faculty dedicated to volunteering time to enrich the skills curriculum through their experience and knowledge. Skill credit is separate and apart from academic credit but both are reflected on a student’s official transcript. Students are awarded a skills grade of either "HS" - Highly Skilled, "S"- Skilled or "DS" -Deficiently Skilled. A grade of "DS" does not earn a skills credit.
Students should also think of skills courses as an opportunity to explore a very specific area of law or practice a certain skill while learning through explanatory coaching. The courses are offered in a small one or two class format and do not require additional tuition. There is not a limit for enrollment in skills courses and the student enrolled in the most courses at the time of graduation earns the "Skills Award," a certificate of recognition. Students are graded based on identifiable skill development.
Skills courses are offered throughout the Fall semester from September through November and in the Spring from January through April. This year the skills calendar is published in a rolling format allowing students multiple opportunities to enroll in a skills course. Students may view the course offerings by clicking here and then enroll in the course via Blackboard.
Effective Fall 2012, students must register for skills courses via Blackboard rather than LORA. This new enrollment and registration process allows more flexibility for students to enroll up to twenty-four (24) hours before the course is offered. Notably, the class size for many skills courses is now offered in smaller formats, so many times enrollment is on a "first come, first serve" basis. Students should read the new Local Rules before enrolling in a skills course. For steps to enroll and register.
Similar to a course syllabus, the Local Rules are the policies and procedures governing skills courses. The rules are formatted similar in style to Local Rules of Court so students may begin developing the skill of rule practice. Students are responsible for reading and abiding by the Local Rules which outline the new process for registration and all other administrative changes.
The simple answer is no. The larger explanation is that we want students in their first year to focus on academic courses, learning the rule of law and also building their professional identity. However, please know Professor Brown has an open door policy beginning in the Spring for 1L's who wish to discuss longterm goals regarding skills courses. The Offices of Skills and Experiential Learning works together with Career Development to help students build their professional identity while in school.
Similar to practicing attorneys counting the number of CLE hours, we ask students to perform a self- audit of the number of skills courses attended over their law school career. To satisfy the skill requirement, students should attend eight courses. Skills courses are listed on the official transcript. You may view your skills course on LORA by selecting under "Student Records" and then "Institutional Coursework." Please note beginning in Fall 2012, all skills courses are now listed at the bottom of a student's transcript, so please make sure you scroll to the very bottom. If you have any questions after performing your own self-audit, please make an appointment to see either Linda Bauer in the skills office or Prof. Brown.
The Office of Skills will perform our own audit for purposes of graduation in mid to late March. Students deficient in skills credit will receive an attention notice via email and also via their student folder. Please do not wait for the March audit to ensure you have the proper amount of skills credits. Instead, we urge you to conduct your own audit or come to our office with a printed transcript so that we may help you.
Some pre-approved courses incorporating skill-based learning exercises may earn skill credit. Please see the latest inventory of courses and other offerings that earn skills credit attached here.
As we transition this year, please know we are vigorously reaching out to all of our dedicated skills faculty to ensure you are properly welcomed by the new Coordinator of Skills and Experiential Learning, Professor Christine Cerniglia Brown. We look forward to discussing new innovative techniques for course design and scheduling your course as part of our skills offerings.