January Courses at UB Law School Develop Real-World Skills
Release Date: January 9, 2013
BUFFALO, N.Y. – University at Buffalo Law School students are honing their practice skills, and going deep in specific legal specialties, through the school’s unique “bridge term” courses this month.
The four-week courses afford students the opportunity to develop practice-ready skills while at the same time gaining expertise in one or more practice areas. Most bridge term courses are taught by legal practitioners serving as adjunct instructors, and they bring real-world experience to every class.
Professor Charles Patrick Ewing, vice dean for academic affairs, says the bridge courses are a key part of the Law School’s renewed commitment to graduating new lawyers ready to practice on day one.
“As part of the Law School’s enhanced efforts to provide state-of-the-art skills training to all students and to prepare them to be practice-ready upon graduation, we have increased the level of skills training available in our bridge semester,” Ewing says.
“These courses are taught by highly experienced practitioners as well as members of the full-time faculty. For example, during the current bridge term we are offering courses on jury selection, managing a law practice, commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, discovery strategy, financial institutions, post-conviction remedies, death penalty practice, taking and defending depositions, and examining and cross-examining expert witnesses. We are also offering courses on practice issues in family law, tax, personal injury, Social Security disability and intellectual property cases.”
The UB Law School offers dozens of bridge courses. They include:
- A course taught by Hon. Robert T. Russell, a Buffalo City Court judge, provides insight into the workings of Housing Court, including the laws governing housing and health code violations, property nuisance laws, the “Bawdy House Statute” and demolitions.
- The post-conviction restrictions imposed on sex offenders, popularly known as Megan’s Laws, are the topic of a course taught by Gary Muldoon ’76. The course, which looks at the costs and effectiveness of efforts to reduce recidivism by such offenders, will feature as a guest speaker Hon. Eugene F. Pigott Jr. ’73, a justice of New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
- Steven Weiss ’91 is teaching “Law Firm as a Business,” a course that provides students with some of the practical business skills they need to succeed in the private practice of law. Notably, the course discusses ways new lawyers can create a successful niche practice in the increasingly competitive legal market.
- Case studies of actual IP cases – involving the movies Backdraft and Shakespeare in Love, and the Ice Cube song Gangstas Make the World Go Round – form the basis for a course in intellectual property litigation taught by Kenneth W. Africano ’85. Students in the course review pleadings, expert reports and other evidence, and work hands-on to analyze the cases.
- “Choosing the Right Jury” is the title of a skills course taught by Stuart Austin ’93, who says, “Defense attorneys who once relied on their instincts are now realizing that a poorly picked jury is more harmful to their case than a murder weapon with fingerprints.” Through role-playing and experiential learning, students gain practical experience in the voir dire process and understand the psychology behind picking a jury.
- Hon. E. Jeannette Ogden ’83, an Erie County Family Court judge, is teaching “Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System.” The course, which focuses on Article 730 of the Criminal Procedure Law, helps students understand the special burden courts face when the accused has a mental disease.
Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo Law School – the State University of New York system’s only law school – has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes the UB Law School unique among the nation’s premier public law schools.