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Capital Lawyering Concentration Requirements & Curriculum

Students must complete the required and elective courses designated below. With prior written approval, the Concentration Director may vary the requirements of this program in individual cases for good cause.

To receive a Capital Lawyering Certificate, students must complete a minimum of 14 units approved by the Certificate Director, with at least six (6) units being from elective courses.

Required Courses

Statutes and Regulations — three (3) units

This course introduces students to strategies and techniques for interpreting and applying statutes and regulations in the modern administrative state. Topics include foundational issues important to public law, such as the legislative process, doctrines of statutory interpretation, the structure of administrative law, and the role of agencies in interpreting and enforcing statutory schemes.

Introduction to Capital Lawyering — two (2) units

This course introduces students to the lawyer's role in developing, modifying, implementing, advocating, and influencing public policy, including:  legislation, regulations, executive orders, court orders, and other policy edicts.  While primary focus is devoted to the lawyer's role in the context of California state government, the course touches upon the full array of policymaking venues and processes, including:  Congress, the California Legislature, state (CA) or federal agencies, California's initiative process, the California or federal courts, and agencies of local government.  Students will learn and practice doing policy analysis; learn the essential organization and procedures of the various policymaking venues; be able to consider and weigh strategic implications associated with the various venues and processes; conduct research using a variety of sources unique to policymaking in California and other settings; learn and develop skills for advocacy, negotiation and compromise in a policymaking setting; and practice applying course knowledge and skills to important public policy matters of the day.  Students will complete a project on an actual and current public policy problem that culminates with a paper applying knowledge and skills acquired from the course.  

Legislative and Public Policy Clinic or Field Placement with a capital lawyering focus — three (3) or four (4) units

Students choose an appropriate placement and perform on-site legal work as externs under the supervision of field placement supervisors in governmental units which specialize in matters of local, state or federal government law and policy or in a legislative office, a lobbyist's office, or in the legislative office of a government agency.  Evening students with day jobs that meet the requirements of the field placement may receive a waiver of this requirement.

Strongly Recommended Elective Courses

Administrative Law — three (3) units

Administrative Law is the law relating to administrative agencies in both the state and federal governments. All agencies, from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to the State Cemetery and Funeral Bureau, are required to comply with administrative law. Agencies make legally binding laws, called regulations, and have the power to decide who has violated the laws they have created. This course will teach students the law governing agencies and how to challenge or defend agency actions. This course will also examine such topics as the separation of powers (and other constitutional issues), state statutory law (especially the California Administrative Procedure Act), the role the judiciary has in controlling agencies, whether agencies can take actions for political reasons, and the procedures agencies must provide for people who apply for benefits.

Lawmaking in California — two (2) units

This course covers the fundamental components of the legislative process, policy and ethics including legislative procedure, bill drafting and analysis, history and intent, advocacy, relationships with the executive branch, and powers and limits of the legislative branch. Students learn about statutory and regulatory lawmaking and observe the lawmaking process in action. Students draft legislation (bills and amendments) and analyses. The making of statutory law has an increasingly critical role in our legal system. This course offers an “inside-the-house” view of California lawmaking and sequences with California Lobbying & Politics, which offers the “outside” perspective. It also prepares students to participate in the Legislative and Public Policy Clinic.

California Lobbying & Politics — two (2) units

This course explores how power and influence operate in the California Legislature. The first part of the course examines the processes and pressures a California legislator typically encounters prior to casting a vote in the Legislature, including campaigns for local and state office; fundraising; the influence of political parties and partisan leadership; grassroots supporters; and Sacramento-based interests. The second part of the course develops theories of legislative persuasion, including a blend of traditional advocacy skills and political strategy. The course includes a mock legislative hearing exercise at the State Capitol. (Practicum)

Specialized Elective Courses

California Initiative Seminar1 2
Election Law 2
Legislation and Statutory Interpretation 3
Local Agency Practice - Advice and Litigation 2
Pacific Legislative Law Review (Greensheets) 2
Negotiation and Settlements Seminar 2 or 3
Representing Local Agencies: Advocate, Neutral Counselor, Risk Assessor 1

1 Offered only when there is a California election with initiatives on the ballot.

Non-Course Requirements

Capital Activities Planning Board (CAP Board)

Students apply to serve on the CAP Board, which includes two members of the Capital Center Alumni Board, a CDO representative, and a faculty supervisor. The CAP Board plans and carries out the Capital Lawyering series of activities.

Capital Lawyering I, II, III

Capital Lawyering Program students participate in a sequence of activities on-campus and in the capital designed to introduce and prepare students for the range of capital lawyering careers and the excitement of making policy.


Contact Adrienne Brungess, Director of the Capital Lawyering Concentration
Email | 916.739.7170