Experiential Curriculum FAQ
In 2013, the faculty adopted a new practical lawyering skills program, the Experiential Curriculum. This program is being phased in over the course of three years, beginning with the class of 2016, students are required to complete (a.) either an Externship or Legal Clinic (3 units minimum), and (b.) a minimum of 8 units of simulation and practicum courses, including at least one simulation course and at least one practicum course.
What is a Clinic or Externship?
Through the Externship Program and Legal Clinics, students can get hands-on legal experience, putting the theory. They put the theory learned in the classroom into practice in an on-campus or hybrid clinic, or a field placement in a government agency or non-profit setting. Students in the on campus clinics represent real clients under careful supervision and all clinical and field placement students gain real-world legal skills.
What is a Simulation Course?
Simulation Courses (formerly referred to as Experiential Courses) are courses where students learn by doing, and in which the vast majority of instruction is devoted to professional skills and values required of practicing lawyers. Such courses enable students to integrate legal theory, professional skills, and professional identity.
What is a Practicum Course?
Practicum Courses are courses in which at least one-third of instruction is devoted to a professional skill or set of professional skills characteristically used by practicing lawyers. Practicum courses give students the opportunity to learn substantive law and also learn and appreciate the context in which that law is to be applied by working on lawyer-like projects on simulated legal matters.
How will I know which courses qualify?
By their very nature, these courses tend to be dynamic, cutting-edge offerings. From year-to-year the list of qualifying courses will change to reflect legal trends and interesting opportunities for McGeorge students. For example, in Spring 2014, we were able to offer a Practice Skills for Eminent Domain Lawyers simulation class taught by a partner from Downey Brand, in collaboration with the City of Sacramento. Each year, a list of qualifying courses is published online on the Office of the Registrar page.
May I take extra experiential courses?
Space permitting, yes. Some students select both a clinic and a field placement and several practicums and simulations! Students report that the courses in the Experiential Curriculum prepare them well for the practice of law.
What if I cannot meet the Clinic/Externship Requirement because of my job?
Students who work full time (approximately 40 hours/wk) during normal business hours may request a waiver of the Externship/Legal Clinic portion of the Experiential Curriculum. Waiver requests will be reviewed by the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs or the Associate Dean and granted for good cause only. Each student requesting a waiver will be contacted to meet personally with either Dean McGuire or Dean Landsberg. Waiver forms are available at the Office of the Registrar or the Office of Student Affairs.