Litigation Skills and Professional Liability Law

Section 1, Spring 20

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 16/16
Credits: 3
Day Time Room Start Date End Date
  • R
  • 1540-1740
  • WB114
01/23/2020 04/23/2020

Course Description

This course will prepare attorneys to hit the ground running in a litigation practice by providing experience doing what first year associates do in litigation. The course is taught by three trial attorneys who litigate complex cases. Every practicing lawyer will have some exposure to professional liability law, because a practicing lawyer must comply with the standard of care for a reasonable practitioner in his or her field of practice. This course teaches litigation practice in the context of the prosecution and defense of professional liability cases. Students will learn how to prosecute and defend professional liability cases while gaining competency with the nuts and bolts of pretrial litigation generally. Students will draft and receive close support from a team of instructors to draft complaints, answers, expert designations, and deposition questions. Students will take at least two mock depositions in a setting of support and “learn by doing” that will allow them to impress their partners with proven experience out of the gate. Substantively, the jumping off point will be medical malpractice case law, while legal malpractice and professional liability generally will be addressed, but the core of the course is learning practical skills that will translate to any litigation practice. Concepts such as qualifying and challenging experts, planning for and conducting depositions, drafting written discovery, and negotiating evidentiary issues during discovery will be a focus. Individual instruction and assistance both on presentations and written assignments will be a hallmark of this team led course. This course will equip students to competently handle the tools of litigation that likely will be in their hands as new practitioners while they learn some basics of professional liability law. Students will draft and receive close support from a team of instructors to draft complaints, answers, expert designations, and deposition questions that are building blocks of trial advocacy. Students will study procedural aspects of litigation from the genesis of a potential claim through the trial level that apply broadly across many substantive law areas. Substantively, the jumping off point will be medical malpractice case law, while legal malpractice and professional liability generally will be addressed. Substantive case law will be drawn from Virginia law because professional liability substantive law is established under state jurisprudence. Concepts such as qualifying and challenging experts, planning for and conducting depositions, drafting written discovery, negotiating evidentiary issues during discovery, as well as substantive malpractice doctrines will be explored. Individual instruction and assistance both on presentations and especially on written assignments will be a hallmark of this team led course. This seminar will equip students to competently handle the tools of litigation that likely will be in their hands as new practitioners while they learn professional liability law.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will draft short complaints, answers, expert designations, with samples to follow, and conduct mock depositions.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Evidence is helpful, but not required. Because the credits in this course count toward the JD Program Professional Skills requirement, JD candidates will be given enrollment priority for this class. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: Yes
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
120216978
Law No.
LAW9309
Modified Type
Seminar
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Saturday, April 11, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, April 26, 11:59 PM
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