Lawyers, Clerks, and Judicial Decisionmaking

Section 1, Spring 23

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 9/12
Credits: 1
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • M
  • 0850-0950
  • WB119
01/23/2023 04/24/2023
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

Drawing on the instructor’s experience as a clerk at the federal district, appellate, and Supreme Court levels, this class will explore the process of judicial decisionmaking and how lawyers influence those decisions, and how law clerks aid in the process, with a focus on analytical, writing, and communication skills that aid in the process. We will move deliberately through the stages of judicial decisionmaking, such as oral argument and briefing, as well as tools judges use in the process, such as bench memoranda. The course will use real cases and filings as opportunities for students to practice their analytical and communication skills with the instructor’s guidance and feedback. These opportunities will include: participating in oral argument as judges, advocates and clerks, advising on a case in an emergency posture, and drafting a bench memorandum. This course will be useful to students interested in clerking, as the course will provide perspective into the types of analyses and responsibilities the students will undertake in chambers. This course will also be useful to students interested in careers in litigation more broadly, as it will provide practical lessons in legal writing and oral advocacy.

Course Requirements

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

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will draft a 10-15 page bench memo due via EXPO no later than noon on May 12, 2023.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: 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 Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

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

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level 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.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Concentrations: Litigation and Procedure
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, April 21, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, April 30, 11:59 PM