Southwestern to Offer Four New Capstone Courses in 2009-2010
Based on the success of the first Capstone course in Mass Torts that premiered last Fall, the faculty has approved four additional Capstone courses in California Civil Litigation, Complex Criminal Litigation, Employment Law and Entertainment Law. These new courses will commence during the Spring 2010 semester. Professor Katherine Sheehan will teach the California Civil Litigation Capstone, Professor Kelly Strader will teach the Complex Criminal Litigation Capstone, Professor Christopher Cameron will teach the Employment Law Capstone, and Professor Robert Lind and Adjunct Professor Michael Blaha will co-teach the Entertainment Law Capstone.
Capstone Courses have limited enrollment and are taught using a more practical and skills-oriented approach. They encourage student engagement during the second, third and (where applicable) fourth years of study; respond to issues identified through the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE); and extend the momentum created by Southwestern's first-year and upper division curricular reforms. The latter have been well received by students and commended by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Capstone Courses provide the opportunity for advanced study, with special emphasis on teaching the Carnegie Foundation Report principles of theory to practice and professionalism.
"These courses will be ideal to ensure that our graduates, more than ever before, really do hit the ground running in their chosen legal careers." Dean Bryant Garth said.
Capstones are often interdisciplinary, cover multiple subjects, and can be team-taught. Students might take a Capstone course during their final semester or year of study, after having completed the applicable prerequisites. Enrollment is limited to ensure individual attention as well as sufficient time and resources for simulations. Evaluation is usually based on simulation and skills exercises instead of an exam.
Second-year day student MyLoc Dinh enjoyed taking Southwestern's first Capstone course in Mass Tort Litigation. "It was so practical and interdisciplinary, and there were only 20 students," she said. "I can't say enough about how much that class was very enjoyable and educational. I'm a practical kind of gal. Too much theory can be tough. I like to see how things work in the real world, so I thought that class was just spot on."
Students in all programs - Day, PLEAS, Evening, and SCALE - are eligible to take Capstones, but each course has different prerequisite requirements:
- California Civil Litigation Capstone: Students who wish to enroll must have successfully completed Civil Procedure I and II. Work experience or an externship in a civil litigation context is ideal, but is not required.
- Complex Criminal Litigation Capstone: Required courses include Criminal Law, Constitutional Criminal Procedure and Trial Advocacy. Prior or simultaneous enrollment in a criminal law-related externship is strongly recommended but not required.
- Entertainment Law Capstone: Only open to J.D. and LL.M. students in their final year of study at Southwestern who have completed Copyright Law, as well as three advanced entertainment law courses.
- Employment Law Capstone: Students must have completed Civil Procedure I and II as well as at least two of the following courses: Employment Discrimination, Employment Law Survey, Entertainment Industry Labor & Employment Law, Labor Law, Sports Law and/or International Sports Law.