Legal Skills in Social Context (LSSC) is an intensive eight-credit, first-year course that teaches students legal skills within the complex interplay among law and diversity, values, and institutional power. The course combines a traditional first-year legal research and writing curriculum using simulation-based assignments with real-life work on a social justice project for a community organization or agency.

The LSSC curriculum focuses on the wide array of lawyering skills necessary for practice in the 21st century, including critical analysis and problem solving, team lawyering and cross-cultural competency. The course also challenges students to grapple with law as a social construct and its impact on historically marginalized groups in society.

The entire first-year class of students is organized into small sections (“Law Offices”) of approximately 12 students. Each student Law Office is then partnered with a community-based or advocacy organization to work on complex medium to large-scale social justice project(s) throughout their first year. The students are closely supervised by faculty members with specialized knowledge in the subject area. The projects typically involve one or more social justice agenda items that the organization has not had the time or resources to tackle. Most projects involve both legal and investigative field research components.

In the spring, each Law Office team produces a publishable report with its findings. The team also provides a highly creative, often multimedia-based oral presentation to its partner organization and the entire LSSC class.

See the array of work accomplished and organizations served by LSSC students during the last two decades: