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California Desert Trial Academy College Of Law

Finding Your Comfort Zone In Public Speaking

Finding Your Comfort Zone In Public Speaking

At CDTA College of Law, all of your classes take place in our beautiful courtrooms/classrooms. From your first day of classes as a 1L, you will find yourself in a courtroom for every class. By the time you graduate, you will have a huge advantage over other law grads as you will feel exceptionally comfortable speaking in a courtroom. However, you may still benefit from some public speaking pointers specifically addressing courtroom speaking. Many attorneys have mixed feelings about public speaking, or, more specifically, speaking in a courtroom setting. It is not uncommon for attorneys to express that they have feelings...

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A Quick Guide To Running A Law Practice: Staff Orientation

A Quick Guide To Running A Law Practice: Staff Orientation

A law office, more specifically, a law practice greatly relies on people, which are one of its greatest assets. A priority of any business enterprise is the assimilation of new employees to their working environment, quickly and efficiently, so they may become fully engaged, devoted, productive, and invaluable employees. Formulating a new-employee orientation plan to be regularly used with each new hire, whether an attorney or staff member, will prove useful and provide a foundation upon which to build and perfect the process. It’s important to modify and refine this process until a firm’s goals for employee productivity and success...

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A Primer On Critical Thinking

A Primer On Critical Thinking

The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) provides instruction on the soft skills – those skills that go beyond the basic training of the substantive law that many traditional law schools are content to teach, and only teach. Why? Traditional law schools do not seriously consider these skills to be part of the “academic core” of their standard curriculum, although they are absolutely essential for anyone who wants to be an effective attorney-advocate with a successful and prosperous legal practice. The California Desert Trial Academy’s unique learning platform emphasizes that students learn the soft skills in addition to the core substantive law....

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Tips On Outlining Essay Answers – Analysis & Conclusion

The California Desert Trial Academy focuses on providing an academic experience that emphasizes a practical approach to becoming a lawyer. We believe this is the most efficient and expedient pathway to a successful and rewarding legal career. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. It’s obvious that law students want to get the most points out of every essay question on a law exam. They also want to do it as expediently and efficiently as possible. Wasting time on a question reduces any time remaining to review, revise, and correct prior finished questions. Outlining an answer to an essay question is a good way to improve any law student’s test-taking proficiency. Without entirely discounting the conclusion, the analysis is the most important component of a law exam answer since here is where examinees “apply the law to the facts.” An important tip for improving an IRAC-styled answer from average to excellent is to develop the analysis by presenting well-structured arguments on behalf of both sides (i.e., plaintiff-defendant, if applicable) for each issue spotted. Ask the following questions: • “What would the Plaintiff argue?” • “What would the Defendant argue?” This removes an essay answer from the IRAC format since the analysis entails more than just the law’s application to the facts. Rather, the answer is now presented as arguing and analyzing both the plaintiff’s case and the defendant’s case. Next, make every reasonable argument possible and include any reasonable creative arguments. Then make a statement as to which side of the issue has a better argument citing specific facts from the question’s details. Arguments may be shaped using and combining the following strategic formats. • Argue that the facts should be interpreted one way or another • Argue that the law should be interpreted one way or the other • Cite policy reasons for why the case should resolve one way or another • Argue that question should apply the traditional rule instead of the model rule (or vice versa) • Argue that the common law rule should be applied instead of the statute (or vice versa) • Argue that the majority rule should be applied instead of the minority rule (or vice versa) • Argue that the holding in one case should be followed rather than the holding in a different case. Any arguments must consider what the course’s professor emphasized in class, whether contradictory rulings in two different cases or a focus on common law vs. statutory law, majority view vs. minority view, etc. Finally, make a statement as to which party is more likely to prevail with an explanation of the underlying reasoning. The conclusion answers the question, “Who has the better legal argument?” This conclusion is not as crucial as the analysis. A conclusion must not be too inconclusive, i.e. “It depends on the view of the court.” After all, an inconclusive “conclusion” is not a conclusion! Just the same, a conclusion should not be too decisive (i.e. “The plaintiff will definitely prevail” or “The Defendant has no legal argument.”). It is a good strategy to avoid extremely strong words or phrases unless they are factually appropriate. Good usable keywords for a conclusion are “probably” and “most likely.” The key to mastering law exam essay questions is practice. This will improve issue-spotting, analytical, and reasoning skills that should culminate with exceptional readiness for the bar exam. Like traditional law schools, CDTA’s curriculum is designed to teach students the substantive law of core subject areas. Unlike traditional law schools, CDTA emphasizes training and developing students to be capable and competent advocates in any courtroom. The California Desert Trial Academy is a 21st Century law school that moves students toward a successful legal career on the first day of class. We believe that practical experience in tandem with legal knowledge is the best road to a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.

The California Desert Trial Academy focuses on providing an academic experience that emphasizes a practical approach to becoming a lawyer. We believe this is the most efficient and expedient pathway to a successful and rewarding legal career. At CDTA, we train, educate, and develop students to be exceptional attorneys and trial advocates. It’s obvious that law students want to get the most points out of every essay question on a law exam. They also want to do it as expediently and efficiently as possible. Wasting time on a question reduces any time remaining to review, revise, and correct prior finished questions....

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Tips On Outlining Essay Answers – IRAC, Issue-Spotting & Relevance

Tips On Outlining Essay Answers – IRAC, Issue-Spotting & Relevance

Whenever the subject of answering legal essays arises, the IRAC technique inevitably rears its ugly head. Why ugly? Because the IRAC method, in its most basic form, is not the optimal way to answer law exam questions. The IRAC method tends toward students devising simplistic and formulaic answers. Nonetheless, for any law student who does not outline his or her answers, IRAC is a good starting point for learning the tools to answer law school exam questions. In fact, practicing and developing it can help students improve their treatment of the analysis section resulting in more sophisticated exam answers. The IRAC method...

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Find Your Attorney Mentor

Find Your Attorney Mentor

It is an invaluable resource to find a mentor early in a young lawyer’s career. When CDTA Founder and Dean John Patrick Dolan started the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA), he conceptualized an educational curriculum, not unlike that of a medical school residency program where doctors mentored residents and provided them with the opportunities to apply their new professional skills. As the CDTA approaches its tenth anniversary, the emphasis on each student finding his or her own attorney mentor is as strong as it was when the CDTA opened its doors in 2012. It’s a mantra in many blogs here on...

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CDTA: Do It Online!

CDTA: Do It Online!

There has been a significant increase in the use of various technologies in education generally and the instruction of law in the 21st Century. The California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA) uses all modern forms of technology to help students, especially those who need to utilize the many facets of distance learning and online resources. Since the California Desert Trial Academy opened in September 2012, it has maintained its’ place on the cutting edge of technology and legal instruction. Distance Learning allows students to attend classes in real time, and interact with other students and professors, as they would if they were...

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Family, Stress, & 1Ls

Parents, Stress, & 1Ls

The family and friends of law students tend to not understand that a 1L in law school is nothing like an undergraduate in college. The stress faced by 1Ls in their first year is very much the product of this transition. Parents, husbands, wives, children and any significant others must understand that the increased stress of evolving from undergraduate to law student to lawyer will significantly affect a 1L. Law school has been known to create unmatched stress for many students. Sadly, for some, it has even caused them to discontinue their studies and forget their hopes of being a lawyer....

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Expectations of Legal Interns, Part Two

Expectations of Legal Interns, Part Two

The California Desert Trial Academy’s (CDTA) unique educational platform focuses on students learning the soft skills in addition to the core substantive law. It also includes seeking mentorships and internships to further enhance legal studies with practical real-world experience. Law students should have some advanced notice about an internship and the tasks to be undertaken but won’t know for certain until finally beginning the internship. Anything can, and will, happen. The purpose of an internship is to provide an insightful learning experience for young law students, in return for a little bit (a lot) of hard work. *Organize information If the amount...

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Expectations of Legal Interns, Part One

Expectations of Legal Interns, Part One

It is an exciting event when law students become legal interns for the first time. The scope of the responsibilities associated with an internship may vary from one firm to the next based on the number of attorneys an intern serves. An intern’s specific tasks vary based on the area of law the firm practices. Whatever an intern’s duties and jobs, no matter how exciting or mundane, the attorneys, office manager, and staff, have expectations of an intern’s performance. But then, so does every intern have high expectations in an internship. *Observe, learn . . . do From the moment an intern...

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