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California Desert Trial Academy College Of Law

CDTA Students Support One Another

CDTA Students Support One Another

“We’re all in this together, so let’s help each other achieve common goals.” This a strong tenet of the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA). The more resources, human or otherwise, that a student has in learning about any subject, the more a student will learn. It really is nothing but basic common sense. The CDTA emphasizes student collaboration and teamwork as an important component of achieving academic and professional goals. It seems every law school student knows the story of a certain fellow student who “misplaced” and unscrupulously concealed books in the law library to prevent his classmates from completing a...

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Going Beyond 20th Century Legal Education: CDTA’s Progressive Approach

Going Beyond 20th Century Legal Education: CDTA’s Progressive Approach

Traditional law schools prepare students to be lawyers by a rigorous schedule that compresses legal education into three years. CDTA meets the needs of working people by providing a more relaxed “study at your own pace” approach to legal education that considers adult students’ responsibilities away from legal school. A student will take four years of classes at CDTA before graduation. This additional year allows a slower, more reasonable, manageable pace while providing courses and teaching skills that equip graduates to be competent advocates on their first day of practicing law. Discussions with legendary trial attorneys, F. Lee Bailey and Gerry...

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Soft Skills: Strong Ethics & Professional Conduct are Key

soft skills

While some critics today think there should be even greater emphasis on hard skills courses in law school, and less attention to the soft, much of what you learn in your soft skills courses at California Desert Trial Academy, College of Law could be invaluable to your success as a trial attorney. There is no doubt that you must master an enormous amount of information about the law. Additionally, soft skills will help you strengthen many aspects of lawyering that are not taught in the classroom that will be critical to your career. You will take a course in Professional Responsibility...

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Law School: How Many Hours a Week Should I Be Studying?

studying

How much time will it take to prepare for classes and how much studying should you do for exams in law school? While this question has as many answers as there are law students, there is a formula that many professors advocate using. You will most likely want to plan to study for at least two hours for every hour of class. For example, in your first year, you will study Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law. Each class is 3 ½ hours a week. This means you should plan on studying and preparing for each class about 7 hours per...

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Think You Live Too Far Away from CDTA to Go to Law School? Think Again!

soft skills

At the California Desert Trial Academy, College of Law, our goal is to see you succeed in law school. If you live too far away from our campus in Indio to comfortably drive in three nights a week, you may be eligible to participate in our unique Distance Learning Program. This State Bar approved, hybrid program allows you to attend classes from the comfort of your home by attending remotely through the Zoom platform. You will attend class at the same time as your classmates attending in person by logging into our program on your computer. You will be able to...

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Studying Hard Skills—The Difference Between Civil & Criminal Procedure

hard skills

Your law school experience will teach you both hard skills such as evidence, contracts, torts, civil and criminal procedure, and soft skills. Soft skills include relationship building, negotiation, and teamwork. As a student at the California Desert Trial Academy, College of Law, you will learn all of the required hard skills during your course work during the week and practice sessions on Saturdays. Soft skills are emphasized during your Saturday Enrichment program where you will network with the local legal community and learn valuable negotiating and practice skills. It is imperative that you develop a strong understanding of both civil and criminal...

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As A Law Student & Future Attorney—Learn to Love Doing Research!

If you are planning on a career as a trial attorney, you probably find yourself envisioning your future frequently during law school. Practicing law as a trial attorney can be exciting and rewarding. However, the bulk of your work as an attorney will require a great deal of legal research, reading, and writing. If that sounds familiar to you as a law student, you are correct. Law school offers a great training ground for the skills required to be a successful attorney and you will certainly do your fair share of reading, writing and researching. That overwhelming feeling you may have...

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Communicating Powerfully in the Legal Arena: Always Write to Your Reader

communicating

Even the most seasoned lawyers and judges enjoy reading clearly written material. While legalese may seem to be the accepted norm, if you want to get your point across to others fully, it’s quite simple: you must be a bold and inspiring communicator with organized and intelligent thoughts. And just as in negotiating or arguing in court, you must know who your reader is. In writing to your reader you can connect in a powerful manner that may be surprisingly effective time and time again. Although legal issues can be rather dry at times, and you may not have a lot...

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Should You Seek Out an Attorney Mentor?

There is a steep learning curve in the legal profession. It can take years as an attorney to really feel you have mastered the art of lawyering. There is a way to dramatically shorten that time so you are ready to practice law fresh out of law school. That is with the assistance of a mentor. At CDTA, Dean John Patrick Dolan founded the law school to develop strong trial attorneys. He envisioned a training program similar to that of a residency program in the medical field. He understood from his own experience the power of working with an attorney mentor...

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Legal Writing: Learn to Be More Compelling to Your Readers

legal writing

You may be surprised to find that there is quite a bit of extremely bad writing stored away in law libraries. Not all attorneys are great writers and you will find that many attorneys submit poorly written motions and briefs to the Court. You will also find that these attorneys develop a less than stellar reputation with Judges and other counsel because of this. At CDTA, you will learn strong writing skills that will prevent you from ever submitting documents that rely on outdated legalese, with many unnecessary words thrown into the mix for good measure. You may also be surprised...

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