Going Beyond 20th Century Legal Education: CDTA Teaches Important Skills Inside And Outside The Courtroom
Any lawyer must study and know the substantive law. Law schools have traditionally focused on teaching the substantive law and only the substantive law (except for core courses like civil and criminal procedure). At the California Desert Trial Academy (CDTA), we go beyond this idea based on our belief that practical experience and certain “soft” skills coupled with substantive knowledge provide the best opportunities for a successful, rewarding, and prosperous legal career.
In furtherance of our goal of preparing excellent and capable trial advocates, our classroom facilities present a true legal environment. They include:
- A full-functioning authentic California Trial Courtroom;
- A realistic California Appellate Courtroom; and
- An operational Federal Courtroom.
Class sessions often include more than one legal expert. The interaction of these professionals with students is often reminiscent of an actual courtroom setting as the adversarial nature of a real legal matter is simulated by participants.
The CDTA legal education is not only comprised of bar-tested academic subjects, but also skills training, and values reinforcement. CDTA teaches students to be adept in the following areas:
- Negotiation skills
- Time management skills
- Writing skills
- Enterprise management skills
- Presentation skills
- Research skills
- Critical thinking skills
- Core values review
- Creative thinking skills
- Professionalism (including appearance and grooming skills)
- Ethics and professional conduct
Some of these skills are people skills; some are management skills; some are technical, and some are analytical. Traditionalists consider these skills as non-academic or even non-priority.
Perhaps these traditionalists forget:
- The practice of law requires a professional approach to interaction with clients, attorneys, and the general public.
- The practice of law requires organizational and other managerial considerations inherent in running a business.
- The practice of law requires a constant expansion of the practitioner’s base of legal knowledge.
- The practice of law requires the ability to solve the problems of clients.
The need for these skills encourages students to positively interact and develop these skills together with their fellow students.
A skilled practicing attorney requires critical thinking and reasoning skills to succeed on behalf of clients. The development of these skills cannot be achieved by simply memorizing the substantive law. It requires the regular challenge of analytical exercises to improve and refine.
All the above-listed skills – critical thinking skills, logical, clear and concise writing skills, effective reading skills, and persuasive presentation skills – are important and beneficial to a student’s future success as a legal advocate.
At CDTA, we believe that a thorough study of California Bar test areas of legal study examined regularly, and supplemented with skills, values and historical perspective provide a winning formula for educating, training and developing extraordinary legal advocates. Call us today at (760) 342-0900 or find out more online here.