Legal Practice FAQ

Q: What is “Legal Practice”?
A: Legal Practice is a first year course that is an introduction to the legal system. Legal Practice I covers case briefing, case synthesis, and statutory analysis, as well as the principles and practice of legal writing, client interviewing, client counseling, negotiations, and legal bibliography and research. Legal Practice II includes instruction in legal method, including case and statutory analysis, through objective and persuasive legal writing and oral argument. Further instruction in the sources and use of materials for legal research, including computer-assisted research, and in legal citation is provided. Written assignments include letters, memoranda, and briefs. Introduction to dispute resolution processes include mediation, arbitration, settlement conferences, mini-trials, and summary jury trial.
Q: Do I have to take both courses?
A: Legal Practice is a full-year, six-credit course that all first-year law students are required to take.
Q: How does Legal Practice prepare me for legal practice?
A: Legal Practice is designed to teach you about the writings and legal processes that are encountered by lawyers in every-day practice.
Q: What kinds of backgrounds and experiences do the Legal Practice professors have?
A: All of Texas Tech's Legal Practice professors have a wide variety of both teaching and practical experience. All Legal Practice professors have been teaching at Texas Tech for at least two years and some have additional teaching experience at the University of New Mexico, University of Puget Sound School of Law, and Albany Law School. The practice experience of the Legal Practice professors includes experience in highly regarded national and regional law firms, in state and federal clerkships, and in the state and federal government. Legal Practice professors are licensed in New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, Wyoming, California, North Dakota, Texas, Kansas, Oregon, and The District of Columbia.
Q: Does Legal Practice include instruction on grammar?
A. The Legal Practice faculty provide instruction on grammar during class. Furthermore, throughout the year, optional workshops on grammar and writing may be offered. These workshops will typically reinforce the materials taught in class or review information that students should have learned in the past. Students may also seek advice and counsel from the law school's writing specialist, Dr. Natalie Tarenko, Ph.D.
Q: What is the Writing Proficiency Exam?
A: Legal Practice students are required to take a Writing Proficiency Exam that is given in November (and thereafter as necessary for those who do not pass the first time.) The WPE tests students on grammar including but not limited to commas, semicolons, colons, apostrophes, quotation marks, parallelism, modifiers, pronouns, verbs, fragments, nouns, passive voice, and nominalization.
Q: Must Legal Practice students pass the Writing Proficiency Exam?
A: Yes. Legal Practice students must pass the exam in order to pass Legal Practice. A student who fails the first exam may receive a final grade for Legal Practice I, but will not receive a final grade for Legal Practice II without passing the exam in its second or third administration.
Q: Does Legal Practice include instruction on Computer Assisted Legal Research?
A: The Legal Practice faculty and librarians will teach computerized legal research workshops. Attending these workshops is required when they are listed on the syllabus as the subject matter for a specific class period and otherwise as noted.
Q: What writing assignments will a student have in Legal Practice?
A: The writing assignments include legal memorandums, contracts, client letters, and trial briefs.
Q: How much legal research is required?
A: Learning how to conduct legal research is a major part of the class, and students will likely spend much time in the library conducting legal research.
Q: What system of grading is used by the Legal Practice professors?
A: Each Legal Practice professor uses his or her own system for grading, and your professor will explain his or her system to you. Each Legal Practice professor also grades the work of his or her own students, and your grades will only be affected by the performance of other students within your section; the performance of students in another section does not affect your grade.
Q: What is the student-to-professor ratio in the Legal Practice Program?
A: The student-to-professor ratio is approximately 20 to 1 at Texas Tech.
Q: Are there other resources for assistance in Legal Practice besides the professor?
A: Each section of Legal Practice is assigned a student teaching assistant who assists the professor with that section of students. The teaching assistants are hand-picked by each professor and are students who excelled while they were in Legal Practice. The teaching assistants keep office hours and regularly mentor and help the students in their section. Students also have access to a writing specialist and the law librarians.
Q: Why is Texas Tech Legal Practice Program so excellent?
A: Tech's program is superior for several reasons. First, the faculty comes from such a diverse, respectable, and practical background. Second, the Legal Practice course is aimed at providing each student with a diverse array of practical research and writing experience so that he or she is familiar with these areas when he or she graduates and enters the practice of law; the faculty is truly dedicated to providing each student with these practical skills. Finally, the small student-to-professor ratio in the Legal Practice Program assures that each student gets the attention and assistance that he or she deserves.