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The Legal Profession

Lawyer Interview / Group Project Number 4 (graded)

Your reflective essay and final group project are based on an interview with a lawyer. After collecting and reviewing your Group preferences, each Group was sent an electronic memorandum from Dean Robel (dated Friday, March 13th) providing the name and contact information of your interviewee and additional information needed to complete your assignments. For your convenience, we have posted below a summary of the assignment information that applies to all groups.

Due Date

In order to ease scheduling conflicts with your LRW class, your reflective essay is due Thursday, April 23 at 5 pm. The essays are blindgraded; therefore, please include only your exam number (same # as for 1L final exams) and instructor name when turning in your essay. Please submit a hard copy to Deborah Westerfield in the Dean's suite.

Contacting your attorney and arranging for interviews

Please contact your attorney, and Deborah Westerfield if logistical support is needed (email), to arrange a mutually convenient time for this interview. Interviews can be in person or by videoconference. The Law School has reserved two conference rooms, both equipped with videoconferencing equipment, for your use. Ms. Westerfield can reserve a room and, if your interview will be by videoconference, arrange for technical support from the Law School computing staff.

The Interview, the Reflective Essay, and Your Group Presentation

Both your individual essays and your final group presentations rely upon the lawyer interview. Both require students to test, reconcile, and synthesize the interview with the course materials. Understanding the work product that will come from the interview should help your group formulate the questions you want to ask your attorney.

  1. Your individual essay should be no more than 2,000 words. It should use the interview to explore intersections of the course materials, particularly the overlap between formal legal ethics, personal values, morality, and human psychology. In the reflective essay, your candid thoughts, opinions, and observations are part of the narrative; therefore, it should be written in the first person. An excellent essay will marshal the course materials and the lawyer interview to support a strong, interesting thesis about professionalism, legal ethics, or the practice of law. Grading criteria include style, organization, clarity, conciseness, integration of course materials, originality, and analytical rigor. To receive maximum credit, your narrative must explore at least one ethical dimension, broadly defined, of the lawyer's job or practice setting. Examples of outstanding work from prior students are posted online here. You will see that the best work product combines critical detachment with tact and sensitivity toward the person you interview.
  2. Your final group project includes a short (8-10 minute) presentation to the class and a one-page document that summarizes the most important findings of the interview. The presentation should summarize your attorney’s relevant biographic information and describe the most salient and interesting of your group’s conclusions from the interview. An excellent presentation will test, refine, or elaborate upon ideas or topics covered during the semester. A line of inquiry that provoked differing opinions and emotions among Group members may be especially useful for presentation to the class. We have made no effort to ask a representative sample of lawyers to participate in these interviews. Rather, we ask for their time because they tend to be personally and professionally successful and want to help others succeed. One of the course goals has been to have you think critically about how lawyers organize their careers to achieve professional success and fulfillment. Thus, observations and conclusions that bear on that topic are particularly important and welcome.
  3. Per the Memo on Group Project #3, the same grading rubric applies to both Group Projects #3 and #4.