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8953 - Capstone: Lost in Translation: Can Your Client Hear You?
Professor: Patricia Hatler
Semester: 2013 Spring
Second Writing Requirement? No
Professional Responsibility? No
Prerequisites: Third Year students only
In legal practice, particularly legal practice in a large company in-house legal department, issues rarely present themselves in neat packages, one a time. Instead, events and decisions often arise quickly. They present themselves as a tangled whole - many issues, complex interrelationships, and conflicting implications. They usually involve multiple legal issues. Often, they must be responded to on a schedule not of the attorney’s making. An attorney’s ability to handle critical communications with multiple audiences is critical to determining the client’s reaction to an event or situation.
The course is based on a hypothetical case study of an insurance company reacting to events in a southern coastal state following Hurricane Katrina in 2006. The hypothetical company is named United States Insurance Company, Inc. (“USIC”), and the hypothetical state in the southern United States is named Southern State. The background facts and issues will be real issues faced by the insurance industry in the post-Hurricane Katrina time frame, but the specifics of the operations and issues for the company and the state will be hypothetical.
The class is structured as seven, 100-minute classes. The first class is an overview of the industry, operational issues, and legal issues necessary to complete the work for the other six sessions of the class. The rest of the classes cover communications with varied constituencies relating to the case study (ex: Board of Directors, senior corporate executives, regulators, Congress, and the media.) Four of the classes will involve written and oral communication opportunities for a portion of students. One class will involve real time reaction to unplanned media inquiries. The final class will be an informative post-script that moves out of the hypothetical case study to actual, post-Katrina legal, public policy, and media events. It will also include a substantial debrief on the communications topics explored in the other classes. Every class will include group discussion and feedback.
First class will meet Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. The remaining meeting dates are Jan. 24, Feb. 14, Feb. 28, March 7, March 28, and April 4.
The course materials listed above are for informational purposes only and should not be considered final. Students must check with the Registrar for a current list of closed courses.