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New Advanced Courses Complement Clinical Programming

March 4, 2010 | Faculty

Dear Alumni and Friends:

As always, exciting things are happening in the classrooms of Drinko Hall. Of particular interest to alumni may be the expansion of our advanced curricular offerings to include more and more courses explicitly designed to introduce students to professional lawyering skills. In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released an important study on the state of legal education. The report determined that “law schools need to do a better job integrating the teaching of legal doctrine with a much stronger focus on helping students develop practical lawyering skills and understandings of ethical and moral considerations.” Moritz has responded.

For the past several years, Moritz has been experimenting and offering a variety of professional skills courses to complement our pioneering clinical programming. Specifically, alumni and friends have been essential partners allowing us to initiate two exciting programs that have proven extremely popular with students.

The first initiative is the Schottenstein Zox & Dunn Distinguished Practitioners in Residence Program in Business Law (DPIR). The program, which began as a pilot in 2005, brings in judges and practitioners to teach one-credit, one-week courses in advanced aspects of business law. For instance, in February, the College welcomed back Gail Block Harris of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York City to teach International Joint Ventures. Drawing primarily on case studies involving entertainment companies, her popular course exposed the 25 2Ls, 3Ls, and LL.M. students to issues associated with complex transactions, discussions of negotiation strategies, review of real-life documentation, and a de-brief with clients. During one class session, Harris was joined by an attorney from Portugal, who also flew in from New York, to talk with the students.

Earlier this year James Lawrence ’65 of Frost Brown Todd taught a course on negotiations; Dan Sandman ’73, former vice chairman and chief legal & administrative officer, general counsel, and secretary at U.S. Steel, taught a course on corporate governance; and Scott Simpson of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in London taught International Mergers and Acquisitions. Later this month, the Hon. William Chandler, the chancellor of the Delaware Chancery Court, will deliver the final DPIR course offering of the 2009-10 academic year on fiduciary responsibility. Students have enjoyed the opportunity to interact and study with these distinguished practitioners who join the Moritz community for a week.

The second initiative is still in the pilot stage, but the initial response from both students and faculty has been quite positive. Beginning with this spring 2010 semester, Moritz introduced two capstone professional problem solving courses. The idea behind these courses is to provide an avenue for students to draw upon the critical analysis and skills training they have received in law school to further develop the problem solving orientation and skills crucial in law practice. As “capstones,” these classes are designed to ensure close interaction with practicing lawyers who are leaders in their fields with a wealth of professional judgment.

Our pilot offerings were the China Problem, a transactional simulation focused on advising a client on the risks and opportunities of forming a business or a joint venture in China, and the Employment Problem, which address problems frequently associated with initial business intake, client expectations, and litigation strategy using a hypothetical suit alleging the theft of trade secrets. The China Problem class is being taught by Robert Miller—the former corporate general counsel/global legal for The Procter & Gamble Company, where he oversaw P&G’s international ventures—currently of counsel at Jones Day. Jim Davidson ’80, the president of Schottenstein Zox & Dunn and coordinator of that firm’s employment litigation practice area, is teaching the Employment Problem course. We anticipate expanding our capstone problem solving offerings to five next year.

Moritz has long prided itself on enrolling excellent law students and providing them with excellent legal training. With your support, encouragement, and guidance, Ohio State will continue to be a pioneer in legal education.

Garry Jenkins
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Associate Professor