Capstone Courses are designed to provide third-year students with an avenue to draw upon the critical analysis and skills training they have received in law school and 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. They are limited enrollment courses and require students to take an active role through simulations, exercises, and individual feedback.
In the course Lost in Translation: Can Your Client Hear You?, students focus on handling multiple complex legal problems simultaneously. 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 background facts and issues are 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 are hypothetical. Classes cover communications with varied constituencies relating to the case study (ex: Board of Directors, senior corporate executives, regulators, Congress, and the media.) Several sessions provide written and oral communication opportunities. One class involves real time reaction to unplanned media inquiries. Every class session includes substantial group discussion and feedback. The course is taught by Patricia Hatler, executive vice president and chief legal and governance officer at Nationwide Insurance.
The Employment Problem course centers on problem solving and the skills and professional judgment required in litigation work. Students address problems frequently associated with initial business intake, client expectations, and litigation strategy using a hypothetical suit alleging the theft of trade secrets. The simulation requires students to experience practice problems including fee arrangements, litigation costs, ethical issues and client relations. The course is taught by James Davidson, who is the deputy managing partner at Ice Miller, LLP and coordinator of the employment litigation practice area.
In The Hospital Problem, a hospital system is seeking to acquire a private physician network. There are four segments to the course: advice to the corporations on the business deal; advice to the hospital and the private practice regarding unionization and labor issues; executive employment agreements for the practice plan leaders who will transition to the hospital and a final analysis of any issues not previously addressed as well as an assessment of the key strategies, techniques and qualities required for an attorney to ethically and successfully advise a client. This course is taught by Kimberly Shumate, associate general counsel for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
New capstone courses are added periodically. To read more about Capstone Courses, please visit the recent Bringing the law to life article that appeared in All Rise. To see similar courses, please visit the Clinics and Experiential Learning courses in our Course Explorer tool.