The Lawyering Skills Course uses standards of demeanor expected in a law office, courtroom, or other professional setting. Depending on your previous experience, these standards may be unfamiliar, but they will serve you well in the future. The following are some examples of professional conduct expected in the course.
Know the "rules of the game." Read the Student Handbook. If you cannot find guidance in the Student Handbook, or if you do not understand the explanation in the Student Handbook, ask Professor Cagle or Professor Viney for clarification.
Food and drink. If you must eat your lunch in class, do so as unobtrusively as possible. Large meals, or those with pungent smells, are particularly distracting. Whether you are eating or drinking in the classroom, always clean up completely after yourself.
Cell Phones and PDA's. Silence all cell phones, PDAs or other communication devices during class. If you must receive a particular call, use the device's vibrate mode and step out of the room to take the call.
Laptops and other communication technology. In recent years, student use of laptops and text-message cell phones or equivalent devices has created a distraction for other students and visiting faculty and guests. Therefore, we no longer permit students to use laptops or communication devices during class time except as specifically announced ahead of time. You may bring your laptop to class but may use it only during breaks. We ask that you turn your cell phone, or equivalent, to silent or vibrate mode and use those devices only during breaks.
Forms of address. Some students wonder about the most appropriate form of address for visiting faculty. This concern mirrors what new associates face in addressing senior lawyers in professional settings. Most professional people are flexible, but some have preferences. If a faculty member does not initially reveal a preference, either ask or start with the more formal address (Mr., Ms., or Judge).
Respectful communication. Our visiting lawyers share their experiences by responding to vigorous and, at times, challenging questions and commentary from students. In posing questions or making comments, students should model professional respect and appreciation for the visiting lawyers and their service to our course and the law school. Likewise, students should expect the visiting lawyers to respect the dignity and effort of the class members.
Hats. Some faculty believe that wearing hats in a professional environment, including in the classroom, is disrespectful or unprofessional. No easy "hat rule" balances courtesy and individual expression. Be aware of a diversity of viewpoints and act as courteously as your need for free expression permits. However, whatever your opinion, do remove your hat whenever performing a role or making a presentation in class.
"Thank you". Our visiting lawyers are here, for all intents and purposes, as unpaid volunteers. They are rewarded by the satisfaction of teaching their students, by the collegiality of working with their peers, and through the appreciation expressed from the law school and--most especially--by the students. A sincere "thank you," whether verbal or written, means a lot.
Promptness. Because we are doing a lot of work in a short time, because we have many students, faculty and resources to coordinate, and because courtesy is a first principle in this course, you should be on time for all scheduled events. Pick up your materials, arrive on time, and unless there is an absolute necessity, do not leave early.
Confidential information. During the semester, you will receive solutions to some assignments and confidential instructions regarding certain assignments. These materials are for your personal use in the course only and cannot be passed on to students in future offerings of the course. (See NOTE in Cooperation on Course Work regarding academic misconduct.)
Role Assignments. If you are absent on a day for which you have been assigned a role in class, you must find, in advance, another student to take over that role. Failure to do so will result in an unexcused absence.
Interpretation or explanation of the rules in this handbook and relative to this Course. Professor Cagle or Professor Viney will explain or interpret the course rules if that should be needed. Do not ask the visiting teaching lawyers to assume that responsibility.