Explore how the American legal system operates, and hone your critical thinking skills through extensive reading and analysis, as you learn to think like a litigator. After an overview of how the American common law system developed into the court structure that exists today, you will read the full text of actual U.S. landmark Constitutional cases, while learning how to decipher legal terminology and to conduct legal analysis. Through critical examination, you will gain insight into the ways in which law is continually interpreted and reinterpreted, and how courts attempt to dispense justice while balancing competing social interests. Rigorous and respectful discussion of contentious issues raised by the cases we are considering will make up the morning part of this class. In the afternoon, students will practice oral advocacy, learning courtroom skills that they will use in the course's culminating mock trials where each student will be expected to perform a direct examination, a cross-examination, and either an opening statement or a closing argument. A previous U.S. history course is strongly recommended, but not required, prior to taking this course. This class will include a field trip to the state and federal courts. All students must bring a photo ID; if you are an international student, a passport will be required to enter Federal court. Make sure to pack professional-looking attire to attend court (both on our field trips and during our mock trials). If you own a suit, bring it. If not, pack dress pants or skirts (no minis), dress shirts, and dress shoes. Jeans, sneakers, shorts, miniskirts, and flip flops will not be allowed in court.
High School Students
Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri