Breaking down the ‘Lawyering Skills’ tracks in our new hybrid J.D. program

The addition of Lawyering Skills tracks is a unique concept that aids in developing the necessary skills new attorneys will need after graduating.

The new Hybrid J.D. program has many components that push the boundaries of traditional legal education. However, the addition of Lawyering Skills tracks is a unique concept that aids in developing the necessary skills new attorneys will need after graduating.

“One of the best things about our new Hybrid J.D. program is that it allowed us to respond to the different criticisms of current J.D. programs by building something completely new from the ground up,” says Andrea Funk, faculty director of hybrid and online programs at The Santa Barbara & Ventura Colleges of Law. “We’ve been able to create a more holistic experience in legal education, and the Lawyering Skills tracks are a big part of that.”

Students must complete a minimum of five different Lawyering Skills units (1 per semester) but may choose to complete more if they choose. The skills tracks will take place during the third residency that students attend each semester, providing them an opportunity to apply theory in a hands-on setting.

There are four Lawyering Skills tracks to choose from:

  • Practical skills
  • Litigation skills
  • Transactional skills
  • Professional development and leadership

Read below to discover more about each specific skill track and what you’ll learn. You can also check out four ways the hybrid J.D. changes how you go to law school for more information about the groundbreaking program.


Skill track 1: Practical skills

The most essential skill any lawyer can hone is their writing. 

This is why, regardless of the track you choose, legal writing is incorporated into every semester of the Hybrid J.D. program. But it is a particular focus for the practical skills track. Additionally, the practical skills track covers a number of skills that every lawyer must have, including interviewing skills, client counseling, fact-finding, and problem-solving


Skill track #2: Litigation skills

The litigation skills track is focused on the skills needed to competently perform duties during the pretrial and trial process.

For example, you may learn best practices for filing motion papers—from what arguments to make to how you decide whether to file the motion at all—to help streamline the legal process and ensure you aren’t wasting a judge’s time.

Additional areas you will explore within the litigation skills track may include:

  • Drafting effective discovery, including e-discovery
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Arguing motions
  • Preparing for trial


Skill track #3: Transactional skills

The transactional skills track can help those interested in corporate, business, and real estate-focused legal matters. This skill track places an emphasis on deal-making and contract negotiation tactics, as well as best practices for how to draw up the terms of a contract.

Transactional lawyers spend a good deal of their time counseling their clients on legal issues generated by the clients’ business dealings. This track prepares you for that role.

For those looking to leverage their legal degree in the corporate world, this track can potentially prove invaluable when it comes time to sit down at the negotiating table.


Skill track #4: Professional development and leadership

The professional development and leadership skills track allows students to develop their entrepreneurial skills in addition to their legal knowledge.

This skills track serves two distinct purposes:

  1. It provides a business development foundation for those seeking to begin their own private practice or assist with the day-to-day business operations of a smaller practice after graduating.
  2. By helping students better understand business development and leadership, they are able to better interact with potential clientele who come from corporate or business backgrounds.

Additionally, this skill track will focus on skills such as:

  • Networking
  • Project management
  • Emerging technologies
  • Financial literacy

Students serious about entering the legal profession after graduating should seek a program that is serious about preparing them. The lawyering skills tracks in the Colleges of Law’s Hybrid J.D. program do just that. By focusing on, and participating in, the application of these real-world skills, students will be better prepared to make an immediate impact in the legal field.   

For more information about our Hybrid J.D. program, visit the program page. You can also request more information by filling out the form below.