An In Depth Conversation on Capital Lawyering Courses (transcript)

Today’s post is the final post in my series on the Capital Lawyering coursework offered at McGeorge School of Law. My previous posts in this Capital Lawyering series have looked specifically at the Intro to Capital Lawyering  – soon to be called Capital Lawyering and Policy Making – and Lawmaking in California courses offered at McGeorge. To close out the series I sat down with Jon Wainwright and we talked about some of the different specifics of the courses.

For example, we talk about the background of the adjunct professors who teach McGeorge’s Capital Lawyering courses. Intro to Capital Lawyering/ Capital Lawyering and Policy Making is taught by the former Chancellor of the California Community College system, Tom Nussbaum. My co-teacher of the Lawmaking in California course is the Legislative Counsel, Diane Boyer-Vine.

We also talk about what makes the Capital Lawyering coursework unique compared to more traditional law school courses. One example of that uniqueness is that the Lawmaking in California course isn’t held at the law school’s campus, but rather at the State Capitol, and Jon and I trade anecdotes about how being in the Capitol towards the end of session can make the dynamics in the building more interesting for students.

It was a fun conversation and an interesting way to wrap up my series on Capital Lawyering. If you are thinking about going to law school, and are also interested in working in or around California’s state capital, be it in the California Legislature, or at a lobbying firm, or in house at a company or trade association, or a State Agency, I encourage you to listen to this series of podcasts.

 

 

 

McGeorge’s Lawmaking in California course – Part 2 (transcript)

Today’s post is Part 2 of my posts on the Lawmaking in California course that I teach alongside Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine at McGeorge School of Law as part of the school’s Capital Lawyering program. You can find Part 1 of this series, which I posted last week, here.

As I mentioned in last week’s podcast, the objective of the course is for students to walk away with an of understanding the fundamental components of the legislative process as well as the rulemaking process and avenues of direct democracy in California.

The Lawmaking in California course has multiple class sessions that focus on the legislative process, starting as early as the second class session. The first class on legislative process is on the California Legislature’s legislative calendar and committee system. The second class on the legislative process looks at floor sessions and legislative publications. The course also features classes examining the role of lobbyists, ethics, the media, and the Governor in California’s legislative process.

While the legislative process in the California Legislature is the focus of the bulk of the class sessions, the legislative process alone doesn’t give the holistic view of lawmaking in California that students need to be effective Capital Lawyers. The course also looks at the Constitutional provisions and case law concerning the powers of the Legislature, and the limits of those powers. There is also a class session on statutory research and understanding legislative intent. Additionally, the course examines the state budget process, the rulemaking process at the intersection of statutory enactments and the rules promulgated to implement those statutes, and forms of direct democracy.

There are also class sessions dedicated to the practical skills students will need to be effective Capital Lawyers. Those classes are spent on drafting bills and bill amendments, and then on drafting bill analyses.

That concludes the overview of the Lawmaking in California course taught at McGeorge. Next week’s post will be my last one in this series on the coursework offered to students in the Capital Lawyering program at McGeorge School of Law.

 

 

 

McGeorge’s Lawmaking in California course – Part 1 (transcript)

In today’s post I continue my series looking at the courses offered by the Capital Center for Law & Policy at McGeorge School of Law to train aspiring Capital Lawyers who plan to work in and around California state government. Today’s post is one of two on McGeorge’s Lawmaking in California class.

McGeorge’s Lawmaking in California course is only one of a handful of law school courses that is dedicated specifically to forms of lawmaking in the state of California. It covers the fundamental components of the legislative process as well as discussions of the rulemaking process and avenues of direct democracy.

The topics covered in the course include legislative procedure, bill drafting and analysis, legislative history and intent, advocacy, relationships with the Executive Branch, and the powers and limits of the Legislative Branch of California state government.

The course is taught in downtown Sacramento at the State Capitol, rather than on the law school campus, as this provides students with the feel of the practice of Capital Lawyering. Instead of having a textbook, the course uses a close to six hundred page reader that’s full of substantive information that be readily used as a reference guide for anyone working in or around the legislative and/or regulatory processes. The reader is compiled by the course’s two professors, Diane Boyer-Vine and me.

In addition to a midterm and final – each worth 20% of a student’s grade – the course features practical writing assignments – a bill and amendment drafting project and a bill analysis drafting project. The bill drafting project not only requires that students draft a bill, but also draft a substantive amendment to address one or more opposition concerns that could be raised with the original bill and drafting an urgency clause for the bill as well as a justification for that urgency clause.

That’s the 30,000 foot overview of McGeorge’s Lawmaking in California course. Next week we’ll discuss more of the particulars of the class.

 

 

 

Intro to Capital Lawyering – Part 2 (transcript)

Today’s post is part two on the Introduction to Capital Lawyering course – to be called Capital Lawyering and Policy Making going forward – that is offered at McGeorge School of Law. You can find my first post on the Capital Lawyering and Policy Making course here.

McGeorge’s Capital Lawyering and Policy Making course is taught by adjunct professor Tom Nussbaum, who is a former Chancellor of the California Community College system. He also authored the course reader.

According to Professor Nussbaum, policy analysis is the rubric for problem solving that is typically applied in policy making settings, like the California Legislature. As such, the first three class sessions revolve around various policy analysis methodologies and applying policy analysis to real world issues.

The course also serves to introduce students to the various venues for lawyering in the government, with a particular focus on California state government. Of the fourteen class sessions that comprise this course, half of them focus on lawyering at the three levels of government. Four of those courses focus on California state government, two classes focus on lawyering at the federal government level, and one is dedicated to local government.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, the purpose of the course is to provide students with exposure to capital lawyering in general while educating them about the levels of government so that students understand that government may provide an avenue to resolve a client’s legal problem beyond traditional litigation of alternative dispute resolution. Students will take away from this course the knowledge that changing the law may be the best approach to solving a legal issue rather than litigating it.

In next week’s post, as part of this larger series on how the Capital Center for Law & Policy trains capital lawyers, I’ll start walking you through McGeorge’s Lawmaking in California course, which I co-teach with Legislative Counsel Dianne Boyer-Vine.

 

 

 

Intro to Capital Lawyering – Part 1 (transcript)

Today’s post is a continuation of last week’s post about the role of the capital lawyer. As I mentioned last week, I’ll be explaining how the Capital Center for Law & Policy at McGeorge School of Law trains capital lawyers. Today’s podcast is the first of five that will give an overview of how McGeorge School of Law trains capital lawyers.

The podcast today is part one of going over the Introduction to Capital Lawyering course. Part two will be next week’s podcast. This is the one mandatory course in the Capital Lawyering concentration. I should also note that starting in fall 2018, the name of this course will be different. The new name for the course going forward is “Capital Lawyering and Policy Making.”

The course is geared to give students the proverbial 30,000 foot view of the three levels of government, as well as the three branches of government – with a particular emphasis on California state government. The overall objective of the course is to ensure that students are informed and aware of the different avenues available to address a client’s legal issue.

Specifically, the learning objectives of the course are to introduce and acquaint students with the fundamental knowledge and skills that are essential to lawyering with California state government and with government in general; ensure that students will be able to perform policy analysis using a variety of methodologies; ensure students will be able to weigh and consider particular venues to pursue a policy change and they’ll be able to determine which venue provides the greatest opportunity for client success. The course also serves to provide students with an understanding of the many career options available to capital lawyers in and around California state government, which I go into greater detail on in the podcast. These are just a few of objectives, but there are many more.

Next week we’ll dive into the syllabus and more of the specifics of the Capital Lawyering and Policy Making course.

 

 

 

The Role of the Capital Lawyer

Today’s podcast is on the role of the capital lawyer. One of the things we do here at McGeorge School of Law is train individuals to be successful capital lawyers. I’ll talk more about how McGeorge trains capital lawyers in the coming weeks.

So, who are capital lawyers, and what do they do? Capital lawyers are those who attain the fundamental knowledge and skills that are essential to lawyering in California state government. Of course, these individuals could also practice law at the local or federal levels of government.

Some of the foundational skills that capital lawyers possess include:

  • Public policy research, development, and analysis skills;
  • Appreciation for the various policy-making venues so that a proper determination can be made as to which venue or venues provide the best chances for client success;
  • Verbal and written advocacy and negotiation skills in different policy-making venues; and
  • Knowledge about multiple areas of law and public policy issues that are unique to government and the public sector

A well prepared Capital lawyer will be able to work within the different and rather unique policy-making venues at the local, state, and federal levels.

What are some examples of Capital Lawyering careers? In the California Legislature examples include: committee consultants, staff to the legislative leaders and individual legislators, and staff to party caucuses or other legislative support agencies such as the Office of Legislative Counsel.

In the executive branch, a capital lawyer could work for the Governor in legal affairs, legislative affairs or appointments. Or they could work in one of California’s more than 200 state agencies with rulemaking authority as an attorney, advocate, administrative law judge – ALJ – or enforcement officer.

There are also opportunities for capital lawyers with non-profits and businesses in the private sector that seek to influence policy on both legislative and regulatory matters.

This is just a sampling of the skills a capital lawyer has and the opportunities for capital lawyers in a capital city, like Sacramento. Next week, we’ll start diving in to how the Capital Center for Law & Policy at McGeorge School of Law trains capital lawyers and prepares them for success.

 

 

 

 

Helping Your Client’s Case by Changing the Law

Today’s  podcast  is  on  helping  your  client’s  legal  problem  by changing  the  law.

Any  lawyer  can  apply  the  facts  of  his  or  her  case  to  the  law  as  it  exists  today,  but  a  really  good  lawyer  is  one  who  would  look  closely  at  changing  the  law  to  benefit  his  or  her  client’s  legal  position.

What should you do as a lawyer for your client?  I  think  a  lawyer  should  complete  a  policy  analysis  of  any  issue  facing  his  or  her  client  and  potential  changes  to  the  law  that  could  be  made,  either  statutory  or  regulatory,  that  would  benefit  his  or  her  client.

Lawyers  need  to  have  a  firm  understanding  of  the  area  of  the  law  and  what  has  led  to  the  current  statutory  or  regulatory  issue,  and  what  are  the  pros  and  the  cons  of  a  particular  approach  to  changing  that  statute  or  regulation?  Look  at  using  a  lobbyist  to  help  change  the  law,  or  the  lawyer  himself  or  herself  could  make  that  similar  attempt.

An  effective  lobbyist  will  understand  the  politics  and  policy  regarding  a  particular  subject  matter  and  has  the  ability  to  make  statutory  or  regulatory  changes.  Then,  just  like  a  lawyer,  a  lobbyist  advocates  for  his  or  her  client’s  position  with  those  responsive  decision-makers.

Basically,  a  well-rounded  lawyer  will  appreciate  that  solving  his  or  her  client’s  legal  problem  can  sometimes  be  accomplished  by  actually  changing  the  law  in  those  cases  where  the  law  may  not  be  favorable  to  a  potential  client  outcome  or  position.

I hope you enjoy today’s podcast!