Practical Skills Courses
The development of the practical skills needed to succeed as an attorney or paralegal forms an important part of Oak Brook College’s coursework and emphasis.
In the Paralegal Program, extensive emphasis is placed on the practical skills needed for effective and efficient work in a law office or related profession. Paralegal students gain not only a broad knowledge of the main areas of law, but also approach each practice area in the framework of “nuts and bolts” legal practice. Students study the mechanics of assisting attorneys and explore the common issues clients will face, becoming familiar with the documents, procedures, and paperwork involved in each field of law. Students are also trained in legal reasoning, legal research, and written communication so that they possess the intellectual tools to utilize legal facts and knowledge, and communicate in a way that is comprehensive, clear, and concise. Upon graduation, paralegal alumni will have conducted written and online research, and will have interacted with a broad range of documents in all practice areas, including memoranda, briefs, pleadings, contracts, motions, wills and trusts, interrogatories and responses, and much more. Oak Brook’s faculty, being largely comprised of attorneys currently engaged in legal practice, places extensive emphasis on bridging the gap between academia and real world experience, and ensures our graduates are prepared both intellectually and practically for their ministry and profession.
“The paralegal course was very practical in preparing me for my profession and career. It gave me a broad spectrum understanding of many different areas of law so that I have a general knowledge of the main areas of law. The legal writing courses were equally valuable and practical for what I do now. Having both the legal knowledge and practical knowledge that I gained at Oak Brook is irreplaceable.” -Jessica
Juris Doctor Program
In addition to distance-learning courses, Oak Brook offers practical skills courses, some of which incorporate intensive on-site modulars designed to allow students to hone oral advocacy skills under the guidance of faculty who possess expertise in trial and appellate practice.
The ability to research, analyze, and communicate information through writing is absolutely vital to academic and professional success. Oak Brook’s legal writing courses are intensely practical, stressing the skills necessary for in-depth research on every level, as well as the mechanics of writing, argumentation, and communication. Students are taught to apply these skills in a wide variety of legal documents, from pleadings and motions, to interrogatories, memorandums, briefs, contracts, estate planning documents, and more. Legal writing courses are complemented by practical instruction regarding the use of, and legal process surrounding, the different types of documents, giving students not only the tools to research and write with excellence, but the framework and perspective to understand how each document operates in the legal system.
“Our legal writing courses really prepared me to be able to concisely address legal issues, apply the law to the facts, and write clear opinions. Because of Oak Brook, I’ve been able to serve as editor of a legal treatise, work as a clerk for a federal judge, and now engage as a solo practitioner.” – Paul
Trial and Appellate Advocacy
The “art” of oral argumentation truly is an art form, one which demands intensive training and requires not only finely attuned critical thinking and reasoning, but also mastery of communication techniques and court room procedure. Oak Brook College offers a course in both trial and appellate advocacy, with intensive on-site modular training to facilitate honing these critical skills. Each on-site seminar corresponds with Oak Brook College’s and the Alumni Association’s annual Lake Tahoe conference, giving students the opportunity to learn from and network with graduates who are actively practicing as trial and appellate attorneys.
Appellate advocacy is offered for students in their third year of studies and builds off each student’s appellate briefs prepared the previous semester. This course aims to equip students in the full range of appellate advocacy presentation and technique. Students utilize their own appellate briefs as the foundation for their oral arguments, and spend the time prior to the modular exploring preparation for oral advocacy, approaches to advocacy, persuasive techniques and styles of presentation, and appellate procedure. Students utilize a full range of written materials, personal lectures, prerecorded presentations, independent study, and practice sessions before convening in Lake Tahoe for a multi-day intensive modular, which includes advanced instruction, extensive practice with one-on-one feedback and training, and a final moot court presentation before a panel of judges. As will be required in legal practice, students receive thorough instruction in procedure, presentation, and preparation in every aspect of appellate law and are required to demonstrate a mastery of these skills throughout the course.
Trial advocacy is offered during each student’s fourth year and is an equally intense course which explores the ins and outs of trial practice and procedure. Students are provided with case files which provide the necessary factual information from which to prepare for trial, along with a wide range of instructional material. Through the use of case files, written material, and recorded lectures, students will delve into each aspect of trial practice and procedure, from jury selection and voir dire, to witness preparation and rules of evidence. The practical skills aspects of trial, including communication techniques, presentation, direct and cross examination, and opening and closing statements are thoroughly practiced, with each student submitting video recordings of their practice rounds prior to the on-site modular for feedback throughout the course. Once in Tahoe, students partake in advanced lectures from faculty who possess expertise in trial practice and procedure, and engage in practice rounds both as defense and prosecuting attorneys to gain a thorough and practical knowledge of trial preparation.
“The skills that I learned in trial advocacy, particularly how to approach and respond to different arguments, have been very beneficial to me in shaping how I approach different situations in my career.” – Nathan
Students who elect to take Dispute Resolution will gain a thorough, working knowledge of arbitration, mediation, and dispute resolution. Coursework will focus on understanding the theories of law surrounding dispute resolution as well as the process of and techniques for negotiation. Emphasis is placed on identifying, understanding, and working within the dynamics presented by different negotiation styles, as well as acquiring a strong grasp of the strategies which can be used to reach a resolution. In addition to the theoretical and legal elements, students will delve into verbal and nonverbal communication, human behavior, and the role that culture, gender, and other social features may play in any proceeding.
As students work through the legal and practical elements of dispute resolution, each aspect will also be examined from a Biblical perspective, considering the impact Scriptural truth has on one’s philosophy, and practice of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Students are not required to meet on site for this elective, but will engage with the professor and classmates through written assignments and online communication.
“Oak Brook places great emphasis on the reconciliation aspect. The professors taught me to realize that this is more than a case that you want to win at all costs – it’s people that are involved.” – Joel
“Jesus Christ came and died to achieve reconciliation. There was enmity between God and man, and the cross bridges that gap. We at Oak Brook find it part of our mission and our strong emphasis to train lawyers to be counselors of reconciliation.”
– Professor Robert Caprera
Do you hold to the mission, philosophy, and worldview perspective of Oak Brook College and do you believe you have a calling to study law from a Biblical and historical perspective? If so, click the admissions button below.