The summer program consists of seven-weeks of combined classes in criminal law, legal writing, and skills development. These components are integrated, and faculty continually meet and plan the sessions so they can refer students to how each component lesson relates to what they are doing in the other components. Each week the program builds upon the learning skills, developmental stages, and substantive law covered in the previous week in the following major areas:
Criminal Law (4 hours credit)
Students meet two hours per day, Monday through Friday, to learn substantive criminal law. This course also focuses on and explains various techniques of law school classroom pedagogy and their intended educational effects for students. It thus “de-mystifies” the classroom. Upon completing the criminal law exam, students receive four academic credits and a grade reflecting a student’s criminal law exam performance as well as participation and performance in the legal writing class. Because they have satisfied the criminal law requirement for the coming fall semester, students have a lighter course load for fall semester.
The Legal Writing portion of the access program is taught by a member of the Legal Writing faculty who is an Associate Professor of Lawyering Skills. The class begins with a short writing assignment, which the professor uses to identify both potential problems that arise for students writing in the new context of the law and tools to aid students in remedying those problems. The students then spend the majority of the session developing legal reading, analysis, and writing skills using Washington criminal statutes and cases in the context of writing the discussion section of an objective memo, addressing an issue given to them by the professor acting as the assigning attorney.
The students write the discussion one component at a time, with revising classes and individual written feedback for students to incorporate in editing and revising the final draft, which is worth 10% of their criminal law grade.
For the majority of the session, the legal writing class meets twice a week for 90 minutes. However, after reading and analyzing the law, and before turning in a first draft of the discussion section, the students meet in small groups to present their understanding and analysis of the law to the professor, again acting as the attorney. The session culminates with the students making an oral argument to the professor, who acts as trial court judge hearing a motion.
Students meet in a large class, smaller break-out sessions and individually with the director, professor and TAs. This component meets for seven hours a week and includes instruction on case briefing, outlining, exam analysis and exam writing, as well as individual critiques of student work. Students take a practice exam each week. They begin working with basic models of analysis that get progressively more sophisticated and complex throughout the summer.
Preparing for the Profession
Students meet for one hour a week to develop and enhance their skills to enter the career. They write parts of cover letters and resumes, practice interviewing, and network with program alums, and members from the state bar association. A highlight of this program is the ARC Reception sponsored by the minority sections of the state bar, where bar leaders give inspirational speeches and members of the bar welcome the ARC students to the profession.