What are Local Rules?
Similar to a course syllabus, the Local Rules are policies and procedures governing all courses in the skills curriculum. The rules are formatted similar to local rules of court in order for students to begin developing the skill of rule practice. Attorneys and judges use procedural rules to govern conduct in proceedings before a court efficiently and effectively. Students are responsible for reading the rules and conducting themselves accordingly.
- Rule 1.0: Intent
Similar to course policies published in a syllabus, the Local Rules are intended to govern the interaction between the skills instructors, students and the administration to ensure skills courses are administered in an efficient and effective manner. Students should begin building the skill of rule practice. The Rules are formatted similarly to local rules of court found in practice.
- Rule 1.1: Application
The Local Rules apply to all Loyola law students enrolled in skills classes. All other Loyola policies equally apply to skills courses.
- Rule 1.2: Revision
Any revision to the Local Rules occur at the end of the year by the Office of Skills and Experiential Learning. Anyone may suggest revision to the Local Rules by sending suggested language in writing.
- Rule 2.0: Requirement for graduation
Students must earn at minimum eight skills credits in order to be marked as skills certified. Students who do not earn the necessary skills credits before graduation are not certified to graduate.
As part of the 8-credit skills graduation requirement, students entering in 2014 or later must earn credits that satisfy each of the following four skills competency requirements: 1) Client Interviewing; 2) Negotiation; 3) Cultural Competence; 4) Law Office Management/Professionalism.
- Rule 2.2: Online Skills Courses and Skills Credit for CLE Attendance
OSEL recognizes that attending scheduled skills courses in person can be difficult for some students and will make every effort to accommodate such students by offering weekend, evening, and online skills courses. No more than three online skill courses may count for credit towards the skills graduation requirement. OSEL will also establish a process by which students may apply to have attendance at qualifying external CLEs earn skills credit. Attendance at no more than two external CLEs may count for credit towards the skills graduation requirement.
- Rule 2.3: LAW Courses Conferring Skills Credit
An inventory of all LAW courses conferring skills credit will be maintained on the Skills Curriculum webpage. Unless otherwise noted, successful completion of designated LAW courses earns a student one general skills credit. With the exception of skills credits earned from completion of the L897 Clinical Seminar, students are limited to a maximum of four skills credits earned from LAW courses. Completion of LAW courses on the inventory in excess of this limit will not result in additional skills credits to be counted towards the skills graduation requirement or the tabulation of the Skills Award.
As of Spring 2018, all elective experiential courses confer skills credit. Other LAW courses conferring skills credit are limited to the sections taught during the semesters and by the professors designated on the inventory maintained on the Skills Curriculum webpage.
- Rule 2.4: Student Group-Sponsored Skills Courses
Student groups interested in co-sponsoring an event with OSEL for skills credit should meet with the Coordinator of Skills & Experiential Learning as early in the planning process as possible. After this preliminary meeting, a representative of the student group may apply to obtain skills credit for an event by submitting in writing a proposal with as much information as possible, including the proposed topic, title, course description, instructor, and desired times and dates for the course.
Approval of an event or presentation sponsored by a student group for skills credit will be made on a case-by-case basis and depends on several factors, including the nature and length of the presentation as well as availability of the skills calendar. In order to qualify for skills credit, a presentation should focus primarily on training students in the development of one or more fundamental lawyering skills or on how to perform discrete lawyering tasks typically required of an attorney in a particular area of legal practice. Presentations focusing on examining substantive legal or policy issues from an intellectual or academic perspective only will normally not meet the criteria for skills credit.
- Rule 3.0: Open and Rolling Enrollment
The enrollment process allows felxibility for students to provide more opportunities to earn Skills credits.
Throughout the semester, students may access Blackboard to enroll in Skills courses. Enrollment closes 24 hours before the course, unless otherwise provided. Once closed, students may attend but may not earn skills credit unless the student files a Motion to Obtain Skills Credit to explain why he or she did not follow the rules. Some courses are offered on a first come, first served basis; therefore, enrollment may close early due to capacity. Students are responsible for ensuring they are properly enrolled.
- Rule 3.1: Registration
Students must sign the Official Attendance Registration sheet to verify attendance in order to earn Skills Credit. For courses offered over two days, students must attend both sessions.
A student who enrolls and does not attend without letting the Skills office know exhibits unprofessional behavior and such repetitive behavior may result in reporting to administration or suspension from future skills courses pending remedial consequences.
- Rule 3.2: Blackboard
All students must use Blackboard to enroll and are ultimately responsible for enrolling in the course and later signing the Official Attendance Registration for the course.
Some courses may require students to view material on Blackboard before the course. Other courses may require students to upload assignments via Blackboard. Students are responsible for understanding Blackboard. Contact Eric Wiltz, firstname.lastname@example.org, if any problems occur with the system.
- Rule 4.0: Attendance
Regular and punctual attendance is required. Tardiness is considered disrespectful and unprofessional and may result in not earning a Skills credit.
In compliance with ABA attendance standards, excessive absences are recorded and a student who is excessively absent may be subject to administrative review. Failure to complete an assignment precludes Skills credit.
Note: To unenroll from a skills class, please email email@example.com at a reasonable time before the course.
- Rule 4.1: Preparation
Some skills courses require students to prepare to practice a certain skill or complete an assignment. If an instructor deems a student is not prepared for a class, did not complete an assignment, or did not complete the assignment on time, the instructor may choose not to award skills credit.
- Rule 5.0: Grading
In some courses, students earn Skills grades which are separate from academic grades. Students in skills courses are given the following grades: "HS"-Highly Skilled "S"-Satisfactorily Skilled and "DS"- Deficiently Skilled. A grade of DS results in no skills credit being awarded to the student. Many courses are not graded.
- Rule 5.1: Assessment
Students are evaluated and graded through practical drafting assignments, or performance. Some courses allow practice time and students are given credit for attendance.
- Rule 6.0: Communication
Students should tailor all communication both oral and written with skills instructors and the administration in a manner expected from a professional in practice. All communication including email should be thoughtful, well researched and only sent after the student is familiar with the Local Rules.
- Rule 6.1: Motions
Over the course of the semester, students may encounter an issue not covered by the Local Rules. Students are encouraged and should begin the practice of asserting such needs in a motion form. All written motions will be considered by the Coordinator of Skills and then addressed by written order.
- Rule 6.2: Professionalism
Students are expected to maintain professional decorum throughout a skills course. An instructor who deems a student’s behavior as unprofessional may assess a “DS” thereby receiving no skills credit. Professional behavior includes appearing to class on time, being attentive and respectful to the Skills instructor and completing all assignments. Students are encouraged to be thankful and courteous to Skills instructors who volunteer their time to enrich our profession.
- Rule 7.0: Official Transcript
Skills courses are recorded on a student’s official transcript. Students are encouraged to take skills courses in an area of interest to showcase skill development.
- Rule 7.1 Skills Certified
After a student applies for graduation, the skills department will audit the transcript of all applicants to ensure graduates are Skills Certified. Students will receive an email stating whether they are Skills Certified or deficient in Skills credit.
- Rule 7.2 Skills Award
The student who at the time of graduation has earned the most skills credits from all sources shall receive the honor of the Skills Award reflecting dedication to practical training and experiential learning. The student shall receive a certificate reflecting the honor and may include the honor on their résumé.