University of Denver

The Practicality of Practicums: Former Student on Being Prepared for Practice

Former Senior Director

At Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, we highlight the work of professors, the needs of the profession and, increasingly, the experiences of the law students who take law classes that rise to the Carnegie model.

In the February edition of the Denver Bar Association Docket, lawyer Beth Tomerlin writes about her experience in Professor David Thomson’s Discovery Practicum.

One of the most beneficial aspects of the course, for me, was preparing for and conducting a deposition of a witness in our case. Of course, we had our fellow students playing the role of the witness (and that certainly has its limitations), but I was able to take and defend a deposition in front of a live court reporter. Subsequently, we were able to review the transcript of our deposition and receive feedback from our professor on our objections, our phrasing of questions, and our overall demeanor. It provided a safe setting to experiment and learn without costing a client a great deal of money or losing face in front of a senior partner. The deposition component of the practicum was the most valuable exercise I had in law school.

David Thomson, who blogs at Law School 2.0, responded:

In sum, it is nice that the course is getting some attention, finally. But mostly I am proud of Beth, for working hard in law school, thinking through what she needed out of the experience, and now for making her way in her career. And I am proud that she feels like she received a good education at the DU Law School. Her article is a good rebuke to David Segal's most recent article in the New York Times, which had the headline: "What They Don't Teach You in Law School: Lawyering."