From the Essentials to Practical Skills

During your first year at St. Francis, you study three substantive subjects—Torts, Criminal Law, and Contracts. As you progress through that first year, you learn the realities of the law, from the Uniform Commercial Code to the types of homicide to product liability, as you develop the knowledge and skills you need for law practice and to pass the California Bar Examination.

The upper division curriculum at St. Francis focuses on advancing and honing your practical professional skills in legal work while deepening your knowledge of the law and litigation. For students enrolled in our accredited J.D. Program, it adds second year subjects, such as Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, or Real Property to your growing knowledge and skills.

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Then, through rigorous, online classes that meet twice a week, together with self-study and practical skills assignments, you develop a solid understanding of legal concepts and learn how to think critically, communicate effectively, and draft efficiently. We provide you with many opportunities to put the professional legal skills you learn into practice before you graduate.

Your precise schedule depends on when you start the upper level of your program.  A typical course schedule is outlined below.

Course Rotation Schedule (2024-2025) [PDF]

Professional Practical Skills Lawyering Exercises

Success as a practicing lawyer requires more than just knowledge of the law. St. Francis courses, including doctrinal law courses, offer students the chance to try out and hone their skills in a wide variety of practical settings. Skills practice exercises may include:


Alternative Dispute Resolution 

  • Conduct a negotiation in a sexual harassment case (role-playing exercise).
  • Complete a negotiation in a personal injury case (role-playing exercise).
  • Conduct a mediation of a dispute involving defamation and wrongful termination (role-playing exercise).
  • Conduct a mediation of a real property dispute (role-playing exercise).
  • Conduct an arbitration in a car accident case (role-playing exercise).
  • Conduct an arbitration in a construction case (role-playing exercise).

Business Associations I

  • Client counseling exercise.
  • Draft a partnership agreement.
  • Draft corporate articles, minutes & statement of information.
  • Prepare for negotiation of a buy-sell agreement.
  • Revise draft of buy-sell agreement to meet client objectives.
  • Draft a motion to dismiss a claim based on breach of fiduciary.
  • Evaluate a proposed transaction involving an interested director.
  • Draft a demand letter on behalf of shareholders regarding a shareholders’ derivative claim.

Business Associations II

  • Draft an indemnification agreement.
  • Draft agreements for a dual class of common stock, a single class of common stock and multiple classes of common stock.
  • Draft a shareholder agreement.
  • Draft an agreement to buy minority shares.
  • Draft a merger agreement and related certificates for the approval of the merger.

Civil Procedure I 

  • Motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction.
  • Counseling client regarding removal of a case.
  • Memorandum to client reselection of proper forum for case based on subject matter jurisdiction.

Civil Procedure II 

  • Drafting questions for a client interview.
  • Drafting a complaint.
  • Outlining a motion to dismiss a complaint.
  • Assessing ethical issues in filing a motion to dismiss.
  • Drafting a discovery plan.
  • Drafting document requests.
  • Drafting interrogatories.
  • Drafting a statement of undisputed facts in support of a motion for summary judgment.
  • Drafting an email to a client addressing post-trial motions.

Community Property

  • Client interview
  • Draft prenuptial agreement
  • Draft client letter
  • Draft marital agreement
  • Draft mediation brief

Evidence I 

  • Draft an outline preparing for a witness interview.
  • Respond to a hearsay objection during witness questioning.
  • Respond to a motion in limine based on relevance.
  • Analyze the application of the Confrontation Clause to a 911 call.
  • Plan the voir dire of a police officer based on a police report involving domestic violence.
  • Develop a response for admissibility of deposition testimony based on the former testimony exception.
  • Answer questions from the court regarding admissibility of character evidence.
  • Develop an evidentiary foundation for a witness to testify to habit and custom.

Evidence II 

  • Analyze elements of the attorney-client privilege and the ethical obligations in reference to an inadvertently disclosed letter.
  • Prepare for cross-examination and impeachment of a police officer based on a prior inconsistent statement.
  • Review a rap sheet and determine the admissibility of prior convictions.
  • Prepare for voir dire of an expert witness.
  • Prepare for argument to the court barring expert witness testimony.
  • Analyze whether to call an opposing expert witness.
  • Evaluate a deposition transcript to authenticate an email and plan further investigation.
  • Evaluate a possible best evidence objection to an email.

Intellectual Property I 

  • Complete copyright registration.
  • Complete trademark registration.
  • Draft an appellate opinion on copyright infringement.
  • Draft a legal memorandum on a possible copyright infringement.
  • Client letter explaining trademark priority and loss of trademark rights.
  • Analyze benefits of federal trademark registration for a potential client.
  • Draft a letter analyzing domain names and cybersquatting.

Intellectual Property II 

  • Client letter advising of rights and remedies under trade secret law.
  • Outline of points to cover in exit interview with departing employee going to a competitor.
  • Memorandum to client re patentability of an enzyme and methods of manufacturing an enzyme.
  • Client letter addressing obviousness in reference to a patent infringement.
  • Analyze options following a Final Office Action.
  • Prepare for a client meeting regarding a potential patentable.
  • Memorandum to general counsel re: potential claims and relief in connection with misappropriation claim.

Professional Responsibility

  • Draft a fee agreement
  • Draft a complaint for malpractice
  • Draft a conflict of interest disclosure and waiver

Professional Skills I  

  • Review client file and draft and revise a federal court complaint.
  • Review memorandum from counsel and draft and revise an answer to a complaint.

Professional Skills I – Drafting Pleadings

  • Draft a complaint
  • Draft an answer to a complaint

Professional Skills V – Drafting Legal Correspondence

  • Draft an engagement letter
  • Draft a letter advising a client
  • Draft a demand letter
  • Draft a letter to opposing counsel

Real Property I 

  • Review a deed and draft a memorandum analyzing the interests of the parties.
  • Draft a client letter advising a concurrent owner of his rights and obligations.
  • Negotiate and document a settlement of a dispute between concurrent owners.
  • Draft a client letter advising a landlord regarding accommodation of a disability involving a pet.

Real Property II 

  • Conduct a title search in a county records office.
  • Apply statutes concerning record title to a factual scenario.
  • Prepare a memorandum summarizing a client interview.
  • Evaluate photographs depicting express or implied easements.
  • Access tax documents for property and determine property value.
  • Analyze documents pertaining to a right of way.
  • Analyze documents pertaining to express and implied easements.
  • Analyze a deed, bylaws, photos and deed restrictions to determine possible covenants.
  • Draft letters to clients addressing a variety of issues related to real property.
  • Draft memos discussing a variety of legal issues related to real property.


  • Draft a letter to a client regarding mitigation of damages.
  • Draft a memorandum analyzing potential recovery.
  • Draft a memorandum in support of a request for preliminary injunction.
  • Draft an injunction.

Trusts, Wills & Estates 

  • Draft a memorandum regarding the execution of a will.
  • Draft a will.
  • Draft a client letter regarding the client’s will.
  • Draft a client letter regarding a will contest.
  • Participate in a mock negotiation regarding a will contest.
  • Draft a durable power of attorney.
  • Prepare a checklist for a client meeting.
  • Prepare for and conduct a mediation involving fiduciary responsibilities.

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