McGeorge School of Law

Capital Lawyering Concentration Requirements & Curriculum

Capital Lawyering students must complete a minimum of 14 units approved by the Certificate of Concentration Director, with at least six (6) units being from elective courses. Interested students should submit an application early in law school, and meet with the Certificate of Concentration Director to develop a course plan to best prepare for their specific Capital Lawyering career objectives.

Required Courses

  • Statutes and Regulations — three (3) units
    Required for all McGeorge students.
  • Introduction to Capital Lawyering — two (2) units
    This course introduces students to the lawyer's role in developing, modifying, implementing, advocating, and influencing public policy, including: legislation, regulations, executive orders, court orders, and other policy edicts. While primary focus is devoted to the lawyer's role in the context of California state government, the course touches upon the full array of policymaking venues and processes, including: Congress, the California Legislature, state (CA) or federal agencies, California's initiative process, the California or federal courts, and agencies of local government.

One Experiential Course, choose from:

1 Evening students with day jobs that meet the requirements of the externship may receive a waiver of this requirement.
2 Introduction to Capital Lawyering, Lawmaking in California, and California Lobbying and Politics is highly recommended prior to, or concurrent with, the Clinic.

General Electives

  • Administrative Law — three (3) units
    This course is strongly recommended for all Capital Lawyering students. Capital Lawyering students interested in federal, state or local law must understand how agencies function, and often will need this knowledge to function effectively in an externship.
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation — three (3) units
    This course follows on Statutes and Regulations, offering a more in-depth treatment of the core lawyering skill of statutory interpretation.
  • Negotiation and Settlements Seminar — two (2) or three (3) units
    Resolving disputes in non-adversary ways, which preserves ongoing working relationships, is a core skill for Capital Lawyers.
  • Persuasive Public Speakingtwo (2) units
    This course introduces students to the many aspects of persuasive public speaking including content, word choice, and delivery. Students develop public speaking confidence by practicing their skills and receiving constructive feedback. Persuasive speaking in a number of different contexts is a core skill for Capital Lawyers.

Electives By Level of Government Practice

California Law — In and Around the Capitol

Strongly Recommended Two-Course Sequence

  • Lawmaking in California — two (2) units (offered in the Fall)
    This course offers an "inside-the-house" view of California lawmaking.
  • California Lobbying & Politics — two (2) units (offered in the Spring)
    This course follows Lawmaking in California, and offers the "outside" perspective of California lawmaking.

Additional State Law Electives

  • California Initiative Seminar — two (2) units
    This course is offered only when there is a California election with initiatives on the ballot.
  • Election Law — two (2) units
    This course offers a mix of federal and state election law, and is strongly recommended for students who work at the California Fair Political Practices Commission, or law firms or nonprofits dealing with elections and compliance with ethics regulations.
  • Pacific Legislative Law Review (Greensheets) — two (2) units (offered in the Fall)
    Students produce reviews of new California, which are published in the law review's annual "Greensheets" volume.
  • State Government — three (3) units (offered in the Fall)
    Public Policy Course 284
Local Law
  • Environmental Practice — three (3) units
    This case-study course helps students to develop fundamental skills necessary for administrative practice and judicial review in natural resources cases. The examples are primarily drawn from problems typically faced by water resources attorneys but with applications to a broader range of natural resources, environmental, and land-use law practices.
  • Land Use Planning — two (2) units (offered in the Fall)
    Land use planning is a core function of local government. This course is highly recommended for students who want to work in city, county or special district entities.
  • Local Agency Practice — two (2) units
    This course and Representing Local Agencies offer students basic introduction to the substance and skills of local government practice. Taking one of these courses is highly recommended for students interested in local government practice, and students may take both
  • Local Government — three (3) units (offered in the Fall)
    Public Policy Course 285
Federal Law
  • Statutes and Regulations, Administrative Law, Legislation and Statutory Interpretation and Election Law focus primarily on federal law, and prepare students for Capital Lawyering field placements and careers in federal agencies or at law firms in practices that involve advocating to agencies and counseling clients about compliance with statutes and regulations, and offering advice about statutory and regulatory changes. Students can create a strong resume by combining Capital Lawyering courses with subject-specific courses (e.g., business, environment, employment, health), which will prepare them to practice in specialty areas. Students may apply to participate in McGeorge's D.C. Fellowship, which places students in summer internships in government agencies in the nation's capital.

Daniel Croxall
Director, Capital Center for Law & Policy; Capital Lawyering Certificate of Concentration