McGeorge School of Law

Capital Lawyering Concentration Requirements & Curriculum

Capital Lawyering students must complete a minimum of 14 units approved by the Capital Lawyering Concentration Director, with the remaining units after required classroom and experiential coursework being from approved electives. Interested students should submit an application early in law school and meet with the 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.
  • Capital Lawyering and Policy Making — 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:

  • Externship (Capital Lawyering)1 — three (3) to 14 units
  • Legislative and Public Policy Clinic2 — six (6) units (year-long)

Evening students with current employment that meet the requirements of the externship may receive a waiver of this requirement.
Capital Lawyering and Policy Making and Lawmaking in California are highly recommended prior to the Clinic, or may be taken concurrently with the approval of the Clinic faculty.

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 (offered intermittently)
    This course follows on Statutes and Regulations, offering a more in-depth treatment of the core lawyering skill of statutory interpretation.
  • Information Policy — two (2) units
    This course examines an individual’s ability to control his or her personal information. Privacy law consists of constitutional law, statutory law, torts, and contracts. This course begins with foundations of privacy law in the United States, tracks the evolution of privacy law into 21st Century statutes, and considers the challenges of regulating and enforcing privacy laws.
  • Negotiation and Settlements Seminar — two (2) or three (3) units
    Resolving disputes using non-adversarial methods, which preserves ongoing working relationships, is a core skill for Capital Lawyers.
  • Persuasive Public Speaking — two (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

  • Lawmaking in California — two (2) units (offered in the Fall)
    This course covers the fundamental components of the legislative process, policy and ethics including legislative procedure, bill drafting and analysis, history and intent, advocacy, relationships with the executive branch, and powers and limits of the legislative branch. Students learn about statutory and regulatory lawmaking and observe the lawmaking process in action. Students draft legislation (bills and amendments) and analyses. The making of statutory law has an increasingly critical role in our legal system. This course prepares students who want to continue their studies in the legislative arena and participate in the Legislation & Public Policy Clinic.

Additional State Law Electives

  • California Initiative Seminar — two (2) units (offered every other year, alternating with Election law)
    This course is offered only when there is a California election with initiatives on the ballot.
  • Election Law — two (2) units (offered every other year, alternating with California Initiative Seminar)
    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 analyses and reviews of pending California legislation, which are published in The University of the Pacific Law Review’s annual "Greensheets" volume.
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
    California has thousands of local agencies and special districts providing essential services. This course explores local agency decision making in a variety of substantive areas. In this active learning course, the substantive mandates and policies are integrated into practical simulations and realistic legal assignments that emphasize advocacy, negotiation, and litigation. The litigation component examines administrative and traditional writs in addition to validation and reverse validation actions - unique and specialized lawsuits brought to challenge government actions. The course will focus on the substantive areas of the Brown Act, Public Records Act, California Environmental Quality Act, and Political Reform Act. (Practicum).
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.

Erin O'Neal MuilenburgErin O'Neal Muilenburg
Director, Capital Lawyering Concentration
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