UW Law has established the following “Learning Outcomes” for students graduating from its JD program:

1. Legal Reasoning

Interpret and apply law accurately as well as investigate and analyze facts effectively.

Comment:  This may include the ability to:

  1. Synthesize information about legal doctrine from primary sources including statutes, case law, and regulations;
  2. Use secondary sources to promote understanding of primary authorities and identify and develop legal arguments;
  3. Determine relative weight of legal authorities;
  4. Apply the law correctly to different facts and in different contexts;
  5. Detect ambiguity, consistency, and inconsistency within and among different rules and sources of law; and
  6. Investigate and analyze facts effectively.

2. Legal Research

Engage in successful legal research.

Comment:  This may include the ability to:

  1. Find and then rank the weight of authority for the primary and secondary sources available for given subject areas;
  2. Identify and analyze settled law, as well as novel legal questions and ambiguities within the law;
  3. Use cost-effective research methods; and
  4. Efficiently search on the major commercial legal research databases.

3. Written Communication

Write effectively.

Comment a: This may include the ability to write:

  1. Legal documents such as motions, briefs, memoranda, contracts, letters, and e-mail, reflecting the rhetorical conventions and expectations for the particular legal writing genre;
  2. Objective and predictive legal analysis that can be used as a tool for legal advice or opinion; and
  3. Clear and appropriate persuasive arguments.

It may also include the ability to cite appropriate legal authority to support statements about the law and follow standard citation and attribution style and conventions.

Comment b:  If the only assessment of student writing is provided in connection with “summative assessment” such as a (high stakes) final exam, then the Learning Outcome being assessed is likely to be “Legal Reasoning” rather than “Written Communication.”  If students are given “formative assessment” feedback on (low stakes) writing assignments during a course and not just on a (high stakes) final exam, then it might be appropriate to specify “Write Effectively” as a Learning Outcome.

4. Oral Communication

Speak effectively.

Comment a: This may include explaining legal arguments and advice in both formal and informal settings, adjusting both style and substance to account for both the audience and the purpose of the communication.

Comment b:  For courses that teach courtroom advocacy, this may include the ability to advocate effectively before a fact finder such as a hearing officer, judge or jury in a simulated or actual legal forum.  It may also include mastery of tribunal courtroom decorum and the procedures of the simulated or actual forum. 

Comment c:  The “Legal Reasoning” Learning Outcome could be used in addition to the “Communicate Effectively” Learning Outcome to describe the part of courtroom advocacy that includes mastery of applicable law and relevant facts

5. Problem Solving

Engage in effective problem solving.

Comment a:  This may include participating effectively in problem solving processes with legal dimensions, whether with a focus on individual or institutional problems, as well as thinking strategically.

Comment b:  With regard to problem solving related to clients, this may include:

  1. Listening to and engaging with clients to identify objectives and interest Interests;
  2. Assessing, developing, and evaluating both legal and non-legal options to meet client goals; and
  3. Managing a complex workload diligently, reliably, and within deadlines.

Comment c:  The “Legal Reasoning” Learning Outcome could be used in addition to the “Problem Solving” Learning Outcome to describe the part of legal problem solving that includes legal research, fact development and legal analysis.  The “Written Communication” and “Oral Communication” Learning Outcomes might be used to describe the effective advocacy component of problem solving

6. Ethical Conduct

Fulfill professional and ethical responsibilities.

Comment:  This may include:

  1. Pursuing clients’ interests, as guided by the relevant rules of professional responsibility;
  2. Manifesting professional and ethical behavior and encouraging others to do the same; and
  3. Working to improve the law and the quality of justice in the legal system.

7. Diversity and Equity

Work to ensure diversity, inclusion, equity and multiculturalism to improve the quality of justice.

Comment a:  This may include:

  1. Engaging inclusively with clients, colleagues, adversaries, and others with differences based on factors such as ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status, age, gender, language, religion, sexual orientation, abilities/disabilities, and geographical area, as well as differences of viewpoint, ideas and life experiences;
  2. Describing how legal, political, and economic forces have affected different social groups in different ways to produce inequity as a result of disparate or unjust outcomes; and
  3. Identifying strategies likely to increase access to the legal system and improve the quality of justice in society.

Comment b: The “Ethical Conduct” Learning Outcome could be used in addition to the “Diversity & Equity” Learning Outcome to describe working to increase access to the legal system and to improve the quality of justice.

8. Collaborate Effectively

Work collaboratively with others.

Comment:   This may include:

  1. Giving and receiving criticism effectively;
  2. Developing and executing work plans to effectively accomplish a stated common goal;
  3. Reassessing work on an ongoing basis;
  4. Engaging in active listening; and
  5. Maintaining a professional, courteous, and civil demeanor.

9. Contextualize Law

Situate legal issues within broader institutional contexts.

Comment: This may include analyzing the law from diverse and global perspectives; discussing the political, social, and economic forces that shape laws; and examining not only the likelihood of an argument or strategy’s legal success, but also the moral, economic, social, political, and other factors implicated by the argument or strategy.

Effective Date: May 7, 2019