Each year, the UCLA School of Law presents the Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching to an outstanding law professor. On April 7, 2010, this honor was given to Professor Thomas Holm, the director of UCLA Law’s Lawyering Skills Clinical Program. UCLA Law Review Discourse is proud to continue its tradition of publishing a modified version of the ceremony speech delivered by the award recipient.
Lawyering Skills is a five-credit, yearlong course, and is a required part of UCLA’s first-year curriculum. In Lawyering Skills, students are introduced to fundamentals of legal reasoning; the structure of objective and persuasive arguments; effective written analysis; the process of legal research; statutory and regulatory analysis; oral advocacy; fact investigation; and negotiation. The focus of the course is “practice-oriented legal analysis.” Students learn how to function as practicing lawyers, so they can succeed in their summer jobs and in their careers when they graduate. This Essay discusses Professor Holm’s initial foray into teaching, as well as the fundamental principles that have guided his approach to teaching the process of lawyering. A video of the award ceremony, including Professor Holm’s original remarks and video presentation, can be seen at http://holmrutteraward.com.