2012-1.01.12 Syllabus

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INTERVIEWING AND COUNSELING Spring 2012 Class Hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 4:00-4:50 p.m. Room 202 I. COURSE OBJECTIVES Professor Fernando M. Bustos Telephone 780-3976 fbustos@bustoslawfirm.com This course teaches the basic skills involved in interviewing and counseling clients. Several ABA reports indicate that while law schools do a good job of teaching legal analysis skills, they do not prepare students as well to perform many of the skills involved in the practice of law. Skills such as i
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  INTERVIEWING AND COUNSELING Spring 2012 Class Hours: Tuesday and Thursday,Professor Fernando M. Bustos4:00-4:50 p.m.Telephone 780-3976Room 202fbustos@bustoslawfirm.com I.COURSE OBJECTIVES This course teaches the basic skills involved in interviewing and counseling clients.Several ABA reports indicate that while law schools do a good job of teaching legalanalysis skills, they do not prepare students as well to perform many of the skills involved in thepractice of law. Skills such as interviewing and counseling are part of the day-to-day activitiesof virtually every practicing lawyer, yet many law schools do not teach these skills, insteadleaving it to lawyers to learn-by-doing this important art. While learning-by-doing is anaccepted and indispensable method of teaching some legal skills, this method is not preferable,because clients’ money, security, freedom, and lives are at stake. Fortunately, there areestablished theories about interviewing and counseling that have been translated into skills andtechniques that can be taught in law school. These skills and techniques, properly taught tostudents, will enhance their effectiveness as lawyers.The first objective of the course is to enable you to understand interviewing andcounseling theories and techniques. To accomplish this objective, you will have readingassignments and class discussions about those theories. The second goal of the course is toenable you to develop and refine the practical skills of interviewing and counseling clients. Todo this, you will participate in simulations based on certain fact patterns. These simulations willbe evaluated by you, your classmates, and myself.After completing the course, you will be able to:A. Understand the basic theories for conducting interviewing and counseling.B.Understand the advantages and disadvantages of the various theoreticalapproaches to interviewing and counseling.C.Understand that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to interviewing andcounseling clients.D.Develop a theoretical approach that works best for you in the interviewing andcounseling setting.E.Apply the technical skills underlying the collaborative approach to interviewingand counseling.  F.Practice and refine these technical skills.G.Better appreciate the human dynamics of interviewing and counseling. II.COURSE FORMAT This is a practice course. While it involves some reading in order to teach the principlesof interviewing and counseling, it mainly involves practice exercises and simulations aimed atteaching basic skills. To that end, the typical class will consist of student discussion,participation in assigned portions of practice exercises or simulations, and occasional lecture bythe instructor. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO READ ALL ASSIGNED READINGS AND TOHAVE PREPARED, CAREFULLY AND ON TIME, EVERY ASSIGNED CLASSROOMEXERCISE.III.ATTENDANCE Attendance is required. A student can take up to five absences for any purpose, includingillness and interviews. Pursuant to the policies set forth in the Law Student Handbook, I reservethe right to raise or lower your final grade as much as one step depending on class preparation,participation and attendance. Five absences will lower your final grade by one step (i.e., if yourgrade is a B, I will lower it to a C+). If you miss six classes, you must withdraw from the course.Habitual tardiness can also result in lowering your grade one step. IV.GRADING AND ASSIGNMENT INFORMATION Sixty percent (60%) of your grade will be based on two simulations: an interviewingsimulation and a counseling simulation, which will occur at approximately the midpoint and endof the course, respectively. The other forty percent (40%) of your grade will be based on classparticipation, which includes class discussions and several learning simulations and exercises. V.REQUIRED READING The Counselor-at-Law: A Collaborative Approach to Client Interviewing and Counseling , Cochran, DiPippa & Peters (Lexis Nexis 2006, 2d ed).Supplemental Readings (included with this syllabus at pages 1-37).-ii-  VI.GENERAL INFORMATION As an adjunct professor, I do not maintain regular office hours. However, you are invitedto call me or email questions to me atfbustos@bustoslawfirm.com.I am happy to meet after-hours to discuss class matters.When participating in the midterm Interview Simulation and the final CounselingSimulation, you are expected to wear a business suit (or equivalent attire) to class. Please alsoobserve the rules that apply to attorneys in a real life office situation. Also, as far as personaldemeanor is concerned, the fact situations that make up the practical exercises are not intendedfor humor. Please be serious when conducting interviews and counseling clients. When anotherclass member is doing so, do not try to find amusement either in his or her efforts or in theclient’s responses. Never be demeaning or insulting to the client during any exercise.Practical exercise assignments will be made on a week-by-week basis. Occasionally, thiswill include designation of pairs of students to work together. ANY STUDENT WHO, BECAUSE OF A DISABILITY, MAY REQUIRE ANY SPECIALARRANGEMENTS IN ORDER TO MEET COURSE REQUIREMENTS SHOULDCONTACT THE INSTRUCTOR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO MAKE NECESSARYACCOMMODATIONS.Texas House Bill 256 requires institutions of higher education to excuse a student fromattending classes or other required activities, including examinations, for the observance of a religious holy day. The student shall also be excused for time necessary to travel. Aninstitution may not penalize the student for the absence and must allow the student to takean exam or complete an assignment from which the student is excused. No priornotification of the instructor is required.VII.READING SCHEDULE AND PROJECT ASSIGNMENTS Thursday, January 19:Introduction & Overview of Course. Introduction toCollaborative Interviewing & CounselingRead Chapter 1 - Three Models of Legal Counseling,pgs. 1-9Tuesday, January 24:Read Chapter 2 - The Games Lawyers Play: How LawyersControl Clients, pgs. 11-27Thursday, January 26:Continue review of Chapter 2 - The Games Lawyers Play:How Lawyers Control Clients, pgs. 11-27-iii-  Tuesday, January 31:Read Chapter 3 - Communication Skills, pgs. 29-54Thursday, February 2:Continue review of Chapter 3 - Communication Skills,pgs. 29-54Tuesday, February 7:Read Chapter 4 - Beginning The Legal Interview, pgs. 55-72Thursday, February 9:Continue review of Chapter 4 - Beginning The LegalInterview, pgs. 55-72Tuesday, February 14:Read Chapter 5 - Hearing the Client’s Story, pgs. 73-92Thursday, February 16:Continue review of Chapter 5 - Hearing the Client’s Story,pgs. 73-92Tuesday, February 21:Read Chapter 6 - Developing The Client’s Story,pgs. 93-106Thursday, February 23: Continue review of Chapter 6 - Developing The Client’sStory, pgs. 93-106Tuesday, February 28:Interview Simulations Thursday, March 1:Interview SimulationsTuesday, March 6:Read Chapter 7 - Decision-Making, pgs. 107-134Thursday, March 8:Continue review of Chapter 7 - Decision-Making,pgs. 107-134 SPRING BREAK WEEK OF MARCH 12 Tuesday, March 20:Read Chapter 8 - Client Counseling, pgs. 135-168Thursday, March 22:Continue review of Chapter 8 - Client Counseling,pgs. 135-168Tuesday, March 27:Read Chapter 9 - Moral Choices In The Law Office: WhoGets Hurt? And Who Decides? pgs. 169-189Thursday, March 29:Continue review of Chapter 9 - Moral Choices In The LawOffice: Who Gets Hurt? And Who Decides? pgs. 169-189-iv-
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