A Skills Lab is a specialized course in which students who have already taken the associated doctrinal course work more closely on pro bono cases with a practitioner licensed to practice law in Florida. For instance, students who have already successfully completed the doctrinal Trusts and Estates course in a prior semester are eligible to register for the Trusts and Estates Skills Lab.
Because the faculty and staff at Coastal Law, as well as those in the legal community locally and beyond, believe it is important for students to have law-related experience while in school, we encourage at least one live client experience.
The benefits of live client experience include:
- Observing practitioners and learning professionalism from practicing attorneys.
- Fostering an awareness of the importance of pro bono work.
- Learning practical skills they can use upon graduation.
- Receiving mentoring from the practitioner who is teaching the Skills Lab.
- Providing networking opportunities which may lead to job opportunities.
- Creating reputation enhancement opportunities for the student and school.
Skills Labs offered (this listing may vary by semester):
Wills, Estates & Trusts
Interviewing & Counseling
Unemployment Compensation Benefits Claims and Appeal Hearings
Florida Appellate Law
What participating students say about the Skills Labs:
“The skill's lab was very helpful in terms of familiarizing me with the practical side of family law. I took family law and the lab concurrently which really helped to unravel the concepts and laws we were learning in family law. We had our own clients and handled the case as if it was our own. I got to draft pleadings, fill out forms, attend court and manage a case from beginning to end … All in all, this is an experience everyone should have. Skills labs are available to all without having to fill out applications or worrying about your GPA.”
“I liked being able to work with a real client and draft real documents such as a power of attorney, will, living will, healthcare surrogate etc. The lab was very useful and practical.”
“I very much enjoyed my Trusts and Estates skills lab with Professor Robert Morgan. It has definitely helped me understand trusts and estates and has helped me immensely with my Trusts and Estates lecture class … Because our lab class was small, Professor Morgan was really able to talk to us and make sure we were understanding concepts from the materials he posted for our lab class as well as material covered in our regular lecture class.”
Christine Malamanig Berk
“In my family law skills lab I learned about the divorce process by actually going through it with a real client. We drafted a petition, notice of hearing, settlement agreement, and a final order (all of which were actually submitted to the Duval County Courthouse) … I really appreciated being able to provide help for people who need legal assistance, and earning academic credit was definitely a bonus. I would easily recommend the skills lab to anyone.”