The Law School is offering an innovative capstone course in labor and employment law for the first time this semester. Students are learning how to integrate diverse areas of labor and employment law, developing practice skills, and addressing ethics and professionalism issues in a comprehensive simulation that replicates, as nearly as possible, what practicing attorneys would do in resolving workplace legal claims.
Thirteen student "attorneys" are representing a doctor, a nurse, a hospital, and a union. Eight other people (an actor, a doctor, an attorney, law students, and a law professor) are playing the roles of clients and potential witnesses. The attorneys obtain information from their clients and other role-players and then determine what legal claims and defenses to pursue and whether to pursue them in negotiation, arbitration, mediation, or state or federal administrative or judicial forums.
Local alumni and other attorneys offer students guidance during classroom sessions in addressing the issues confronted in the simulation.
Professor Laura J. Cooper and Adjunct Professor Karen G. Schanfield (’78), a shareholder in the employment and labor group at Fredrikson & Byron, are co-teaching the course. Cooper designed the simulation with a national advisory panel from The Labor Law Group and the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law to provide experience in the issues and skills that practicing attorneys consider most important for new labor and employment attorneys.
The capstone course is one element in the Law School's new Program on Law, Public Policy, and Society (LaPPS), developed to support innovative public policy research; train students in analytical skills and visionary and pragmatic approaches to law; and stimulate development of practical solutions to complex problems. The Robina Foundation provided a $6.01 million grant to back the LaPPS and the Law School's goal of becoming a nationally recognized center for public policy research and a national model of curriculum reform.