As part of the University of Maine School of Law’s commitment to providing students with a rigorous curriculum, the Law School faculty have established the following learning outcomes, with the expectation that every student will have attained competence in each area by the time of graduation.
1. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the conceptual frameworks, procedural rules, and key areas of substantive law needed for competent professional service as a legal professional.
This may include a demonstrated ability to:
- Identify and apply the fundamental concepts of civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts.
- Identify and apply the fundamental concepts in other foundational subjects, as well as in specialized areas that will prepare them for their careers.
- Describe the structures and procedures of the American legal system, including the role of legislatures, executives, courts, and administrative agencies in making, interpreting, and applying the law.
- Understand and explain how law develops and the manner in which it evolves, and its connection to historical, social, and political context.
- Understand the operation of law in the global context and the operation of international law in the American legal system.
2. Graduates will demonstrate competency in effective written and oral communication skills in the legal context.
- Write clear, concise, accurate, well-organized, and well-reasoned legal analyses in both objective and persuasive documents, using tone appropriate for the audience and context, and providing proper attribution when required.
- Draft documents that create legal rights and obligations.
- Communicate objective and persuasive analyses in an oral presentation.
- Listen actively.
- Identify legal issues in varied factual contexts.
- Critically read legal authority, accurately understand the mandatory and relevant law, and synthesize multiple authorities into a legal framework for analyzing the legal issues.
- Recognize and use the legally significant facts in the application of the law to the factual context.
- Reason by analogy when appropriate.
- Recognize policy justifications underlying the law and related policy critiques.
- Reach reasonable conclusions based on applying the law to the facts and considering the client’s interests and goals.
- Recognize and appropriately select the tools needed to achieve the client’s goals/objectives.
4. Graduates will be able to perform legal research at the level needed for competent professional service as a legal professional.
- Analyze the legal issues to be researched and develop a research plan that accommodates temporal and financial constraints.
- Identify and use either print resources or a commercial electronic database to compile information regarding a given issue by using print finding aids or by creating appropriate search queries.
- Understand the different types of primary vs. secondary law sources, and the weight, reliability, and binding or persuasive authority of each source.
- Identify and understand fundamental sources of international law.
- Evaluate the reliability of information, including but not limited to authority, credibility, currency, and authenticity.
- Address contradictory authorities.
5. Graduates will demonstrate knowledge of professional and ethical responsibilities of legal professionals to the legal system and the community at large, including the legally underserved, and the standards of conduct for the profession of law.
This may include a demonstrated ability to:
- Identify and explain the law governing lawyers.
- Use the law governing lawyers to recognize ethical and other professional obligations and dilemmas arising in practice.
- Apply the law governing lawyers and exercise professional judgment to resolve ethical and other professional dilemmas.
- Maintain a level of competence and engage in appropriate lawyer, client, and institutional relationships as required by the law governing lawyers.
- Appreciate and understand the importance of giving back to the community through involvement and volunteerism, and recognize lawyers’ responsibility to provide legal services to those unable to afford them and demonstrate commitment to the legal profession by helping to meet the legal needs of their communities and by promoting the fair administration of justice.
- Understand and value cultural humility and incorporate it into their professional work through an ongoing commitment to: learn and recognize power imbalances present in society and its institutions; engage in self-reflection and examination of one’s own patterns of unintentional and intentional racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia; and recognize and honor the dignity and value of all individuals.
- Recognize the importance of relevant non-legal considerations when advising clients about potential outcomes, such as moral, emotional, economic, social, and political considerations.
6. Graduates will demonstrate competency in professionalism skills and conduct needed for professional service as a legal professional.
- Effectively organize, plan, and manage legal projects to meet professional deadlines.
- Possess competency to communicate and build professional relationships, especially across cultural differences.
- Possess competency in professional networking.
- Possess financial literacy and basic fluency in business concepts and terminology used in various legal practices, including law firms, legal departments, and legal service organizations.
- Be able to engage in reflective learning and to assess and reassess their professional goals in light of their skills and personal competencies.
- Develop good judgment in advising clients.
- Possess the ability to work as part of a professional team, demonstrating leadership, collaboration, and conflict-resolution skills, in a variety of settings.