Fundamental Lawyering Skills

Fordham’s Fundamental Lawyering Skills program introduces students to key lawyering skills — including client interviewing, counseling, and negotiation — through rich, practice-based simulations.

Simulations place students in the role of a lawyer, with professional actors taking on the role of the client.

During the course, faculty members guide students through a variety of experiences to prepare them for practice. Through a combination of readings, demonstrations, in-class exercises, discussions, and readings, students learn both the theory underlying legal skills and the practical application of those skills. The small class size allows professors to provide extensive and individualized feedback.


Each semester, students participate in recorded simulations. During a simulation, an actor portraying the client introduces students to the unpredictable and complex world of legal practice. Working both in pairs and individually, students dive into detailed fact patterns and new areas of law. In addition to receiving valuable practice, students receive guidance and feedback from their “clients,” classmates, and Fordham Law faculty.

In a typical semester, Simulation I places students in pairs to conduct an initial interview with a client. In Simulation II, students continue working with the same client but shift to counseling them on the relevant legal issues and discussing a possible course of action. In Simulation III, students work independently to both interview and counsel a new client with a factually complex legal problem. The final two simulations
place students in the role of negotiator in both transactional and dispute resolution

For each simulation, students have the opportunity to:

  • Perform a set of lawyering skills
  • Analyze their performance and the performances of their classmates
  • Receive individualized feedback from actors, classmates, and faculty


Fundamental Lawyering Skills Faculty

Fundamental Learning Skills faculty members are professionals with years of practice experience in government, private, and public-interest practice. Each professor brings their own experience and style to a common set of materials. Learn more about the diverse backgrounds of the faculty here.

Fundamental Lawyering Skills Actors

The actors in Fordham’s simulations are committed to the program and critical to the growth and evolution of the Fundamental Lawyering Skills course. They provide an authentic, professional experience for our students, and they are trained to provide constructive feedback. Fundamental Lawyering Skills actors are working New York City professionals who have appeared in television and film.

Law School Fundamental Lawyering Skills Student

The Fundamental Lawyering Skills course allowed me to further develop my organizational and critical thinking skills and also encouraged the use of partners as an important tool to lawyering. The professional judgment I now use as a clinical student is the result of the FLS course.

-Elba Bermúdez '12