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Simulations and Specialized Skills Courses

In addition to clinics and externships opportunities, Western New England School of Law offers a number of courses that help students learn by engaging in simulations of the kind of real-world lawyering that normally takes place outside of the classroom. These courses teach oral argument skills, negotiation skills, mediation skills, transactional and litigation drafting skills, problem solving, and much more.

Our simulation courses have rich factual scenarios involving complex legal issues that give students the opportunity to learn critical lawyering skills in a safe environment that promotes self-reflection and allows for direct faculty feedback with video-recorded sessions in many cases.

Simulation courses are offered in the areas of trial methods, negotiation, arbitration, mediation, business, bankruptcy, tax, and real estate.

Below is a sampling of our simulation courses.

Criminal Procedure Simulation

This course concentrates on the procedural stages of two hypothetical criminal cases from arraignment through trial. The principal purpose of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to improve their writing and trial skills in the context of preparing and trying a state criminal case. Students research, write and re-write pretrial motions along with supporting affidavits and memoranda of law and litigate two simulated exercises, a pretrial motion to suppress, and a jury trial.

Estate Planning

This course is the study of the inter vivos and testamentary disposition of accumulated wealth. Students draft simple and complex estate plans. Emphasis is given also to the tax and non-tax considerations that influence the transfer and future management of wealth.

Federal Income Tax Simulation

This course is designed to provide two-person teams of students with the opportunity to engage in research and writing in the context of solving a tax problem which might arise in everyday tax practice. Each team prepares a detailed outline of tax issues raised by the problem, three drafts of a memorandum of law to a senior partner, and two drafts of a client letter, explaining their analysis, conclusions and recommendations for client action.

Federal Litigation: Pension Rights

This simulation course focuses on the pre-trial stages of a hypothetical ERISA case in federal district court. Although some aspects of substantive ERISA law will be addressed, the chief aims of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to improve their writing, oral advocacy, and negotiation skills and to consider the strategic, political, and ethical dimensions of federal court litigation. Each student writes several briefs and presents at least one oral argument. In addition, each student drafts a complaint or an answer, a discovery plan, prepares for a pre-trial conference, and engages in settlement negotiations.

Federal Litigation: PreTrial

This course is aimed at refining students' written and oral advocacy skills in the pretrial phase of litigaton. In weekly exercises, students brief and argue typical motions arising prior to trial. The course also address pretrial strategy, both in preparing pleadings, planning discovery, and drafting motions. At the end of the term, students will draft a larger memorandum and present a more extensive oral argument on a motion for summary judgement or to dismiss.


This course simulates the modern legislative process, federal and state, with the goal of teaching students the skills necessary through it. Students study and propose revisions to the United States Code and the Massachusetts General Laws. They research and draft bills for the Congress and the Massachusetts Legislature (officially the "Great and General Court"). Students examine substantive areas of law and public policy for possible revisions. They draft legislation, develop commentary, and present their proposals for public review through simulated committee hearings. Here they learn legislative advocacy skills by serving as witnesses and members. Students also study the general skill of statutory interpretation, which can be applied to all substative areas of the law. In the past, Legislation students have submitted their proposals to members of the Legislature, who have, in some instances,introduced them as bills. A few have become public law.

Negotiation,Mediation & Arbitration

This course focuses on negotiation and other methods of dispute resolution, with emphasis on negotiated settlement, mediation and arbitration. Negotiation theory and alternative tactics and strategies are examined, with focus on practical skills by way of example and simulated exercises. Various methods of alternative dispute resolution is discussed in the context of different areas of legal practice and substantive law. Students participate in both a simulated negotiation and a simulated mediation. In addition, the course covers the arbitration process from both a substantive law and practical skills standpoint.

Transactional Lawyering Seminar

This course emphasizes the thought process and legal skills involved in the practice of transactional law. In this simulation course students are broken up into "law firms" and provide legal counsel to a party in a business transction. One half of the class represents one side of the transaction and the other half represents the other side. Using a simulated transaction as the reference point, students acquire an understanding of the lawyer's role in business transactions and develops an appreciation of the business and legal issues that arise in transactional practice. As part of the simulation students interview a client, draft deal documents, and negotiate some deal points. 

Trial Methods

This course utilizes a clinical approach to trial advocacy. Emphasis is given to the two complementary abilities necessary for effective trial advocacy - preparation and execution. Students learn effective methods for analyzing and preparing a case for trial. In addition, students practice the technical skills necessary to present their side of a case persuasively during a trial, including tactics and strategy in the courtroom, opening statements and closing arguments, examination of witnesses, admission and exclusion of evidence, questions of burden of proof, and preservation of rights on appeal.

Please view our course offerings for more information on simulation courses.