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Civil Advocacy Certificate

Students who earn a Certificate in Civil Advocacy will have successfully completed coursework concentrated in civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution, as well as engaged in a hands on practice experience in an externship or clinic. In the practice skills courses, students engage in simulations of all aspects of client representation, from initial client interview to jury trial. The practice experiences next give them the opportunity to put those skills to use in representation of actual clients. Students who earn the Certificate in Civil Advocacy receive solid training in the fundamentals necessary to be a practice-ready law graduate.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students who earn the certificate in civil advocacy will possess knowledge and understanding of the following areas of law:
    • the constitutional and statutory framework within which civil litigation takes place;
    • the process of litigation, including the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and trial practice skills; and,
    • methods of alternative dispute resolution.
  • Students will have learned how to form and maintain an attorney client relationship, assess a client’s legal problems, and how to use the appropriate tools of advocacy to solve those problems. 
  • Students will have applied their acquired knowledge and understanding of the above areas of law and practice skills in both simulated practice experiences, as well as a capstone field experience.

Requirements - Section 1.

An applicant for an NIU-COL Certificate in Civil Advocacy must earn a minimum of eighteen academic credits in the courses described by sections 1.a, 1.b, and 1.c below, and must also comply with all of the specified requirements of sections 1.a, 1.b, 1.c, and 1.d. below.

a. Required Basic Courses. An applicant must complete the following basic courses:

i. Evidence.

ii. Trial Advocacy.

iii. One of the following:

A. Alternative Dispute Resolution.

B. Mediation Theory and Practice.

C. Negotiation.

b. Required Capstone Courses. An applicant must complete at least one of the following capstone courses:

i. Civil Justice Clinic.

ii. NIU College of Law Health Advocacy Clinic.

iii. Foreclosure Mediation Clinic.

iv. Civil Externship.

v. Judicial Externship, if primarily focused on civil litigation and approved in advance for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

vi. Another externship or clinic primarily focused on civil litigation or advocacy, if approved in advance for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

c. Elective Courses. An applicant must complete at least one of the following elective courses, and must earn sufficient additional credits from the following elective courses to meet the eighteen-credit minimum described above:

i. Administrative Law.

ii. Civil Claim Settlement Law.

iii. Conflict of Laws.

iv. Federal Courts.

v. Illinois Civil Procedure.

vi. Insurance Law.

vii. Legislation.

viii. Remedies.

ix. Either of the courses listed in section 1.a.iii., if not counted toward the Required Basic Courses requirement for section 1.a.

d. Required Additional Skills Development Activities. An applicant must complete at least one of the following co-curricular or extra-curricular activities:

i. Lenny Mandell Prize Moot Court Competition.

ii. 2L Trial Advocacy Competition.

iii. ABA Client Counseling Competition.

iv. ABA Negotiation Competition.

v. ABA Representation in Mediation Competition.

vi. Appellate Lawyers Association Moot Court Competition.

vii. Black Law Students Association Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition.

viii. Chicago Bar Association Moot Court Competition.

ix. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.

x. John Marshall Law School International Moot Court Competition in Information Technology and Privacy Law.

xi. National Latino Law Students Moot Court Competition.

xii. National Moot Court Competition.

xiii. National Trial Competition.

xiv. American Association of Justice Student Trial Advocacy Competition.

xv. Another equivalent internal or external student competition facilitating development of civil-advocacy practice skills if approved in advance for certificate eligibility by the supervising faculty member.

xvi. A civil-advocacy related pro bono service if approved by the supervising faculty member.

For purposes of this section 1.d, “completion” of an activity means:

(1) participation in the preliminary rounds of an internal or external student competition and, in the case of external competitions, participation in faculty-supervised practice sessions; or

(2) qualification for College of Law Approved Pro Bono Service Recognition.

Section 2.

An applicant for an NIU-COL Certificate in Civil Advocacy must also meet the GPA and other requirements set forth in the College of Law Guidelines for Certificate Programs.

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