How to Work the Hill: A Guide to Lawyering in the Congress
J.D. Practicum 1125
| 5 credit hours
Georgetown Law sits just blocks away from the Congress. This course takes advantage of that proximity and offers students an opportunity to get a close look at how Congress works, how law gets made, and the role of legislative lawyers in the policy process. This practicum course has two components: a placement in a congressional office and a weekly seminar.
The seminar curriculum will provide an overview of legislative lawyering as an intellectual discipline, a legal practice, and a constitutional imperative. Students will read leading academic theory on Article I; track legislative case studies through House and Senate procedure; and understand the legal “text” most relevant on the hill (e.g., statutes, bills, committee reports, and floor debates). They will learn about the practical skills and ethical responsibilities required of legislative lawyers, especially as compared to their colleagues in the judicial branch. And the seminar will draw on guest speakers -- experts in law, policy, and politics from both sides of the aisle and with diverse substantive backgrounds.
The practice-based component of the curriculum will include externship placements in both the House and Senate — students will work with committee staff, legislative counsel, or on oversight investigations. In addition to the externship, students will collaborate on an in-class project and present their work product in briefings on the Hill. Students themselves will work “in coalition” to identify a narrow, shared interest; research the law; identify a proposed solution; and reflect on the process of developing the policy proposal. The course will surface the dynamic nature of legislative practice and the multiple interests at play in the policy realm.
Recommended: Legislation, Lawmaking, Federal Budget.
Prerequisites: Students must complete the required first-year program prior to enrolling in this course (part-time and interdivisional transfer students may enroll prior to completing Criminal Justice, Property, or their first-year elective).
Students may not receive credit for this practicum and the Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic.
Students may not concurrently enroll in this practicum and an externship or a clinic or another practicum course.
Students who wish to receive credit for the Externship Seminar and a practicum course that has the same field placement may do so only if: (1) the practicum course is taken in a semester following the Externship Seminar; and (2) the student receives permission from the Assistant or the Associate Dean for Clinical Programs. To receive such permission, the student must explain in writing how the practicum course field work would serve substantially different learning goals than did their externship field placement.
This is a 5 credit course. 2 credits will be awarded for the 2-hour weekly seminar and 3 credits for approximately 15 hours of supervised work per week, for a minimum of 11 weeks, to be scheduled with the faculty. The seminar portion will be graded. The 3 credits of supervised work is mandatory pass/fail and counts toward the 7 credit pass/fail limit. Students will be allowed to take another course pass/fail in the same semester as the supervised work.
Students who enroll in this course will be automatically enrolled in both the seminar and practicum components and may not take either component separately. A student wishing to withdraw from the course will be withdrawn from both the seminar and field work components.
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