This casebook demonstrates how practical legal skills development can be incorporated into the teaching of legal doctrine. The approach is rooted in author Sarah Ricks' eleven years of law practice – including 7 litigating civil rights appeals for Philadelphia – and coauthor Evelyn Tenenbaum’s 18 years litigating civil rights cases for the State of New York.
The focus is on practical materials to teach the constitutional and statutory doctrines necessary to litigate the most common current constitutional cases, those arising under the 4th, 8th, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution. Throughout, there are exercises to help students simulate their future professional roles.
The law practice simulations allow students to creatively explore how attorneys shape and apply doctrine. Some involve doctrines that have split the federal circuits. Simulations include interoffice debates among attorneys deciding whether to appeal or seek certiorari; a jury charge conference; meetings with clients to decide the next steps in the litigation; a settlement conference before a mediator; testimony before a legislative body; and appellate oral arguments.
Unlike most constitutional law casebooks, this text includes not only Supreme Court decisions but differing circuit court applications of doctrine. But it is not limited to cases. The text illustrates doctrinal development by including model jury instructions, appellate oral arguments, appellate briefs, and expert reports.
To help students grasp the difficult choices faced by those on the front lines of constitutional decision making, the text includes factual background about the work of prison guards, police, and social workers. To remind students of the human faces behind the doctrines, the text includes statements by people affected by these doctrines, without the intermediary of a lawyer.
For example, the Eighth Amendment materials include excerpts from a Supreme Court oral argument, testimony by a correctional officer who assaulted a prisoner, jury instructions, a link to a video statement by a survivor of prison rape, and an interview with the lawyer who argued two of the Supreme Court cases. There are law practice simulations concerning medical treatment of inmates, prison gang violence, and housing of transgendered inmates.