Group of Students Working

Effective lawyers are effective communicators. Our LLEAP program trains students to be effective lawyers. 

“LLEAP” stands for “Legal Writing, Leadership, Experiential Learning, Advocacy and Professionalism." The name signifies the holistic approach we take to train students how to represent clients and serve as valued members of their legal communities. Every LLEAP course includes training in legal writing, practical skills and professional development.

LLEAP is a required three-semester component (9 credits) of the JD curriculum. A full-time professor teaches each LLEAP section. In addition, adjunct professors who are practicing attorneys teach two simulation modules per semester. Teaching assistants (upper-level law students) assist in each LLEAP class by mentoring students and providing one-on-one tutoring. 

By the time students graduate, they will be well trained in the lawyer’s primary craft: writing. Along the way, students will develop a portfolio of quality writing samples to present to potential employers. 

The LLEAP Program was a finalist for Bloomberg Law's 2024 Law School Innovation Program, which recognizes law schools and their faculty and staff that have implemented and led innovative programs into their curricula that advance new methodologies and approaches to student instruction, legal technology implementation and usage, experiential learning and other facets of legal education.

"Our students’ remarkable successes [in the Appellate Litigation Clinic] would not be possible without the LLEAP program. In our clinic, they have the luxury of focusing on the substance of their cases and thoughtful strategy because so much of the foundational skill development is already under their belts.”

~Andrew Pollis, Director, Appellate Litigation Clinic


Students take LLEAP 1 in their first semester. This course teaches the fundamental skills of lawyering. Throughout the semester, students: 

  • learn how to read and analyze judicial opinions
  • conduct independent legal research
  • write an objective memorandum of law 
  • learn legal citation methods 
  • interview a client or witness 
  • advise a client regarding a pending legal dispute
  • write a complete contract 
  • begin developing a professional identity


LLEAP 2 is a continuation of LLEAP 1 and gives students the opportunity to refine their analytical, research, and writing skills. In this course, students:

  • conduct in-depth independent research on complex legal issues
  • write persuasive briefs advocating on behalf of a client
  • negotiate a settlement agreement or other contract
  • conduct an oral argument 
Students working in small groups

Students take LLEAP 3 in the spring or fall of their second year. In LLEAP 3, students build on knowledge from LLEAP 1 and 2 by engaging in a simulated legal proceeding from start to finish. Students may choose to take LLEAP 3 in a business transaction or litigation setting. 

In these advanced writing and skills courses, the classroom is transformed into a law firm. Students research, write, advise clients, negotiate and advocate exactly as a junior business or litigation attorney would. 

LLEAP 3-Litigation

In LLEAP 3 Litigation, students work on a litigation proceeding from the initial client interview through opening statements at trial. Throughout the semester students:

  • interview a client
  • draft pleadings
  • exchange written discovery with the opposing side
  • depose the opposing party
  • participate in a case-management conference
  • provide advisory communications to a client
  • draft a response brief to a motion for summary judgment
  • engage in a final pretrial conference
  • give an opening statement for a trial

“I love helping to create a curriculum that offers students a true look at what it means to litigate a case from start to finish. The simulation component of the class gives students the unique and invaluable opportunity to test and develop their litigation skills—including negotiation, oral presentation, client interaction, and even deposition skills. I wish this class was something that every associate at my firm was able to experience!”

~Angela Lydon ('11), Frantz Ward LLP,  Vice Chair, Litigation Practice


Students in Small Group Session


LLEAP 3-Transactions

In LLEAP 3 Transactions, students conduct the sale of a business. Students begin with a term sheet and work through everything necessary to “close the deal.” Throughout the semester students:

  • work from a term sheet, to a letter of intent, to an asset purchase agreement, to an amendment to asset purchase agreement
  • conduct due diligence, including financial statement analysis
  • exchange correspondence with the opposing side
  • provide advisory communications to a client
  • meet with and advise the client on sale-related legal and business issues
  • negotiate resolutions to objections to the sale 
  • draft closing documents necessary to complete the deal

"The negotiation simulation in the Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s LLEAP program is an absolute game changer for students preparing for the real world of transactional law. The curriculum does an excellent job of combining the classroom experience, research, writing and negotiation. I wish this had been available to me prior to starting my career!"

~Chris Salata ('01), Chief Operating Officer, Industrial Commercial Properties

LLEAP 3-Appellate Practice

In LLEAP 3 Appellate Practice, students navigate the arc of an appeal from the initial notice of appeal through oral argument. Throughout the semester students:

  • interview a client
  • initiate an appeal
  • identify and prioritize issues to raise on appeal
  • engage in a settlement conference
  • provide advisory communications to a client
  • draft an appellate brief
  • deliver an oral argument

In addition to the LLEAP courses, students can hone their legal writing and practical skills by enrolling in one of CWRU's many upper-level writing and experiential courses, including:

Law Journals 

Students have the opportunity to write a scholarly article while participating in one of five law journals:

  • Law Review
  • Health Matrix
  • Journal of International Law
  • Journal of Law, Technology, & the Internet
  • Canada-U.S. Law Journal 

Writing Seminars and Supervised Research

Students may take one of the school’s numerous writing seminars or create their own independent research and writing project under the supervision of a faculty member. Offerings depend on semester, but some examples of past writing seminars include:

  • Museum Law
  • War and Morality
  • Intellectual Property Advanced Topics
  • Financial System Integrity
  • Business Organizations
  • State Constitutional Law
  • African American Lawyers
  • Public Law
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Human Trafficking Advanced Research
  • Child Welfare Law
  • Mediation Representation

Labs and Practicums

In our labs and practicums, students work on discrete legal issues presented to faculty by courts and practitioners who seek assistance on live cases.

“Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law’s experiential program prepares students to be client-ready attorneys in careers that serve those who need the most legal protections. We’ve appreciated our close partnership with the School of Law.”

-Legal Aid Society of Cleveland