Experiential Learning

The case method and teaching by Socratic dialogue have been around for 160 years. And Colorado Law still use them effectively to teach critical analysis—thinking like a lawyer. However,  the greatest change in legal education has been the introduction of multiple  opportunities for practical experience. Experiential education includes lawyering activities outside the classroom—clinics, externships, appellate and trial competitions, and voluntary public service workas well as experientially-oriented classroom learning. The Experiential Learning Program gives coherence  to our entire curriculum and fulfills the school’s mission of providing a well-rounded learning experience. It builds linkages between experiential education and in traditional classroom teaching.   


Colorado Law’s Clinical Education Program started in 1948 and now serves 700 clients each year. They  provide practical learning experiences for our students, much-needed assistance  to those less fortunate in our community, and invaluable service to the public  good.


Externships, internships for academic credit, involve substantive legal work at a government agency or non-profit organization. Students may work in all three branches of the government, at all three levels of government,  including state and federal judicial chambers, executive agencies, and  congressional offices. Students may also extern with nonprofit organizations. Students develop professional  lawyering skills, gain insight into various aspects of the legal system and  profession, and cultivate a sense of professional responsibility.

Appellate and Trial Competitions           

Law students compete in appellate and trial court competitions to develop skills in appellate brief writing and oral  argument, and gain valuable trial practice experience. Colorado Law teams have  consistently been extremely competitive and the law school participates in and  hosts more competitions each year. Selection of teams varies by competition.

Public Service Pledge Program

In this voluntary Public Service Pledge Program, Colorado Law students pledge to volunteer a minimum of 50  hours of law-related service during their time at the school. For those  students who complete the hours, their public service is recognized on the  students’ transcript. Faculty can help connect law students with organizations and  lawyers who need pro bono assistance. In addition, the program became one of  four collaborative model projects for CU's Institute for Ethical and Civil Engagement.

Courses in Experiential Learning

Colorado Law stands out from many other top schools with its wide range of innovative courses focused on various forms of experiential learning: simulating performative work that real-world attorneys do; drafting complex legal documents; and observing and reflecting upon actual legal proceedings that students visit. These courses include the following:

Litigation Skills:

Transactional & Research Skills: