The Catholic University of America

Professional Responsibility (3 hrs.)

Academic Programs | Advanced Courses 

This course, which is a graduation requirement, examines the legal profession and the law that governs the professional behavior of lawyers, including the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, the law of legal malpractice and the relevant rules of agency law, criminal law, civil procedure, and other law. Students will explore ethical questions relating to the lawyer’s role in the legal system and the lawyer’s relationships with clients, adversaries, tribunals, colleagues, employees, witnesses, and others. The course looks at issues that arise in the various roles occupied by lawyers, including advocate, counselor, and negotiator. The course is designed to assist students in recognizing and evaluating ethical dilemmas that they may encounter in practice. The course also aims to assist students in gaining knowledge about the legal profession, to clarify their own professional values, and to learn the ethical norms of the legal profession. The course must be taken by every student during the second, third, or fourth year of law school.

Professional Skills

The American Bar Association requires that all students take at least one professional skills course prior to graduation. This requirement applies to those students who entered law school in fall 2006 and after. Professional skills courses in our curriculum include:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Techniques
  • Mediation and Arbitration Skills
  • Interviewing, Counseling, and Negotiating Skills
  • Legal Drafting
  • Appellate Advocacy
  • Trial Advocacy
  • Trial Practice
  • Trial Skills
  • CCLS Clinics
  • Innocence Project Clinic
  • DC Law Students in Court
  • Criminal Prosecution Clinic
  • Vis International Moot Court


Upper-Level Writing Requirement

Each upper-level student must complete at least two substantial writing projects after the first year of law school. A full description of the requirement is contained in Academic Rule X—Writing Requirement and Directed Research.