EXPLO Pre-College | Wellesley College Law + the American Court System
Analyze case law, navigate the court system, and explore the framework around legal decisions in America to get a taste of life in law school and in the courtroom.
About this Concentration
The American Court system attempts to settle disputes and administer justice in a complex society through a framework of laws and consequences. In trial courts, panels of juries determine the facts and decide on case verdicts, and judges rule on a variety of legal questions that arise at all stages of the proceedings. However, when a case is appealed, panels of judges in appellate courts seek to determine whether or not the law was applied correctly at trial courts. At the highest levels of the American court system, these decisions are made by the US Supreme Court, whose recent decisions impacting policy related to immigration, bodily autonomy, civil rights, and more impact the daily lives of Americans.
Dive deep into iconic and impactful court cases throughout American history to learn about the fundamental principles of constitutional law and other essential frameworks of the American legal system. Examine when and why a case might be appealed, and how the decisions by appellate courts have broad impact throughout the legal system. Debate legal questions involved, and make determinations from the standpoint of an appellate court judge to ensure that the law is applied correctly and proceedings are fair in a trial court. Practice writing appellate briefs, review the legal decisions of a trial court, and develop your own legal grounds. Finally, bring a case to court in a culminating mock appellate trial- lead by a State Supreme Court Justice.
College credit is available through Sarah Lawrence College. Learn more.
- Trial Preparation and Coaching with Hon. Richard L. Gabriel — Walk through the lawyer’s role in all phases of a jury trial, including jury selection, opening statement, direct and cross-examination (including objections to the introduction of evidence), and closing argument with former trial lawyer and current Colorado Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Gabriel. Justice Gabriel also teaches techniques for effective advocacy at each of these phases of a trial and the art of persuasion.
- Go to Trial — After intensive preparation, put on your suit and head to the courtroom. A sitting judge presides while you make your case.
- Socratic Style Seminar — A longstanding, powerful approach to examining complex and (sometimes) contentious ideas, the Socratic seminar is a staple of law school and engages students in a fast-paced dialogue on cases ranging from negligence to insider trading to the role of plea bargaining.
- World-Class Legal Experts — Connect with leading experts including practicing attorneys, sitting judges, and legal thought leaders who are deeply involved in the American legal system. Hear more about their work, the unique career pathways available to you, and gain insight into what has made them successful in their field — as well as the mistakes they’ve made along the way.
Past speakers: Hon. Justice Richard Gabriel, Justice, Colorado Supreme Court; James Foreman, Jr. Professor, Yale Law School. Michael Dorf, Professor, Cornell Law School.
- Harvard Pre-Law and Law School Visit —
Tour Harvard University and Harvard Law, and hear from pre-law and law students about their experiences and educational pathways.
- Session 2: July 16 - August 4
- EXPLO Pre-College students are required to bring a laptop, computer, tablet, or Chromebook to the program. All devices must be able to access the Internet and utilize basic word processing and presentation-type programs (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) Rentals are available after enrollment in the program. Please contact our Admissions Team at 781.762.7400 for more information on rentals.