DePaul University College of Law > Academics > Experiential Learning > Third Year in Practice (3YP)

Third Year in Practice (3YP)

The Third Year in Practice Program (3YP) provides qualifying students with a unique third-year experience engaging in the actual and simulated practice of law. The 3YP program employs a combination of select courses and field placements, tailored to a student’s professional interests, in order to facilitate a student’s transition into the practice of law. Students can apply for the 3YP program after completion of their first year of law school. Eligibility criteria will include academic performance and a demonstrated commitment to spending one’s third year in practice.

Program Requirements

Students admitted to the 3YP program will be required to complete 24 credit hours of experiential courses, including an intensive field placement of at least 5 credit hours (21 to 23 hours per week) and the Third Year in Practice Seminar. In addition, students can choose from an array of professional skills, practicum, legal drafting and clinic courses to create a fully immersive third year in practice. These six components of the 3YP program are described below.

Professional Skills courses teach the most important skills required to excel as an attorney. Classes first focus on the purpose and strategic use of such skills and then require students to employ those skills in a supervised simulated setting, allowing for individual student observation and feedback. Coursework covers a spectrum of fundamental skills, including, but not limited to:

    Litigation skills:
    • Pre-Trial Civil Litigation
    • Pre-Trial Criminal Litigation
    • Discovery & Electronic Discovery
    • Trial Advocacy
    • Arbitration Advocacy
    • Appellate Advocacy
    Transactional skills:
    • Business Planning
    • Anatomy of a Deal: From Inception to Closing
    General skills:
    • Fact Investigations
    • Negotiation
    • Dispute Resolution
    • Mediation

Clinics teach the practice of law through the actual representation of clients in a supervised setting. DePaul clinical programs feature a variety of practice areas and allow students to gain experience before state and federal trial courts, state and federal appellate courts, and state and federal administrative agencies. In addition, our clinics offer students transactional experience focusing on the conception, negotiation and memorialization of business deals. Learn more about DePaul's legal clinics.

Practicums are a hybrid of doctrinal and professional skills courses, focusing first on learning a substantive area of law, such as business law, civil rights law, criminal law, health law, human rights law, immigration law, intellectual property law, insurance law, real estate law and taxation law, and then working with students on real and simulated legal issues encountered in those areas.

Legal Drafting courses teach students how to persuasively draft the most important legal documents used in a specific practice area. DePaul offers legal drafting courses in a range of areas, including civil litigation, criminal procedure, transactions, art transactions, real estate, wills and trusts, intellectual property, matrimonial law, juvenile law, health law and equitable remedies.

Field Placements are an integral part of the 3YP program, allowing students to spend a significant amount of time practicing law in a multitude of practice areas. Students will work under the direct supervision of an on-site attorney and a DePaul law faculty member. The College of Law places students in hundreds of field placements each year. Students participating in 3YP will be eligible for select placements in government agencies, law firms, nonprofit organizations and corporations. While field placements will be available to all students, those admitted to the 3YP program will be required to complete an intensive field placement of at least 21 hours per week.

The Third Year in Practice Seminar is required for those students admitted to the 3YP program. This course will bring together students of different practice interests to further develop the litigation and transactional skills learned in other parts of the 3YP program. In this manner, the seminar is intended not only to teach students new skills, but also to facilitate the retention of skills.