The Keystone Program

Keystone ProgramAbout

A “keystone” sits at the top of an arch and holds all the other stones in place. Unlike the more familiar “capstone course”—which takes its name from the stone at the top of a wall—a Keystone Course represents both a pinnacle and a passage. A Keystone Course is a transformational learning experience representing both the culmination of law school learning and a transition to law practice and a lifetime of self-directed learning.

In the Keystone Program, we are identifying and creating courses to be taken in the final year of law school that will add value relative to both traditional doctrinal courses and the first years of law practice. Keystone Courses build on and integrate previous law school learning in doctrinal and skills courses. Keystone Courses require students to take active responsibility as professionals addressing real-world challenges and to produce substantial, concrete products reflecting their learning. They also subject students to cycles of reinforcement and evaluation, including self-evaluation. A Keystone Course will serve simultaneously as the culmination of law school learning and as a transition to a lifetime of more self-directed learning.

Some of the courses that are part of the Keystone Program have been in the William Mitchell curriculum for many years, such as the Legal Practicum. Others, like Business Buy/Sell Transaction Simulation , are new this semester. As the Keystone Program develops, William Mitchell plans to add more Keystone courses, providing students with the opportunity to explore a wide array of real-world legal challenges.

Keystone courses will be designated as such on student transcripts.