Case Work

Firm visits happen during most week day mornings of the Fellowship program. After attorneys present about their work and describe an actual, modified case which their firm has addressed in the past, Fellows break into teams and work on analyzing the case with their Legal Associate’s guidance. Fellows do not need any prior legal knowledge or experience to be successful in this element of the program.

Case Study Structure

  1. Introduction to the field (Corporate, Environmental, Human Rights, etc.)

  2. Brief description of case by firm attorneys and partners

  3. Fellows work on case with Legal Associate, while consulting:

    1. Applicable legislation

    2. Case law precedent

    3. Templates

  4. Fellows discuss the results of their analysis with partners and attorneys

In many cases, there will be no right or wrong answer. These exercises are primarily intended to initiate structured Socratic dialogue and debate about a specific legal topic. Chosen topics highlight typical daily challenges that the presenting lawyers encounter in their field.

Sample Case: Breach of Contract Liability?

Note: This case is simplified and is intended to provide context. In reality, case descriptions and questions are more extensive and difficult. At all times, Fellows are assisted by their Legal Associate and the materials provided in their casebook. Fellows do not need any prior legal experience.

Case Description:

Sam opens a car dealership and employs Laura to manage it. Sam wishes to avoid publicity and so decides to name the dealership “Laura’s Toyota.” Sam then instructs Laura that during the week of December 8, Laura may sell only pink cars and not blue cars. Without Sam’s knowledge, however, Laura signs a contract with John, a customer, agreeing to sell him a blue car. Sam tells Laura not to perform the contract. John learns of Sam’s existence and sues Sam for breach of contract.


  • Are Sam and Laura operating in a partnership? Why?

  • Is Laura acting as Sam’s agent? Why?

  • Will Sam be liable? Why or why not?

  • What other implications does this case have?

Concepts to Consider:

  • Theory of the scope of the agency

  • Actual authority vs inherent authority

  • Undisclosed principal

  • Agency by estoppel

  • Negligent supervising

  • Unusual/unnecessary business practices