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November 19, 2007

Transforming Legal Education: Learning and Teaching the Law in the Early Twenty-First Century

Highly recommended. -- Joe Hodnicki

Transforming Legal Education: Learning and Teaching the Law in the Early Twenty-first Century
by Paul Maharg

List Price: $124.95
Hardcover: 346 pages
Publisher: Ashgate Pub Co (October 31, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0754649709
ISBN-13: 978-0754649700

Book Description: Transforming Legal Education makes the case for substantial change in the ways law is studied.  In a wide-ranging critique of current educational practices in our law schools and in society, the book argues for a contemporary adaptation of John Dewey’s concept of pragmatic and experiential learning, for a wider interdisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, and for greater engagement with technology-enhanced learning. 

In Part 1 of the book Maharg argues the case for deeper and more sustained interdisciplinary educational practice, drawing upon problem-based learning, rhetorical theory and practice, and approaches to education in other disciplines such as music and literature.  The book also argues for a more profound understanding of the history of legal education.  In the three case studies that comprise Part 2, Maharg explores three historical episodes in legal educational practice – the formation of the realist curriculum at Columbia in the 1920s; ethical education at Edinburgh University in the later eighteenth century; and thirteenth century glossed texts.  Part 3 consists of an extended case study of technology and experiential learning, incorporating aspects of the approaches analysed in Parts 1 and 2.  Throughout, the book holds that Dewey’s critique of education in his day is still relevant to legal education today.  His solutions, based upon variants of experiential learning, are taken by Maharg and applied in the extended case study of simulation learning in Part 3.  The book’s conclusion states the case for collaboration between legal educational institutions, and for a more experientially-grounded approach to theory and practice; and ends with a hubristic account of several hours of a student’s study time in 2047.

Online Companion Resources: The technological aspects of the book will be updated in the Zeugma blog, while the Transforming Initiative, a platform for those of us who are interested in contributing to the debate about the future of legal education, will be based upon a community of practice wiki. See generally, the book's website.

November 19, 2007 in Recommended readings | Permalink

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