October 25, 2007
Meta-Post: Who's interested in meeting up at AALS?
CALI and Berkman are planning to host a suite at AALS in January where bloggers can meetup not just with each other, but also with their readers. CALI/Berkman would provide refreshments. We might also run a follow-up conversation to the Bloggership conference of 2006.
Maybe this is normal on the Web, but I have not met over half of my co-authors here at LSI, never mind our readers (hello out there!). Personally I would love the opportunity to extend this virtual community back into something face-to-face.
Granted, AALS should be all about innovation in law schools, but isn't there room for a little bit of guerrilla innovation? Who's on board?
Transfer Students: What Innovation Do You Value (or Miss) at Your New School?
Following up on Doug's post about transfer students, it strikes me that transfer students have the advantage of comparing student experiences at two law schools.
Given this standpoint, transfer students are well-positioned to notice innovations at the two schools they have attended.
So, I pose this question to transfers: what innovations do you miss most from your previous school, or value most in your new school?
Alternative Model for Law School Clinics Proposed
CUNY law professor Sameer M. Ashar proposes an alternative model for law school clinics in Law Clinics and Collective Mobilization (SSRN). Here's the abstract:
Poor people are not served well by the kinds of advocacy currently taught and reinforced in most law clinics. The canonical approaches to clinical legal education - (1) a nearly exclusive focus on individual client empowerment, (2) professional skills transfer, and (3) lawyer-led impact litigation and law reform - are not sufficient to sustain effective public interest practice in the current political moment. These approaches rely on a practice narrative that does not accurately portray the conditions faced by poor people or the resistance strategies devised by groups with activist organizers. At the margins of the field, law school clinics and innovative legal advocacy organizations have played a key role in developing a new public interest practice. Lawyers and law students support and stimulate radical democratic resistance to market forces by developing litigation, legislative, and community education methods to advance collective mobilization. This article offers a typology of clinical approaches, a critique of the canon, and a description of the features of an alternative clinical model with the ultimate aim of reconfiguring public interest law.
-- Joe Hodnicki
October 24, 2007
Ways of listening to students
Like anything else, law schools need a periodic self-assessment-- a time to reflect on how things are and how they can change. It seems that many schools do this, given the number of curricular revisions we are seeing around the country.
One aspect of this process is listening to our current students and taking their concerns into consideration. Some schools have focus groups, while others rely on surveys or informal contacts. Over the past few years I have solicited ideas on my blog, and this year's post yielded 82 comments. The risk of this method, of course, is that the dialogue is essentially a public discussion which can be viewed by anyone. I would hope prospective students would be encouraged by that transparency, but I may well be wrong and am thinking about finding another way to have this discussion.
Is student input important? How can we best get to an honest self-assessment?
-- Mark Osler
October 23, 2007
Open thread on encouraging (or discouraging) transfer students in law schools
Over at Empirical Legal Studies, Bill Henderson has lots of interesting data in this interesting post about transfer students and US News gaming. Bill's focus on US News is interesting and resonates with what I have heard about the opportunities for gaming when schools shrink their 1L admissions and thereafter supplement class sizes through transfer students.
More broadly, though Bill's post is not intended to be a general discussion of the pros and cons of law school transfers, many folks are eager in his post's comments to talk about transfer student experiences. Consequently, I would be eager to hear from law professors and law students about whether law schools ought to actively encourage or actively discourage transfers as a matter of general policy.
Of course, the pros and cons of transfer for individual students will vary based on personal circumstances. But there are lots of ways in which schools might institutionally embrace or resist transfers. For example, beyond the basics of transfer admission policies, schools might directly recruit transfer applicants from other schools or might hold information sessions for current students so they might better understand transfer options.
Posted by DAB
Distance Education in Law School: The Train Has Left the Station
UNLV law professor Diana Gleason has deposited Distance Education in Law School: The Train Has Left the Station in SSRN. Here's the abstract:
[This article} posits the idea that law schools are getting left behind a national trend to add distance education to the higher education curriculum to the detriment of legal education and law students. Approximately half the article describes reasons for the growth in distance education in non-law academia, followed by reasons why distance education has not impacted law schools. The remainder of the article discusses three changes taking place that will bring distance education to law schools. Specifically, students expect more, students are seeking a less expensive alternative to the brick and mortar law school, and a student population with non-traditional goals and demographics is starting to enter law school.
Excitement about distance education was expressed in several articles written just before the ABA Section on Legal Education & Admission to the Bar updated Standard 306---Distance Education in 2002. However, very little has been written since, nor has distance education made a substantial impact on legal education since the new standard was accepted. The attached article is timely because the national growth in distance education suggests that the legal education community will be required to embrace the remote learning phenomena sooner rather than later due to growing consumer demand. The article is also relevant to those interested in the technology that makes distance learning not only possible but in some ways preferable to the lecture forum.
-- Joe Hodnicki