December 19, 2011
The "Rennaisance Report"
Right up our alley is a new online journal based at William Mitchell Law School called "The Renaissance Report: A Journal of Legal Education in Transition." You can check out their web site here.
They don't seem to have much content up yet, so it is hard to tell where this might go, but I love the idea of innovation in our field (which is why I remain involved here). I'm intrigued by the idea that legal education is in transition, because I don't see that as a present truth. Many of us hope that there will be a transition to a healthier, more student-centered model, while others fear that the status quo will be upset by economic realities, but I don't see either one of those things happening yet.
Specifically, there are three elements of the status quo in legal education that seem resistant to change:
1) Perhaps most importantly, rankings continue to shape crucial decisions in legal education.
2) The personal incentives for most law professors favor scholarship over teaching and advocacy.
3) There are no real attempts being made to roll back costs and tuition.
When at least one of those things begins to show movement, I'll say we are in transition. Right now, I think it might be fairer to say that we are in the shadow of transition, as it moves inevitably towards us. The actual transition will begin either when disaster strikes (the collapse of our current economic model) or real leaders step up to either reject the hegemony of rankings, rethink the role of scholarship, or make the painful choices that will finally shrink costs and tuition.
-- Mark Osler