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January 20, 2007

Carnegie Foundation report on legal education

As if the LSSSE's Engaging Legal Education report was not enough grist for the law school innovation mill (details here), along comes a report from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching  entitled, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law.  Robert Ambrogi provides some highlights from the report in this post at Legal Blog Watch, and I hope to discuss the report in the near future once I have a chance to consume it fully.

UPDATE:  Norm Pattis at Crime & Federalism has this potent reaction to the Carnegie report.  Here is a portion:

The emphasis in legal education on such things as law reviews is a telling sign of why lawyers aren't educated well. Law review articles are fun to read, and law school professors are necessary. But the law is not reason made manifest in the world.

The life of the law, Holmes once reminded, is experience. And in the case of the life of a practicing lawyer, that experience often comes in the form of need that is impervious to reason.

Want better trained lawyers?  Spend the third year of legal education outside the classroom. Require all lawyers to intern for a month or so in the local emergency room so that they can see the ordinary chaos that many folks call day-to-day living.  Then send the lawyers for a month or so to a drug or alcohol rehabilitation clinic, where they can rub elbows with life-destroying need.  Then send the lawyers to a psychiatric facility for or two.  Top off the year with work in a soup kitchen or homeless shelter.

In each of these settings, assign the would-be lawyers the task of interviewing people. Let the lawyers identify one area of the interviewee's life in which legal advice is needed. Then let the would-be lawyers provide counsel. 

That is the reality of the law the small firm practitioner. Nothing prepares lawyers for the need they face in their clients. And no classroom experience undertaken in the cool light of reason can prepare a lawyer for the emotional travail of a client in fear, terror or anger. So let's change lawyering education, but not by creating another breed of teachers who can pontificate about what they haven't done, and perhaps cannot do.

Posted by DAB

January 20, 2007 in Teaching -- pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

January 18, 2007

Snippets from LSSSE report

I want to thank Joe for highlighting the fascinating recent report from the 2006 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), entited Engaging Legal Education: Moving Beyond the Status Quo.  The report is intriguing and quite reader-friendly, and is chock full of interesting findings for the would-be law school innovator.

In addition to encouraging everyone to read the report in full, I wanted to spotlight just a few notable findings that first caught my attention from the report (these are all direct quotes from the report):

Posted by DAB

January 18, 2007 in Serving students | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 17, 2007

LSSSE's Engaging Legal Education: Moving Beyond the Status Quo

Findings from 2006 Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), Engaging Legal Education: Moving Beyond the Status Quo, show that how often law school students interact with their professors is strongly related to many desirable outcomes of legal education. The findings also indicate that students who participate in clinical and field experiences or who do pro bono work report gaining more than their peers in speaking and writing proficiency, thinking critically and analytically, and solving complex real-world problems.

The 2006 survey is based on information from more than 24,000 law students at 64 law schools and gives law schools an idea of how well students are learning, along with what students put into and get out of their law school experience.  Joe Hodnicki

January 17, 2007 in Teaching -- pedagogy | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 16, 2007

Does US News promote good or bad innovation?

Thanks to Paul Caron at TaxProf Blog here, I see that the cover story in the January 2007 National Jurist is entitled "The Rankings Race: How Far Will Law Schools Go to Win?"  Here is the teaser:

Misreporting or selectively reporting statistics, firing deans, spending thousands on marketing; the law school rumor mill runs rampant with stories of law schools going to great lengths to boost their U.S. News & World Report ranks.  How much is true, and why are schools willing to put it all on the line just to get a few points higher on the list?

As Paul notes, the story does not break any new ground (though the technology supporting web access to the National Jurist article seemed impressively innovative).  Intriguingly, two high-profile law professor bloggers get their pictures and pull-out quotes in the piece.

Perhaps to provoke some discussion, let me make this somewhat provocative point about the impact of US News rankings on law school programming and activities: though I am sometimes troubled by how US News can impact law school programming and activities, I am far more troubled by how inertia and status quo biases impact law school programming and activities.  As but one example, I suspect US News concerns about reputation scores has helpfully fueled interest in work-related blogging and on-line activities by law professors, while inertia and status quo biases have harmfully retarded these valuable activities.

Posted by DAB.

January 16, 2007 in Rankings | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Globalizing the Law School Curriculum

On August 3rd and 4th of 2005, the Pacific McGeorge Center for Global Business and Development sponsored a workshop at Squaw Valley, California near Lake Tahoe. At this workshop, professors from thirty-one law schools in the United States and Canada met to discuss how to introduce international, transnational and comparative law issues into the core curriculum. This Report (PDF, 64 pp), published at 19 Pac. McGeorge Global Bus. & Dev. L.J. 267 (2006), provides a summary of those discussions.  Joe Hodnicki

January 16, 2007 in Teaching -- curriculum | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack