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IAALS Online National Conversations About Continuous Improvement of the American legal System

Alli Gerkman

Alli Gerkman Alli Gerkman became the first full-time Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, a national initiative to align legal education with the needs of an evolving profession, in May 2013. She joined IAALS in June 2011 as Online Content Manager, developing and managing all IAALS web properties, including Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, and became IAALS’ Director of Communications in August 2012. She brings significant professional development experience to the initiative, having spent five years in continuing legal education, first as a program attorney organizing multi-day conferences for a national provider and then as program attorney and manager of online content for Colorado Bar Association CLE. While at CBA-CLE, she developed an online legal resource that was the recipient of the Association of Continuing Legal Education’s 2011 Award of Professional Excellence for use of technology in education. She has written and presented nationally to continuing legal education providers, bar executives, and lawyers. Prior to her work in continuing legal education, she was in private practice.

Posts by Alli Gerkman

‘Foundations for Practice’ Gaining Momentum—and Support

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

In May, we launched Foundations for Practice, an ambitious project that will study the foundations entry-level lawyers need to launch successful careers, identify models of legal education to get us there, and develop hiring tools to help employers better match their needs with their hiring practices. This summer we also added a new member to the ETL team. Kevin Keyes is joining us as a Project Manager, working with us and our many partners on the first phase of the project.

Let’s Stop Choosing Law School Like It’s 1999

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured, Informed Opinions

In the world of choosing law schools, we have generic rankings and recommendations—including US News & World Report, and a number of others that have popped up over the years—which can provide a certain value, but they hardly give the whole picture. Last year, we launched Law Jobs: By the Numbers, an employment calculator that allows you to review school employment numbers based on the criteria you care about most—and with the new 2013 ABA employment numbers, we’ve made some big upgrades.

Job Placement for Law Grads: What US News Doesn’t Take into Account

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, News

For the second year in a row, the U.S. News and World Report’s 2015 law school rankings have taken advantage of the rich employment data now made public by the American Bar Association. But as the Economist noted last week, the rankings have not yet made use of an interesting piece of data the ABA has published: whether student jobs reported by schools were funded by law schools.

Today: Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers and Supporting Today’s Lawyers (Webcast Available)

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

The New York State Bar Association is devoting a segment of its annual meeting to two themes that have emerged with increasing urgency in bar associations around the country: “Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers” and “Supporting Today’s Lawyers.” I’m here in New York to participate in person, but I just learned that you can tune in at 2:00 pm ET to view the full Presidential Summit, which serves as the centerpiece of the NYSBA’s week-long annual meeting.

Teaching Evidence Law in a Trial Advocacy Context

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured

Professor Steven Friedland of Elon University School of Law uses a problem-based teaching method to guide his required, upper-level Evidence Law course. Drawing upon his trial experience as a prosecutor, Friedland’s course is conducted as a form of “applied trial advocacy,” as opposed to the more traditional “case review” method. The full Evidence Law course portfolio is now available online.

Video: Three Questions About the Future of Legal Education—What Are Your Answers?

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured

In October, we had a room full of people abuzz with talk about the present state of legal education and its future. These were educators and practitioners who are already working together to change legal education to meet the needs of the profession. So it’s not a surprise that when we asked some of them three questions about legal education we got some very interesting answers. What are your answers? Tell us in the comments.

Flipping the Switch on Legal Education

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Informed Opinions

At our 2nd Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference, we honored Bill Henderson with our Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Award. Afterward, he delivered a keynote address (video here) focused on the significance of the role played by legal educators and the change that is coming. Talking about his own experience with a professor as a later-in-life college senior, he said that educators have the power to “flip the switch.”

Transforming Legal Education in Six Minutes, Twenty Slides

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

This year, we tried something new at the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference. During the reception, we opened the floor to four short presentations by participants who wanted to share an idea with our audience of legal educators, practitioners, and judges. It was, by all counts, a resounding success and we plan to expand it next year. They were a conference highlight and certainly worth six minutes.

Understanding Real-World Negotiation through Classroom Simulations

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

Professor John Lande of the University of Missouri School of Law gives students a realistic and comprehensive perspective on legal negotiation through a semester-long simulated experience in his Negotiation course. Lande describes his course as unique and particularly relevant to the legal profession because he uses multi-layered six-step negotiation hypotheticals to walk students through the entire negotiation process.

60,000 Calculations and Counting: Law Jobs Calculator Sheds Light on Law School Employment Outcomes

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured

Since launch, nearly 60,000 calculations have been made using the calculator, which gives prospective law students the most transparent and complete law school employment rate information available. We were also featured prominently on the home page of the ABA’s website, and we made several improvements to the tool to make it even easier to use. Here are a few.

Rediscover the Future of Law: An Interview with Bill Sullivan

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

Last week, Bill Sullivan, lead author of Educating Lawyers and the founding director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, did an interview with Insight Labs on the future of law, discussing legal education (and reform history), the Carnegie Report, experiential education, teaching judgment, the role of the profession, and the importance of law in society. It’s worth reading in full, but here’s a glimpse.

A Problem-Based Approach to an International Tax Law Course

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured

Professor Anthony C. Infanti, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, uses a problem-based teaching method to expose students to the complex concept of international tax law. Through this course, Professor Infanti exposes students to what practicing international tax law is really like. The full course portfolio is now available online, including teaching objectives and outcomes, application tools, videos, course materials, and student work.

Prominent Solo Identifies Six Competencies for Entry-Level Lawyers in 21st Century

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

Much of the work on core competencies for entry-level lawyers has focused on large firms, often because it has been harder to collect this information from small firms. This is a challenge because small and medium firms continue to be major destinations for law school graduates. Today, in an open letter to law schools, longtime solo, Carolyn Elefant, demanded that law schools teach students to be employable by solos and small firms.

ABA Task Force Releases Draft Report on Future of Legal Education

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured, News

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education has released its draft report, which includes proposals and conclusions about the pricing structure of law schools, liberalizing or eliminating accreditation certain standards, speeding the pace of innovation and practical skills training, and using non-lawyers for broader delivery of law-related services. Chair Randall T. Shepard will present the Task Force’s proposals to more than 80 legal educators at the 2nd Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference in Denver on October 4.

Touro Law Center the Newest Member of a Growing Consortium

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

We are pleased to announce the newest member of our Consortium of law schools committed to innovation: Touro Law Center. Among Touro’s latest projects is its ProBono Uncontested Divorce Project, a required part of the experiential curriculum for first year students that also helps students to satisfy New York’s new pro bono requirements. Touro Law Center will join the rest of the Consortium in Denver, October 3-5, 2013, for our 2nd Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference.

Legal Education: The Unofficial Theme of the ABA’s 2013 Annual Meeting

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Informed Opinions

The American Bar Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting in San Francisco was a sprawling event with thousands of attendees spread out over 20 hotels and attending more than 200 continuing legal education programs and countless other meetings. Given all of this, it was interesting to watch as common themes began to emerge and thread the event and its participants together. One of those themes was legal education.

Law School: Is Two Years Enough?

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

Last week, during a town hall at Binghamton University, President Obama jumped into the legal education fray when he suggested that law schools could increase the value of a law degree without sacrificing its quality by moving from a three-year program to a two-year program. The two-year/three-year debate has been alive and well in legal education reform circles for some time, but the President’s comments catapulted the conversation into the national spotlight. What do you think?

The Skills New Lawyers Need to Be Successful

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®

Ann Roan, State Training Director for the Colorado Public Defender’s Office, advocates for more practical skills education within law school classrooms in order to ease the transition into the high stakes environment of the courtroom. In her Voices from the Field interview, Roan suggests recalibrating the instructional emphasis between doctrine and practice in a way that allows students to actually apply what they learn. Underscoring the importance of balancing doctrinal and experiential learning, Roan believes “You have to know the rules of the game before you can excel in the skills of the game.”

The Biggest Surprise About the ABA Task Force’s Working Paper on the Future of Legal Education

Alli Gerkman Posted in Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers®, Featured, Informed Opinions

The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education released its Working Paper late last week. If you have been following the discussions, you’ve heard about the current landscape of legal education and you may not find many surprises in this precursor to the final report. But here’s what is surprising: everyone seems to agree that the Task Force is on the right track. The Working Paper describes initiatives that can facilitate change, and cites our Consortium of law schools as a promising example. And our 2nd Annual Conference focuses on three key highlights from the Working Paper.