Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers is pleased to announce Law Jobs: By the Numbers™, an interactive online tool that gives prospective law students the most transparent and complete law school employment rate information available. Law Jobs empowers prospective students to build, analyze, and compare rates among law schools based on 2011 and 2012 data released by the American Bar Association, all with just a few clicks of a mouse. Users can “choose their own” formulas to tailor employment rates and prioritize the jobs that are valuable to them.
A study from the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics shows “law students who found ways to exercise their top strengths in daily life were less likely to report depression and more likely to report satisfaction.” With this understanding, Golden Gate University School of Law, an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium school, has published an article suggesting that experiential learning, such as through legal clinics, may increase law student happiness.
If there’s one thing the people in the room at the ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education can agree on today, it’s that something has to give. But just what has to give? That still seems to be up for debate. In the opening session, opinions ranged nearly as wide as the topics, which included the deregulation of the profession, the deregulation of law schools, online education, US News, faculty scholarship, student expectations, consumer expectations, access to justice, and curriculum.
The ABA Task Force on the Future of Legal Education is meeting today in Indianapolis at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law. The meeting is available via live webcast here. Today the group will hear three presentations: the Current Legal Education Challenge; Licensing, Finance, and Admissions; and Delivery, Innovation, and Barriers.
In the wake of a very public fee dispute involving one of the world’s largest law firms, Professor Benjamin Madison, an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Fellow, recommends that law schools turn it into a learning opportunity “to better prepare law students and to make them more attentive to ethical concerns.” By teaching students more about billing, such as the importance of careful time-keeping and ethical billing practices, they will learn valuable skills that may strengthen the lawyer-client relationship.
In a recent article, The Miami Herald takes a closer look into the University of Miami’s new dual medical-legal degree program, set to launch this fall. This program is an expansion of Miami’s Health and Elder Law Medical Legal Partnership, designed to cross-train medical and law students in each other’s disciplines. The program lessens the time and tuition required if each degree was pursued separately.
Consistent with the promise made in its mission statement to “blend practical skills training with legal theory throughout the curriculum,” Golden Gate University School of Law integrates skills training and professional development across its curriculum, preparing students to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and leaders in the legal profession. This commitment to experiential learning and fostering professional identity within law students makes GGU Law an ideal partner within the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium.
Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Advisory Committee member Paul Lippe recently spoke to the “Deans Workshop for ABA Approved Schools,” and, while that meeting was off the record, he proposes new ideas and frameworks for changing the current law school model in a post at The New Normal.
Michigan Law has created an online calculator called the “Debt Wizard” that helps current and prospective law students better understand their student loan obligations and how their perspective career paths may impact them financially. Though the Debt Wizard is specific to Michigan Law, the school states the calculator was designed to be relevant to students anywhere.
The national dialogue about changing legal education has proposed many ideas aimed at making the system better, one of which being the outright elimination of the third year of law school. In the wake of this consideration, Luke Bierman, the Associate Dean for Experiential Education at Northeastern University School of Law, offers Northeastern’s Cooperative Legal Education Program (co-op) as an effective, alternative model that makes better use of all three years spent in law school.
The oldest advice in the world is that the trick is not in knowing the answers—rather it is in knowing the right questions to ask. Such advice has broad application, and in the current debate about legal education, it is quite possible that the wrong questions are currently on the table. The question should not simply be: why does legal education cost so much? Rather, the question should focus on reassessing and re-measuring the value of legal education.
Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law is one of the oldest law schools in the United States and has a longstanding commitment to legal education along the lines proposed in the Carnegie Report. This dedication to professionalism and practical skills training makes Mercer an ideal partner within the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium.
In September 2012, 21 law schools sent representatives to Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers’ first conference, which sought collaboration among schools to identify best practices for forming professional identity, encouraged schools to share examples of programs and curricula that support professional development, and fostered new ideas and approaches that representatives could take back to their schools. Out of this meeting comes the Report on the 2012 Conference.
The American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Future of Legal Education has been collecting comments from individuals and organizations since late last year. Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers submitted a comment focused on aligning legal education with the needs of an evolving profession, and made six recommendations.
Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Advisory Committee member Paul Lippe is speaking to the “Deans Workshop for ABA Approved Schools” on February 15. In a post at The New Normal, he asked “How would you shape the law school experience for the next generation?” He has 44 responses and counting.
Once again, law schools have found themselves the subject of a New York Times front-page article about the sharp decline in law school applications. According to the article, law schools are responding by cutting faculty, taking a closer look at affordability, and adding clinics and in-the-field training. But perhaps more interesting is the story the article doesn’t tell—the story of law schools across the country that are already in front of this wave by offering students a better education.
Professors JoNel Newman and Melissa Swain teach a unique clinic at the University of Miami Law School that integrates legal, medical, and social work to help students learn better patient/client advocacy skills. Students from both the law school and medical school are cross-trained in each other’s disciplines, bringing the two professions together through real and mock situations and simulating the realities outside the classroom.
Richard H. Middleton, Jr. is the owner and senior trial attorney in The Middleton Firm, LLC, based in Savannah, Georgia. Middleton joins the Advisory Committee to Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers with more than 30 years in mass tort and class action practice. Middleton will partner with an experienced Advisory Committee comprised of a wide variety of stakeholders with unique perspectives on the skills and knowledge necessary for the evolving legal profession.
On January 17, The University of Arkansas at Little Rock announced that Michael Hunter Schwartz had been appointed the new dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law. Schwartz is an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers fellow, who has demonstrated a commitment to integrating practice-based learning and professionalism into the classroom. We thank Schwartz for his commitment to improving legal education and congratulate him on his much deserved appointment.
Elizabeth Phillips, a third year law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, knew she wanted to go to law school, but she also knew that selecting the right school that could equip her with the tools needed to actually practice law was essential. Having done her research, “it became clear to [her] that DU’s practical education was paying off” for new grads in the area and could afford her the best opportunities upon graduation.
Ben Madison, an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Fellow, recently discussed teaching materials and help available for those who want to try Carnegie methods in a post on the Best Practices for Legal Education blog. He noted that “plenty know about Carnegie’s recommendations, but too few know of the steps taken, since the report, to implement it.”
Last fall, New York University School of Law made news for reorganizing its third-year offerings to better meet the needs of today’s law students. Today, we welcome NYU to the Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium of law schools demonstrating significant institutional commitment to legal education reform along the lines proposed in the 2007 Carnegie Report, Educating Lawyers.
David Thomson, Lawyering Process Professor and Director of the Lawyering Process Program at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, will be the first IAALS Visiting Scholar for the spring semester of 2013. Thomson will be spending parts of his sabbatical here with us, working on several projects. Thomson is a longtime friend of IAALS and we look forward to working more closely with him over the coming months.
Denver Law alumni James “Jim” Mulligan (JD ’74) and Joan Burleson (JD ’85) made a $2.25 million endowment to the University of Denver Sturm College of Law’s Mulligan Burleson Chair in Modern Learning, which will ensure experimental learning is integrated throughout the school’s curriculum. This gift is augmented by IAALS’s Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers advisory committee member, Doug Scrivner (JD ’77) and his wife, Mary.