Last month, Suffolk University Law School, an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium school, hosted the first-ever “Hackcess to Justice” legal hackathon. The event was designed to bring together some of the best legal and technological minds to brainstorm and devise ways to improve access to justice using technology.
This Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (September 18-20), I will be attending the 3rd Annual Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference, which will focus on “Accelerating Competency: Assessment in Legal Education.” I’ll be keeping you updated throughout each day with live tweets on conference happenings and discussions taking place—so even if you can’t join us, you can follow along online using hashtag #ETLConference.
Chad G. Asarch recently wrote an article discussing the Real Estate Transactions course he teaches, which emphasizes practical legal skills in a non-clinical, traditional classroom setting. In contemplating the structure of the course, Asarch analyzed the actual work practicing lawyers undertake in representing a client in a real estate transaction, and class assignments were designed to make students perform these tasks.
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.
Law Week Colorado recently published an article detailing the launch of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers’ Foundations for Practice project. The goal of the project is to give law schools more information about the skills, competencies, characteristics, and traits—referred to as “foundations”—that real-world practitioners say graduates need to be successful. Once these foundations are identified, law schools can then incorporate them more fully.
Professor and ETL Fellow John Lande of the University of Missouri School of Law has helped bring together a new collection of resources for law school professors who teach Alternative Dispute Resolution or who use ADR simulations in their classes. The website is intended to be a place where professors can learn about multi-stage simulations while sharing their own ideas and experiences using them.
The ABA recently honored Mercer University Walter F. George School of Law and Vanderbilt University Law School, both Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium schools, with their 2014 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Awards. The award recognizes excellence and innovation in professionalism programs by law schools, bar associations, professionalism commissions, and other law-related organizations.
Professor Ann C. Hodges, University of Richmond Law School, has published an article on Using Experiential Education to Develop Human Resources for the Nonprofit Community: A Course Study Analysis. The paper analyzes a course in Nonprofit Organizations that incorporates a community-based project, and can serve as a resource for other professors interested in implementing experiential education models.
Many advocates for legal education reform state that the traditional Socratic lecture model in law schools must be supplemented by experiential learning. Professor Kathleen Elliott Vinson of Suffolk University Law School, an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium school, recently published a paper advocating for experiential learning through a curriculum that emphasizes problem-solving.
A recently published a paper, entitled “A Primer on Professionalism for Doctrinal Professors,” discusses how and why doctrinal professors should incorporate attorney professionalism into their curriculum. Professor Schaefer offers guidance in developing course outcomes that connect legal subject matter with issues of professionalism and methods for doing so.
Last month, preLaw Magazine released its list of best practical training schools for part-time students. preLaw considered 97 part-time programs, all having 20 or more students, and 22 were selected for the magazine’s top honors. Four Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium schools were named to the list: Georgetown, Hofstra, Loyola Chicago, and the University of Maryland.
David Thomson, an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Fellow, has written two hybrid law school textbooks, which include both print and online components. In two recent blog posts, Professor Thomson wrote about his motivations for writing the textbooks and the results he has had using them in his classrooms.
On June 5, Alli Gerkman, Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, appeared on Colorado Public Radio to talk about efforts being made on a national scale to change legal education and how Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers is leading the way. During the interview, Gerkman discusses the need to bridge the gap between law schools and the profession and the opportunity to forge a better path forward.
Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a prospective law student who has not obsessed over law school rankings like US News and World Report. In fact, it is likely that many prospective students use rankings as one of the heaviest weighted factors in making their decisions about which school to attend. But should they? Local and regional economies and students’ personal connections to a community are two factors that are just as important.
Rocket Lawyer, founded in 2008, is an alternative, online legal service provider that many see as a first wave in a tidal shift in how legal services are delivered to the public. They recently published an article on their blog that spoke to the uncertain and shifting state of legal education, and the profession as a whole, and some of the efforts that are being made to spearhead the best way forward, including those being made by Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers.
The University of Denver Sturm College of Law, one of ETL’s Consortium schools, now offers a Live Client Guarantee. The Guarantee ensures that every student can receive hands-on client interactions outside of the classroom. The University of Denver is one of only 16 law schools that have such a guarantee, including three other ETL Consortium schools.
Douglas O. Linder and Nancy Levit have compiled a handbook outlining what it takes to be a good lawyer. Drawing upon recent social science research and the experience of excellent practicing attorneys, Linder and Levit suggest that good lawyers must develop their practice beyond simply having the intellectual ability to understand the law. In The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law, they outline crucial qualities to lawyering.
The Journal of Legal Education of Southwestern Law School recently published an article surveying the landscape of legal education. Authors Stephen Daniels, Martin Katz, and William Sullivan used an Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers survey to discuss changes that have been made by the legal academy and whether these changes were forceful enough to overcome the inertia of traditional legal education.
As a soon-to-be-graduate, I often find my head swirling with concerns and worries about life after law school. Beyond joining a firm, what options are out there for new grads? Banding together with a couple other recent grads or, scarier yet, hanging out my own shingle? The Denver Bar Association was trying to answer exactly this question when it unveiled Stratum, which offers meeting spaces, networking events, and just about every business amenity a lawyer could need.
IAALS is pleased to announce “Foundations for Practice.” Led by Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, this ambitious project focuses on improving legal education and closing the gap between how students are being taught in law school and the knowledge and skills legal professionals say new graduates need to succeed.
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.
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.
Change is happening in law schools across the country. While most are evolving independently, many schools are working toward the same end: developing new teaching methods and strategies that teach students skills that will give them an edge with employers. A recent U.S. News and World Report article highlights a few of these efforts from Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium schools, which emphasize practical skills training and a more hands-on understanding of what it means to be a lawyer.
Over at the Talent Code, Daniel Coyle talks about a trauma surgeon who described the best training session he ever witnessed: an unexpected, staged accident, complete with chaos, fake blood, and hidden victims. In law school there might not be much use for fake blood, but there are educators asking students to role play.