ETL is about to release its first major report—a study of the Daniel Webster Scholar Honors Program. The report is not even public yet, but it was already highlighted in the Wall Street Journal and criticized at Above the Law. Ultimately, if law schools are going to develop programs that better prepare students and if prospective students are going to rely on those programs, then legal employers must value them. And, we’re working on ways to help ensure that happens.
We would like to extend our congratulations to Jon Streeter for his confirmation to California’s First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco. He was sworn in on January 5. Jon has been a friend to IAALS for several years, working closely with Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers. We are thrilled for him—and we look forward to seeing how his new perspective in the judicial branch informs his insights and leadership in legal education, and the evolution of the profession more broadly.
It’s been almost three-and-a-half years since we launched Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers. In that time, we have played a critical role in bringing the profession and the academy together to work toward collaborative solutions that will raise not only the institution of legal education, but also the legal profession. We are beginning 2015 with the launch of a new logo that captures this convergence and the many people who will play a role in this process.
Like the United States, the United Kingdom has historically faced a lack of legal representation for low income individuals. The apparent lack of resources in both countries has highlighted a perceived remedy: law students working with those in need of legal services. While many people view this solution as beneficial for society, law schools, and students, others have warned against law schools taking up the slack because students still need an opportunity to learn.
Professor Neil W. Hamilton of the University of St. Thomas School of Law recently published an article that analyzes empirical research on the competencies that legal employers and clients are looking for in new lawyers. For the article, Professor Hamilton surveyed four types of employers: larger law firms, small firms, county attorneys, and legal aid offices. He found all four groups highly valued certain competencies, dubbing them “professional formation competencies.”
This Thursday and Friday, November 6-7, 2014, the Law School Survey of Student Engagement’s (LSSSE) “Data and Assessment in Legal Education: The Necessities, The Possibilities” symposium will be held at Saint Louis University School of Law. Alli Gerkman, Director of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, will be presenting on a panel about “Using Data to Demonstrate and Improve the Value of Legal Education.”
Professor Debra Moss Curtis has published an article calling for legal educators to look at other programs in higher education, as well as experts who study education, as guidance when considering reform within legal education. The article outlines suggestions that “should be considered by every institution,” many of which align with the mission, work, and recommendations of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers.
“Big dreams, hard work, and serendipity” are the words Judge Christine M. Arguello would use to describe how she achieved her professional successes as a lawyer and judge. But, she also acknowledges the help of various mentors and the support of academic institutions throughout her career. In order to help the next generation, Judge Arguello founded Law School – Si Se Puede, a pipeline program that advances inclusiveness in the legal profession.
Law Professor Cara Cunningham Warren has written a paper about “Achieving the American Bar Association’s Pedagogy Mandate.” In order for professors to meet with ABA expectations, they will have to come up with new approaches to assessing student learning—something that was recently discussed the 2014 Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Conference.
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.