Saturday, August 13, 2005

Oldy but Goody

Pragmatic Reform of Legal Education: Three Essays

If you know Ruth Ann McKinney, and her work, you know what I mean when I say that when I read this sentence, I knew the author who wrote it was on the right track: "Professor McKinney's approach is as close to perfect as I've found and is well worth copying." (The same author includes material from, and praise for, Professors Cathaleen Roach, Kris Knaplund, and Paula Lustbader.)

The sentence was not written subsequent to publication of Ruth's recent book Reading Like a Lawyer.  No, this was written after publication of Ruth's brief article, "Using Small Groups to Solve Big Problems," in the Winter 1994 edition of "The Learning Curve" (back in the Days when Kris Knaplund was the Learning Curve Editor).

Who wrote these essays?  Stephen R. Marsh, who describes himself as a "dedicated teacher with multiple publications, significant practice experience and diverse research interests."  (Read his CV)

The first essay, "Why A Solution Is Necessary," provides an historical context, explaining what (in the author's opinion) is wrong with legal education, and why.

"Reaching Solutions" addresses the teaching of substantive law, legal writing skills, and legal skills.

"Applications" provides the nuts and bolts of how to implement the solutions proposed in the prior essay, including what can be done and what should be done.

The appendix to this collection contains the perspectives of other authors and commentators.

MarshProvocative?  Oh, I don't know.  See what YOU think.  Example: "...one group is even worse than doctors. That group is law professors. Just like the doctors, the profs know, or should know, that the methods they use to teach actually make it harder to learn the material. That is, law professors provide a net negative input into the learning process. Is it any wonder that some professors have developed an incredible level of arrogance, have displaced themselves, and treat the students and support faculty like dirt, isolating themselves from all others?"

Agree?  Disagree?  Correspond with attorney Marsh by email to discover his many other writings.

(If you are unfamiliar with "The Learning Curve," visit the April 14th blog entry featuring the Curve and its current editor, Natt Gantt.)  (djt)

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