May 9, 2011
Turning Law Students Into "Garage Guys"
I just read an interesting article by Gillian Hadfield, Equipping Garage Guys in Law, 70 Md. L. Rev. 484 (2011), available here. Hadfield, like many law professors, is struggling with how to teach students the legal problem-solving skills they will need to practice successfully in our rapidly changing world. Hadfield wants law schools to graduate “our own garage guys who can transform how we do law in the way that Apple and Google have transformed how we find information, connect with one another, and learn.”
Hadfield’s article describes three experiments he has tried in his area of expertise, contract law:
(1) A project where teams of law students and MBA students attempt to convert a dense legal document into something shorter and intelligible to a lay reader.
(2) The use of four-person teams in his basic Contracts course to advise clients on discrete problems.
(3) An Advanced Contracts class where four-person teams work on case studies.
It's interesting reading. I agree with Hadfield that we need to produce a generation of legal innovators—students who understand the business enterprise and can add value to what businesses are doing. I don’t know the best way to do that, particularly in a world of limited resources, but I hope law professors like Hadfield will continue to share what they are doing. We don’t all need to independently reinvent the wheel. And I commend the Maryland Law Review for publishing the article. It’s much more helpful to the profession than the latest trendy constitutional law theory.
May 9, 2011 | Permalink
I took some night law classes some years ago to beef up my business knowledge, and found I could take an entire contracts class without every looking at a contract, and an entire real estate class without ever seeing a deed.
I really hope it has changed since then - it was lousy curriculum with lousy profs.
Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | May 9, 2011 4:30:37 PM