November 4, 2008
Montana: Lessons from the Carnegie and Best Practices Reports
Patricia Grande Montana (St. John's) has published Lessons from the Carnegie and Best Practices Reports: A Look at the Street Law Program as a Model for Teaching Professional Skills, Journal of Practical and Clinical Law, Vol. 11, No. 2, 2009. Here is the abstract:
There has been much discussion over the impact the Carnegie Report and Best Practices Report has had and will continue to have on legal education. This article offers a unique way that law schools can meet some of the challenges of the reports.
The reports focused, in part, on the academy's role in preparing students for practice. They concluded that law schools must devote more attention and resources to helping students develop the professional skills they will need in practice. The consensus was that the traditional case method of teaching is insufficient on its own to train students for practice. Thus, they recommended that law schools broaden the ways in which they teach their students to become lawyers by, for example, incorporating "settings and pedagogies different from those used in the teaching of legal analysis." (Carnegie Report at 14). They suggested that law schools can unite "formal knowledge" and "the experience of practice" by also offering non-traditional curricular offerings, such as clinics, externships, simulations, and other like opportunities. (Carnegie Report at 12).
The Street Law program, a course that allows students to teach a law-related education course to high school students in the community, uniquely incorporates many of the recommendations of the reports. Through their teaching, law students learn the practical applications of legal concepts and practice important lawyering skills. Using the Street Law program as an illustration, this article demonstrates how non-traditional course offerings can provide powerful professional development opportunities for students. Thus, the program serves as an excellent model for how law schools can integrate the teaching of knowledge, skills, and values into their curricula.
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