Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nolon et al., Towards Engaged Scholarship

John Nolon has posted Towards Engaged Scholarship, an article that is the result of last year's symposium by the same name that he hosted at Pace, which was a follow-up to 2011's highly successful Practically Grounded conference.  The meeting was really productive, and even though most of us were discussing engaged scholarship in land use and environmental law, the article has insights about the relationship between research, teaching, and practice that could be valuable to anyone in the field or law teaching generally.

The article is forthcomingHere are the contributors: John R. Nolon (Pace); land use guest-blogger Michelle Bryan Mudd (Montana); Michael Burger (Roger Williams); Kim Diana Connolly (SUNY Buffalo); Nestor M. Davidson (Fordham); Matthew Festa (South Texas); Jill Gross (Pace); Lisa Heinzerling (Georgetown); Keith H. Hirokawa (Albany); Tim Iglesias (San Fransisco); Patrick C. McGinley (West Virginia); Sean Nolon (Vermont); Uma Outka (Kansas); co-blogger Jessica Owley (SUNY Buffalo); Kalyani Robbins (Akron); guest-blogger Jonathan D. Rosenbloom (Drake); and Christopher Serkin (Brooklyn).  Here is the abstract:

The practice-oriented influences of the Carnegie Foundation’s Educating Lawyers and the report of the Clinical Legal Education Association, Best Practices for Legal Education, have been working on the academy for only five years; law teachers are just now learning how they can better prepare their students to practice law “effectively and responsibly in the contexts they are likely to encounter as new lawyers.” These reports have stimulated a vast literature on how law professors can improve their teaching methods, how law schools can alter their curricula, and how the legal academy as a whole can prioritize skills education.

Much less attention has been paid to the connection between legal scholarship and the practice of law. For many law professors, there is an intuitive link between their teaching and scholarship. Does that link apply to teaching law students to be more practice-oriented, and what precisely does that mean? Should our scholarship examine more regularly the problems that practitioners confront and the contexts in which they arise? This article addresses these pressing questions in the context of legal scholarship as a context and opportunity.

This article presents the reflections of sixteen law professors on linkages between scholarship and the legal profession. From these reflections, several themes are identified that lead to new perspective on legal scholarship in a time of dynamic change in the law school education. This article begins a dialogue on engaged scholarship and concludes with the some proposed directions for critical reflection on the roles of law professors as academics and as molders of the careers of their students.

The conference was great, both for the ideas that were shared and for the chance to discuss them with a group of both senior and junior scholars in our fields.  I think the article will advance the discussion of how to make scholarship both theoretical but also practically useful. 

Matt Festa

 

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/land_use/2013/02/nolon-et-al-towards-engaged-scholarship.html

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