Monday, January 16, 2012
It's called LEAPS (Legal Education, ADR, and Problem-Solving Project) and is a project of the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution. LEAPS' purpose is to increase instruction in practical problem solving skills in legal education "by integrating it into the curriculum in various ways."
The group has a website and plans shortly to initiate what it calls a “community organizing” effort to encourage law faculty to talk with colleagues at their schools about incorporating "Practical Problem-Solving" (PPS) skills into the curriculum. What's PPS you ask? From the LEAPS website:
Practical Problem-Solving ("PPS") involves the range of skills that lawyers use regularly in practice in addition to legal research, writing, and analysis. These skills include fact gathering, client interviewing and counseling, negotiation, representation in ADR processes, and drafting legal documents, among others. Below is a broader list of practical problem-solving skills and issues.
It is important for students to be exposed to PPS in many courses to emphasize the importance of these skills and to increase students’ opportunity to learn more about lawyering.
Many faculty already incorporate some PPS in their courses. This can be quite subtle, for example, asking students to discuss cases in a casebook from the perspective of a lawyer advising a client or negotiating with the other side. Faculty sometimes inject PPS into class discussion when analyzing hypothetical problems and possible solutions. Sometimes faculty assign students to do simulations outside of class dealing with particular legal issues. These are just a few ways that faculty can increase attention to practical application of legal doctrine.