Monday, February 13, 2012

New Blog On Legal Education

William D. Henderson and Andrew Morriss have started a new blog The Legal Whiteboard on legal education.  Bill Henderson says the following on the blog's first post:

"Despite the fact that I am one of the go-to people on the speaker circuit when it comes time to talk about structural change, I am not in the sky-is-falling camp.  Instead, I see a lot of opportunities for lawyers, law students and legal educators to do very important and creative work.  What is most exciting about this work is that it will make society better off – law will become better, faster and cheaper.  Many legal services will become more standardized, productized and commoditized.  I realize that these words will rankle some of the old guard, particularly those still making a good living under the bespoke model.  But clients – including corporations, government and ordinary citizens—will love it.  Professional ideals will remain the cornerstone of successful legal enterprises, but denying the exigencies of the marketplace is, to my mind, unprofessional.

Because clients and society want better, faster and cheaper law, I believe lawyers (including legal educators) have a professional duty to ardently pursue this goal.  The hardest part of this assignment – and the most vexing and interesting – is how to parlay this transformation into a decent living. 

Many people assume that the new paradigm means lawyers working longer hours for lower wages.  That is one future business model.  But I think it utterly lacks imagination.  Lawyers are problem solvers.  To my mind, the growing price elasticity for legal services and legal education is just a very difficult problem.  And whenever I am faced with a very difficult problem, I typically start writing out my thoughts on a massive whiteboard.  (I am told it is quite a spectacle to behold.)  I am also someone who loves to collaborate.  With an outward facing Legal Whiteboard, I am hoping to elicit the genius of my fellow travelers."

Andy Morriss states in his first post: "I'm going to focus on a couple of things here, at least initially. First, I'm slowly working my way through bits of the considerable body of literature on teaching from outside the legal academy. There's a lot of good stuff out there - some of it based on data! - and I'll try to spur some conversation about that. Second, as Bill noted, there's a lot of interesting data out there that the legal academy is not yet using. I'll try to help that conversation along as well."

Bill and Andy, Welcome to the legal education debate!  We look forward to reading your blog.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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