Sunday, March 18, 2012

They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Law Schools That Have Adopted Significant Educational Reforms

This week I will be highlighting some of the law schools that have already adopted significant changes in legal education. There are twenty schools that have joined Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers Consortium. "Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers partners with a consortium of law schools committed to innovation in the spirit of the Carnegie Report. Each member of the Consortium makes an annual contribution to the initiative, to support the mission and goals of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers." Law schools belonging to the Consortium include: American, CUNY, Cornell, Dayton, Denver, Indiana/Bloomington, Maryland, Miami, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Northeastern, Pitt, Seattle, USC, Southwestern, St. Thomas, Stanford, Suffolk, Vanderbilt, and Washington & Lee.

Criteria for joining the Consortium are:

To become a consortium member of Educating Tomorrow’s Lawyers, a law school must:

1. Be an ABA-accredited institution.

2. Demonstrate significant institutional commitment to legal education reform along the lines proposed in the 2007 Carnegie Report, Educating Lawyers. Such commitment may take the form of a strategic plan, curriculum committee plan, or other administrative or faculty directive.

3. Offer multiple courses that implement the Carnegie approach to legal education and focus on student-centered teaching. While we understand that there are a broad range of innovations, and a broad spectrum of progress in implementing such innovations, we are looking for schools that offer more than a trial advocacy course and a few clinics.

4. Have responded to our 2011 survey of U.S. and Canadian law schools on the developments in legal education. And,

5. Provide a short written description (150 – 250 words, to be posted on the website) explaining the school’s commitment to legal education reform and current Carnegie-style curricular offerings.

(Scott Fruehwald

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What wonderful news--until you realize that the first "requirement" is like announcing the First Explorers Club, an organization whose members cannot include anyone who sailed in a small boat or from anywhere other than a closed list of ports.

What the twenty schools are patting themselves on the back for the Massachusetts School of Law has been doing for the 20-plus years of its history, actions opposed by the very club whose members are now crowing about their pioneering efforts toward the very same measures. The only real difference is that this new Club recognizes only "pioneers" who sail in the most expensive yachts. From those of us in the little boats, "Welcome."

Posted by: Andy Starkis | Mar 20, 2012 6:10:29 AM

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