Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013 Educating Tomorrow's Lawyer's Conference A Transformative Experience

The Second Annual Educating Tomorrow's Lawyers Conference ended today, and the best way to describe it is as a transformative experience.

The Conference covered three main themes: 1) what core competencies do entry level lawyers need?, 2) what structural and curricular changes ensure law grads have the necessary core competencies?, and 3) how can law school accreditation and admissions standards facilitate innovation in legal education?.  In addition to presentations by leaders in legal education, participants had the extensive opportunity to discussion innovation in law school teaching and what is happening at their law schools.  I will discuss the details of what I learned at the conference over the next several posts.

Legal education will change and soon.  There will be many forces pushing this change on law schools.  However, the strongest force will probably be the bars of our largest states.   Some bars are considering major changes in how we educate our students, and many of these changes involve experiential education.  If a state, like California or New York, requires that students take 15 hours of experiential education, then national law schools will have to provide experiential courses for their students.  From what I heard this morning, this will happen very soon, and law schools and law professors need to be prepared.

As the conference ended at noon today, you could feel the enthusiasm in the room.  We knew that legal education will be changing and that we were the pioneers of that movement.   To me, this conference seemed like a seminal moment, and I think I experienced what others have experienced who were present at the beginning of something big.  This reminded me of the founding of the Critical Legal Studies movement in the 1970s.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S.  David Thomson also has two posts about the conference on his blog here.

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