October 27, 2010
Starting to Fill the Practical Skills Niche
Please allow me to introduce myself with my first post as a contributing editor on the Legal Skills Prof Blog. I’m Dennis Kennedy and I’m an information technology lawyer, legal technology author, blogger and podcaster who has been writing about the application of technology to the practice of law for many years. Among other things, I currently write the technology column for the ABA Journal.
There’s never been more discussion of or greater interest in the role that practical skills training should play in legal education than there is today. I’m so pleased to be part of the Legal Skills Prof Blog team because I believe this blog will become a focal point and a platform for conversation about this topic as well as a way to highlight developments and provide models for action.
In my last year of law school, I realized one day that I was learning much more about bankruptcy law in my part-time job at a law firm than I was learning about the day-to-day aspects of bankruptcy practice in my bankruptcy law class. That’s a common feeling among those who work part-time during law school.
I co-taught a class in Intellectual Property Drafting as an adjunct professor at the Washington University Law School several years ago. Some of the best response I received was to the time I took at the end of a couple of classes to talk about how the students might actually go about completing a drafting project at a firm – use of forms and templates, et al.
For the last few summers, I’ve been a guest speaker for a law practice management class at St. Louis University Law School. I focus on using technology in the practice. I’ve simply done a Q & A session and, to my surprise, we’ve never even come close to running out of questions to talk about.
My “beat” on this blog will, not surprisingly, given my long history of writing and speaking about legal technology, focus on technology aspects of law practice and legal education, and ways we can teach and, most importantly, learn about technology. Ideally, we can all learn from each other.
I’ll admit to being a technology advocate. I can assure you that you won’t ever see my advocating a prohibition on the use of laptop computers in the classroom.
Please join us in this blog conversation and experiment, which is so well summed-up by the “mission statement” of this blog:
What we hope to accomplish with this blog is to fill a niche that we think is currently missing in the legal blogosphere; creating a forum for news and discussion between and among law professors who teach legal skills (including legal writing professors, clinicians and "doctrinal" professors who incorporate practical skills into their courses), practitioners who hire the students we teach, and student themselves who are interested in keeping abreast of trends in legal skills training.