Sunday, July 26, 2009

English legal storytelling

McpeakeAlthough the excellent applied Legal Storytelling conference has ended, there is still much to report, as time allows.  Robert McPeake, from The City Law School in London, presented a paper he is working on with Marcus Soanes, asking Why Isn't the English Legal Profession Interested in Storytelling?  Their main thrust is searching for mechanisms that will help lawyers in England and Wales become more reflective about their work, so they will seek ways to continually improve in their work as advocates.  From the perspective of a U.S. law professor, a particularly interesting aspect of McPeake's presentation was his background explanation of the current system of training and licensing soliciters and barristers in England.  Advocacy before their courts is mostly oral advocacy.  Only recently have written "skeleton reports" been allowed, and as one judge reminded English advocates, "NOT AMERICAN STYLE BRIEFS"  (emphasis original).  Their assessment for licensing reflects this oral tradition, and a system to assess all candidates in skills like negotiating, client interviewing, and oral argument is already in use.  Perhaps this system could provide a useful model for the ABA, as it seeks to implement outcome measures in U.S. legal education, instead of the current ABA standards that measure inputs.  (spl)

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