Friday, July 31, 2009
This one comes to us from Professors Gerald Hess of Gonzaga and Stephen Gerst from Phoenix School of Law. It can be found at 43 Val. U. L. Rev. 513 (2009). From the introduction:
An old story about life: A grandparent was teaching a grandchild about our inner lives. “A struggle is going on inside of me, you, and everyone else. It is a fight between two wolves. One wolf is anger, envy, regret, greed, guilt, lies, resentment, and superiority. The other wolf is joy, humility, love, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.” “But which wolf will win?” asked the grandchild. Answered the grandparent, “The one you feed.”
A modern story about the conflict in legal education: It is not a fight between good and evil. Instead, it is a struggle about the fundamental purposes and methods to educate the next generation of lawyers. Mainstream legal education has fed the wolf of legal theory, doctrine, and analysis. This is a good wolf-effective lawyers need deep understanding of the law and critical thinking skills. The underfed wolf in legal education is competence in a broad range of professional skills and the development of professional values. This too is a good wolf.Professional skills and values education is beginning to receive the serious attention that it deserves. This Article offers one model of educating law students in professional skills and values. Part I summarizes the repeated calls for legal education to adopt and pursue an obligation to more fully prepare students for the profession. To answer those calls, Part II describes the development and delivery of the General Practice Skills course, a six-credit, required, simulation-based course that directly addresses skills and professionalism. Part III makes recommendations for the design and delivery of courses that focus on teaching professional skills and values.