Thursday, December 17, 2009
There's an article in today's online ABA Journal discussing the departure after three years of Washington & Lee Dean Rod Smolla for Furman College where he'll serve as president. The article mentions the curriculum reforms that Dean Smolla implemented which place a heavy emphasis on preparing students to actually practice law. (We'd previously blogged about the curriculum changes at W & L here and here). The reforms "eliminate traditional coursework and [focus] on the practice of law through simulated or real-work situations. More than 50 percent of Washington & Lee’s 3L’s are participating in the currently optional program, which will become mandatory in 2011."
The ABA story states that the curriculum changes have accounted for a 33% increase in applicants this fall. While the school claims there's a connection between its newly revamped curriculum and an increase in applications, other factors could also explain the change including the poor economy which has led to a significant increase in the number of applications at many law schools. But it would be nice to think that the applicant market responds this favorably to a school that emphasizes practice skills as much as W & L. If you know of any other schools that report similar results from implementing a practice-oriented curriculum, please let us know in the comments below.
I am the scholarship dude.