Saturday, June 6, 2020
AALS Section on Real Estate Transactions and Section on Academic Support
THE CHANGING ARCHITECTURE OF LEGAL EDUCATION:
REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS AS A CASE STUDY
In the past decade, legal education has experienced a number of body blows from which it still struggles to recover. In 2007, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (more commonly known as the “Carnegie Report”) criticized the academy for insufficiently preparing students for legal practice. In the aftermath of the 2008 Financial Crisis and global recession, many attorneys (especially from Big Law) were laid off and new graduates faced fewer and fewer job prospects. Mainstream and social media spotlighted lawyer and law student discontent, worries about sustainability of legal careers and the high cost of legal education, schools skewing data to try to game US News rankings, and the growing number of for-profit institutions. Law firms and their clients started exhibiting an increasing hesitancy with respect to hiring and training inexperienced attorneys. Law school admission rates tumbled as college graduates changed their opinions about the value of a legal education, as the ABA began making new demands of law schools pertaining to skills training and assessments. The practice of law, in the meantime, has changed dramatically, with automation, internet resources, and contract attorneys (or non-attorneys) taking the place performing tasks lawyers once controlled. Furthermore, schools have struggled to adapt to different expectations of the Millennial and Gen-Z generations of law students. Then, in March 2020, legal academia and law practice suddenly shifted to operating (temporarily?), primarily in the digital/virtual realm. The world has changed over the past 15 years, the practice of law has changed, and law schools struggle to adapt quickly enough to stay relevant and valuable.
The evolving demands and expectations for law schools are not just issues to be addressed by deans and administrators. Nor can the task of preparing new lawyers be allocated exclusively to clinicians and adjunct instructors of specialized “skills” classes. Doctrinal professors may want to also change their approach in the classroom in response to new industry demands for practice competencies and evolving attorney roles in an ever-changing marketplace, but have our pedagogical approaches adequately adapted to this new world? And how has law schools’ increasing reliance on adjunct professors impacted the students’ experience and preparation for the bar and beyond? In short: In what ways do we need to rethink what we teach and how we teach it in order to remain optimally relevant to tomorrow’s lawyers.
The Section on Real Estate Transactions and the Section on Academic Support seek to explore these questions and related issues at the 2021 AALS Annual Meeting during their joint program panel titled The Changing Architecture of Approaches to Legal Education: Real Estate Transactions as a Case Study.
Call for Papers:
The Sections invite the submission of abstracts dealing broadly with issues related to curricular choices, course content and design, teaching, and pedagogy, both best practices and innovations, in the area of real property and related courses (mortgage finance, securitization, commercial leasing, housing law, real estate development, etc.). The Sections are specifically looking to highlight issues related to both curricular design/course offerings and teaching methodologies that can better prepare students for modern practice and ensure student achievement of course objectives. Some questions that we are looking to explore include:
• What real estate law courses / topics should law schools be teaching?
• Who should be teaching these courses?
• How should the courses be taught and student competencies assessed?
To respond to this call for papers, please submit an abstract of your proposed paper/presentation. There is no formal paper requirement associated with participation on the panel and papers submitted will not be published.
Please email your submissions to Andrea Boyack at firstname.lastname@example.org by July17th, 2020.
Per AALS rules, only full-time faculty members of AALS member law schools are eligible to submit a paper/abstract to Section calls for papers. Faculty at fee-paid law schools, foreign faculty, adjunct and visiting faculty (without a full-time position at an AALS member law school), graduate students, fellows, and non-law school faculty are not eligible to submit.