Friday, October 25, 2013
For several years, business and transactional lawyers have increased the pressure on law schools to produce more practice-ready graduates. This article explores the practical skills reform movement with two goals in mind. First, it seeks to articulate and reconcile some of the fundamental differences in the perspectives of the practicing bar and the legal academy. Second, it highlights the special challenges and opportunities involved in making legal education more effective for students who will practice business and transactional law. In addition to reviewing recent literature from the bar and the academy on the practical skills gap, the article also reports and analyzes the results of the author’s own national survey of law firm professional development departments concerning the specific practical skills that entry-level transactional lawyers need. The author concludes that, if reform is to be comprehensive and fully effective, the bar must take the leading role, and that society will benefit most when the bar and law schools seek out educational partnerships with one another.