Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Brian Leiter Misrepresents Proposal by ABA Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

Brian Leiter has written on Brian Leiter's Law School Reports:

"A previously moribund proposal to require 15 hours of clinical work has now come back to life, thanks to advocacy by (guess who?) clinical faculty.  Students who want to do 15 or 30 hours of clinical work should be able to do it; but why in God's name would one require it of everyone, without any regard for that student's ambitions or plans?  It makes no sense."

Professor Leiter has seriously misrepresented the proposal.

Actually, the proposal is to require 15 hours of clinics, simulations, or externships.  This is very different from how Professor Leiter represents the proposal.  Under the proposal, law schools do not have to offer any clinics.  Rather, clinics are just one of three alternatives.

This is yet another example of how opponents of legal education reform are using exaggeration to try to prevent reform.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S. As I wrote last summer, I strongly support this proposal. 


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Prof. Fruehwald, you need to moderate your comments for adult content. Neither Louise nor Brad speak truly or relevantly. Mr. Milles is an idiot, as always, but that's neither here nor there. As to the content of your post: a reader did call this fact about the proposal to my attention, and I added an update to that effect. (That the champion of the proposal is a clinician misled me.) It does not change the fact that there is no sound pedagogical rationale for imposing this requirement. You also have no basis for describing me as an opponent of legal education reform; I am an opponent of people pushing their pet pedagogical agendas on to the rest of us, but that's rather different. As I have written many times, I favor less ABA regulation, not more, to permit more models of legal education, so we can see, in reality, what happens. That is the main reform I favor. I also favor post-tenure review so that those in dereliction of their professional duties can be held to account or terminated, for cause. This will lower costs quickly, since too many law schools have too many highly salaried do-nothings on their faculties, as some of those posting here know.

Posted by: Brian | Dec 12, 2013 8:04:53 AM

Here is the actual proposal from the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admission to the Bar. This version still has the six-credit requirement, but the definition of compliant courses is as follows:

Proposed Standard 303(a):
(3) one or more experiential course(s) totaling at least six credit hours. An experiential course or courses must be: (i) simulation course(s); or (ii) clinical course(s); or (iii) field placement(s). To satisfy this requirement, a course must be primarily experiential in nature and must:

(i) integrate doctrine, theory, skills, and legal ethics and engage students in performance of one or more of the professional skills identified in Standard 302;
(ii) develop the concepts underlying the professional skills being taught;
(iii) provide multiple opportunities for performance; and
(iv) provide opportunities for self-evaluation.


Posted by: James Milles | Dec 11, 2013 8:54:00 AM

Truth is not Leiter's strong point.

Posted by: Louise | Dec 10, 2013 7:02:39 PM

Leiter will use any excuse to attack a group he doesn't like. This time it's the clinicians.

Posted by: Brad | Dec 10, 2013 5:45:19 PM

Misrepresentation? Never! Leiter is merely assuming the proper combative posture when truth is at stake.

Posted by: James Milles | Dec 10, 2013 4:00:28 PM

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