Sunday, December 15, 2013

California to Require 15 Units of Experiential Education

While legal blogs have recently focused on a proposal by the ABA to require 15 credit hours of experiential courses, the California bar has already mandated a similar requirement.  (here)  According to the bar website, "The competency training proposal calls for 15 units of practice-based, experiential course work or an apprenticeship equivalent during law school, 50 hours of legal services devoted to pro bono or modest means clients prior to admission or in the first two years of practice and 10 additional MCLE hours focused on law practice competency training. Under the current plan, the implementation committee would develop a roadmap to phase in the MCLE hours starting in 2015, the pro bono or modest means requirement in 2016 and the law school competency training in 2017."  (here)

For more details on how the competency program would work see State Bar of California Task Force On Admissions Regulation Reform: Phase I Final Report.

While the above requirements apply only to those wanting to practice in California, it will affect all law schools that consider themselves national law schools.  All national law schools will have to offer their students who might practice in California the ability to fulfill the competency requirement.  Because law schools will have to offer more experiential courses, other students will also probably want to take the experiential courses, which means that experiential courses will have to be expanded greatly in the coming years, regardless of what the ABA ultimately decides.

(Scott Fruehwald)

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