Monday, August 25, 2014

Designing Spaces: Planning the Physical Space for a Legal Writing Program

Designing Spaces: Planning the Physical Space for a Legal Writing Program by Jan M. Levine.


"Very little has been written about designing new law school buildings or renovating existing law school buildings. There are a handful of articles about the process of building a new law school, or about a dean’s legacy being reflected in a building. Other articles have been written about designing law school libraries, and about building law libraries for other patrons. Law school rankings often reflect student satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the school’s physical plant. But almost nothing has been published about creating spaces for skills-based programs such as clinics7 and writing programs, despite the special considerations that apply to those parts of the law school’s educational program. This article describes what went into the renovation of existing space within the Duquesne University School of Law to accommodate a new legal research and writing program and offers suggestions to others who may be embarking on a similar endeavor."
Excerpts: "Dean Robert H. Jerry, II, has noted, 'At the risk of stating the obvious, architecture matters.  The nature of the space in which we work, teach, and study is important.  The design of our surroundings affects our attitudes, moods, self-esteem, efficiency, and sense of community.'  This is particularly true for a group of faculty members who, along with their courses, have been relegated to second-class status within law schools."
"The Center has encouraged a high esprit de corps within the program for all faculty and teaching assistants."

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