Sunday, August 3, 2014

The New York Times on law schools reinventing the curriculum

There's an interesting editorial in today's New York Times about the steps some schools are taking to reinvent the traditional law school curriculum after the first year.  Among the examples is a program at Michigan State (here, here and here) that teaches students to think more like a businessman to better service that kind of client as well as helping students develop entrepreneurial skills to compete against more traditional legal service providers like law firms. Other programs profiled include one at U. Colorado called Tech Law Accelerator, a summer bootcamp designed to teach students

'[A]ll of the things they don’t teach you in law school and they don’t teach in law firms but which you need to be effective in today’s world.' Students are brought up to speed on tech tools designed to make legal services more efficient. They hear lectures from companies like Adobe and NetApp. After the four weeks, they spend the rest of the summer, or even the following semester, working directly for a company.

Northwestern Dean Daniel B. Rodriguez mentions the curricular reforms at his school designed to prepare students for a more competitive legal marketplace including the expansion of practical training through clinical offerings and leveraging business and technology expertise among the faculty to teach students about “the law/business/technology interface.”

You can check out the full editorial here - it's definitely worth a read.

For a different view about these types law school reforms, check out this post by Professor Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns & Money who is skeptical that law schools can achieve better employment outcomes for students by re-making the curriculum to look more like an MBA program.


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