Sunday, November 16, 2014

Training a New Breed of Lawyers

The ABA Student Lawyer has an article on how law schools are developing new ways of training their law students.  (here)

A few excerpts:

"Schools like Northwestern have expanded their clinic offerings—and other schools have been busy revamping curricula to make them more practice ready—in response to the sea change that has swept over the legal profession in the past several years since the Great Recession. With employers no longer willing or able to provide traditional mentoring in the early years, schools increasingly have come under pressure to infuse the practical skills of practicing law into their offerings."

"Such skills are increasingly becoming less of a luxury and more of a 'must' for graduating law students, Mascherin said. 'There’s more pressure on students to be able to perform quickly,' she explained. 'It’s not as forgiving a profession as it was 5, 10, 20 years ago. . . . Any kind of practical experience that gives a junior lawyer coming into the firm the confidence to know that they can figure out what they’re asked to do—that they’ve done it before, or something close to it, so you don’t have to go through those awkward first couple of drafts' is a plus."

"Clients are in the driver’s seat and demanding efficiency from their law firms, which in turn forces firms to demand the same of their first-year attorneys."

"Scott Schutte, partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Chicago, said clients with whom he works will sometimes flat out state they don’t want a first-year associate working on their case."

"Other schools also have recognized the heightened importance of practice-ready education and have begun revamping their curricula to meet this new demand."

"Margaret Drew, who has taken over as director of clinical programs and experiential learning at UMass, said employers are typically looking for two things in graduating students: that they research and write well, and that they have had some practical experience."

(Scott Fruehwald)

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