Monday, June 15, 2015

Michele Pistone on Law Schools and Technology

Law Schools and Technology: Where We Are and Where We Are Heading by Michele R. Pistone.


For many years, the question of how to use technology to teach the law has been a minor concern of the legal academy. That era of general indifference to developments in learning technologies is now coming to an end. There are many reasons for the change. Law schools are facing such a host of difficulties — declining enrollments, declining job prospects for graduates, reduced public funding, and understandable concerns about cost and debt — that sometimes it seems the only debate is over whether the situation is best described as a “tsunami” or “a perfect storm.” Against this backdrop, technology offers the attractive possibility of making legal education both more efficient and more effective. This article has two main aims. First, in Part II, it discusses some of the conditions that will push law schools to incorporate more learning technologies into our teaching methodologies in the coming years. Part III provides an overview of some of the learning technologies that have gained prominence, as well as at least limited usage, in law schools in recent years.

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It's not surprising that you'd be attracted to another in the endless supply of form over substance proposals for dealing with the problems of legal education. Do you not see the logical error in trying to solve a labor market shortage with a change in educational technique? The latter is a spectacular non-sequitur to the former. But even on your own terms the suggestion is silly. Technology will not make a poor teacher effective, and the lack of technology will not make a great teacher ineffective. It's what you say and not how you say it, that makes teaching effective. An obsessive concern with delivery is a frolic and detour. As Duncan Kennedy was fond of saying, "the only teaching method (or technology) that works over time is the triumph of content." I should add, this topic also has been talked to death in the journals.

Posted by: Pushkin | Jun 16, 2015 4:44:48 AM

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