Saturday, August 29, 2015
The goal of producing "practice-ready" grads is really about turning out law students who are ready to undertake a professional apprenticeship
That's the gist of Professor Andrea Boyack's (Washburn) post at PrawfsBlawg titled Get "PRACTICE READY." Get set. Go! She makes a number of excellent points, most of which I completely agree with. To wit, while it's pedagogically vital to incorporate exercises drawn from practice and experiential learning opportunities into the classroom, it is unrealistic to believe that law schools can produce grads who are ready right out of the gate to handle actual client matters on their own without proper supervision. For one thing, law school simulations can't possibly replicate the economic realities and constraints lawyers face in the real world (See Professor Barnhizer's excellent essay for more on that). More significantly, being an effective lawyer takes good, professional judgment which has to be earned the old fashion way and thus can't possibly be imparted in a 3 or 4 credit course. Rather, good judgment like wisdom only develops over time as the result of mindful effort and application to the task at hand. The primary goal of a legal education has always been and should continue to be about teaching students how to think like a lawyer. It's what law schools excel at and where they have a distinct comparative advantage compared to practitioners. On the other hand, practitioners are far and away in the best position to mentor and train law grads in the myriad skills needed to actually practice law including everything from client development, to running a small business and the economic realities of trying to deliver effective legal services to clients on a budget. But Professor Boyack says all that and more much better than me so head over to PrawfsBlawg and check it out for yourself.
Hat tip to TaxProf Blog.