Monday, September 14, 2015
In the rough and changing landscape of the legal job market, legal employers have called on law schools to prepare more “practice ready” attorneys — newly minted lawyers with better honed practical skills than the first year associates of the past. The increasing emphasis on legal skills sheds light on an interesting paradox within legal education; in legal skills courses, those that best lend themselves to active learning exercises, instructors fill valuable classroom time with passive lectures to convey the related theory and best practices. Recently, several legal skills instructors have adopted a flipped classroom model to remedy this paradox by using commonplace technology to make concise lecture videos available online for students to view on their own time, creating additional classroom time for active skills development under the supervision of an experienced instructor.
This article first presents an assessment of the literature and limited empirical studies on the effectiveness of using a flipped classroom model in higher education courses. After discussing the pedagogical and learning benefits of flipped classroom, it then advocates for the at-least partial implementation of a flipped classroom model in legal skills courses to create more opportunities for active learning with the expectation of similar increases in student performance that have appeared in other areas of higher education.