Thursday, March 31, 2016
Hot off the press - "Experiential Educating in the Classroom: Designing an Administrative Law Practicum Meeting New ABA Requirements and Student Needs"
In August 2014 the American Bar Association approved Revisions to the Standards for Approved Law Schools Relating to Learning Outcomes and Experiential Learning. Standards 302-304 set forth, generally, desired skills, competencies and goals to promote experiential learning opportunities for students. This essay is the first to detail, from start to finish, how a practicum or simulation course -- blending doctrinal and clinical course pedagogies -- can be successfully developed to implement those Standards, in this instance in an administrative law practicum with an environmental and energy law focus. The ongoing decline in the number of jury trial proceedings in America has been well-documented; what has been less well-documented or discussed is the ongoing growth of the number of administrative agencies and bodies promulgating rules and regulations, conducting many more adjudicatory proceedings, and requiring very different skill sets for lawyers representing clients impacted by those agencies. The art of advocating for clients in a regulatory arena is very different from that in the courtroom, yet while almost all law schools have a trial practice course, there are virtually no comparable administrative or regulatory law practicum (versus clinical or externship) courses. This article uniquely details the design, implementation and assessment of two editions of a new practicum that focused on the many ethical, environmental and administrative law issues arising out of a proposed $200 million wind power project through use of a dozen different oral and written exercises, and an evolving Case Study, through the semester. The goal is to help interested faculty, deans and others to more effectively craft similar, blended courses that students both greatly need and will welcome.