Sunday, March 27, 2016
My major criticism of current legal education is that the way it is taught does not allow easy knowledge and skills transfer to the domain of law practice. Legal education mainly teaches students to be appellate lawyers and legal philosophers. The typical lawyer is not an appellate lawyer or a philosopher. Thus, law schools do not teach their students in a way that is best for the knowledge retrieval they will need as practicing attorneys. For example, students learn contract principles in law school, but the typical first-year contracts class does not teach students how to use this knowledge to draft a contract. When a lawyer starts to draft contracts in practice, she will be lost because of the way she has contract law stored in her long-term memory. In other words, the way that contract law is stored in a law student’s long-term memory does not transfer well to drafting contracts. Similarly, Torts may help a student write an appellate brief on a torts question, but the typical Torts class does not provide the knowledge organization to make it easy to draft interrogatories in a torts case. The torts doctrine is not organized in a manner in long-term memory that will transfer easily to drafting interrogatories. (here)
Joshua D. Kahn & Erik James Girvan have undertaken a study of how indeterminacy affects transfer: Applying Rules and Standards Accurately: Indeterminacy and Transfer Among Adult Learners. I cannot overstate how important this study is and how it can be used as a model for the study of effectiveness of legal education methods.