Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Did you know about the Institute for the Future of Law Practice?

Somehow I missed the initial press release for this back in February but better late than never, right? The Institute for the Future of Law Practice is a consortium of four law schools, at present, including U. Colorado. Northwestern, Indiana, and Osgoode Hall (Toronto) that, among other things, is offering a series of bootcamps this month and into the summer to rising 2L and 3L law students to better prepare them for the practice of law. Applications for this year's bootcamps have already closed.  But topics covered during the bootcamps will include basic accounting and business principles; professional communication and teamwork; exposure to core elements of mergers & acquisitions, litigation management, IP strategy, and high-volume commercial contracting; and basic principles of project management, process improvement, and data analytics. The curriculum is organized around modules with subjects like "introduction to in-house practice," "business fundamentals," and "practical legal skills."

Each bootcamp also offers participating students a 10 week summer paid internship and 7 month field placement. The inaugural program is being held at U. Colorado and Northwestern though program spokesman Professor Henderson says the plan is to expand this initiative to other schools. At present it's not clear to me from the website whether the program is only open to students attending the participating schools and whether attendance is already covered by the existing tuition at those schools or instead participating students must pay additional fees to attend (anyone interested in sponsoring the IFLP's work can click here).

The website looks impressive (check out the list of IFLP faculty, industry representatives and legal practice experts here). Professor Henderson states that the goal of the IFLP is to help bridge the gap between legal education and the skills needed to actually practice law "by identifying industry-leading practitioners and distilling their know-how and experience into an organized body of knowledge that can be taught to law students and mid-career legal professionals."  It's an ambitious experiment that's worth following to see if it catches on at other law schools and among students and their prospective employers. 

You can access the IFLP website here and a blog post by Professor Henderson at his Legal Evolution website that describes the project and it goals in more detail here. Above the Law covered the initial launch of IFLP here. 


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