Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz, Florida International School of Law and the Bar Pass Secret Sauce

Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz has praised Florida International University's astonishing success on the Florida bar.

 Florida International School of Law and the Bar Pass Secret Sauce

He writes,

"It is very easy to dismiss one impressive bar pass rate as a fluke.  Even two in a row might possibly be dismissed. However, Florida International School of Law, ranked fifth among the 11 ABA-approved law schools in Florida, has enjoyed a bar pass rate, over the past six bar exams, that is first, first, first, second, first, and first in the state. In other words, we cannot even see the fluke line from where we are standing; instead, it’s time we recognize that FIU has found the bar pass secret sauce."

"What is that secret sauce?"

"The architect of FIU’s Bar Pass success, Professor Louis Schulze, has authored a law review article that provides some insight. The crux of Professor Schulze’s approach involves empowering law students by teaching them modern brain science principles and study strategies, convincing the students to implement those principles, and supporting their efforts to do so."

Exactly!  For several years, we on this blog have been advocating that law schools look to general education research to improve teaching and learning.  In fact, Dean Schwartz was the first legal scholar to look at general education research and apply it to legal education.  Part of this general education research is that education scholars must understand how the brain works to understand how human's learn. I applied this knowledge in writing my book, Think Like a Lawyer: Legal Reasoning for Law Students and Business Professionals (ABA Pub. 2013).  Many others in the legal profession have also used these principles.  However, the fact that Dean Schwartz is singling out one law school for praise demonstrates that many more law schools and law professors need to change their learning approaches.

(Scott Fruehwald)

P.S. Keep repeating this mantra: "Law schools' number one goal should be to turn out self-regulated learners."

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