Thursday, January 3, 2019
To paraphrase John Wayne at the end of The Sands of Iwo Jima, (which, by the way, is a really good movie) "time to saddle-up and get back into the [blogging] war." Here's a new article available on SSRN by Gregory Marsden (professor and dean of post-graduate studies at Monterrey Law School, Mexico) who argues that American law schools can learn a lesson from the way business schools have adapted the Socratic case method to better prepare law students for practice. Professor Marsden's article is called Doing Law School Wrong: Case Teaching and an Integrated Legal Practice Method. From the abstract:
Since its inception, the Langdellian case method has been used to teach legal analysis and reasoning to generations of U.S. law students. For nearly as long, business school students have used their own version of the case method to learn and practice management decision-making. In law school, a ‘case’ is an appellate court decision, which students must analyze in preparation for Socratic questioning. To business students, a ‘case’ is a narrative problem they must solve, before debating and defending their solutions in a moderated classroom discussion.
This paper contrasts the two case methods, first defining the methods themselves, as well as related concepts including Socratic dialogue and problem-based learning. It then asserts that neither the law school nor the business school case method is optimal to prepare students for bar admission and the practice of law. Following a detailed examination of both methods, with particular emphasis on the role of group work, the focus then shifts to a proposed Integrated Legal Practice Method. This proposed method draws on business-school case teaching, in an effort to address the shortcomings of current U.S. legal education by providing students not only with substantive and adjective legal knowledge, but also with the skills necessary for legal practice.