Friday, April 29, 2022
As I have mentioned before, the ABA made significant changes to the standards for legal education at their mid-year meeting, including adding a new requirement for professional identity training. Neil Hamilton has just informed me that the Holloran Center will have a workshop on professional identity training on May 23-24. (Here) 60 schools have already signed up.
Also, Neil and Louis Bilionis have just published a book on professional identity development for law faculty. Law Student Professional Development and Formation: Bridging Law School, Student, and Employer Goals. I will have some comments about this book in a few days.
Finally, a reminder that I have published a book on professional identity development for students, which contains a plethora of exercises to help them develop this skill. Developing Your Professional Identity: Creating Your Inner Lawyer.
Thursday, April 14, 2022
How does experiential education affect law students' stress levels?
"A recent Insight suggested that one source of law students’ stress is the expansion of experiential learning. Three New York University School of Law professors disagree, and say experiential learning is active, engaging, and helps to bring meaning to students’ legal education. This experience—and closer work with instructors—helps law students learn to manage stress, they contend."
Monday, April 11, 2022
The ABA recently made significant changes to the standards for legal education. Among these changes is a new requirement to include cross-cultural competence training in the curriculum. Here is a new book to help law students learn cross-cultural competence.
A Guide to Help Lawyers, Law Students, and Business Professionals Develop Cross-Cultural Competence by E. Scott Fruehwald (2021).
We live in a diverse world, and cross-cultural competence is important for everyone. This is especially true for lawyers and business professionals.
A key part of being a lawyer or business professional is the ability to deal with others. Part of this ability is the recognition that the people you will deal with come from many different cultures and backgrounds. We are all human, but there is a great deal of variation among humans. This is why I have written this book.
While cross-cultural competence has been an essential part of medical education and business for years, it is not usually part of legal education. However, it is essential to attorney competence, and it can give practitioners a competitive edge. Similarly, lack of cross-cultural competence can cause international business failure and ruin careers.
"Cross-cultural competence" is the "ability to understand people from different cultures and engage with them effectively." It involves "‘the ability to function effectively in another culture', consisting of three interdependent dimensions: 1) an affective dimension (personality traits and attitudes), 2) a cognitive dimension (how individuals acquire and categorize cultural knowledge), and a communicative, behavioral dimension (being an effective communicator)."
Saturday, April 2, 2022
Claudia Angelos (NYU), Mary Lu Bilek (Dean, CUNY), & Joan Howarth (UNLV), The Deborah Jones Merritt Center for the Advancement of Justice
When invited to write an essay on clinical legal education honoring our friend, we were struck by the importance of a focus on clinical legal education in any collection of work paying tribute to Professor Deborah Jones Merritt. Legal education has benefited from a fifty-year movement for clinical education. This movement necessarily interrogates and seeks to overcome the anachronistic, inherited Langdellian paradigm that dominates and continues to define the curricula and policies of our law schools. But the movement for clinical education has been exponentially confounded by contemporary legal education’s shape as a pyramid of statuses and privileges accumulated over time and embedded in the straight, white, male, ableist, classist structures of American universities, our legal system, and our laws.
Progress has been made. Thousands of lawyers now enter the profession with the advantage of having practiced under the supervision of faculty who choose to live in the fray of the reality of clients’ lives, the ambiguity of the real world, and the politics of the profession. Thousands of lawyers have learned through clinical education the habits of planning, doing, and reflecting that are otherwise invisible in the academy.
But clinical faculty typically work at lower pay in smaller offices on cases that don’t run on an academic timetable, in physical and ideological structures that are ill-suited for law practice, and in statuses that deprive them of the ability to build a better-suited environment. Perhaps most cruelly in an academic environment, clinical faculty have faced the pervasive stigma of the foolish but well-entrenched notion that classroom teaching far removed from practice demands a higher order of intellect. Professor Merritt understood this to be untrue, unjust, bad for students, and potentially disastrous for their future clients.
With the ambition to undertake her best work and motivated to hew her efforts to their highest calling, Professor Merritt unflinchingly and joyfully crossed the divide to become a clinician. At the height of an exceptional professorial career, Professor Merritt cheerfully changed course. She had learned from her students that she should become a different kind of professor so they could become the lawyers they wanted to be, the lawyers their future clients deserved. We are humbled to write in honor of such a clear-eyed colleague.