Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stark on Curriculum Reform (and Law School Pre-reqs)

UnknownTina Stark, a pioneer in transactional skills education, has an interesting and highly readable take on how to organize a modern law school curriculum, including the first year.  It's all insightful, but I think the most powerful suggestion is the creation of three foundational modules - litigation, transactions, and legislation/regulation - in which the offerings would combine theory, doctrine, and skills.  

The piece is a transcript of her keynote address, "What Cornell Veterinary School Taught Me About Legal Education," at the Fourth Biennial Conference of Emory Law School's Center for Transactional Law and Education.

What stirred Tina's reflections was her son's matriculation from the classroom to the clinical portion of his veterinary education.  I posted similar thoughts some time ago reflecting on my son Matthew's (now Dr. Matthew Lipshaw, resident in pediatrics, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital) med school experience.  I'm still persuaded that there are two things medical education has over legal education (I can't speak to veterinary): (a) the reimbursement system in health care provides resources for skills training not likely to be available any time soon for legal education, and (b) with all due respect to law students (and I know whereof I speak because I was one), even with a semester or a year in a clinical offering, med students work a hell of a lot harder than law students.  We'd have no problem getting both doctrinal and skills training into our students if they were at it six or seven days a week, twelve or thirteen hours a day.

If you download Tina's piece, there's a lagniappe at the end - some thoughts on why there's no law school pre-req for English composition, yet there is in med and engineering school!

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Lagniappe: Why not just use the word gift, or small gift??

Posted by: Tony | Jan 17, 2015 5:25:49 PM

Thanks, Tony, for the question; we love engaged readers. Answer: because it's not the same connotation and probably not the same definition in this context. If I buy a little cameo for my wife, it's a small gift, but it's not a lagniappe. A lagniappe is a gift, but a particular kind, like the thirteenth bagel in a baker's dozen - something thrown in at the end, usually by a merchant. That metaphor is exactly what I was looking for about Tina's additional remarks.

Posted by: Jeff Lipshaw | Jan 18, 2015 5:24:55 AM

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