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A Legal Education Renaissance:
A Practical Approach for the Twenty-First Century
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Abstract

A Legal Education Renaissance suggests a model for change and provides answers to criticism of the current system by addressing curriculum, teaching, faculty, and costs. It offers a realistic, achievable solution that fits within the guidelines that govern legal education institutions. The perspectives and recommendations are presented with the intent of encouraging discussion about the future of modern legal education.

The proposed legal education model dramatically changes the structure and content of the curriculum, uses modern learning and teaching techniques, changes the makeup of the faculty and reduces costs while addressing the diverse needs of today’s students.

A Legal Education Renaissance:
A Practical Approach for the Twenty First Century

Part I - Thinking Outside the Box and Richard Fosbury

The shortcomings of legal education and the reasons why change is necessary. Legal education is theory based and teaches legal substance with little training in the practice of law. It does not train students to be lawyers.

Part II - A Brief History of Legal Education in the United States

This part demonstrates that legal education in its present form is obsolete. Studies show the system is lacking but it remains similar to the system developed after the 1860’s.

Part III - Roadblocks to Innovation

This part describes the many roadblocks that stifle progress and prevent innovation.

Part IV - Research and Recommendations

This part offers a guide to legal education research demonstrating the importance of students learning legal practice skills in law school. Currently, law schools continue to use the case-method and do not train students to practice law.

Part V - Learning Theory, Curriculum Design, and Assessment

This part analyzes learning theories and demonstrates why a single approach to legal education does not address the differences in how people learn. It explains why the optimal learning environment must be learner-centered, knowledge-centered, and assessment centered. It recommends feasible changes to that address flaws in the current curriculum.

Part VI - What Others are Doing

This part examines innovative teaching methods from all areas and levels of education.

Part VII - A Legal Education Renaissance

This part provides an innovative and achievable plan to attain a renaissance. It is designed to encourage debate and generate ideas.

Appendices

Download the appendices from A Legal Education Renaissance: A Practical Approach for the Twenty-First Century

Appendix A: Three-Step Teaching System PDF, 247 Kb

Appendix B: Three-Step Teaching System Sample Schedule for Intensive Residential Practicum (Civil Procedure) PDF, 86 Kb

Appendix C: A System and Method for Teaching PDF, 5.33 Mb

Appendix D: The Legal Practicum: General Practice of Law PDF, 90 Kb

Appendix E: A Practice Exercise: Disciplinary Hearing PDF, 620 Kb