Aida M. Alaka, The Grammar Wars Come to Law School, 59 J. Legal Educ. 343 (2010).
Alaka describes the trends in general education which have often resulted in law students lacking basic writing skills and the additional burdens on both legal writing instructors and on upper-level course faculty.
Jill Schachner Chanen, Re-Engineering the J.D.: Schools Across the Country Are Teaching Less About the Law and More About Lawyering, A.B.A.J., July 2007, at 42.
Some law schools are moving away from the Socratic method to more “lawyering-centered” way of teaching law, as recommended by the Carnegie Foundation’s Report on legal education (“Educating Lawyers”) and the MacCrate Report.
Michael Coper, Law Reform and Legal Education: Uniting Separate Worlds (Leadership in Legal Education Symposium VIII) 39 U. Toledo L. Rev. 233 (2008).
The author, an Australian law school dean, relates legal education there to the American model and suggests that the two separate worlds of law reform and legal education should be brought together in both countries so that education has a conscious and deliberate law reform ethos and focus. In Legal Knowledge, the Responsibility of Lawyers and the Task of Law Schools (p251-260), he further describes the dilemma of both training lawyers for professional practice and educating them in the intellectual discipline of law.
John J. Costonis, The MacCrate Report: Of Loaves, Fishes, and the Future of American Legal Education, 43 J. Legal Educ. 157 (1993).
“The 1992 MacCrate Report … defines a vision of legal education whose import, I believe, will compete with the several visions that dominated the American law school in the late nineteenth, the mid-twentieth, and now the late twentieth century … [T]he MacCrate Report hews aggressively to a practitioner-oriented concept of legal education. Its template for determining what and how law schools should teach derives from its description of what lawyers actually do.”
“The questions addressed in the MacCrate Report are not novel, this review clarifies, but have plagued university-based legal education from its earliest days … Likewise exposed are similarities and differences associated with the Report’s insistence on viewing legal education through the practitioner’s lens. The subsequent sections of the essay describe and critique the Report using the Prologue as a foundation for both tasks.”
Andrea A. Curcio et al., Law School and Bar Examination Performance: Developing an Empirical Model to Test Whether Required Writing Exercises or Other Changes in Large-Section Law Class Teaching Methodologies Result in Improved Exam Performance, 57 J. Legal Educ. 195 (2007)
“[W]e examined whether multiple practice essays, combined with peer and self-assessment using annotated model answers, had any effect on first-year law students’ ability to break a legal rule into its component parts and perform a complex factual analysis on an essay exam … On average, students in the writing exercise class performed better on the essay exam questions, but the most statistically significant benefit inured to students who had above-the-median LSAT scores and above-the-median UGPA scores.”
Okianer Christian Dark, Transitioning from Law Teaching to Practice and Back Again: Proposals for Developing Lawyers Within the Law School Program, 28 J. Legal Prof. 17 (2003-2004).
This article suggests incorporating ethics instruction across the curriculum, strengthening clinical programs and promoting ADR.
James Eagar, The Right Tool for the Job: The Effective Use of Pedagogical Methods in Legal Education, 32 Gonz. L. Rev. 389 (1996-97).
This article questions traditional legal teaching and encourages law teachers to be aware of a wide range of different pedagogical methods available to them, and to use those methods which best meet the goals of their courses.
Russell Engler, From 10 to 20: A Guide to Utilizing the MacCrate Report over the Next Decade, 23 Pace L. Rev. 519 (2003).
Helps those committed to enhancing skills and values instruction at their law schools to begin the process of assessment and programmatic development by offering specific strategies, opting for lists and brief explanations over grand theory and extensive prose.
The Ethics and Economics of American Legal Education Today, 17 J. Contemp. Legal Issues 1 (2008).
The entire issue explores issues of the economics of legal education and whether the existing model is desirable, including what direction reform is likely to take.
Barbara Glesner Fines, Fundamental Principles and Challenges of Humanizing Legal Education (Humanizing Legal Education Symposium), 47 Washburn L. J. 313 (2008).
This essay suggests three principles that underlie the scholarship of those who seek to humanize legal education: do no harm, teach students not just subjects, and values education.
B. Glesner Fines, The Impact of Expectations on Teaching and Learning, 38 Gonz. L. Rev. 89 (2003).
Explores the research on expectation effects (self-fulfilling prophesy and self-sustaining expectation) in education and offers suggestions for putting the research into practice.
Steven I. Friedland, How We Teach: A Survey of Teaching Techniques in American Law Schools, 20 Seattle U. L. Rev. 1 (1996).
Discusses the results of a nationwide survey which asked: how do we teach and why? The survey requested information about teaching goals, methods, rationales, new techniques, and any techniques professors wished they had used.
The second part of this article discusses learning theories and how they relate to law school teaching methods. “The survey results show that although many law professors continue to use only the Socratic method, others are exploring alternative methods that may better ensure the effectiveness of the learning process.”
Andre Hampton, Legal Obstacles to Bringing the Twenty-First Century into the Law Classroom: Stop Being Creative, You May Already Be in Trouble, 28 Okla. City U. L. Rev. 223 (2003).
This article discusses the copyright implications for teachers wanting to use multimedia content in the law classroom.
Gerald F. Hess, Collaborative Course Design, Not Their Course, But Our Course (Humanizing Legal Education Symposium), 47 Washburn L. J. 367 (2008).
Recent empirical research on legal education reveals that law schools can improve students motivation and performance by giving students significant input into their own education.
Jeffrey D. Jackson, Socrates and Langdell in Legal Writing: Is the Socratic Method a Proper Tool for Legal Writing Courses? 43 Cal. W.L.Rev. 267 (2007). Suggests that the Socratic method is a valuable tool for teaching legal writing.
Mary Kate Kearney & Mary Jane Kearney, Reflections on Good (Law) Teaching, 2001 L. Rev. Mich. St. U. Det. C.L. 835 (2001).
The author applies her mother’s reflections on teaching to her own experiences as a law school professor.
Daniel Keating, A Comprehensive Approach to Orientation and Mentoring for New Faculty, 46 J. Legal Educ. 59 (1996).
This dean recounts the his law school’s progression from informal to formal orientation and mentoring programs for new faculty.
Lawrence S. Krieger, Human Nature as a New Guiding Philosophy for Legal Education and the Profession (Humanizing Legal Education Symposium) 47 Washburn L. J. 247 (2008).
Krieger proposes simple immediate steps toward harmonizing legal training with the natural needs and tendencies of law students and lawyers.
James B. Levy, The Cobbler Wears No Shoes: A Lesson for Research Instruction, 51 J. Legal Educ. 39 (2001).
This articles explores how law teachers can make legal research more exciting and stresses that enthusiam for the topic (which is often lacking) is of primary importance.
James B. Levy, Escape to Alcatraz: What Self-Guided Museum Tours Can Show Us About Teaching Legal Research, 44 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. 387 (2001).
Discusses how pre-recorded, self-guided museum tours, like the Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour, can be adapted to better teach students how to use the law library. He also recommends using “Alcatraz-style” research exercises to engage students in legal research.
Paula Lustbader, Construction Sites, Building Types, and Bridging Gaps: A Cognitive Theory of the Learning Progression of Law Students, 33 Willamette L. Rev. 315 (1997).
This article proposes “a common theoretical foundation like the “Learning Progression”: a cognitive theory that explains the evolutionary learning process of law students. Teachers can use it to design lesson plans that target specific stages that students are working through. Students can use it as a blueprint for learning. In working through the sites, students will have a more solid foundation in constructing an analysis that will not collapse under scrutiny. This Article explains the Learning Progression. The first Part begins with a brief overview of the Learning Progression. The second Part provides a primer on learning, cognitive, and instructional theories.”
Deborah Maranville, Infusing Passion and Context into the Traditional Law Curriculum Through Experiential Learning, 51 J. Legal Educ. 51 (2001).
Melissa J. Marlow, It Takes A Village to Solve the Problems in Legal Education: Every Faculty Member’s Role in Academic Support, 30 U. Ark. Little Rock L. Rev. 489 (2008).
Marlow believes that a community of teachers concept has not been fully realized at law schools, and she proposes academic support solutions to unite law faculty for the common purpose of preparing all students whatever their background or ability for the rigors of law practice.
Lawrence McNamara, Flexible Delivery, Educational Objectives and the (Political) Importance of Teaching, 35 Law Tchr. 198 (2001).
Mara Merlino et al., Science in the Law School Curriculum: A Snapshot of the Legal Education Landscape, 58 Jour. Legal Ed. 190 (2008).
Proposes that “law is best studied with increasingly sophisticated understanding of other disciplines.”
Deborah Jones Merritt, Legal Education in the Age of Cognitive Science and Advanced Classroom Technology, 14 B.U.J. Sci. & Tech. L. 39 (2008).
Merritt argues that change is the new constant in legal education. She suggests that law professors keep pace with these changes by understanding the insights cognitive scientists have provided about how the brain works and by employing new technologies to implement these insights in their classes.
Eleanor W. Myers, Teaching Good and Teaching Well: Integrating Values with Theory and Practice, 47 J. Legal Educ. 401 (1997).
Describes Temple Law School’s Integrated Transactional Practice course, which merges the teaching of theory and practice and provides a concrete and realistic context for students to experience the moral dimension of practice.
Mary Olszewska, et. al., An Annotated Bibliography on Law Teaching, (October 30, 2009). Perspectives: Teaching Legal Research and Writing, Vol. 18; Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-19. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=149703118. This annotated bibliography was prepared for the panel on Diverse Teaching Methods Designed to Improve the Education of Law Students at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools (Aug. 3, 2009). It is offered as a resource to law teachers. It self-consciously and selectively surveys books and more recent articles with an emphasis on teaching qua teaching. It does not include articles specific to particular courses or subjects. Each entry appears only once. The categories and assignments are somewhat subjective but helpful for canvassing a rich literature. The online resources themselves include still more bibliographies.
The Opportunity for Legal Education: A Symposium of the Mercer Law Review, November 9, 2007, 59 Mercer L. Rev. 821 (2008).
The transcript of the symposium includes several speakers (William M. Sullivan, Roy T. Stuckey, Harriet N. Katz, and others) reflecting on legal education and its curriculum, its challenges, and its tensions.
Robert A. Pascal, A Summary Reflection on Legal Education, 69 La. L. Rev. 125 (2008).
This legal scholar whose career spanned most of the 20th century reflects on how the case method, if made the exclusive tool of legal education, will prevent 21st century law students from developing an overall view of what the law is or ought to be.
Radical Proposals to Reform Legal Pedagogy, 43 Harv. C. R.-C. L. L. Rev 595 (2008).
Several legal scholars offer brief critiques of current legal education and proposals for making it more effective, compassionate, and appropriate for the 21st century.
Raymond M. Ripple, Learning Outside the Fire: The Need for Quality Instruction in Law School, 15 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol’y 359 (2001).
Discusses the rise of incivility within the legal profession and how to combat it, its effect on lawyers’ reputations, and how civility, ethics and professionalism are intertwined.
Ira P. Robbins, Best Practices on Best Practices: Legal Education and Beyond, 16 Clinical L. Rev. 269 (2009).
This article concludes that using best practices when thinking and writing about legal education is misleading and inappropriate.
Ira P. Robbins, Best Practices : What s the Point? 16 Clinical L. Rev. 321 (2009).
Robbins continues the discussion in this issue of Clinical Law Review on improving legal education by responding to Prof. Stuckey s response to his article cited above.
Karen H. Rothenberg, Recalibrating the Moral Compass: Expanding Thinking Like a Lawyer into Thinking Like a Leader (Leadership in Legal Education Symposium IX), 40 U. Toledo L. Rev. 411 (2009).
Law school is the place where law students begin to explore the conflicts among their varied roles as a representative of clients, as an officer of the legal system, and as a public citizen with responsibility for the quality of justice.
Jack L. Sammons, Traditionalists, Technicians, and Legal Education, 38 Gonz. L. Rev. 237 (2003).
The author describes the situation in legal education as such: “The traditionalists’ problems are created by their reliance upon a central virtue that has become too abstracted from the practice. Traditionalist assumptions offer an Aristotelian way of determining what good lawyering could be, but these assumptions provide no coherent methodology for either confirming or producing it. The problems with technician assumptions are exactly the opposite. Their assumptions offer a methodology for confirming and producing good lawyering, but no way for determining what good lawyering might be … In simplest terms, we could say that one school knows where it is going and why, but not how to get there, while the other knows how to get there, but not where it is going or why.
John O. Sonsteng et al., A Legal Education Renaissance: A Practical Approach for the Twenty-First Century, 34 Wm. Mitchell L. Rev. 303 (2007).
“For more than a century, law school teaching has relied on an education model that focuses on theory, providing minimal opportunity for students to learn and apply the practical problem-solving skills critical to becoming a competent lawyer in real world settings. Modern learning theory provides direction, and the tools are available for improving the legal education system to prepare students for the practice of law … This article has two sections. The first section provides an overview of the history and status of legal education. The second section suggests a model for change, and incorporates modern learning theory and teaching tools. It provides answers to criticism as it addresses curriculum, teaching, faculty, and costs.”
Robert P. Schuwerk, The Law Professor as Fiduciary: What Duties Do We Owe to Our Students, 45 S. Tex. L. Rev. 753 (2003).
The author writes: My focus here is on the destructive impact of the current dominant legal education pedagogy on vast numbers of law students who pass through our hands, the causes of that devastation, its continuing consequences on our students’ abilities to lead productive and fulfilling professional lives after law school, and how that destructive impact might best be eliminated or at least significantly ameliorated.” He proposes more collaborative teaching, more mentoring and also de-empasizing grades.
Kennon M. Sheldon & Laurence S. Krieger, Understanding the Negative Effects of Legal Education on Law Students: A Longitudinal Test of Self-Determination Theory, 33 Pers Soc Psychol Bull 883 (2007).
“Longitudinal studies suggest that law school has a corrosive effect on the well-being, values, and motivation of students, ostensibly because of its problematic institutional culture. In a 3-year study of two different law schools, the authors applied self-determination theory’s dynamic process model of thriving to explain such findings. Students at both schools declined in psychological need satisfaction and well-being over the 3 years. However, student reports of greater perceived autonomy support by faculty predicted less radical declines in need satisfaction, which in turn predicted better well-being in the 3rd year and also a higher grade point average, better bar exam results, and more self-determined motivation for the first job after graduation.”
Roy Stuckey, Best Practices or Not, It Is Time to Re-Think Legal Education, 16 Clinical L. Rev. 307 (2009).
This response to the Ira Robbins article in the same issue defends the use of the term best practices and uses Professor Robbins critique as a launching point for a broader discussion of the state of legal education and the need for better data on its effectiveness.
Symposium 2009: A Legal Education Prospectus: Law Schools & Emerging Frontiers, 61 Rutgers L. Rev. 867 (2009).
Several articles describe the innovations in legal education: technology, curricular mixes, international needs, externships, faculty-student partnerships, and more.
Karen L. Tokarz, A Manual for Law Schools on Adjunct Faculty, 76 Wash. U. L.Q. 293 (1998).
Topics include: integration of adjunct faculty into the intellectual and social community, providing practical guidance to adjunct faculty about beginning the teaching process, and information to be provided to adjunct faculty.
Arturo L. Torres & Karen E. Harwood, Moving Beyond Langdell: an Annotated Bibliography of Current Methods for Law Teaching, 1994 Gonz. L. Rev. 1 (1994).
This annotated bibliography covers 42 topics and focuses on practical articles from 1985 to 1993.
Arturo Lopez Torres, MacCrate Goes to Law School: an Annotated Bibliogprahy of Methods for Teaching Lawyering Skills in the Classroom, 77 Neb. L. Rev. 132 (1998).
“This bibliography compiles those law review articles that explore the teaching of lawyering skills in the traditional, non-skills oriented law courses [and thereby] provides law professors information on how to incorporate skills training into substantive and other nontraditional, skills-related courses.”
Arturo Lopez Torres & Mary Kay Lundwall, Moving Beyond Langdell II: An Annotated Bibliography Of Current Methods For Law Teaching, 35 Gonz. L. Rev. 1 (2000).
Covers law review articles offering practical suggestions on pedagogy from 1993 to 1999.
The Values of Common Law Legal Education (Special Issue), 42 Law Tchr. 263 (2008).
Several articles respond to the publication in 2007 of The Values of Common Law Legal Education, by Roger Burridge and Julian Webb in which they discussed the link between values and liberal legal education in the United Kingdom.
Paul T. Wangerin, Teaching and Learning in Law School: An “Alternative” Bookshelf for Law School Teachers, 1994 Gonz. Law Rev. 49
Janet Weinstein & Linda Morton, Stuck in a Rut: The Role of Creative Thinking in Problem Solving and Legal Education, 9 Clinical L. Rev. 835 (2003).
“This article focuses on the mental process of creative thinking … Creative thinking is an essential component to problem solving. In training future lawyers, we must do a better job of incorporating and supporting creative thinking in legal education. We conclude the article with a description of some of our efforts toward this objective.
What Can Law Schools Do Better? The Complete Lawyer, Vol 3. #5 (2007).
A collection of essays in this online periodical on the topic of improving legal education.
James P. White, A Look at Legal Education: The Globalization of American Legal Education (A Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators Annual Meeting, July 2006). 82 Ind. L. J. 1285 (2007).
This article reviews the globalization trends in American legal education.
J. Harvie Wilkinson, III., Legal Education and the Ideal of Analytic Excellence, 45 Stan. L. Rev. 1659 (1993).
The author, a federal judge, is concerned that “the traditional ideal of analytic excellence is threatened in the present law school environment” because “[m]odern legal education is in danger of forsaking its classroom roots.”