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Reflections on U.S. Law Curricular Reform

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 March 2019

Extract

There has not been dramatic reform to legal education for many years. Although changes to the way we train students to be lawyers certainly have been made in the past decades, there has not been occasion to fundamentally re-think the process for educating lawyers.

Type
Section 1: ‘Same Ol’, Same Ol'?' Reflecting on Curricular Reform
Copyright
Copyright © 2009 by German Law Journal GbR 

References

1 Sullivan, William M., Anne Colby, Judith Welch Wegner, Lloyd Bond, and Lee S. Shulman, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Educating Lawyers: Preparation for the Profession of Law (2007) (hereinafter “Carnegie Report”).Google Scholar

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37 Id. at 9.Google Scholar

40 Id. at 10.Google Scholar

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44 Id. at 19.Google Scholar

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68 The American Bar Association Standards for the Approval of Law Schools have been said to have a similar effect.Google Scholar

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77 The difference between capstone and keystone courses has been described by one professor as follows: “A keystone sits at the top of an arch and holds all the other stones in place. Unlike the more familiar “capstone course” – which takes ots name from the stone at the top of a wall – a Keystone Course represents both a pinnacle and a passage. A Keystone Courses is a transformational learning experience representing both the culmination of law school learning and a transition to law practice and a lifetime of self-directed learning.’ Denise Roy, Pathways at 66.Google Scholar

79 “The Capstone courses are being designed to provide students with intensive immersion in a particular doctrinal area through collaborative or multidisciplinary work on a complex problem.” These courses include classroom components and experiential components. Id. at 90.Google Scholar

80 “Capstone Courses provide the opportunity for advanced study, with special emphasis on teaching the Carnegie Foundation Report principles of theory to practice and professionalism. A given Capstone can be interdisciplinary, cover multiple subjects, and be team-taught.” Id. at 95.Google Scholar

81 Capstone courses are designed to integrate “information-based knowledge and skills-based knowledge into a unified whole.” Id. at 22.Google Scholar

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88 See http://www.law.nyu.edu/global/index.htm. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

90 Northwestern Plan 2008, http://www.law.northwestern.edu/difference/strategicplan.html, at 16. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

93 Just to give an example, in the last three or four semesters, Fordham Law School offered the following: global/transnational courses: Advanced Legal Research: Transnational Practice, Advanced Legal Research: International and Comparative, Advanced Legal Research: International Trade Law, Civil Rights: 9/11 and Non-Citizens, Comparative Constitutional Law, Doing Business in India, European and International Antitrust Law, Globalization of American Corporations: Tax and Regulatory Policy, Immigrants’ Rights and Access to Justice, Immigration Law for Business Professionals, International and Comparative Patent Law, International Development Project: Millennium Development Goals, International Human Rights Scholarship, International Law of Development, International Litigation in U.S. Courts, International Cartel Enforcement, Introduction to Chinese Law, Islamic Law, Jewish Law, Law and Governance in Comparative Perspective, Law and Society in Japan, Law and Policy of Climate Change, Multinational Corporations, NAFTA, National Security Law, Professional Responsibility in Multinational Practice, Transnational Business & Human Rights, and U.S. Foreign relations Law. See http://law.fordham.edu/registrar.htm. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

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96 AALS Survey at 16.Google Scholar

98 See http://cgi2.www.law.umich.edu/_ClassSchedule/CourseList.asp. Last accessed 16 June 2009. This course is designed to “teach every student the minimum every lawyer should know about law beyond the domestic (American) orbit in order to be qualified for practice in an age in which virtually every area of law is being affected by international aspects. The basic idea is that every Michigan law student should take at least one serious look at law on the international level.” http://cgi2.www.law.umich.edu/_ClassSchedule/aboutCourse.asp?crse_id=038594. Last accessed 16 June 2009. Michigan required course for upper level in Transnational Law. See http://cgi2.www.law.umich.edu/_ClassSchedule/CourseList.asp. Last accessed 16 June 2009. This course is designed to “teach every student the minimum every lawyer should know about law beyond the domestic (American) orbit in order to be qualified for practice in an age in which virtually every area of law is being affected by international aspects. The basic idea is that every Michigan law student should take at least one serious look at law on the international level.” http://cgi2.www.law.umich.edu/_ClassSchedule/aboutCourse.asp?crse_id=038594. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

101 Columbia Law School requires that first-year students select one of seven electives, including Lawyering Across Multiple Legal Orders. See http://www.law.columbia.edu/jd_applicants/curriculum/1l last accessed 16 June 2009; Minnesota Law School requires first-year students to select from a list of four electives, including International Law. See http://www.law.umn.edu/current/degreerequirements.html last accessed 16 June 2009. American University Washington College of Law and Yale Law School also offer electives to first-year students, which include international law courses.Google Scholar

102 See, e.g., Northwestern's Plan 2008, http://www.law.northwestern.edu/difference/strategicplan.html, at 20. Last accessed 16 June 2009. As the then-Dean of NYU School of Law described the situation at his law school, “in the traditional canon of common law courses in the first year, at least two courses in each of the student sections now are taught from materials reworked to take account of globalization,” an initiative he described as having as its purpose “introducing a perspective into the study of law … that embraces the kaleidoscope nature of law formation, operation, and practice.” John E. Sexton, supra note 59 at 199.Google Scholar

103 See Scharf, Michael P., Internationalizing the Study of Law, 20 Penn State International Law Journal 29, 32 (2001).Google Scholar

104 In 2005, the AALS annual meeting sponsored a Workshop on Integrating Transnational Perspectives into the First Year Curriculum.Google Scholar

105 See AALS Survey at 21–23.Google Scholar

107 See, e.g‥, White, James P., A Look at Legal Education: The Globalization of American Legal Education, 82 Indiana Law Journal 1285, 1287 (noting that in 1975 there were five ABA-approved law schools offering a summer program abroad and that in 2006, 120 ABA-accredited law schools offered about 160 such programs).Google Scholar

109 See id. Google Scholar

110 Examples include Fordham Law School's dual degree program with the University of Paris II, http://law.fordham.edu/ihtml/intl-2studyabroad_semester.ihtml?id=723; Harvard's joint J.D./LL.M. program with Cambridge University, http://www.law.harvard.edu/academics/degrees/special-programs/study-abroad/joint-degree-program.html; Columbia's dual degree programs with Paris I, the University of London, and the Institute for Law and Finance, http://www.law.columbia.edu/center_program/intl_progs/Double_degrees, Cornell's dual degree programs with Paris I, Sciences Po, and Humbolt, http://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/international/study_abroad/international_dual_degrees/index.cfm; the University of Southern California's dual degree program with the London School of Economics, http://lawgip.usc.edu/studyabroad/jdlseinfo.cfm; and the University of Puerto Rico's dual degree program with the University of Barcelona, http://lspo.law.upr.edu/portal/page?_pageid=33,149936&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

111 Examples include NYU's program at Singapore National University, http://www.law.nyu.edu/llmjsd/llmsingapore/index.htm and Northwestern's programs in Seoul, Madrid, and Tel Aviv. See http://www.law.northwestern.edu/graduate/llmexec/. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

112 Chemerinsky, Erwin, Rethinking Legal Education, 43 Harvard Civil Rights – Civil Liberties Law Review 595, 595 (2008).Google Scholar

114 Sexton, , supra note 59 at 197.Google Scholar

119 http://law.wlu.edu/thirdyear/. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

124 See id‥ At least some respondents also indicated that they have enhanced research training in the first year by including members of the professional library staff rather than relying exclusively on legal research and writing instructors for research training.Google Scholar

125 Beyond the classroom, a number of states permit admission to the bar after a legal education secured through apprenticeships rather than attendance at law school, a return to earlier days and an implicit recognition of the value of learning by doing. These states are California, Maine, New York, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. See G. Jeffrey MacDonald, The Self-Made Lawyer, Christian Science Monitor, 3 June, 2003, at 13. Delaware requires bar applicants to “perform an aggregated full-time service of at least five months in a law office, as a judicial law clerk, or working for various federal, state, or legal services agencies prior to their admission to the state bar.” Delaware Supreme Court Reports. 52(8). During this time they must complete a list of thirty tasks. Id. Google Scholar

126 Staver, Matthew D., Liberty University's Lawyering Skills Program: Integrating Legal Theory in a Practice-Oriented Curriculum, 39 University of Toledo Law Review 383, 386 – 88 (2008).Google Scholar

129 See Margolis, Kenneth R., Turning Law Students into Lawyers, The Complete Lawyer, Vol. 3 No. 5 (14 September 2007).Google Scholar

136 See Legal Education at the Crossroads – Ideas to Accomplishments: Sharing New Ideas for Integrated Curriculum, 9–12, available at http://bestpracticeslegaled.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/crossroadsmatlsonline.pdf Last accessed 16 June 2009. (“Crossroads”)Google Scholar

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140 See Crossroads at 21–24.Google Scholar

141 See http://www.law.wlu.edu/thirdyear/. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

146 See Crossroads at 5–8.Google Scholar

147 See Crossroads at 72.Google Scholar

148 http://www.kentlaw.edu/cajt/. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

150 http://www.tourolaw.edu/pac/index.asp. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

152 See AALS Survey, passim. Google Scholar

153 Margolis, Kenneth R., Turning Law Students into Lawyers, The Complete Lawyer, Vol. 3 No. 5 at 4–5 (14 September 2007).Google Scholar

154 http://lawschool.unm.edu/clinic/business-tax-law/index.php. Last accessed 16 June 2009. See also Crossroads at 5–8.Google Scholar

155 Burger, Warren E., The Role of Lawyers Today, 59 Notre Dame Law Review 1, 3, 5 (1983).Google Scholar

156 http://law.wm.edu/academics/. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

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162 Margolis, Kenneth R., Turning Law Students into Lawyers, The Complete Lawyer, Vol. 3 No. 5 at 7 (14 September 2007).Google Scholar

164 See Crossroads 1–3.Google Scholar

165 See Crossroads at 33.Google Scholar

166 See www.cali.org. Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

167 These include Concord Law School (http://www.concordlawschool.edu/index.asp?source=106813&ve=60120&phid=11&ysmwa=[ysmwa]&gclid=CKy9kP6hh5sCFQpgswodsyK5ow), Northwestern California University (http://www.nwculaw.edu/cgi-bin/nwcu/index.html), and West Coast School of Law (http://www.westcsl.com/) Last accessed 16 June 2009.Google Scholar

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