September 26, 2007
Russell Osgood's Advice for Erwin Chemerinsky: Focus on 3-4 New Ideas
Continuing our series of responses from various legal luminaries to the question: What is the single best idea for reforming legal education you would offer to Erwin Chemerinsky as he builds the law school at UC-Irvine?
Russell K. Osgood (President, Grinnell College; former Dean (and Tax Prof), Cornell Law School):
Reform doesnât usually flow from the discovery of a single big new idea. Rather, reform and improvement usually occurs when a new idea is tested alongside existing strategies and the results are compared. So, I would encourage Erwin to find three or four new ideas and invest in the people/technologies/infrastructure needed to test them out. Further, I would encourage him to find individuals willing to test the results of their undertakings. A lot of people claim something is better based upon assertion or hope. If something is really going to improve legal education, it should be able to produce measurable outcomes using sophisticated evaluative mechanisms over a multi-year period. Finally, I would find some convincing people with the new ideas before I would invest much in the infrastructure or technology or other collateral costs of projected reforms.
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