Thursday, April 29, 2010
The nation's legal-education system needs a major overhaul so that students graduating with more than $100,000 in debt can find jobs in a shrinking market and graduate ready to practice. That was the consensus of most of the nearly 100 judges and law-firm partners who converged at a forum this week sponsored by Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
Participants in the "National Forum on the Future of Legal Education" said law schools should emulate medical schools and transform the third year into clinical rotations, so that students know the nuts and bolts of being a lawyer by the time they graduate. Such changes are needed, they said, at a time when law firms are hiring fewer lawyers, and clients are less willing to pay for young associates to gain on-the-job training with their cases. ...
Paul Schiff Berman, law dean at Arizona State University, said his staff will summarize the findings and recommendations and distribute them to law schools nationwide. ...
"Lawyers come out of law school eager and smart and knowing absolutely nothing useful," said J. William Dantzler Jr., the head of global tax practice for the firm White & Case LLP. "I came here with a vague sense that doing away with the third year might be useful, but being a lawyer, I want to hear both sides." During his own third year of law school, he said, "I mostly drank beer and enjoyed myself immensely." ...
Patrick J. Schiltz, a U.S. District Court judge in Minnesota [who] taught law at the University of Notre Dame and the University of St. Thomas before his appointment to the federal bench in 2006. ... Mr. Schiltz said most law professors nationwide graduated from a few top schools and have little practice experience. "The faculty can't teach these skills because they don't know how," he said. "They've never had a client, and they aren't interested. Teaching students (these skills) doesn't enhance their prestige or help their schools climb in the rankings."
See also Christine Nero Coughlin (Wake Forest), Lisa T. McElroy (Drexel) & Sandy Patrick (Lewis & Clark), See One, Do One, Teach One: Dissecting Medical Education's Signature Pedagogy in the Law School Classroom, 26 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 361 (2010):
(Hat Tip: Ron Jones.)
With the recent publication of the Best Practices in Legal Education, and the Carnegie Report on the Advancement of Teaching, law professors today have an opportunity to adopt pedagogies that have been successfully used in other professional disciplines that, like law, integrate skills and theory. In this article, we focus specifically on the “see one, do one, teach one” approach used in medical education because medical students and law students develop early professional reasoning skills in parallel ways.
This article dissects medical education’s signature pedagogy by focusing on the use of simulation and samples, active learning exercises, and peer teaching opportunities as a corollary to using visualization, application, and demonstration in the medical context. The article guides legal educators through the process of implementing the methodology. This article concludes that utilizing the “see one, do one, teach one” methodology facilitates student engagement with course material on a deeper analytical level, by providing context for the students, and allowing students to internalize and transfer that knowledge. Accordingly, borrowing the signature “see one, do one, teach one” pedagogy from medical education will ultimately help students better bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law.